The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

Vengeance is Mine

Posted by israeliteindeed on December 20, 2014

Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom. 12:17-21)

When the prophet Jonah was called to go to a people–who had persecuted his own people– with a message that God would forgive them if they would repent, he was more than reluctant. Only after nearly perishing in the ocean did he agree to obey. After they repented at his preaching and received God’s mercy (chapter 3), Jonah admitted his motive for running away was that he didn’t think they deserved that mercy!

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.” (Jon. 4:1-2)

No one deserves mercy. That’s what makes mercy what it is. Jesus rebuked His disciples when they were too willing to call down fire on a town that did not receive Him (Lk. 9:51-56.) His rebuke was not a soft one; He said they were of another spirit!

There is a vengeance and a destruction that is coming–the Day of the Lord. God’s enemies will be destroyed; we can be sure of that. In fact, they are already abiding “under His wrath.” (Jn. 3:36)

But ambassadors of God’s kingdom who are sent out with the Great Commission are not sent out to bring His wrath. They are sent out with an offer of God’s mercy on the conditions of any sinner’s repentance and faith. Unfortunately, some feel like Jonah–none too keen on seeing certain subsets of humanity receive God’s mercy. Or, they would like to see those people redeemed, but only if it doesn’t cost THEM something. Sometimes, being swept up in the worldly mindset produced by patriotism, and controlled by that mind instead of the mind of Christ, they leave the ranks of God’s ambassadors and join the ranks of the world’s destroyers of men. They may destroy by firing the weapons; they may destroy by supporting those who fire the weapons.

But our instructions, if we are God’s children, are very clear in the Romans passage above. These instructions are repeated in different ways elsewhere in Scripture also. It isn’t that God’s instructions aren’t clear or abundant enough; it’s that men don’t want to obey. They’d rather run from their responsibilities because they deem other people groups too far gone to be recipients of God’s mercy.

But as God revealed His heart concerning the lost to Jonah (4:10-11), He will also reveal His heart to us, unless we are content with that “other spirit” that insists we take vengeance in our own hands. Unfortunately, many professing Christians are so taken up with the importance of their earthly country and personal safety, those perishing things trump the value of men’s souls in their eyes. They are thus easily caught up in fleshly reactions to men, rather than spiritual war with spiritual weapons against spiritual principalities.

If Jesus came in the flesh today, pitying the souls of Muslims and calling us to be willing to die for them, He would likely be cast out as an apostate by the American church.

If a false savior came passing out carnal weapons and instructions for how to take Jerusalem from the infidels, he would gain some popularity–but only among those who are first rejecting the true King’s instructions.

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2 Responses to “Vengeance is Mine”

  1. Hard to leave it for God!

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