2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
His patience is revealed in Jesus.
No one in history can compare with Him. No one has influenced the world like Jesus has. He is always the central figure of the Scriptures, and even more so as this world begins to come to an end.
Recently, I was asked how I can maintain my focus as a Christian with so much turmoil everywhere, even within the church, and I said, “It’s Jesus. I focus on Jesus and His Word.”
To be honest, I don’t trust religion. I think religion is so influenced by people and what they think about God, that it creates a false narrative about God and often teaches things that are not found in the Bible. Religion is always trying to get people to do something. Give money, give time, give talents. Or, they are trying to get you to believe something that is important to the pastor or the church leadership.
Too often we are marketing the idea of Jesus through what we have written about Him. The rapture people are teaching Jesus will return before the tribulation … they push their point of view in such a way, it leaves no room to question it. Yet, the Scriptures are quite clear … don’t set dates, don’t try to figure it out because no one knows the hour or the day. It’s God’s secret, and you will not know when it will happen until it does.
Some people love to present God as a social justice advocate concerned about the poor and the marginalized. Jesus told His disciples who were concerned about some costly perfume that was poured upon Him, that the poor you will always have with you, but I will not always be here. I think He was trying to draw their attention away from the act of wasting resources, to paying attention to who is in your midst.
Matthew 26:11 For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.
I am convinced that confusion will enter everything in our lives in the last days, including confusion in the church. Confusion is a state of not knowing what is real, what is truth, or what is meaningful. Denominations have already confused people with what to believe about Jesus which often doesn't reflect what the Scriptures teach. If anyone teaches that God is love without telling you He is also just, you are hearing something that is not correct. God’s love and His justice come from the same God, He cannot be love without being just. Today we talk about Jesus as always being love, without one reference to Him being just. Yet His justice is just as powerful as His love. Too often we define Jesus as only love but it is not the sacrificial love that comes from the Cross. The Cross represents both God's love and God's justice, His payment for our sins is defined by both love and justice. What is forgotten when we talk only about God's love is His justice, which is taken care of by Jesus on the Cross. When there is a refusal to accept the Cross, both God’s love and justice will be replaced by God’s wrath.
Religion that is practiced today is often missing this element of truth. There are two elements of God's treatment of human beings:
1. The Grace of God, which presents the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
2. The Wrath of God, which is the justice of God in His Judgment of Sin to all those who do not accept the Grace of God.
That is the stark reality of what is at stake by accepting or denying the Gospel. This uncomfortable reality is not pleasant, so it is ignored by many pulpits today. We would rather talk about His love for us and ignore the reality of His justice.
Here’s one last thought that I found rather interesting. This same Jesus who gave up His life to die on a Cross in an act of love and justice is the same Jesus who will be in charge of the wrath of God as it plays out upon the earth as described in the Book of Revelation. It is the Savior of the world, who then will become the judge of the world as God's wrath is poured out upon a godless, wicked world.
Our hope is not found in religion, theology, or doctrine … it is only found in knowing Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. To that end, we will never know God’s justice in His wrath, because the Cross has eliminated it for believers. Now that is the whole story and the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ. Remember:
1 Thessalonians 5:9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness.
Romans 2:5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath when his righteous judgment will be revealed.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler