Vengeance Belongs to the Lord
Basket of Figs, February, 2005
“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Ro 12:19 AV)
Christians are forbidden to seek private revenge for wrongs. Instead, we are commanded to love our enemies, to do them good, and to pray for them. We have the example of our Lord Jesus Christ and the martyrs.
Governments, however, are called to punish evildoers. This includes evil men within their borders or evil nations that refuse to live in peace and justice. The civil ruler is ordained by God and “is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” (Ro 13:4 AV)
There are evil, lawless men who would destroy all order and civilization if they are not restrained by responsible government. Of these lawless ones [whom he calls the sons of Belial] King David said, “But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands: But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place.” (2Sa 23:6-7 AV) Solomon, the wisest of men put it this way: “A wise king scattereth the wicked, and bringeth the wheel over them.” (Pr 20:26 AV)
If governments are truant before God and refuse to punish evildoers, or refuse to admit that there are such people, the very foundations of civilization are in jeopardy. Injustice and tyranny reigns, and underground men, evil to the core, rise to power. They despise law and despise those who have “values.”
God, however, is not like we are. If human governments are weak and refuse responsibility to protect the weak, God Himself will rise to take vengeance. The days are awful indeed when this happens.
“God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies. The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.” (Nahum 1:2-3 AV)