Are We Facing the Judgment of God Today?
[2Ti 2:15 KJV] Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
The only scripture in the bible to tell us to “study” also tells us to “rightly divide the word of truth.”
There are 4 major divisions in scripture that are crucial to understanding God’s word:
- Heaven and Earth – realms of existence and occupation
- Israel and the Body of Christ – agencies God is forming for his plan and purpose in the two realms
- Prophecy and Mystery – revelation provided in advance and info concealed until God reveals
- Time past, But now, ages to come (Past, Present, Future) – Ephesians 2
If we fail to study God’s word “rightly divided,” we risk subjecting ourselves to God’s instructions meant for another time, another people or we fail to apply God’s instructions meant for us today. Either way, we risk failing to walk considering what God would have us to know and do today. This failure results in confusion, frustration and ignorance. In fact, seven times Paul says “I would not have you to be ignorant” as he is revealing the mystery of God’s dispensation of grace which is our instructions for today.
Miles Coverdale, who was the first to translate the bible into English, stated it this way: “It shall greatly help ye to understand Scripture, if thou mark not only what is spoken or written, but of whom and to whom, with what words, at what time, where, to what intent, with what circumstances, considering what goeth before and what followeth.”
With that lens, let’s look to God’s word to determine if the events we are seeing in the world today is God’s judgment upon a Christ-rejecting world.
Encompassed in the dispensation of grace given to Paul was the revelation of what Christ accomplished on the cross:
19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And [that] he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. … 18 And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [2Co 5:14-15, 18-21 KJV]
Paul revealed a mystery – God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing our trespasses to us. Those trespasses were imputed to Christ. Christ paid the price that we could never pay and in doing so, he offers us his righteousness on the basis of trusting his cross work to fully and finally resolve our sin issue. If God has offered this reconciliation to us, how can he also be raining down judgment?
We are told unequivocally that this gift of grace is offered freely.
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [Rom 3:24 KJV]
32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? [Rom 8:32 KJV]
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. [1Co 2:12 KJV]
Freely? Yes – freely! But there is one caveat – you must believe what God has said in his word to you. When Adam and Eve plunged the human race into sin and death, it was a result of not believing God’s word to them. Freedom and liberty are highly valued by God and he give us that liberty to believe or not believe what he has said to us. However, if we choose to not believe, there is a price to pay. We reap what we sow when we fail to take God at his word.
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth [to be] a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, [I say], at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. [Rom 3:24-26 KJV]
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. [Rom 1:16 KJV]
When we trust what God has revealed about the satisfying sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf, we are then reconciled to God. And that reconciliation places us into a present status of being at peace with God.
1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: [Rom 5:1 KJV]
13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. … 33 Now the God of peace [be] with you all. Amen. [Rom 15:13, 33 KJV]
33 For God is not [the author] of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. [1Co 14:33 KJV]
14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us]; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace; … 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. [Eph 2:14-15, 17 KJV]
20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven. [Col 1:20 KJV]
16 Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord [be] with you all. [2Th 3:16 KJV]
The message today is “grace and peace.” God has extended his hand of reconciliation on the merits of Christ’s cross work. He is not judging the world based on our sin or our works, but on the basis of Christ’s work. We are told in 1 Timothy 2
3 For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. [1Ti 2:3-4 KJV]
God’s will is that all men might be saved. The offer is open for all but that offer will conclude one day. Its at that time that God will pour out his wrath and judgment on a Christ rejecting world.
The newspaper headlines today speak of wars and rumors of wars, of famine and pestilence. The scriptures also speak of these things…in the “ages to come.” God warned Israel from the beginning that these things would happen (Leviticus 26, Matthew 24-25, et al). That is the subject of prophecy – things told in advance. But God had a mystery as well. The age we live in today – the dispensation of grace – was never revealed in scripture until after Christ’s death when it was revealed to Paul.
1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9 And to make all [men] see what [is] the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly [places] might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: [Eph 3:1-11 KJV]
Notice the key phrases…
- by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; …
- my knowledge in the mystery of Christ…
- Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, …
- unsearchable riches
- from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God,
- According to the eternal purpose
God kept a secret about an eternal purpose he hid in himself. We’re told this hidden purpose was a demonstration of God’s wisdom:
7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, [even] the hidden [wisdom], which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known [it], they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. [1Co 2:7-8 KJV]
The wisdom of God to simply keep a secret from his adversary resulted in the defeat of that adversary:
3 Behold, thou [art] wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee: [Eze 28:3 KJV]
Satan’s pride and arrogance were the source of his own defeat.
13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 [And] having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. [Col 2:13-15 KJV]
Today, God is offering grace and peace to the world based on the work of Jesus Christ. His expressed will is that “all men might be saved.” But there will come a time when this offer is rescinded and this dispensation of the grace of will conclude. That conclusion is our gathering together to him for the plan and eternal purpose for which this time was revealed:
20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: [Phl 3:20 KJV]
1 For we know that if our earthly house of [this] tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. [2Co 5:1 KJV]
1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. [Col 3:1-4 KJV]
2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: [2Co 5:2 KJV]
5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; [Col 1:5 KJV]
10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, [even] Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. [1Th 1:10 KJV]
Our present dispensation of grace precludes God’s judgment on the earth. “But now” has to conclude before the “ages to come” can commence. If God’s judgment is happening now, then we are no longer in the dispensation of grace. We know from the prophetic scriptures that there is a time coming where judgement will fall upon this earth. But according to scripture, this time has not begun.
2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as [do] others; but let us watch and be sober. 7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. [1Th 5:2-11 KJV]
47 The first man [is] of the earth, earthy: the second man [is] the Lord from heaven. 48 As [is] the earthy, such [are] they also that are earthy: and as [is] the heavenly, such [are] they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. … 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where [is] thy sting? O grave, where [is] thy victory? 56 The sting of death [is] sin; and the strength of sin [is] the law. 57 But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. [1Co 15:47-49, 51-57 KJV]
We have a heavenly home in our destiny. God’s reconciliation is two-fold as was the accomplishments of the cross. Just as Israel was formed to be God’s agency in the earth; the formation of his body is for the purpose of filling the heavens as his agency there.
God has two realms of operation – heaven and earth.
Both were usurpt by the adversary – both must be reconciled.
The cross provided the means for both to be reconciled – one prophesied and one kept a secret.
God will not resume his prophetic plan and purpose in the earth with Israel until his mystery period of grace and peace has concluded.
Its that final 7 years of tribulation, the “time of Jacob’s trouble” when the wrath and judgment of God will be poured out on this earth.
We are not appointed to wrath – we have been reconciled to God by the blood of the cross. Our charge today is to make all [men] see what [is] the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: [Eph 3:9 KJV]
So that, when the time of God’s judgment on the earth is concluded…
9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [even] in him: [Eph 1:9-10 KJV]
13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words. [1Th 4:13-18 KJV]
April 4, 2020