The Passion of the Christ 2: The Revenge of Jesus?

The film The Passion of the Christ ends with a look from Jesus that seems to suggest a sequel in which He returns for vengeance.  Some people who follow Jesus like to put up billboards warning of impending judgment which as you can see isn’t a popular message (at least to a Pasadena paintballer).

Ironically, most everyone I’ve talked to already feels a sense they will be judged by God, but lots of people don’t realize they are loved by God.

After an incredibly powerful and clear passage about God’s holiness and man’s sinfulness Paul writes in Romans 2:1-4:

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.  Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth.  So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?  Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?

If God’s kindness led me to turn to follow Him, shouldn’t I seek to serve and reach others with my kindness?

Showing 8 comments
  • Larry Boatright

    what a powerfully convicting thought, Eric! It’s so easy I think to forget that initial call of grace on our lives and not extend it to others. If His kindness truly has the power to lead others to repentance (which it does), we should extend His kindness.

    Thanks for the powerful words!

  • Derrick Engoy

    I couldn’t agree more Eric.

    BTW…I hear you’ll be at the Sharefest gathering in Lomita.

    Look forward to seeing you, unless my little one is sleeping at that time.

    Hopefully, we’ll finally get to meet in person.

  • paul earle

    I wholeheartedly agree.

    the Gospel is the “good news” not the bad.

  • Michael C

    May I just say it simply – you are wrong in your understanding and application of Romans 2:1-4.

    First of all, there is a distinct difference between the self-righteous judgment mentioned in the passage you’ve quoted and the deceleration or explanation of God’s pending judgment on those who refuse to turn to Him. The latter is always done to belittle or degrade another, while the former is done to warn so that one may turn in repentance toward God.

    Second, the reference “do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance, and patience” is speaking of God’s kindness to warn us of His judgment, His tolerance of our rebellion, and His patience waiting for our repentance. If God had not shown us His kindness in these things He would have punished us for our sins and condemned us to an eternity without Him. Instead it was His kindness in warning us and showing His forbearance in not punishing our sin that leads us to repentance.

    Third, God is in the business of warning about His pending judgment as the means to lead to repentance. Every Old Testament prophet spoke of God’s judgment and called for repentance. Jesus himself tells us that when the Spirit comes “he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father…concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged” (John 16:8-11).

    So then the kindness that we should show to people is to warn them of the coming judgment and the love of God revealed in His grace so that they may repent of their sins and turn to God. The Scriptures know nothing about forgiveness without repentance and repentance without conviction of sin.

    By the way, most of the people I’ve talked to all seem to believe that they have been good enough to warrant God’s salvation. Most people do not believe that they have been evil enough to receive God’s judgment. My point is, our experiences should not dictate our message, the Word of God should be the rule we follow in presenting the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • Daniel Decker

    I think Michael raises some valid points above… but to say Eric’s interpretation of the passage from Roman’s is WRONG may be a bit harsh and/or subjective. I’m not a Bible scholar or a trained minister but from what I know, I know that God’s Word is alive. It is revealed to each of us as He’d see fit based on the unique purpose and calling He has on our lives. Not saying that truth is subjective but how God chooses to use that truth through us is.

    So if Eric’s interpretation is one based more from a posture of loving on someone first versus confronting them with the truth of judgment first, then that is how God has equipped and gifted Eric. And perhaps God has equipped Michael in a different way but neither is WRONG.

    For me, I think rules without relationship create division. Yes, people MUST hear about judgment so that they may repent BUT that comes easier when they first know the WHY. The why is John 3:16. If we hit them upside the head with rule before relationships then they don’t know the WHY.

  • Eric Bryant

    Thanks for the insights and input.

    To clarify, I suggest that we should consider the person with whom we are interacting to determine the best way to communicate the good news of Jesus. We should look at Jesus’ style which took a kind approach with the woman at the well and a strong even harsh approach with the rich young ruler. He had a different conversation with each person – depending on who they were and where they were when He met them.

    We should learn to listen to hear God’s movement in someone’s life to know how to serve them and communicate with them rather than assuming “God is going to judge you!” is the only way to share with others. It certainly will work for some, but it doesn’t work for every person.

  • Michael C

    To provide some clarification, we should all share our faith in light of Peter’s admonition to do so with gentleness and respect.

    The main point I was making is that your interpretation of Romans 2:4 is clearly speaking of God’s kindness in warning of His wrath, not our need to show kindness through serving others.

    This is not about methodology it’s about the gospel itself. The cross not only speaks of the greatness of God’s love, grace and mercy. It also speaks of the horrific nature of sin and the necessity for God to judge that sin.

    Jesus did have a different conversation with the rich young ruler and the woman at the well, but He confronted both with their sin.

    It is not an assumption to believe that anyone who has not come to faith in Christ will be judged it is the very teaching of Jesus Himself when He says in John 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

    The point is, there is no gospel if it does not include a call for repentance and there can be no repentance without a confrontation of sin.

  • Eric Bryant

    Michael, thanks again for the comments.

    No one has suggested removing the need for repentance from the good news of Jesus. I am simply asking: “why do some people who follow Christ start with God’s judgment as the opening line in their conversation with the world?”

    Jesus says to the woman caught in the act of adultery: “I don’t condemn you” BEFORE inviting her to “go and sin no more.” He showed kindness and grace BEFORE He called her to leave her old life, an incredibly wonderful and freeing invitation. He was saying: “You don’t have to live the way you’ve been living!”

    A loving community is not only inclusive but willing to have the hard conversations. Too often, churches have hard conversations before being invited into a real relationship. We start with “go and sin no more” rather than starting with “I don’t condemn you” as Jesus did.

    As I suggested earlier and in my original post: God is both just AND loving. Why do some of us emphasize His justice and deemphasize His love and kindness?

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