UNDERSTANDING GOD’S VENGEANCE
2 Thessalonians 1:4-8 (ESV): (4) Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. (5) This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering– (6) since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, (7) and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels (8) in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
Hebrews 10:30 (ESV): For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.”
Romans 12:19-21 (ESV): Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (20) To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” (21) Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Here, the scripture tells us that it is God who takes vengeance on behalf of His people: we are not to avenge ourselves.
Why is this?
God says this because we do not know how to avenge ourselves properly. In fact, many times when we try to avenge ourselves we end up hurting ourselves and many others who are innocent.
It is God alone who has the wisdom and power to avenge us properly: at the right time and in justice and righteousness. He will not over or under afflict those who He wants to avenge us of.
Many times our emotions cloud our proper judgement of situations.
Also it is vital to understand we have two sets of enemies: demonic and human.
God deals with them differently: the demonic cannot be saved, the human can; so God deals more patiently and compassionately with our human enemies.
So many times God will not act quickly but give them time and space to repent: so it may seem as if God’s justice is slow or not even coming at all.
2 Peter 3:9 (ESV): The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
2 Peter 3:15 (ESV): And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,
It is always God’s priority to save men rather than destroy or punish them:
Luke 9:52-56 (KJVR): And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. (53) And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem . (54) And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? (55) But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. (56) For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
So God is longsuffering towards men even when they deserve instant punishment to give them time to repent.
However, it will be a big mistake to take God’s patience for granted or as a sign of weakness:
Revelation 2:21-23 (ESV): I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. (22) Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, (23) and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.
Proverbs 29:1 (ESV): He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing.
So let God avenge you: pray for your enemies and do good to them. If they repent and change: praise God; if not God will deal with them justly and at the right time.