Haiti Crisis- If You Break A Law Will God Punish You?

This is a follow up to my blog on Pat Robertson’s comments on Haiti. It is presumed 200,000 may have died. If a 7.0 earthquake occurred in the U.S. chances are less than 20,000 would be killed. The Northern California’s 1989 Loma Prieta “World Series” earthquake, in the San Francisco area, measuring 7.1 resulted in 63 deaths and 3,757 injuries. Haiti is one of the most corrupt nations in the world and most live in abject poverty. The U.S. State Dept. states there are no safe areas in Haiti. Nations have warned their people that there is a high level of crime and police do not have the ability to control it.

Poverty had a tremendous affect on the seriousness of the quake. Our wealth allows us to build better and stronger homes and buildings. They do not have the heavy equipment or medical services to handle a severe calamity that many nations have on hand. They do not have the political or economic conditions to face any natural disaster. So I ask the question: is every earthquake caused by God to punish the people living near its epicenter? Or, is it a fulfillment of prophesy as told that in the end times there will be increased earthquakes along with pestilence, etc.?

Romans 2:12 – 14 – “All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.” (Many accept this to mean: if you accept Christ, you are no longer under the law. However, if you do not accept Christ you will be judged by the law.) “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law,”

We all know that God gave the Ten Commandments to the rebellious Israelites and required that they obey them. If they failed and broke a law the just thing to do was to punish a person just like we do when someone breaks a law today. Therefore, if you broke a law then you would expect punishment. Reading the Old Testament God was continually punishing those who disobeyed. Proverbs 3:11 – 12 – “My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”

Read the Old Testament and we would believe that every time we sin God will find a way to punish us. If this were true, then the reason I have all of my problems is because God is continually disciplining and punishing me. Woe is me! To refute that we are continually being punished today, Christ was asked what is the greatest commandment? He replied Matthew 12:30 – 31 “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.’” If these two commands are obeyed there would be no need for laws.

Under the Old Covenant man was under the laws of God. But the laws were not converting anyone. Man continued to sin and rebelled against God. Ezekiel 36:24 – 28 – “’For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God.” God tells us that He will put His Spirit in us. This is what Jesus came to do. Under the Old we were under the law. Under the New Covenant, initiated by Christ, we are under “grace” and the Old Testament becomes a part history and a guide for each of us, as I see it. The Old was works and the New is faith and grace. When we are judged it will be our hearts and our deeds. It will not be our works, keeping the law, because we cannot earn our way to heaven. If we love God and others we will not intentionally break the laws, which we as Christians are not under.

John 3:17 – “God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” NLT John 8:19 – “’Where is your father?’ they asked. Jesus answered, ‘Since you don’t know who I am, you don’t know who my Father is. If you knew me, you would also know my Father.’” If Christ is not to judge the world at this time, neither would God as the two are one.

Once Christ made the change all punishment is deferred and will be given at the Day of Judgment. Between now and then we can ask for forgiveness and receive salvation. We can avoid just punishment now and later. My God does not cause earthquakes, lightning, floods, etc. to punish people. The earth is in decay as we get closer to the end. Expect many more coming “acts of nature” to occur according to Revelation. There are many places you could live and never have an earthquake no matter how cursed or sinful you might be.

We know there are many who believe God continues to punish as He did in the Old Testament. There are many who believe you must work your way to heaven. I disagree with both beliefs. As stated, Jesus has said He was not sent to judge but to save the world. We are also told we are saved by grace and not by works.

Further evidence is that Christ died in our place for our sins as an appropriate sacrifice for sin. His sacrifice brings pardon, deliverance and freedom. The demands of God for justice against a sinful race were fully met by Christ, leaving God free to be merciful to all of us who formerly merited only judgment. Hence, only since Christ’s resurrection has God deferred judgment and punishment to the end times. Does He allow things to happen that He could stop? Absolutely!

Romans 5:13 – “for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law.” Sin and its deadly affect have remained constant throughout history. However, if there is no law there is no sin. Scripture teaches that the law only defined sin. Keeping the law does not bring salvation and breaking the law does not bring death. The law was given thousands of years after Adam and yet people died.

Finally, if God is punishing sinners I would have to ask: “Is Las Vegas next?” I then wonder why He didn’t do a better job of devastation in the 1989 San Francisco’s earthquake. Southern California is due for a quake very shortly! I wonder what they will say God’s reason for their punishment might be. (This is how I see it and many will disagree.)

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1 Comment

  1. You raise a lot of questions in my mind; you wrote an excellent post, but this post is also thought provoking, and I will have to ponder it some more; I will return soon.


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