By Benjamin H. Liles
"Oh, that my words were written! Oh, that they were inscribed in a book! That they were engraved on a rock with an iron pen and lead, forever! For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth. After my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! If you should say, ‘How shall we persecute him?’— Since the root of the matter is found in me, be afraid of the sword for yourselves; for wrath brings the punishment of the sword, that you may know there is a judgment" (Job 19:23-29, New King James, in bold for emphasis).
I admire Job's confidence here in what he believes to be true and right about His Savior. He tells it like it is: "For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth" (Job 19:25, New King James). When we backtrack to another recent article I wrote the words, "Fast forward many centuries and a couple of millennium and we have these raves, parties and so-called weddings going on as if nothing has ever changed. That's Jesus' point when He says to His disciples, 'For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be' (Matthew 24:37-38)" (No One Knows the Day or Hour.
Why is that so important? It seems important to remember that as since Jesus Christ conquered sin, death and the grave He now has the right to judge all that's living and dead: "I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom" (1 Peter 4:5, 2 Timothy 4:1, both Paul and Peter agree Christ is the One who judges the living and the dead). So, when we see scripture saying that "I know my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth," even though Christ had yet to come to bear God's light to man, we can see Jesus Christ fulfills another part of God's word.
Also, with that said, Paul could have remembered Job's words when he wrote, "For this reason Christ died and returned to life, so that He might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God" (Romans 14:9, 12). If we look to what Job said about His Savior: "If you should say, ‘How shall we persecute him?’— Since the root of the matter is found in me, be afraid of the sword for yourselves; for wrath brings the punishment of the sword, that you may know there is a judgment" (Job 19:28-29, New King James).
It seems fitting then that the scriptures written in the Bible are about Jesus Christ's return to not simply to just judge the living and the dead, but to bring punishment to the wicked. "All this is clear evidence of God’s righteous judgment. And so you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. After all, it is only right for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are oppressed, and to us as well, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in blazing fire. He will inflict vengeance on those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus" (2 Thessalonians 1:5-8, Berean Study, bold for emphasis).
Who comes back with God's vengeance? The Lord Jesus being revealed from heaven. Who receives judgment and what for? God repays affliction to those who afflict...inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God, for not obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus. So then what is the gospel message?
John Piper writes, in his article "The Wrath of God Against Ungodliness and Unrighteousness,"Now how does Paul begin this section in verse 18? He begins it by giving the reason that gospel and a gift of God's righteousness is necessary. It's necessary "because the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness." We need the gospel of Romans 1:16-17, we need the gift of God's righteousness...In other words, the reason we need God to reveal HIS righteousness to us in the gospel and give it to us as a gift through faith is because we are unrighteous and resist the truth in unrighteousness and, therefore, God's wrath is against us...the gospel is the power of God to save because in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith."
Friend, you are here today desiring to know God, you don't desire His wrath and punishment upon you, your heart, or your soul. If you so desperately wanted God's justice on your life you would have it in spades and then some, but God's desire is for all who are under the curse of sin and death to be free from them. His desire is to make you right with Him. For this reason Jesus Christ atoned on our behalf with God, restoring us to the right to stand before a just and holy God. We read, "We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past" (Romans 3:22, 25, New Living Translation). I pray this blesses and encourages you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.