Thursday, October 3, 2013

Misreading God's Judgment as His Favor

It's easy to misread God's judgment as his favor. I see it happen many times. God gives a guy a stern judgment to give him a chance to remedy or correct his wrongs, but he thinks it's God's favor on him and brags about it in church, becoming more arrogant and rotten. And blind church people applaud him--often because he has money or has political church clout.

Take this guy, for instance. He has complicated heart problems that necessitated operation that cost his family more than a million pesos. Plus, God allowed him to have cancer, too. He survived them all and brags that God really favors him and approves of his ways and life. But the guy is actually rotten in character and has a penchant for putting people to shame. And he sometimes even mocks the Word of God and ridicules those who sincerely and avidly believe God's Word by applying it in their lives and ministries.

To me, this is how I read God's action on his life. God is giving him a chance to correct his ways, so He allowed the diseases to afflict him. Even in the bible, diseases were used by God to make man come to his senses and repent and amend his ways. But even in the bible, many people erred by misreading God's judgment as His favor. Because they recovered in the end, they thought it was God's favor on their life and resumed their arrogance and rotten character.

God allows diseases for several reasons, one of which is to wake you up from your wickedness or rottenness. Sometimes, diseases in you serve as testing for others who see you suffer in your sickness, as in the case of Job. Sometimes, ailments are allowed to take your faith to the next level, or for a revelation that is so high you need to be humbled so you won't boast about it, as in the case of Paul's thorn in the flesh. But sometimes, diseases are for warnings because you're already at the borderline of demonic wickedness, but you still don't realize it. You think you're still okay with God.

By His grace you don't end up dead [yet]--well just a bit on the boarder of death--to make you realize your sin, as in the case of Hezekiah who became a bit arrogant and showed off to an official delegation from Babylon all his wealth and grandeur. God sent an illness that almost killed the king.

Good for Hezekiah, he repented and was given another 15 years to live. But church leaders and church people today are mostly not as sensitive to God's judgment. They have lost their spiritual sharpness so that they keep misreading God's judgment as His favor. Take this couple for example...

They have an abnormal child and the husband keeps womanizing and gambling. They have a big and booming business but which is slowly losing ground and at the brink of bankruptcy if they only do one small final mistake. But they see all of these as God's favor on their lives. The abnormal child is seen as some kind of a God-given amulet that attracts wealth, and their brushes with bankruptcy is seen as God's rescue efforts because He favors them.

They never see it as God's fatal warning, letting them get a taste of what's coming to them if they continue in their sins. The couple is a champion of idolatry and occultism, combining feng shui and the bible as their weapons against bankruptcy. And because the dreaded bankruptcy just misses them by a few inches, they think God is protecting them and their business. So they always brag about it. They think their feng-shui-and-bible formula is effective and recommends it to others.

Often, God just gives us an inkling of what He can give us if we remain in sin. He does not punish us [yet] as we deserve. He gives us warnings--near brushes with disaster to make us wake up, and then rescues us just in time. But often, due to spiritual blindness, we misread His judgment as favor just because we have been rescued.

But God's Judgment is Indeed His Favor

But sometimes, however, God's judgments are really his favors. They serve as warnings to keep us from sin, hell, and from the devil. Sin makes us vulnerable to demonic attacks, so God judges us to warn and wake us up and go back to the right path. Indeed, God getting us out of trouble like that is His favor to us.

If God's judgment and rescue make us truly repent, then it's His favor. If God's judgment and rescue make us more arrogant and continue in rottenness, then it's His condemnation. He who believes is not condemned. But he who doesn't believe stands condemned already...