Note: This post follows after a series of posts on the Goodness of God in evil times. I invite you to back up and read those if you have questions of context here.
A Choice With Consequences
We are living in unprecedented times. Despite the current war in the Middle East, alerts that seem to tell us we are entering into the prophetic “Last Days”, we have always been on high alert according to Scripture. Christ said we will not know the day or hour, but that He is “coming soon” and we are to be ready to meet Him at every moment (Matthew 25:1-13, the Parable of the Ten Virgins).
Still, there are definite steps taken in history that bring us to the point we are at now. Prophecies are unfolding. The truth of the scriptures is becoming notably real and deeply serious. We have not been lied to by the Word of God. He has written to prepare us for every cycle of evil and every opportunity of restoration and hope throughout time; how much more so has he written to prepare us for the drama of the final days of this world. We cannot sleep on this issue. If the scriptures are showing themselves to be true, we must consider the impact of those truths for us now, for the time has already been said to be “quickly approaching”.
It is crucial to understand that though we live in an age of grace, where we are given opportunity to exercise our choice to come under His grace and provision for a future hope and promise of new life in Christ, the choice is not without consequences.
A Lesson from Parenting
If I tell my child to get out of the road because dangerous cars are out there, that child has a choice to respond in obedience or to thwart my loving authority to protect him. Of course, the loving parent will not only be calling out but also racing toward the child in rescue. And that is what our Heavenly Father did when He sent us His Son to make a way for us to get out from under our impending sentence of death! 1
But some children do not come willingly. We kick snd scream and defy all best efforts of rescue. We want to have our own way! We will not obey another! Some of us, though, are in fear of what we don’t know. We distrust others. We have had bad experiences with those in intimate roles who have acted as imposters; we no longer recognize (or desire to recognize) the true Savior when we experience His call in our life. We have been lied to in our culture today, and it costs us to admit we have been deceived willingly or unwillingly. We have already been brought low in our sin, we reject being brought lower in confession that we have been wrong in how we dealt with our problems and that we need help from Christ. We are afraid that help will come with “strings”–a changed life of self-denial and “loss” of what we still think of as “good”, even when that supposed good is doing us no good at all, but harm.
Whatever the reason or circumstance, Christ still comes for you in His great love. As some have wisely said:
He loves you where you are, but He loves you too much to leave you there.
In order to rescue us, we must move from our current position for we are in danger. We are correct to expect that He determines to bring about transformation, for we cannot remain where we are and escape the coming judgment. We must heed the Father’s call and get out of the road.
The choice is yours, yet now is the time to accept.
The Time of Grace and Favor is Coming to a Close: A Warning from Noah’s Ark
This time of Grace and the Lord’s favor is closing and the door to the Ark of salvation is closing. The story of Noah and the Flood and the Ark that God had Noah build is not a singular story of the past. It is a symbolic story of the judgment and salvation to come. God’s promise is that He will not come again in judgment with water, but with flames of fire and finality. The Ark saved Noah and his family of 8, but God has sent Jesus to be the Ark of Salvation for the entire world—all who will come. In Noah’s day, the word of warning went out unheeded. The day came and God shut the door of the Ark. Choice was lifted from the earth and the Flood overtook all those who refused to be saved.
In the final days of this world, the Door of our salvation is Jesus Christ. That Door stands open now by sacrificial and gracious invitation, but then it will by necessity close. All the saved will be safe inside His keeping, taken up from this world and its cares into eternal life. Jesus is coming again to this earth, but this time as Lord of Lords and King of Kings to judge the earth. We who have believed will be riding with Him to witness the justice denied us on earth. All who remain on earth will be subject to the judgment they cared not to avoid. Judgement is soon to come on all of creation and those not standing with him will be found standing against him. The dangerous cars will come and the God’s warning will come true.
A Visualization of the Christian Life in Pilgrim’s Progress.
The Puritan writer John Bunyan gives an excellent visual of this in his allegorical story, The Pilgrim’s Progress.2 If you can deal with the 16th century setting, you will find that it is more relevant today that perhaps it was then.
Taken from scripture itself and visualized, we see:
- the danger we are in by staying in the City of Destruction and the urgency to leave as soon as you are warned,
- the response to obey God rather than men and begin the journey out of that city and toward the Celestial City,
- the progress of Christian’s journey with all its spiritual growth in wisdom along the way, and
- the beginnings of the Hope visualized as Pilgrim’s journey comes to its final and joyous destination at the Celestial City, receiving all the warmest and kindly welcome, just as was promised.
The Fear of God is our Salvation
God’s warning is not a manipulative scare tactic—no more than it is for a parent investing the child with the proper kind of fear that will keep himself safe from impending and sure danger. The parent seeks to draw the child into the safe, warm and loving embrace of its father. If we can recognize the rightness of that, then we can see the goodness of God. It is God’s goodness and love that draws us to decide for HIm now. He wants us to live and to overcome the evils of this world while we are still in it and to be saved from its destruction. For we can never fully realize God’s perfect goodness in a world forever wracked in sin and pain suffering. Sin and suffering must be judged and its perpetrators with it.
We all see that this violence, hatred, injustice, prejudice, sin and sickness and suffering needs to stop. We feel that way, because we are made in God’s own image. We are drawn to recognize and desire the good. Before we got those ideas of self-righteous anger against suffering, it was God who designed death’s destruction. He is the One who set a Day for evil’s judgment and end. He is the One who sent the Messiah, our Deliverer, to provide for us a way of escape before that Day comes. And it is He who calls you know to “Come out and be clean”.
He wants us riding safely and triumphantly with Him when it finally and utterly completely comes about.
The problem is that we don’t see ourselves as perpetrators, but only sufferers. But even in our suffering, do we respond well? Have we never broken God’s commandments? Have we never lied, “murdered” (hated) in our hearts, or lusted, or wanted what was not ours, or taken God’s character into slander, or made other things to worship instead of the Almighty God, or given ourselves to adultery, or disrespected God’s Holy Sabbath Day of worship and rest? We are sinners. We are perpetrators. By the law of God, we are ALL under the condemnation of death. . . . until we lay down our pride and accept His offer of exchange of sacrifice: His death for our own. His life, for our own. His glorious future our own.
What will you do?
As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2 For he says,
“In the time of my favor I heard you,
and in the day of salvation I helped you.”[Isaiah 49:8]
I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.2 Corinthians 6:1-2 NIV
© by ReadPsalm119.com. PHOTO: “Sunset on Kauai”, HI by ReadPsalm119.com.
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- (See the Prodigal Son story in Luke 15, a reflection of His grace and hope for the returning one. See also the Incarnation, Life and Ministry of Christ, His Death and Resurrection and Ascension for His Rescue in the Gospels; and the Book of Revelation to John for the Final Declaration of Judgment and Restoration and Peace). ↩︎
- (free online at this link or for purchase at Banner of Truth) ↩︎