Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah; she was from Libnah. He did evil in the eyes of YHWH, just as Jehoiakim had done. It was because of YHWH’s anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end, He thrust them from His presence. Now Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. – 2 Kings 24:18-20
I am sure that many of you “old” folks remember the “Incredible Hulk” television series with Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno. Often, when he was on the verge of transformation, Bixby would say, “You won’t like me when I’m angry.” Though the illustration has its theological limits, it is safe to say that we do not want to be in the position of making God angry either.
While we who have believed in Christ will escape the wrath of God, it does not mean we will escape His chastisement. In the passage above, God reached a point where He had enough of Judah’s disobedience. As a result, He had them taken into captivity by the Babylonians for seventy years.
Let’s face it, God has been very gracious to us and to presume upon His grace by continuing in sin is to court disaster. While Christ’s blood guarantees our eternity with Him, it does not prevent us from being disciplined in the “here and now” and none of us wants to be on the “bad side” of God’s punishing providence. The Hulk is an amazing character (made even more so through CGI and the Marvel series of movies), but he isn’t real. God is and He is covenant love, but whom He loves He also chastens.
Christianity tells people to repent and promises them forgiveness. It therefore has nothing (as far as I know) to say to people who do not know they have done anything to repent of and who do not feel that they need forgiveness. – C. S. Lewis