18 Woe to you who long
for the day of the Lord!
Why do you long for the day of the Lord?
That day will be darkness, not light.
Judgment is swift and final. In court, the gavel falls, in one fell swoop the verdict is announced and the sentencing established. No more arguments. No more pleas. No more discussion. Final.
This is not an easy teaching and only by the power of the Holy Spirit can we understand the justification for judgment and eternal sentencing. We often cannot fathom a judgment so unfair and cruel. However, that tells us not that God’s judgment is unfair and cruel but that we also cannot fathom God’s holiness and our sinfulness. If I only eat sweets from birth, I will never understand how sweet “sweet” actually is until someone introduces me to salt for the first time. The judgment of God will come, but many even at that time will not believe and will not turn from their sin to submit themselves to a holy and good Abba father. All will be judged and many will fall on the side of the guilty. The world has never seen a judgment like the one that awaits it. Our minds cannot imagine it and it is by the grace of God that it has only been revealed to us in small doses, for the reality of what will transpire would be too much for us to bear. It is also by the grace of God that we look around us today and see that the day of God’s judgment has not yet fallen on this world.
It is tempting to view Christianity through the same lens of escapism that often accompanies other religions, philosophies or worldviews. Christianity does not consist of waiting patiently and righteously until the last day. The Christian abiding in Jesus Christ will live every day consumed by two thoughts. Am I loving God with all my heart, soul and mind? Am I loving my neighbor as myself? In other words, am I doing everything I can to love God and make my election and calling sure? Am I doing everything I can to proclaim to the world through my words and deeds that Jesus is the only way through the impending cauldron of judgment?
It will truly be a glorious sight to see Jesus coming on the clouds of heaven. However, His return ushers in the time of death, grief, suffering and sorrow that even Heaven was perfectly silent for 30 minutes at the opening of the seventh seal. We have been given the charge to save the lost, heal the sick, free captives and preach good news to the brokenhearted through our devotion to Jesus Christ. God does not desire that any should perish; neither should we. The non-believers in our midst are our brothers and sisters in creation. They are loved dearly by our Father and we are to show them the way of Jesus, saving them from eternal damnation. There will be a day of no more second chances. This will be a dreadful day. As children of God we should never wish this day upon anyone nor refuse to save as many as we possibly can from it. Justice for the wicked will be just and God’s creation will be made new. However, we must understand that His justice is often more far-reaching than we imagine. His judgment will fall upon every person and “good” will not be good enough. There is only Jesus on that day.