Why doesn’t God just snap His fingers and make all evil disappear from the world like some divine magician? Why doesn’t He forget about His laws, forgive everyone and let us all into heaven? Because He is just, and like love is an integral part of His character, so is justice. We understand how that is, since we are made in His image we have an instinctual need for justice too. If we are robbed or defrauded, we want restitution, and some sort of punishment to ensure that whoever stole from us will not do it again to anyone else. When we hear of injustice, we can become angry even when we have never met the people being mistreated. This reveals how strong our need for justice is, and it is the same with God, but on a much greater scale. He will not break His own laws, and will never tolerate evil, otherwise He would cease to be God.
Every human being yearns for justice in a deep, primal way. When evil is tolerated, when it is not dealt with, it multiplies and spreads. One painful experience of rejection can turn into grudges, which leads to bitterness, which triggers aggression, which results in broken relationships, which leads to isolation, addictions, self-hatred, denial of the truth, physical stress, disease, guilt, an inability to connect with God, resentment towards God, mental illness, and on and on. One act of evil can spread exponentially and contaminate an entire community or country, and as each person is affected, he or she affects many others and spreads the disease. In fact, one small, seemingly insignificant act of evil infected the entire world.
As soon as evil entered through Adam and Eve’s disobedience, it took root in humanity and spread rapidly. Adam and Eve’s sin contaminated them to the point that continuing to live in the Garden of Eden would have meant certain death, because the presence of God was there. God wanted them to live, and so He sent them away, east of Eden, but now they had to live under the curse of the sin that had contaminated them. Though they were sorry for what they had done, evil spread to their sons, and kept spreading throughout the earth. Giving His people laws and commandments, and a system of animal sacrifices to cleanse away the sins of those who followed Him, wasn’t enough. As soon as God’s people would repent and make sacrifices of blood, they would sin again, and again, giving more power to Satan and opening the door for more destruction to enter the world. Sickness, bad relationships, depression, lies, murder, perversion and all kinds of evil were growing and flourishing on earth because of sin.
Being perfectly just, God could easily have allowed all humanity to face the consequences of their sins, die horrible deaths, and have their souls tormented forever in hell. And it would have been absolutely right and fair for Him to do that. The greatest evil that anyone has ever committed, is not murder, or stealing, or adultery, but the evil of choosing our own will over the will of God, and every single one of us has done that at some point. After all that He has given us, we still turn our backs on Him and live for ourselves, inviting every other evil into our lives. Someone has to pay for that evil to be wiped away. Blood must be paid, and not the blood of animals. The blood of a perfect sacrifice, of someone who had never sinned and who has the power to stand up to the devil and conquer him.
God the Son endured torture and death in our place in order to crush sin and death forever, giving us the right to live eternally with Him. If you think about it, it’s not at all fair. What did Jesus do to deserve such terrible punishment? Why did He have to suffer when He had never sinned – the one who created the universe, who has always shown us love and kindness? But He did it willingly, of His own accord, and now grants us the right to return to paradise, to an even better life than Adam and Eve had.
His one small and simple requirement is that we surrender our lives to Him, die to sin, and live in obedience to Him on a daily basis. That’s the least we can do compared to all He has done for us. But so many so-called Christians still can’t even do that. He’s already done all He can to restore us to paradise, but the majority of people still show a lack of respect for His gift of salvation, and prefer to endure that terrible punishment themselves – the punishment that has already been paid. And in the end, they will.
It is a righteous matter with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. They shall be punished with eternal destruction, isolated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be marveled at by all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed. Therefore we always pray for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling and with power fulfill all your good desires and works done by faith. 2 Thessalonians 1:8-11, MEV