In this present evil world, many people suffer and die due to natural disasters, wars, famines, and pestilence. When these types of things occur, there are always those who are quick to claim it is the judgment of God. They may even cite scripture to support their claim, but the problem is they take it out of context and fail to rightly divide the word of truth.
Therefore, they do not understand how God is working today. God does not change in His person, but He does change in His dealings with man. There are no prophets today, and only ignorant and arrogant people would presume to speak on behalf of God.
Before we go any further, please consider the following preliminary remarks that reflect a biblical worldview.
- When God made the world, everything was very good.
- Man messed everything up through sin and paradise was lost.
- We live in a fallen and cursed world that is under the bondage of corruption.
- Satan is the prince and god of this present evil world.
- God, to an extent, allows Satan and man to have their way and does not directly control everything that happens in the world.
- God has the power and authority to intervene and has done so according to His purpose and plan, as reveled in His word.
- In order for God to get rid of all suffering and death, He must get rid of all sinners (because sin is the root problem), which He will ultimately do.
- In the meantime, as God works His purpose and plan for the ages, He uses the consequences of the fall to teach valuable lessons to mankind. Without the fall what would we really know about the love, mercy, and grace of God?
- The greatest divine intervention was the cross, by which God provided and offers salvation to the world.
- We cannot understand all the ways of God, but because of what He did for us on the cross, we should trust Him in everything that we must deal with in this life.
Now, back to the question of whether or not God is judging the world today through things like natural disasters, wars, famines, and pestilence.
In past ages, God used such things for judgment (e.g. 1 Kings 8:35-40; Ezek. 14:21)
When God did bring judgment by such means, it was always according to certain principles:
- It was based on what He said in His word. Israel, under the covenant of law, had an earthly program with physical judgment and intervention.
- God’s judgment was preceded by plain warnings (e.g. the flood, plagues on Egypt, judgments on Israel).
- God was faithful to deliver the righteous (e.g. Gen. 18:25; 2 Pet. 2:7-9).
In this present age of grace, God is not judging the world (2 Cor. 5:17-6:2)
Everything was ripe and ready for God to pour out His wrath when Israel fell in Acts 7 with the stoning of Stephen. Instead, God poured out exceeding abundant grace by saving the leader of the rebellion against Him and revealing the mystery of this present age through him (Paul). We are in living in the “day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2) and in an age of God’s great longsuffering (1 Tim. 1:12-16; 2 Pet. 3:15).
Christ has sent the Body of Christ as ambassadors to the world with a message of peace. Reconciliation is available but not automatic. Else why would we need to beseech the world to be reconciled if it was already accomplished? Salvation is available to all, but it is only “upon all them that believe” (Rom. 3:22).
The spiritual Body of Christ is God’s heavenly people with heavenly blessings, position, and destiny. We are not exempt from the suffering of this world (Rom. 8:18-28). In fact, we must also suffer for Christ’s sake (Phil. 1:29). God is more interested in changing us than He is in changing our circumstances. Spiritual health is far more important than physical health (2 Cor. 12:7-10).
However, we may certainly pray concerning physical things. The gift of healing ceased with the other sign gifts (2 Tim. 4:20), but that does not mean that God will not help someone recover (Phil. 2:27). We may pray about sickness, but we have no promise of healing.
God will yet judge the world (Isa. 13:6-13)
Before God judges the world, He will take His ambassadors home in the rapture (Rom. 5:9; 1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9). There are NO signs for the rapture. We are to be looking daily for Christ to catch us away (Phil. 3:20; Titus 2:13).
After the mystery of the rapture, God will resume His dealings with Israel and the nations and “the wrath to come” (Matt. 3:7) will come. There is a week of years that must be fulfilled (Dan. 9:25-27). The Body of Christ will have no part in that because we were a mystery hid in God (Eph. 3:9). It will be the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7). What will it look like when God judges the world? See Revelation 6 for an overview of the seventieth week of Daniel.
For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Rev. 6:17)
How important it is to understand where we are in God’s plan for the ages! Rightly dividing the word of truth gives us the proper perspective on life and is very practical. This present age of grace will not last forever. Christ could come today!