Thursday, September 3, 2020
If you have been studying what the Bible has to say about the Last Days, then you recognize that the main focus of the New Testament teaching is on the contrast that is to exist between the disciples of Jesus and those who chose not to believe in Him. In my understanding, the biggest sign we will see of the approaching return of Jesus is the sharp increase in spiritual warfare. The Enemy of God, Satan, will do more and more works of power to seek to deceive as many as possible, even those who claim to be followers of Jesus. The war Satan wages against God is much more significant than any wars and rumors of wars amongst the nations of the world.
The most effective way to recognize a counterfeit is to completely study the original. So before we begin to study what the counterfeits of faith will look like in the Last Days, let’s do some investigation of what faithful followers of Jesus look like.
On Sunday we are going to look at a passage of Scripture from the prophet Joel. Here is one verse from that passage for us to digest today. The context here is that Joel is proclaiming the great and awesome day of the Lord that is coming, when He judges the nations for their sin. Right in the middle of Joel’s description of the disasters that will come upon the world, he gives us this admonition –
Joel 2:13 Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
As we consider how we should live in the Last Days, let us use this description of the character of God as the model for our own character. God is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. In the midst of His judgement of sin, God desires more people to come to Christ for salvation. While millions are rejecting Him and rebelling against Him, and He is preparing to implement His judgement, He is calling out to people to return to Him.
I am overwhelmed at the thought of God because His thoughts for me are so unlike my natural thoughts towards other people caught in sin. I am not naturally gracious. I am not very merciful. I am not so slow to anger. I do not abound in love. I am not alone, for you are the same.
Yet God calls us, in these last days, to be gracious and merciful. We are to be slow to get angry at people, at politics, and at injustice. We are not the messengers and enforcers of God’s justice. We are the ministers of God’s steadfast love.
As the world plunges towards the great and terrible Day of the Lord, when Jesus will judge the sin of everyone who does not believe in Him, there is still an opportunity for people to be saved. They will not be saved by arguments. They will not be saved by us correcting injustice. They will not be saved by political leaders. They will only be saved by confronting the steadfast love of God that forgives sin in Jesus Christ.
Who will stand and represent God’s love so people can return to the Lord?