Judgment; January 11, 2019

Rev 6:16-17 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

I would venture to say that this isn’t anyone’s favorite Scripture passage. We don’t like to think of the world, of God, or of ourselves this way! The Bible has many, many references to God’s judgment, but we block it out of our minds and insist, “A loving God wouldn’t do that.” God’s love can’t be separated from His holiness and power. I am constantly confronted – in myself and in others – with the human tendency to imagine God in light of us, as though He were no more than a great big, powerful person. That is understandable, since we are both created in His image (Genesis 1:27) and finite, in sharp contrast to His infinity. However, it presents many problems. When we attribute merely human characteristics to God we make Him, in our imaginations, less than He really is, and so less able to save us. That is both unfortunate and ironic. We want to make Him more approachable, but in the process we make Him into an empty idol. God is alive and real and greater than we have words to describe. He is everything we could ever need, and yet He is essentially indescribable. That such a Creator God would care so much about His creation as to send His Son to die in our place to enable us to come to Him in faith is the greatest scandal possible, really beyond our imagination. We can’t grasp the magnificence of it if we also fail to realize that our attitudes and actions deserve a scene such as these verses describe. We can’t grasp the greatness of God’s grace unless we accept how utterly essential it is to us. The only defense against Judgment is abiding in Jesus Christ by faith.

I don’t really like to think about this any more than anyone else does. I do long for Christ’s return, but at the same time I want Him to delay so that as many as possible may have the opportunity to repent and believe for their salvation. People wanting to be buried in a landslide is a horrible picture indeed! The irony there is that even that will not shield anyone or anything from God. I’m not to go trying to “scare people into heaven,” but I must not hide His holiness or sugar coat His judgment. I am far more comfortable proclaiming the love and mercy of God, but they mean very little if we fail to grasp the alternative. The greatest revival in American history was the Great Awakening, shortly before the Revolutionary War, triggered by a sermon by Jonathan Edwards titled, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. I’ve never preached such a sermon. I need to be willing to say and do anything my Lord asks of me, not fearing the reaction of men, because He is more than worthy of my total devotion.

Father, thank You for the incredible privilege of proclaiming Your Word, week by week and day by day. Help me be fully obedient to that Word myself, not deceiving myself, (James 1:22) so that as many as possible may be spared from Your judgment because of repentance and faith. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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