by Pastor Jim Strelan
Click here to download your printable verse to carry with you today.
The rest of humankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent (Revelation 9:20a).
Read Revelation 9:13–21
Many of us were raised in a church where the central theme has always been grace. God loves us unconditionally, not because we are worthy of it, but just because he does. In fact, he loves us despite the way we are. That is such a precious thing. But I wonder whether we could have heard it so often and for so long that we have lost our appreciation for how precious that is. Precious and costly.
When we read the terrifying events of this chapter and see what it is like when the anger of God is poured out on those who have replaced him with something else and his anger toward those who, despite all the warnings, still refuse to repent, then to know that this God, capable of such destruction, is gracious – well, that makes that grace something very special. Make no mistake: there is an opportunity to repent, turn around a pattern of living and refocus. But when, despite all the warnings, there is ‘still’ (verse 20) no repentance, all hell will break loose – literally.
How do you respond to this? When I was in Papua New Guinea, an overseas church group showed a film on the main oval of the town. The film was called something like The Fires of Hell and depicted in graphic fashion what hell would be like. And then they gave an altar call. If you don’t want to be in the fires of hell, come forward. And, as can be expected, people went forward in droves. Scared into heaven to avoid the fires of hell!
Because we can get an idea of what it might be like when all God’s fury is unleashed, when we know that, in Jesus, he reaches out to us and accepts us illogically, undeservedly, because he chooses to, then we are overwhelmed. God’s grace is great because his anger is great. But his grace trumps his anger. Then we have no words but thank you.
Great God, I am overwhelmed that you should spare us from your anger. It humbles me. Thank you. Amen.
Pastor Jim is a retired pastor living on Brisbane Northside. He served in Papua New Guinea and as school pastor in a number of schools and congregations with schools. He is married to Ruth and has three children and seven grandchildren and loves them all unconditionally. He loves to share the gospel as simply and clearly as he can.