“Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘There is peace and security,’ then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 
Unsettling doesn’t begin to describe the current conditions for most people. Restless, irritable, irascible—these terms seem more appropriate for the mindset of many during these days of enforced confinement. When we do venture out from our homes, we discover grocery store shelves emptied of items we have taken for granted for years. Driven by fear, many have begun to hoard commodities they imagine will soon be in short supply. Farmers are unable to get some products to market and slaughterhouses are forced to shut down due to widespread illness or governmental strictures on their workforce.
We are experiencing restrictions on gathering for any purpose as government officials seize unprecedented authority over people and even over businesses. There have even been suggestions that borders between provinces should be closed!  In numerous jurisdictions, restrictions on worship have been imposed; and pastors have even been arrested. However, it is reported that one of the great cities in the United States is providing 500,000 halal meals to Muslims during Ramadan,  making the religious strictures appear selective. Some cities have threatened to permanently close synagogues and churches should they hold services during the lockdown. The constant tattoo of woeful accounts in the various media ensure that a sense of fear pervades life in general.
Restrictions will be eased soon, or not. No one knows for certain, but everyone hopes restrictions will be eased! The excuse heard ad nauseum from bureaucrats and politicians of various stripes is, “We’ve never encountered these conditions before.” The appropriate rejoinder to such whiny pleas might be, “Politicians never thought to prepare for these conditions before!” For those of us confined to our houses, or for those who are compelled to work long hours without adequate rest, or especially for those who are attempting to cope with the loss of income, such pitiful excuses fail to comfort.
We read that during the Tribulation, powerful governments will exercise utter control over the populace. John testified that the most powerful ruler in that day, a man known to Bible readers as “the beast,” will even control the ability to buy or sell. Thus, John writes, “[The beast] causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name” [REVELATION 13:16-17].
Imagine! Unable to buy or sell, except with permission of governmental bureaucrats! Or, maybe we don’t have to imagine because we’ve just had a foretaste of what such strictures would be like. I recall a message delivered by a pastor who had ministered in Romania during the days of the Communist reign of terror in that nation. The pastor had been imprisoned for his Faith by the Communist regime. His family experienced severe deprivation because he would not give up his faith in Christ the Lord. The authorities would not permit his family to purchase food, to purchase clothing, or to secure housing. One thing that pastor said during his presentation made an indelible impression on those who listened as he spoke that day. He challenged the congregation, “Do you know what the most powerful thing in the world is?” After a dramatic silence, he answered, “A ration card. You can purchase nothing without the permission of the government. You cannot sell anything without the appropriate permission. A little card signed by the proper authority is the most powerful thing in the world.”
During these past several weeks, we have stood on the edge of the precipice of bureaucratic control, witnessing how that statement could be applied to us in Canada. Observing the degree of control governments have seized, some have questioned whether the Tribulation has begun. Let’s explore the question, “Did the Tribulation just begin.”
THE DAY OF THE LORD — “You yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘There is peace and security,’ then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night” [1 THESSALONIANS 5:2-7].
We have seen how easily governments can seize control. The mantra, “It’s for the good of the people,” allays the fear of most people as they surrender control over their daily routines. We have been conditioned for years to allow the bureaucracy to move inexorably toward control as they assured us, “If it saves even one life…” No one wants to be responsible for harming another, so the soothing assurance calms our fears and allows us to tolerate what would otherwise be intolerable. Therefore, we can easily understand how Antichrist will assume control over the populace.
In the day when Antichrist shall assume control over a great portion of the world, people will be clamouring for “peace and security.” It is not that they will be saying there is peace and security, they will be demanding peace and security. Populations will be demanding that government “do something!” It will be an unsettled time, and in the midst of the disquieting times, people will demand that government do something to ensure peace and security. Rather than resistance, there will be a rapid submission.
The seizure of power will be rapid—so quick, so precipitous that few will realize what has happened. Possibly a smattering of voices will be raised in alarm at the loss of freedom, but those dissenting voices will be quickly drowned out by the steady tattoo of media voices insisting that government must take control if there is any hope of survival. And a public lulled into mental narcolepsy will be silent, especially as they conclude that their peace and security are not being immediately threatened. Perhaps there will be suggestions by parliamentarians and legislators of governmental assistance to assure people that their immediate needs will be addressed. However, the consequence of these moves will be that “sudden destruction will come upon them as labour pains come upon a pregnant woman.” Worse still for those living at that time, “they will not escape.”
The majority of you who listen at this time are followers of the Risen Saviour. What I am about to say will have no impact on those who are determined to ignore the warnings of the Master as delivered in Scripture. Paul has written for the benefit of believers, “You are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness” [1 THESSALONIANS 5:4-5]. Knowledge of what is coming will not cause the one living in anticipation of the return of the Master to stumble.
We need some understanding of the timeline revealed in the Word if we are to answer the question first posed. I’m confident that the Tribulation didn’t just begin, primarily because I am here. I’m a child of the Living God through Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He saved me and calls my by His Name. I’m not a redeemed child because I live in Canada or because I go to a church or because I’m a good person; I am a redeemed child of the Living God because He has revealed His mercy and His grace when I submitted to the Risen Son of God as Master over my life. I believe that Jesus died because of my sin and raised from the dead in order to declare me righteous before the Father. Salvation is all of grace, requiring nothing of my own effort.
The next event on God’s timetable is Christ calling out His people from this earth. The Scriptures teach, “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words” [1 THESSALONIANS 4:13-18].
This is in keeping with what Jesus taught when He said, “Concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming” [MATTHEW 24:36-42].
After the followers of Christ are removed from the earth, there will follow a period of seven years when God will pour out terrible judgements one after the other. During these days of judgement, those earth-dwellers who have rejected God’s Son as Master over life, those people who have lived solely to gratify their own desires, will be called by the Saviour to give an account of their choices. These days of judgement are described in detail in various places throughout the Word of God.
After seven years of judgement, Christ the Lord, together with His redeemed people, will return to this earth, and He shall reign for one thousand years. This reign of Christ over earth, referred to as the Millennium, will be a time of peace and blessing, because Satan and his demons will have been incarcerated in the abyss. However, Scripture tells us that the reign of Christ will end with rebellion against His reign. Mankind’s rebellion at the end of the Millennial reign of Christ will serve as a final, undeniable revelation that the heart of man is wicked, unalterably opposed to the reign of the Saviour. Man wants himself enthroned, leaving no room for the Lord Jesus to reign. The only way that man’s heart can be changed is as the Spirit of Christ renews the heart when the individual submits to the reign of Christ over her life or over his life.
In a nutshell, that is the timeline of what is coming according to prophetic Scriptures. More immediately, on the earth, after Christ calls His people out of this world, there will be immediate changes that are more germane to the focus of the message this day. I’m asking you to focus on those days immediately following the Rapture of the faithful, the removal of Christ-followers during this present age, in order to see what is happening on the earth at that time. The people of God will have been removed, and there will be no followers of Christ immediately following the Rapture.
I rest on the promise of God, and I encourage you to rest on His promise that none of His people will be left to enter into the time of Tribulation that is coming on the earth. We see the promise repeated in the Word as God comforts His people. In the text before us, Paul provides a comforting promise, writing, “God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” [1 THESSALONIANS 5:9].
What is written here is an iteration of something with which the Apostle began this particular letter. As he opened the letter, Paul was commending the Thessalonians. He wrote, “We know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” [1 THESSALONIANS 1:4-10].
We are delivered from the wrath that is coming; and the reason we are delivered from this wrath is because of what Christ has accomplished now. “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” [COLOSSIANS 1:13-14]. So, the destiny of the redeemed child of God is deliverance into His presence.
I have often contemplated the promise given to the Philadelphian church as John writes the Revelation of the Risen Saviour. That Church in Philadelphia represents the saints of this present Church Age, the final era as the Faith permeates the world and the knowledge of Christ is spread far and wide. The promise Jesus has made to that era is, “Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon” [REVELATION 3:10-11a]. This promise gives me great peace.
No, I’m not deluded because I accept the comforting promise of God. He promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” [HEBREWS 13:5b]. This is the same Saviour known as “Immanuel,” “God with us” [see MATTHEW 1:23]. He is the One who promised as He ascended into Heaven, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” [MATTHEW 28:20b].
This Jesus promised, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” [JOHN 14:1-3]. I know that He has never lied, and He did not lie in this instance. As the angels who witnessed His ascension into Heaven told the disciples that day, “Why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” [ACTS 1:11]. So, I’m looking for the Son. I’m not looking for signs or for tribulation or days of fear. I’m looking for the Son!
At one point, writing the saints in Salonica who were being persecuted mercilessly, the Apostle cautioned, “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things” [2 THESSALONIANS 2:1-5].
Even in that early day, so soon after the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, Christ’s people were wondering whether the Tribulation might have come. Was it possible that they were somehow overlooked and were thus entering into the judgements that would be poured out on the earth? The Apostle found it necessary to remind them that until the Antichrist was revealed, the judgements would not begin. In fact, the revelation of the Antichrist is the first judgement according to what John has written [see REVELATION 6:1-2]. Because the Antichrist has not been revealed, the child of God can be certain that the Tribulation has not begun.
Paul also intimates that accepting that present conditions are the Tribulation is to surrender to deception. Those followers of Christ who begin to fear because they imagine they are in the Tribulation are permitting themselves to be shaken in mind, to be needlessly alarmed. An alarmed child of God is easily stampeded into making serious errors in judgement. They cannot think soberly or with sound, rational reasoning. Christians must never forget, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgement” [2 TIMOTHY 1:7 CSB].
INSTRUCTIONS FOR FOLLOWERS OF THE CHRIST — “Since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation” [1 THESSALONIANS 5:8]. We are provided the equipment and the opportunity to prepare for what is surely coming. Because some professed Christians, perhaps even most people who claim to be Christians, do not prepare for Christ’s return is no reflection on God’s goodness or on His grace. The Lord God has provided all that is required to deliver His people from the judgement that is now pending.
Let’s begin with the premise that underlies the encouragement God delivers. Undergirding anything God may say to comfort and to instruct His people is the understanding that “we belong to the day!” We twice-born citizens of Heaven, we who have been delivered from condemnation through faith in the Risen Lord of Glory, Jesus Christ, are not in darkness; we are not of the night, nor are we denizens of the dark. We are not “earth-dwellers,” and we do not identify with those who live only for this earth. We who follow the Risen Lord are “children of light, children of the day.” Because we belong to the light, we must not allow ourselves to fall asleep, for to do so will only dishonour Christ who redeemed us. Rather, we must stay alert and be self-controlled.
It is essential that Christ-followers know that the Lord has not left us defenceless. Even though we will not be here during the awful days of divine judgement on the whole earth, we are told what to expect as He begins to judge the world. We are, however, equipped to serve Christ during these challenging times preceding His return. It is a mark of divine mercy to discover that even during the days after the people of God have been raptured out of the earth and into the presence of Christ, at that time when unprecedented judgements begin to fall on earth-dwellers, those who heed what is written in the Word will be able to avail themselves of the equipment that God has provided.
The critical instruction for Christ’s people now is: Remember who you are! The constant temptation to the one who follows the Saviour is to begin to live as the world lives. It is easy to begin to drift with the tide rather than swim against the constant push of the world to conform. Do you recall Paul’s instruction to the believers in Rome? “With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him. Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity” [ROMANS 12:1-2 PHILLIPS]. Do not forget who you are! You are a twice-born child of God! Reveal Christ at work in your life by living for Him and for His glory!
Paul’s instruction to the saints in Rome anticipates the instructions Peter wrote to the persecuted believers of the Diaspora. The Apostle to the Gentiles instructed them, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct” [1 PETER 1:14-15].
And the instructions provided by Paul and by Peter anticipate what the Apostle of Love has written. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” [1 JOHN 2:15-17].
The Tribulation did not just begin. The challenges we are facing today are nowhere near the trials that will soon come upon the earth. This is the reason why we are still to call people to Christ. We do not want anyone to face those awful days of divine judgement. The message with which we have been entrusted is emphasized and applied more powerfully when it is accompanied by a life reflecting self-control. Those who are dying may reject the message we deliver, but they will not be able to deny that we take the message seriously when we live a life of self-control. Therefore, Paul instructed the saints in Salonica, and he thus instructs us today, Be self-controlled.
The word Paul used when he called for all who follow Christ to be sober, or to be self-controlled, is not a commonly used word. The word, or its cognate, is used only three times in the New Testament. For instance, when writing the Romans, Paul instructed those of us who would please God, “By the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned” [ROMANS 12:3]. Christians are to “think sensibly” [CSB], to think with “sound judgement” [NASB95]. Don’t adopt the thinking of the world about you, but think Christianly!
Again, in the text before today, Paul used this same word in THE SIXTH VERSE. There, Paul wrote, “So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober” [1 THESSALONIANS 5:6]. Clearly, the Apostle’s concern is that those who follow the Master will not begin treating the responsibility to be godly in a frivolous manner. Rather, the people of God are charged with wisely assessing the times and living as people guided by wisdom.
Elsewhere, Paul cautioned Christians, “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
“Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” [ROMANS 13:8-14].
To be sober, to be self-controlled, is to assess the conditions in which you find yourself, responding in a manner that honours the Lord Jesus. This is not a command to occasionally adjust to the conditions in which you find yourself, this is a command to bring every facet of your being into conformity with the will of God. This is a command to honour God with every choice you make.
Then, Paul reminds followers of Christ, Use the equipment God has provided. God has given to His people the breastplate of faith and love, and the hope of salvation. Elsewhere in the letters Paul wrote are similar admonitions for the people of God. No doubt, your mind turned to what the Apostle wrote as he was writing the Ephesian Encyclical. He had just spoken of those arrayed against the people of God—the rulers, the authorities, the cosmic overs over this present darkness, the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places. We are standing against the powers of darkness.
Therefore, Paul instructed believers, “Take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” [EPHESIANS 6:13-18].
Did you notice what seems almost to be a throwaway line—“having done all?” The armour of God is given to be used, and because this is the case, we Christians are expected to be active in the battle of life. We are not to drift with the tide like a jellyfish; we are responsible to be engaged in resisting the intrusions of the world into our lives. We are prone to fall into the trap of thinking as the world thinks. And when we begin thinking as the world thinks, it will not be long until we begin acting as the world acts and approving the world’s actions.
What is especially tragic about this retrograde movement is that we often are not even aware of the slippage in our life. We begin to think of faith and love as feelings, as aspects of life as we respond to the challenges presented by our particular situation. We begin to think of salvation as something that God has done, and not as a means of protection against turning away from pursuing His righteousness. This is the reason Paul says, “having done all.” We are responsible to assess every aspect of life, and even after we have done this, we must still “stand firm.”
We need to think Christianly if we will honour the Saviour, whom we call “Master.” We must allow God’s righteousness, His holiness, to control our thoughts. We need to see that faith and love are not merely feelings, not merely mental responses to the challenges faced; we must see that faith and love are divine accoutrements designed to protect us in the battles we face. To be sure, we respond to the initiative of the Spirit with faith in the Risen Saviour, and because we are objects of the love of God, we love Him, just as John has said, “We love because he first loved us” [1 JOHN 4:19].
GOD’S PROMISE TO ALL WHO FOLLOW CHRIST — This brings us to a most wonderful promise. The Apostle assures the one who follows the Christ, “God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” [1 THESSALONIANS 5:9]. What a blessed promise God has given to His people. We know that God must judge evil. Even if we did not have the Word of God to inform us, every facet of our intellect tells us that there must be justice in our world. And if there is justice, then those that do evil must eventually give an account of the evil they have performed.
We are prone to discouragement because God’s justice seems delayed. When we are hurting, like Job of old we complain,
“Why do the wicked live,
reach old age, and grow mighty in power?”
Like the Psalmist, we are prone to silently plead with God,
“Why does the wicked renounce God
and say in his heart, ‘You will not call to account?’”
Asaph, one of the sweet singers of Israel, voiced our complaint many years ago.
“As for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
my steps had nearly slipped.
For I was envious of the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”
Then, Asaph listed what he observed about the wicked and what he interpreted as God’s inaction. Maybe, God didn’t have the ability to hold the wicked accountable. Asaph wrote what he observed, each point indicating that he believed there was no ultimate justice, that wickedness would never be held to account. He complained,
They have an easy time until they die,
and their bodies are well fed.
They are not in trouble like others;
they are not afflicted like most people.
Therefore, pride is their necklace,
and violence covers them like a garment.
Their eyes bulge out from fatness;
the imaginations of their hearts run wild.
They mock, and they speak maliciously;
they arrogantly threaten oppression.
They set their mouths against heaven,
and their tongues strut across the earth.
Therefore his people turn to them
and drink in their overflowing words.
The wicked say, ‘How can God know?
Does the Most High know everything?’
Look at them—the wicked!
They are always at ease,
and they increase their wealth.
[PSALM 73:4-12 CSB]
Then, Asaph gave the true heart of his complaint.
“Did I purify my heart
and wash my hands in innocence for nothing?
For I am afflicted all day long
and punished every morning.”
[PSALM 73:13-14 CSB]
“God, You’re not fair. You’re not doing what you should. You’re ignoring evil, and I have to live with the evil. You won’t even allow me to do evil because You rebuke me.”
When Asaph moved past focusing on his disappointment in God not acting as Asaph wanted Him to act, he saw a truth that the Lord’s followers may overlook. The Lord has set the wicked in slippery places. From that place, they fall to ruin. God has prepared an end to wickedness, and an end to the wicked [see PSALM 73:18-26]. It was while he was in the sanctuary of God that Asaph learned this truth. It was when he retreated into the promises of God and quietly contemplated what God has promised that he understood that though the mill of God grinds slowly, it grinds exceedingly fine.
We have been in the sanctuary of God as we reviewed what God has promised in His Word. As we quietly contemplate His promise, we realize that God does hold the wicked to account. Like Asaph, we discover in God’s presence,
“Behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.”
We are assured that Christ is coming for His own, but that has not happened yet. He shall come, in His own time and according to His promise. And He shall take His beloved people to be with Him forever. Of this, we are certain. And when they are safely removed from the dangers of this fallen world, He shall pour out the awful judgements that He was spoken about. Indeed, those who are far from God shall perish.
How does that knowledge impact your life? Do you find yourself rejoicing in the destruction of the wicked? Do you find yourself filled with glee that they will finally get theirs? As you witness the evil of this fallen world, do you find yourself secretly murmuring, “Just wait, you’ve got yours coming?” That is my flesh speaking as I read what God has promised.
But, then, I realize that I’m in the sanctuary of God. As I read what He has promised, I realize that I am in His presence. I remember that though I am a recipient of grace and that God has shown me great mercy, grace and that mercy have been showered on me, not because I deserve it, but because that is the character of God. And when I’m bitter toward the wicked, I’m not revealing the character of God, the character of my Father. I’m in His sanctuary, witnessing the goodness of my Saviour as I see His promise to deliver me, to keep me from these awful days. And I’m humbled at my bitterness toward those who will be engulfed by those terrible judgements.
At last, we understand the import of all that God has revealed in these truths to us. The Lord has told us of what will happen in coming days so that we may tell others, warning them of the coming wrath, warning them to flee from the deluge of judgement that is pending. Like Asaph, when we stand in the sanctuary of God, we are compelled to confess,
“But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.”
[PSALM 73: 28]
Understanding imposes responsibility. We must not imagine that we can smugly look on those who will suffer these judgements and assume they deserve what they receive. Knowing the wrath of God makes us responsible to tell everyone of His mercy in this day. With the Apostle, we confess, “Knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others” [2 CORINTHIANS 5:11a].
Do you know Christ as Master over your life? Has He transformed your life and are you walking with Him now? As one who follows Him, are you pleading with others to turn to Him? These are the essential questions that each listener must answer if they will honour the Risen Lord of Glory.
If you have never received the Risen Christ as Master over your life, do so today. The Word invites each one, saying, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” [ROMANS 10:9-10]. God invites you now, saying “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” [ROMANS 10:13]. Amen.
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Crossway Bibles, Wheaton, IL 2016)
 St. John Alexander, “Should B.C. temporarily close its border with Alberta? Some politicians think so,” CTV News, Vancouver, April 7, 2020, https://bc.ctvnews.ca/should-b-c-temporarily-close-its-border-with-alberta-some-politicians-think-so-1.4887579, accessed 9 April 2020
 Henry Goldman, “NYC to Serve 500,000 Free Halal Meals to Muslims During Ramadan,” Bloomberg, April 23, 2020, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-04-23/nyc-to-serve-500-000-free-halal-meals-to-muslims-during-ramadan, accessed 26 April 2020