January 25 – LD 4, Day 4: God’s Holy Judgment
by Prof Herman Hanko

Read: Deuteronomy 6:1-10, Isaiah 6:1-5.

Many people find it difficult to believe that the punishment of sin could be as severe as the Bible says it is. And so, it is becoming increasingly common, even among evangelicals, to deny the reality of hell. We cannot do that, if we want to be faithful to Scripture.

Others, and they too are to be found in the Reformed community, deny that the misery that we endure in this life is the result of sin. A minister in the States, for example said on TV that the HIV virus was God’s punishment for the sin of homosexuality. He was nearly driven out of town and was forced publicly to confess his “error.”

A classmate of mine during our college days became professor of philosophy in Yale University, one of the more prestigious universities in the States, lost a son on a mountain-climbing accident on the Lord’s Day. The father wrote a book about it in which he denied that God had done this to his son. The question that comes to my mind is: “Who did do it?’ Or was it an act of Satan? Or, blind fate?

There are two reasons why men do not like the doctrine of temporal and eternal punishment. The first reason is that men do not want to admit how bad their sins really are. They are trying to excuse themselves and charge God with injustice when he punishes them.

The second reason is that men do not want as holy a God as He is. He is almost too holy for them. They wish he were not quite as holy as he really is.

Scripture has a difficult time of it to explain to us what holiness really is. This is not because God cannot make his holiness clear, but because we are so thick-headed that it is hard for us to understand spiritual things.

Probably the clearest description of God’s holiness is in Isaiah 6:1-5, where it is said to be like light that filled the temple, and made the angels cover their faces with their wings and cry out: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty. The whole earth is full of his glory.” And Isaiah, when he saw it, could only say, Woe is me! For I am undone, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”