What Happens To Believers Who Hurt Others?
by David J. Stewart
Romans 12:19, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
We have a direct PROMISE from God that He WILL AVENGE US of those who have hurt and wronged us. This means that you have a God-given RIGHT to EXPECT to be avenged of your enemies (those who have hurt you). You have a PROMISE from God Almighty that He will PUNISH (repay) the evildoer. Likewise, we will give account to God for any unrighted wrongs in life.
Dr. Lee Roberson makes this excellent statement...
"Our salvation was settled by our acceptance of Jesus, but now we are to be judged for our works and service. Paul tells us that every one of us shall give an account of himself to God. No Christian will escape; therefore, the apostle reminds us that we are not to waste our time judging our brethren, for the time of their judgment is coming when they must stand before the judgment seat of Christ."
SOURCE: Dr. Lee Roberson, Chapter 2, Some Golden Daybreak
Romans 12:19 is our text verse. The Greek word for “repay” in Romans 12:19 means “to punish.”
Read the powerful words of Dr. John R. Rice...
"At the judgment seat of Christ God's anger is not expressed against any individual who has thoroughly repented of his sins, confessed them and forsaken them. But God's judgment on the sin itself may continue where there is no judgment against the individual as such. It seems to me that we need to make a distinction between the proper anger and wrath of God against one who goes on unrepentant in sin, and God's proper wise judgment against the sin itself even when the sinner has been reconciled completely and forgiven."
SOURCE: Dr. John R. Rice, from the excellent book Dr. Rice, Here's My Question.
If Saved, Always Saved
Now please don't misunderstand, there is NO CONDEMNATION to those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 5:1). Every believer, no matter how sinful he or she may live upon the earth, is forever safe and secure in the arms of Jesus.
I have nothing against the saying, “Once saved, always saved.” However, I prefer the saying, “If saved, always saved.” The latter statement questions whether a person has ever been saved to begin with. Most professed Christians today are false Christians. They have churchianity without Christianity. Ninety-five percent of churchgoers these days are following false religion instead of the truth of God's Word.
Those who teach that salvation can be lost are teaching Works Salvation. Salvation is secured in Christ's righteousness alone, and not according to how one lives (Matthew 6:33; Romans 10:3-4). Although this truth upsets many self-righteous people, it is Biblical (Romans 4:5-6). Who is without sin? Who can claim that they are self-righteous enough to maintain their salvation? What arrogance! The entire notion that salvation can be lost be committing sin is based in self-righteous. Let me tell you friend, if salvation can be lost, then we all lost it a long time ago!!!
The truth is that Jesus paid a debt He did not owe, because we owed a debt we could not pay. Since Jesus paid our sin debt, there is NOTHING for us to pay. There are NO requirements for a person to be saved, other than to come as a guilty sinner to Jesus Christ to be forgiven (Acts 10:43).
All Wrongs Must Be Righted
The Bible portrays justice as a balanced scale (Proverb 11:1). When the scale is out-of-balance, there is injustice.
At salvation, the scales of justice are balanced between us and God. Jesus' blood balances the scale. If a believer commits sin, the scale remains balanced, because it is the Lord's work of redemption that balanced the scale at salvation.
At the Judgment Seat of Christ, the scales of justice will be balanced between us and others who have hurt and wronged us. Although salvation made things right between us and God, God still needs to make things right between us and those we have wronged in life (and vise versa). Since we are saved, God will make things right on our behalf, but we will have to give account and there will be loss of rewards (1st Corinthians 3:11-15).
Biblically, all will be held accountable by God for even the smallest offenses against others (Matthew 12:36).
Tears will flow and hearts will break. We do not need to waste our energies and time fuming over the wrongs which others have committed toward us—God has promised to avenge us. God has made us a promise to punish our enemies (Romans 12:19). The best thing for us to do is continue soulwinning, praying and helping the poor. God will deal with our adversaries.
We read in 1st Corinthians 11:31, “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.” Those believers who humble themselves and attempt to right their wrongs, will have no need to be judged on Judgment Day. Although they'll still give account for sin itself on Judgment Day, God will take into consideration their repentant heart and attempt to do better. I am not speaking about salvation here; but rather, the FRUIT of being a Christian. A changed life is the FRUIT of genuine repentance, and not a part of the ROOT of saving faith. Salvation is receiving, not giving.
In sharp contrast to humble believers who attempt to right their wrongs, hardened believers will be dealt with harshly by God in order to humble them. There are many Christian believers today who are still wandering in the wilderness, because all they do is complain and make excuses as the Hebrews did in Moses' time.
Sometimes we cannot right our wrongs, such as a woman who aborts her child. That mother cannot bring her dead baby back. But, thanks be to God, there is forgiveness at the feet of Jesus for even the worst sinner (Acts 10:43; Isaiah 1:18). The whole reason why Jesus died on the cross was because we COULDN'T make everything right. Jesus came in His love to make things right for us at Calvary (Romans 5:1). Any sin can be forgiven by faith in Jesus Christ.
As Christians, we should be humble and quick to right our wrongs. This is exactly what Jesus meant when He taught, “turn the other cheek.” If we wrong someone, then we are commanded by the Lord to go out-of-our-way to make restitution to resolve the matter. All we can do is attempt to right our wrongs in life. This is part of being a Christian. Although some people may never forgive us, nor let a matter go, at least one can have peace in knowing that they did as much as possible to make things right. Beyond that, we must trust the Lord to make everything right, which is exactly why Jesus came to die on the cross... because there was no way for us to make everything right.
Even our righteousness is filth in God's eyes, because it is self-righteousness (Isaiah 64:6). Salvation is rooted in Christ's righteousness, which is by faith alone (2nd Corinthians 5:21). Jesus came to make everything right, because it's impossible for us to do so.
"Why do we make so much of differences when the Lord is coming, and at His coming, every difference will be made straight and right? As a Christian looking for the Lord Jesus, pass by the slights and insults which are given you. Your attention is fastened on something a thousand times bigger. Don't try to get revenge against those who mistreat you. Leave it all in the hands of the Lord."
SOURCE: Dr. Lee Roberson, Chapter 17, Some Golden Daybreak
The Judgment Seat of Christ
Defraud NOT Thy Brother!