English Standard Version (ESV)
It's hard to think about God as judge. Throughout Scripture, I'm constantly trying to talk my way around it, trying to come up with some way to soften the edges, to blunt the impact. Here, there isn't really a way around it -- we have an image of God exacting his vengeance, of the judge who has come in righteousness to condemn those who have chosen otherwise. It's not soft or kind or gentle -- it's brutal and hard to read.
Here's the truth, though -- we have to have a God who has this attitude toward sin. If God isn't absolutely repelled by sin, then Christ's sacrifice doesn't mean very much, does it? If Christ does not find sin repugnant and abhorrent, then dying for sin is unnecessary, right? If the slightest sin doesn't separate us from God, then the cross is merely a bonus, right?
In reality, sin is an obstacle, dooming us to a fate worse than death, condemning us to eternal separation from God. However, in Christ we have a Savior who gives up his life and saves us from our sin, transferring our fate to the Kingdom of Heaven. In Christ, the God who comes as judge comes as Savior, and we are freed by the blood of the Lamb. Let us rejoice!