How do we know that God is righteous? We read it in His Word; He says that He is. But has He provided any additional evidence? When the prophets or poets looked forward to a day of judgment, did they have reason to take it seriously?
Yes, God has demonstrated His righteous judgment again and again. He expelled Adam and Eve from the garden, made work sweaty and labor painful. Every physical death is a sign of judgment going back to the Garden. The Lord also flooded the whole earth and wiped out mankind save eight souls on an ark. Individual sinners have reaped what they’ve sown, as have many wicked nations. Getting caught in the net you set is part of God’s judgment. Because we don’t always see the judgment immediately does not mean that we’ve seen everything.
There is no reason to doubt that a great day of reckoning is coming. Paul told the Greeks that the proper response is to repent.
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead. (Acts 17:30–31)
Repent because the day is fixed. The Judge has been appointed, and it is God’s own Son (see Psalm 2). Both the fixed day and the appointed Judge are assured to all by raising him from the dead.
How do we know that God is righteous? Because God always judges sin. Even in providing forgiveness for everyone who will ever believe, He put our punishment on Christ. The Father accepted the ransom as evidenced by the resurrection.
Even the most unrighteous event in the history of man became the ultimate proving point of the righteousness of God. As Christians, the Lord’s Table reminds us of God’s judgment, judgment taken by God. That judgment reminds us of the coming judgment on those who continue to do unrighteousness. We hope in the judgments, one finished and one in the future.
From time to time its beneficial to remind ourselves that no one else can make us sin. Stated positively, we always do what we most want to do. Every time we sin it was because we choose to sin, even if there was a battle between desires. We wanted sin more.
This means that we cannot blame our sin on someone else. If your husband did not do what you asked him to do, does that mean that you have to get angry? If you have to, then do you get angry every time in order to be consistent? Do you envision yourself getting angry even when you are filled with the Spirit? Do all of the godly wives that you know get angry over the same thing? Or do you want the release of telling him how your feelings were hurt?
How about when your child doesn’t obey quickly enough, dad? When you’ve been waiting for five minutes, does that mean you have to react impatiently? Or is impatience necessary when the number of minutes is higher, say at least ten, then you have no choice but to blow your top? But isn’t that what patience is for, when you’re tempted to be impatient? Or do you just want to show who’s boss in the house?
Bad service at a restaurant or on the phone with customer service can’t make you unkind. Being told “No” for whatever it was you wanted can’t make you lose self-control. Seeing too much flesh on a billboard can’t make you commit adultery.
“From within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts” (Mark 7:21-23). This is brutal because it means I am the one who needs to confess. It is also encouraging because I can’t always change my circumstances. I can always ask God to forgive me and to change my heart.
Though David wrote Psalm 8 about man as in mankind, the author of Hebrews also recognized a unique application for the God-Man, Jesus Christ.
For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere,
“What is man, that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man, that you care for him?
You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned him with glory and honor,
putting everything in subjection under his feet.”
Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. (Hebrews 2:5–9)
God gave man dominion on earth, but God gave His Son dominion over the dominion-takers, the history-makers, and even over the nay-sayers. “At present we do not see everything in subjection to him.” Sinners still live and sin and stand against the Son of Man. Men still reject their Creator and suppress the truth they know about Him.
We have not reached the final chapter, but we will see all things in subjection, we will see God’s will on earth as it is in heaven, because Christ’s dominion is not potential. It is established; He is risen from the dead.
All things, including governments and businesses and neighborhoods, will be in service to the Son because He already suffered, died, and rose again. He did it as grace. He did it as a substitute. He did it to redeem “many sons” and bring them to glory through sanctification (Hebrews 2:10).
He is helping the tempted now (Hebrews 2:17-18). He is changing us now. He is identifying with us, unashamed to call us brothers now (Hebrews 2:11), even as He invites us to eat His flesh and drink His blood.
At present we do not see everything subjected to Him. But the world ought to see us in subjection to Him as we gather at His Table.