The Godhead - God

 

 

God delights in those who do evil

 

 

 

There are some people who affirm that God delights in those who do evil.

 

Confutation

 

It is not true that God takes delight in those who do evil, for God is righteous and He loves righteousness. David said to God: “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, nor shall evil dwell with You” (Psalm 5:4 – NKJV), and Solomon said: “For the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord” (Proverbs 3:32 – NKJV). Therefore it is wrong to think that God takes delight in the wicked, and it is wrong also to envy them, for Wisdom says: “Do not let your heart envy sinners” (Proverbs 23:17 – NKJV), and David says: “Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass. And wither as the green herb” (Psalm 37:1-2 - NKJV).

There was a prophet in ancient times whose name was Asaph who made this mistake but afterward he came to his senses and acknowledged that he had made an error; he wrote some words which warns us not to envy sinners. Here is what the prophet Asaph wrote: “Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment. Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish. They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth. Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them. And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High? Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children. When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image. Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee. Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee. But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.” (Psalm 73:1-28).

Brothers, when you see the wicked increase their possessions by usury and extortion, when you see them enjoy good health, when you see them rejoice together with their families, when you see their children healthy and beautiful, when you see they are famous and respected, and their advices are taken for they are rich, when you see that they have got many friends who visit them continually, when you hear them mock the governing authorities, and when you hear them say, ‘Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him? And what profit do we have if we pray to Him?’ or ‘It is useless to serve God and to keep His commandments!’, I say, when you see and hear these things, do not lose heart, do not fret nor be envious of the wicked, but stand firm in the faith, hold to the Word of God and continue to be zealous for the fear of the Lord, for God tests you by the perverse people to know whether you will obey the commandments of God or not. That’s the way God acts, but do not marvel at this for many others were tested in this way before us.

I want to remember you that the seven nations who dwelt in the land of Canaan were wicked in the sight of God, for they committed all kinds of sins. They were idolatrous, they practiced witchcraft, they gave themselves over to sexual immorality and to many other abominations, yet they lived in a good land, as God said to the Israelites (while those nations lived in that land): “For the Lord Your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey …. a land whose stones are iron … a land flowing with milk and honey” (Deuteronomy 8:7-9; 11:9 – NKJV). However, God did not leave them unpunished, for when their iniquity was complete, God began to destroy those nations before Israel as He had promised He would do. But the point on which I want you to reflect is this: it was by those wicked nations that God (after Israel took possession of the land and the land was divided among the tribes of Israel) tested the people of Israel, for it is written: “Now these are the nations which the Lord left, that He might test Israel by them …. Five lords of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who dwelt in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal Hermon to the entrance of Hamath. And they were left, that He might test Israel by them, to know whether they would obey the commandments of the Lord, which He had commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses” (Judges 3:1, 3-4 – NKJV).

Today we can say that we are in the same situation as the Israelites were in. For we, who are the people of God redeemed from the hand of the enemy, live in the midst of a crooked and sinful generation before which there is no fear of God. The sad facts are before our own eyes, for sinners declare their sin as Sodom; people do openly what God detests. The people of this generation are – as Paul said many centuries ago - “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:2-5 – NKJV). Many times we are tempted to think that the wicked are useless (or that it would be better for God to destroy all of them at once); however God uses them to test us, to know whether we will obey the commandments of God or not, so we must say that in a certain sense the wicked are useful to God. Is it not true that when we see the wicked prosper in their ways and bring their wicked schemes to pass we are tempted to give up? Is it not true that our heart is tested when we see people do evil things for it seems that someone is whispering in our ears, ‘It is useless to do good in this world so wicked’? You see, brothers, God tests our hearts and minds even by people who do not fear Him; but we must not be envious of the wicked thinking that it is better to serve sin rather than God. For God hates all the workers of iniquity. Hear what Asaph, after he realized that it is not worth envying the wicked, said: “If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children. When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.” (Psalm 73:15-20). As you can see, when the prophet entered the sanctuary of God and began to consider the end awaiting the wicked, he realized that he did not have to think that he had washed his hands in innocence in vain. We also must consider the end awaiting the wicked, lest we speak things which God does not like. What is the end awaiting all the wicked? I could answer this question by saying only these words: ‘What is awaiting the sinner who follows his impenitent heart is an eternal destruction and shame’, but I want to speak in detail about the end awaiting the impenitent sinners after death. When the wicked die they immediately go down to Hades, that is, hell, where there is an unfanned fire, which burns day and night, whose flames envelop the souls of the sinners who are there and cause them to gnash their teeth and weep day and night. Jesus said that “there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:42 – NKJV). Therefore in Hades there is no rest nor comfort for sinners, but only torment and anguish. Besides burning fire, there is also darkness in Hades, but a darkness which cannot be compared to any darkness which exist on the earth. Job spoke of this horrible place, calling it “the land of darkness and the shadow of death, a land as dark as darkness itself, as the shadow of death, without any order, where even the light is like darkness” (Job 10:21-22 – NKJV). As you can see, Hades is a dreadful place, and the biblical words which describe it are able to make those who live far from God shiver and to lead believers to fear God. Those brothers who have seen Hades in a vision as well as those brothers who have seen Hades for before their conversion they died in their sins and after a while they came back to life, have fully confirmed both the existence of Hades and the biblical description of it. They find it difficult to describe in their own words the horrors of hell they have seen in the lower parts of the earth. The best way for them to describe what they have seen is to quote the verses of the Scripture which speak of this place. This is another proof of the trustworthiness of the Word of God.

We believe in the existence of hell for the Scriptures speak of this place, and in knowing that the wicked are turned into hell we are comforted for we recognize that God does not leave the wicked unpunished. On the other hand, if this place of torment, where the wicked go after death, did not exist, why should the wicked repent? We take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their evil ways to the Lord, but we also are bound to praise God for His righteousness, which is very high; to us the fact that God brings the wicked down to hell is another proof of His justice and proves that God abhors the perverse people and does not leave them unpunished. The point is that on the earth we see that there are just men who are treated as if they were wicked, and there are wicked men who are treated as if they were just (Ecclesiastes 8:14), and this grieves us, and it makes us weep and angry. We do not yet see the righteousness of God manifested fully on earth (that’s why we are tempted to think that God takes pleasure in the wicked). However, notwithstanding this, we know there is a God who judges in the earth, who cannot be mocked for He will make everyone reap what he has sown. I am fully convinced that if we walked by sight and thus we saw continually Hades with the souls of the wicked tormented by the fire of Hades, while they weep and gnash their teeth, we would never think of envying the wicked who prosper in their ways. However, if it were so, we would cease to walk by faith, which is not possible for we must go on by faith, not by sight.

Of course, the visions of Hades, which God still gives today, are useful for they refresh our memory and they shake us; but even though we have not seen Hades or we do not see it continually, we must believe that it exists and that those who are there have ceased to laugh and to have fun once for all. Know this, that all those who have died mocking the Gospel or blaspheming or after refusing to believe in our Lord Jesus Christ are in the heart of the earth weeping and screaming because of the anguish of their heart, and they have no hope. If only they could come out of that horrible place and come back to the earth, they would turn to the Lord immediately and proclaim in the hearing of men: “Save yourselves from this untoward [perverse] generation.” (Acts 2:40). Those who had worshiped Mary would destroy the statues of Mary and would no longer worship her; those who had prayed for the dead would begin to pray only for the living so that God may save them; those who had believed that they were members of the only true church which exist on earth (I refer to the Roman Catholic Church) would immediately come out of it trying to bring as many souls as possible out of this organization which is a prison: those also who had claimed to be Christians for they belonged to a Protestant denomination but they actually had never been born again would turn to the Lord. But all these people can’t turn to the Lord any longer, for they died in their sins and thus are lost forever! On the day of judgement they will rise again in order to be judged according to their works and condemned. Brothers I realize that it is sad to know that the impenitent sinners who derided us and the Gospel are now in the fire of hell where they scream with pain, but they are in hell not because we did send them there, but because they refused to repent of their sins and believe in the Gospel and thus they condemned themselves. I have talked to you in this way so that you may understand that to us hell is real, and we do not envy sinners for this reason, because their way, even if they are healthy and rich and famous, leads to perdition.

Job was a blameless and upright man among the people of his time, but during his afflictions in the bitterness of his soul he spoke some words against God, for he dared to say to God: “Does it seem good to You that You should oppress, that You should despise the work of Your hands, and smile on the counsel of the wicked?” (Job 10:3 – NKJV). Job, struck by Satan with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head and deprived of his children and of his possessions, during his affliction accused God of smiling on the schemes of the wicked and of leaving them unpunished, as he said: “Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them” (Job 21:9 – NKJV), and also of striking him wrongly and counting him as one of His enemies, who had practiced righteousness; and the bitterness of his soul drove him to say also: “It profits a man nothing that he should delight in God” (Job 34:9 – NKJV). God did not like those words spoken by Job and rebuked him saying: “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2 – NKJV). Therefore, in the midst of our afflictions which we endure for the Gospel’s sake let us not say, ‘It profits a man nothing that he should delight in God,’ or, ‘God delights in those who do evil,’ or, ‘It is useless to serve God and to keep His commandments!’ for these words weary God and make Him angry. Instead let us say what Asaph, after he understood the end of the wicked, said: “Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee. But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.” (Psalm 73:23-28).

Brothers, the Lord, to whom we have turned to serve Him all the days of our life, is good and will always do good to those who fear Him and keep His commandments; there is no doubt about it. That’s why we are encouraged to keep walking this road, without turning aside to the right hand or to the left, because we know that the blessing of the Lord is upon us and at the end of our race the Lord will receive us to glory. Yes, beloved brothers, for we were called by God to His eternal glory and we will appear before Him holy and blameless with exceeding joy, if we continue in the faith and good works until the end.

Brothers beloved by the Lord, I want you to know the following things. What you do for the poor among the saints is not in vain, for God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name; it is not true that your prayers are useless for the effective and fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much – as for those prayers which have not yet been answered, they are in the presence of God and will be answered at God’s appointed time; nor is it true that God ignores your cause, for it is before Him and in His time He will avenge you. Do not grow weary while doing good, for your good works will be rewarded; the harvest is near and you also will enter the heavenly Zion singing for joy to God and bringing your sheaves with you. Be of good courage, continue to hope in the Lord; of course, God tests you to know whether you love Him with all your heart and with all your soul, but His eyes are still on you and His ears are still open to your prayers. Be of good comfort; I know, sometimes we go through difficult times and we are perplexed for the affliction is great, but do not be afraid, you also will be delivered by God from your distresses and you will praise the Lord for His great goodness and for His great faithfulness for you will see with your own eyes that the Lord will turn the harm that your enemies have done to you into good, and you will proclaim again that “all things work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28 – NKJV).

Brothers, stand firm in the faith, fighting the good fight as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, for victory belongs to the Lord. Yes, in the midst of our distresses victory belongs to us in Christ Jesus. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

 

 

 

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