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Crime, Punishment, and Vindication

God will set all things right, punishing and showing mercy through his divine justice.


A few years ago I got an unexpected phone call from an old college friend. She had given up a promising medical career to get married, put her husband through medical school, and help start his practice. But he left her and their kids for a young secretary at the practice. Their large evangelical church did nothing about it. They wanted to make sinners—including her former husband and his new wife—feel welcome.

Recently our newspapers have been filled with stories about a man who should have died in prison, but because he received tax-funded medical care in prison, he outlived what was meant to be a death sentence.

From the 1970s until 1986, half of all hemophiliacs in the United States became infected with HIV through the use of a contaminated blood supply. The worldwide number of those infected in this way is still unknown, though some estimate it is in the tens of thousands. The companies responsible knew that there was a problem as early as 1982. Lawsuits continue to this day, but that doesn't bring dead people back to life.

From personal tragedy to national and global scandals, many people assume that there is no justice in the world. They point to this as proof that there is no God, at least no God worth trusting. Does the lack of human justice really prove that there is no God, or does it point out our need for God?

Psalm 79 says,

A psalm of Asaph.
O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance; they have defiled your holy temple, they have reduced Jerusalem to rubble. They have left the dead bodies of your servants as food for the birds of the sky, the flesh of your own people for the animals of the wild. They have poured out blood like water all around Jerusalem, and there is no one to bury the ...

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Michael Lawrence is pastor of Hinson Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon, and author of "Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church" (Crossway).

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This sermon is part of the sermon series Really?.See series.

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Sermon Outline:


I. The crime

II. Our need