Journal Rev 16 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was—for you brought these judgments.
For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink.
It is what they deserve!” Rev 16:5b-6
Observation: Hard as it is to apply to the face in the mirror, this is a foundational principle of the Gospel that does not get thought about seriously enough, much less talked about.
Analysis: At times I succumb to thinking that the Wrath of God is for other people and not me. After all, I confess Jesus as my Savior; I don’t have to concern myself about God’s Wrath as it applies to me.
If I sit and think about it hard enough, I can begin to list the thoughts of my testimony from that evening in front of the Holy Spirit and describe my journey from then to now: 1) To be a real Christian; 2) To avail myself of His transforming power; 3) To be faithful and renounce sin—mortify sin in my body; 4) To enjoy His promises for my family; 5) To be a faithful teacher to my own soul and to my family, etc. etc.
I failed often, but it didn’t keep me from getting back up and mounting that horse again (although I wallowed in self-pity and faithlessness many times).
For about the last 25 or so years, I decided to review my personal foundations to the Biblical Foundations I should have. One of the questions in my review was: Saved from what? What did Jesus save me from? The answer is more complex (and simpler) than saying stuff like from sin, from myself, from hell, from the devil, from the world, and things like that.
I needed to ask the right question.
I started with God’s Attributes and Character. If these are all unimaginably equal (including God is Good) then, while I can be comfortable with God’s Love being equal to God being Good, what I wondered about is God’s Wrath being as Good as God’s Love? I am still wondering about that and how to communicate that as the Gospel.
Through this journey, THE foundational issue for the Gospel is that “All have sinned, all have fallen short of the Glory of God…” Holiness cannot abide the presence of unholiness (ex. Isaiah 6). Succinctly said: ALL mankind DESERVES God’s wrath, even those who are claiming Jesus as their Savior.
The Grace of God is shown by Him not pouring out His Wrath; being patient for all Mankind; to show Mercy upon whom He will show mercy, and all that. Because I am not eternal and omniscient, I cannot do anything but separate all of this into something similar to an outline, step by step, precept by precept, principle by principle:
- I deserve, and always will deserve God’s Wrath on unholy creatures; specifically, Me.
- I am saved ONLY by His Grace and Mercy alone, not for anything I have done, or any “potential” of service.
- Salvation is a promise for the End of my days; execution of that Promise is before the Throne alone. That is the epitome of the Atonement.
- I live my days in the confidence of that Promise of Salvation. In other words: Faith.
Here’s something that just popped into my mind: Salvation is only meaningful if Wrath is inevitable and universal.
Prayer: This is difficult to write, O Lord, even though the core of the argument is factual.
It feels like a downer, I would rather have emphasis on your Love, but I cannot escape Biblical facts. Review of this principle should cause an eruption of Praise just like the elders and host of heaven—because they understand the Facts is why they shout praise and celebrate the Lamb who is the Lion.