I have a tendency to be critical of bumper stickers. Today’s culture is attracted to short, punchy one-liners that contain poorly thought out philosophies. I saw a great example of this, twice actually, when driving around this weekend. The bumper sticker read, “God bless the whole world. No Exceptions.” There are a variety of ways you could take this quote. It could refer to the racial inclusivity of the gospel, which is available to sinners regardless of their skin color or ethnic background. But I feel like that isn’t what most people have in view when they paste this on the back of their vehicles. I think the philosophy hidden nicely between these seemingly friendly words is that there is no sin, no need for divine justice, no exclusivity to the gospel message. John Piper’s words are certainly applicable, “The virtue of slogans is brevity. Their vice is ambiguity. So they are risky ways of communicating. They are powerful and perilous. So we should exploit the power and explain the peril.”
The peril is the man-centered idea that all people everywhere will one day be blessed by God. It sounds great on the surface because everyone will supposedly live happily ever after. But what we’re left with at the end of this philosophy is a false god who simply sweeps sin under the rug. We’re left with a god who can offer no promise of justice to the young woman who has been raped, no vengeance to those murdered by tyrants, no hope for sinners like you and me. Though people might think they want a cosmic wink at sin, the desire for justice is in the hearts of all men. We feel this when we see someone get an undeserved promotion, when we see a murderer go free, and when we get pulled over instead of the guy in front of us who was speeding faster. Campaigning for social justice is gaining ground in my generation, and for good reason, but spiritual justice is rarely considered. For some reason, when it comes to eternity, justice is forgotten. Many are only willing to raise the banner of justice when they’re not the ones receiving the judgment. That’s why the justice of God is uncomfortable. Everyone finds themselves on the other end of the scope.
Avoiding the justice of God is convenient, but it’s perilous and damning. Believing that God will bless everyone is a false truth that will provide temporal bliss on earth but won’t do anything to reconcile sinful men to a just God. That’s the folly of philosophies rooted in worldly thinking; they sound great but they don’t work. So no, God won’t bless the unrepentant rapist and the oppressive tyrant. Without Christ, these men will face judgment for their wickedness. But it’s not just the Saddams and Hitlers who face judgment; everyone’s heart is sinful to a damning degree. Christianity doesn’t teach that this damnation is avoidable by forgetting justice, it teaches the opposite. Christ isn’t God’s way of winking at sin. Access to eternal life is available, not because God shuffles sinners in through the back door of heaven, but because Christ came in the flesh and bore the wrath of God on the cross so that grace could be justly given out to sinners. God is now both “just and the justifier” (Romans 3:26). What all of us will receive at the end of the age is justice. But for those who are trusting in Christ, all of God’s just response to sin was poured out on Jesus over 2,000 years ago. The only way to eternal blessing is through Christ. No exceptions.