Love & Vengeance

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Rm. 12:19).

The heart of vengeance is the feeling of a debt being owed that was unjustly taken. The debt might be wounded pride, a great loss incited by evil, or any number of things. The natural man, when a loss is exacted upon him by unjust and evil means, seeks in his heart to right that wrong by exacting an equal blow to his debtor thinking that he can, by his own hand, balance the scale of justice. It is a flawed method of justice, for sin can never be righted by the acts or suffering of men, therefore an avenger will never be satisfied in his heart that his debt has been repaid while he lives, and his desire for vengeance will consume him the rest of his days.

For this reason, the Christian is admonished by the apostle not to seek retribution for himself, but to let God be the righter of all wrongs. For God alone can settle the record of sins, and he will do so swiftly and justly. For no act of sin will be hidden from Lord’s eyes on that Day when he judges the deeds and secrets of men by Christ Jesus (cf. Rm. 2:16). He will render to each according to his works (cf. Rm. 2:6) and will inflict eternal tribulation and distress upon those who oppose him and his people (cf. Rm. 2:9).

Therefore, in this life, we as Christians must live our lives with a continual fixation upon the End, so that we might be like Christ, who sought not vengeance for himself while on this earth, but, despising the shame, endured the most heinous of debts–the cross–for the sake of the Joy that was laid before him (cf. Heb. 12:2). We, instead of seeking for vengeance, must rather seek to love our enemies, for in doing so we will demonstrate to them our hope in the Final Day and will heap upon them the burning coals of God’s certain Judgment.

For if we endure our debtors in this way, we know that one of two things will happen: one, the person will compelled by our love and generosity and will believe in the Gospel of Christ and the debt owed to us will be cast upon Christ, or, two, the person will be hardened in his sin and will pile upon himself the wrath of God which he will eternally endure. In either case, our debt will be repaid, and we should be content in either case in the light of our own forgiven debts by the great grace that has been demonstrated to us.

Categories: Fridy Night Bible Study

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