The Lord warned the saints in Sardis that if they did not wake up, they would find Him coming in an hour that they were not expecting Him. What is this hour and what does it mean?
I believe there are many “hours” that happen in life, both personally and globally, where there is a time of reckoning. In these times He uses hardship in life as His rod of correction to reveal the seriousness of heavenly and eternal things.
The Lord asked me a question over the weekend which I had never considered before. He asked me whether there is a difference between His wrath and His discipline. As I pondered the question, I realised that I had always lumped the two together and thought they were the same thing. They are obviously not, otherwise He would not have asked the question.
I believe that in this portion of Scripture, where the Lord warns the saints in Sardis about their spiritual slumber, that He is dealing with His doctrine on eternal judgement. I say this because He declares that those who remain pure before Him will not have their names removed from His Book of Life. He is dealing with eternal life and eternal death.
The doctrine on eternal judgment is greatly misunderstood because we interpret the word judgment as wrath and punishment. It is not and this misuse of the word has caused great harm in the Body of Christ. The word judgement is a legal term used to denote a decision by a judge on the outcome of a trial. This judicial decree, or judgment, carries two outcomes. One will be an acquittal, or a “not guilty” decree and the other will be a punishment, or a “guilty” decree. The judge’s verdict is final.
At the cross an eternal judgment was rendered. God was the judge, and His verdict was final. The court case was between Adam (and his offspring or humanity) and Satan and the other heavenly beings that disobeyed their orders and caused trouble with humanity. Jesus, however, stepped up and took Adam’s place as humanities representative. He came as the second Adam with the sole purpose of redeeming humanity from an eternal guilty verdict. And the whole issue has to do with blood. (That is for another time.)
Between the death and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus from the dead, this case was heard, and the judgments rendered. Would it not be wonderful to have been there to witness this! The outcome was that when Jesus rose from the dead, He took His blood and cleansed the heavenly tabernacle with it, cleansing it from sin once and for all.
By the way, YOU are that heavenly tabernacle. He dwells within you. Your body is His temple. This means He has cleansed you from all sin in your own body.
At the cross God, the Supreme Judge, decreed humanity – YOU – not guilty and found Satan and other fallen beings guilty of sin. This is huge. The “not guilty” decree opened the way for Jesus to offer eternal life to all who call upon Him (salvation still remains a person’s choice) and eternal death to Satan and his followers.
Hell, a realm created for Satan and other fallen angels, is the realm of God’s wrath. It is not on earth. God’s wrath is eternal punishment from which there is no escape. The hour of His wrath is the day and hour where you pass from this life into the eternal realms. If your name is in His Book of Life you will enter His realm of life. If your choice in life has been to serve the gods of sin, you become a partaker of the judgment God decreed upon them, which is eternal death.
So then, God’s wrath is eternal death. Another word for wrath is fiery passion. His love burns hot for the saints and His anger burns hot for the ungodly.
Please remember the ungodly are our enemies and they are demonic beings called principalities, powers, rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness in heavenly places. We are called to deliver the nations (people) out of the realm of these demonic gods through the gospel of Jesus Christ into eternal glory.
Always remember to rejoice because your name is written in His Book of Life.
To be continued …
Scripture References: Eph 6:12; 2 Cor 6:16; Romans 5
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