Friday, 25 November 2011

Who cares?

It is a question asked by sulky teenagers, but it is also a question asked by broken-hearted sufferers - "Who cares?"

As we look at the evil and suffering in the world I'm sure the question rises in our minds if it doesn't escape our lips, "Is there anyone out there who cares about this?  Does God care about the evil?  Does He care about the sufferers?"

What I want you to know is this, the Bible doesn't ignore the question.  Peter and Paul, the two major figures in the early church, both address the subject and both give the same answers.

Note what Peter says in 2 Peter 3 v 9-10:
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.
Here's what Paul says in Romans 2 v 4-5:
Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God
The two messages are one - God is not indifferent to the evil in the world, and God is not indifferent to us.
He isn't indifferent to the evil in the world because there is a day of judgment coming, and every sin a person commits is treasuring up wrath - they aren't getting away with anything.  And so awful and righteous will be that wrath that they will wish they had committed even one less sin to alleviate the anguish.
But someone may ask why God doesn't judge them now.  Well that's the second part - He not only cares about sin, He cares about sinners, and so He is giving opportunity for sinners to repent.  Both Peter and Paul mention the Lord's longsuffering, and His desire that sinners repent.  So God cares so much about sinners that He doesn't want them to take the punishment they deserve, and has made it possible for them to be saved through the death and resurrection of Christ, and in His goodness and longsuffering He withholds judgment, so that sinners will repent and turn to Christ.
This is not just good news for the criminal, this is good news for all of us; this is good news for you, because we are all guilty of breaking God's law; we are all deserving of His wrath.  We ought to be glad He is slow to judge because it gives you opportunity to repent and be forgiven.  I hope you'll take the opportunity.
God does care - He cares about your sin, but He cares for you and is willing to forgive.