The last several weeks in the book of Job we have seen the devil revealed to us as a powerful being opposed to God, driven to persuade men to distrust and hate God. I recently read a man’s denunciation of the Christian faith, though he grew up and served the church for years in various ministries. 

His reasons were manifold, but underlying all was the Word of God is not true, and the God of the Bible is not good. Not coincidentally, we find the same arguments from the devil presented to Adam and Eve in our passage (Genesis 3:4-5). 

The devil called God a liar; that the warning God gave of man dying if he disobeyed God was false. Rather, (Satan reasoned), God was withholding from Adam what was good. The devil was arguing if man wanted to be free, he must rebel against God’s restrictions.  The devil persuaded Adam that God was wrong to deny him anything. 

We know what happened. Adam intentionally disobeyed God, and the consequence was what God had warned. Adam was not liberated; he became enslaved to sin and death. Death isn’t a normal thing; it came into the world through man’s sin. The story of the Bible is that God promised and sent a Redeemer (Christ) to destroy the works of the devil, taking away sin and death.

The man I mentioned especially despises the Biblical teaching of judgment and hell. These are difficult doctrines, no doubt. It is important for God’s people to remember some basic principles of Scripture regarding this. We hold that God’s Word is true, just as it proved to be in Genesis 3. The devil was, and is, the liar. What God had warned came to pass. We do well to remember this.

The Bible teaches that God’s goodness is inseparably connected to his righteousness and justice. All his attributes are perfect; unchangeable and not compromised. Man is accountable to God’s justice, and man is sinful. Sinful man, (no one is exempted from this category), needs a Savior.

Paul instructs Titus in Titus 3 to teach Christians: “To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passion and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God appeared, he saved us not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy.”

What Paul says is taught throughout Scripture and basic to Christian truth. Men are full of sin and need a Savior. Justice is not executed in this world; there is an inescapable accounting with God for men. The Scripture teaches God’s judgment is not arbitrary. God doesn’t catch men in a technicality.

Rather, God says secrets are revealed when that day comes.  What is hidden is brought into the light. The books are opened, meaning the record is exposed. There aren’t only actions to be exposed, but the motives, the heart, and what was in the brain. Nothing is hidden from God.  Sin will be exposed to the core. There is no injustice with God, only righteousness and goodness. 

This doesn’t alleviate all the questions we might have. God’s people have to leave much in God’s hand, knowing the judge of heaven and earth will do what is right. God goes to great lengths in the Scripture to teach his people he is patient with sinners, delights in mercy, and full of steadfast love. He says he takes not pleasure in the destruction of the wicked, but will by no means clear the guilty.

When doubts creep in, and we are assaulted by questions of God’s goodness, we must look to Christ. The revelation of Christ teaches us that as terrible as sin and death are, God’s grace is greater. God’s justice and love are declared to the world on the cross of Christ, who gave himself for sinners, as atonement for sin. He alone destroys the works of the devil. All who believe in him are forgiven.

The heavenly angels rejoice over one sinner who repents. The heavenly choir sang about God’s glory and good tidings to men on earth at Christ’s birth. Psalm 8 (when compared to Hebrews 2) teaches us the only comparable illustration of the depths of God’s love in Christ is the infinite universe above.

The truth of the cross shifts the focus from the devil’s “How can God be good?” to “What a great salvation God has given in Christ.”