Monday, February 12, 2018

Revelation 15:1-4 Final Song about God's Justice

KEY TEXT: Revelation 15:1-4 Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished. And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire—and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, "Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed."

KEY THOT: Before the seven angels release the last seven plagues of God's wrath upon the earth's inhabitants, the saints of God ("those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name") sang a song of Moses and the Lamb. They were not singing about the love of God but about the justice, righteousness and holiness of God: "Just and true are your ways... For you alone are holy... for your righteous acts have been revealed." In other words, the outpouring of God's wrath is a manifestation of God's just and holy character. It's as inevitable as the sun's rising causes death and darkness to flee. Before God could come down to dwell among men, the earth must be cleansed of every evil and evil-doers.  

We are currently still under the dispensation of grace and there is still opportunity for sinful humanity to repent and turn to God through the Lamb slain for our sins. But once the hour of God's wrath arrives, there will be no more room for repentance. As the writer to the Hebrews warns: "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31). As much as the sun's rays can bring warm and life to earth, so it can also destroy life and property because of its intensity. The sea of glass surrounding the throne of God is also a sea of fire: "I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire" (v.2). In Hebrews 12:28-29, we read: "Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire."

Any Gospel that ignores the righteousness, justice and holiness of God for fear of offending the sinners is incomplete and false. Even Paul has declared in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 that "when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day.

The gospel is only "good news" because it means deliverance from the "bad news" of eternal destruction and banishment from God's presence and glory in the lake of fires. The gospel is good news for the penitent but bad news for the impenitent (both inside and outside the church). To be faithful to gospel entrusted to us means telling about the love of God arising from His mercy and grace towards the penitent and also the wrath of God arising from His holiness, righteousness and justice towards the impenitent. We dare not preach an unbiblical gospel for fear of offending the sensitivities of the wicked.

The final outpouring of the seven bowls of God's judgment by the seven angels with the seven plagues will follow upon this vision.

Abba-Father, how terrifying is Your wrath towards sinners who reject the gospel. May Your Holy Spirit revive the churches and stir them out of their slumber to proclaim the gospel while the window of opportunity is still open. Amen.

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