Peter Jensen’s teenage conversion and the judgement of God

To keep the detail of my memory fresh as possible, I got home from church a couple of Sundays ago and headed straight to the computer to update my blog. Here, then, is my quick and dirty summary and quote from Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney, answering a question he was asked at my church about how he became a Christian as a teenager at the 1959 Billy Graham Crusade in Sydney. If you click through, you will see that the very first thing he chose to speak about was the judgement of God!

All sorts of things struck me about this—most especially that I’ve been told on more than one occasion that preaching God’s judgement to sensitive teenagers is exactly the wrong thing to do, for they are already aware that God is mad at them, and they just don’t need to hear more of it. Yet such advice jars with my own experience, and apparently with Peter Jensen’s as well, for he went on to explain that, as a young unbeliever, he took great comfort from the fact that God’s judgement was just, perfect and fair. How fascinating that he recalled Billy Graham’s 1959 preaching of judgement as such a central element in his acceptance of the grace and goodness of God through Jesus Christ.

Because we are human, our first conscious encounter with God in his world is often through the suffering and judgement that comes because of our sin. Yet as God in his grace reveals that he judges perfectly, the reason for his Son’s coming into the world and death for our sin becomes clearer and clearer.

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

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