The Coming day of the Lord Pt. 1: When God is revealed
The Coming day of the Lord Pt. 1: When God is revealed.
“Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.”
When we think of the character and self-revelation of God, we think of Romans 1 and the glory of God that is revealed in his works of creation. We see the beauty of a brilliant sunset and think, “There is a God.” We contemplate the majestic beauty of Mt Adams, Mt. Hood, and Mt. Rainer and say, “There is God.” We reflect upon the cross upon which Christ died and are reminded that on that hill, God displayed his grace and love for us, and we say, “There is God.” In Joel 2:28-29 our attention is taken to the events of Pentecost (Acts 2) when the Holy Spirit is poured upon his people to empower us to live rightly before God. Again as we say, “There is God.”
In Joel 2:30 through 3:17, our attention is again drawn to the Day of the Lord. However, what captures our attention is that the message of salvation and the coming of the Holy Spirit is now linked to the image of judgment and terror. We affirm that God is present in his grace, but now when it comes to his judgment, we deny the presence of God; we say, “This is not God.” However, in Acts 2, Peter quotes all of verses in 28-32. This does not mean that all the events of verses 28-32 were fulfilled in the coming of the Holy Spirit. Instead, the appearance of the Holy Spirit ushered us into the eschatological era and the messianic age. This started with the arrival of the Holy Spirit but culminates in the return of Christ, as revealed in the book of Revelations. Vs. 30 through 3:21 takes us to the end of the age when Christ will bring his judgment upon sin and the world of humanity because they rejected Him. The events that will happen at the end of the age will be a time of God's severe and unparalleled judgment. It will be a time when God's holiness and hatred of sin will fully manifest. It will culminate in the final gathering of all nations when he judges them for their sin (see Revelation 16). Yet even amid this terrible destruction and judgment, there is also the offer of salvation for those who call upon God (2:32).
In both the judgment and grace of God, God is revealed and glorified (3:17). Just as the glory of God is revealed in his creative works and his redemptive activities, so also he is revealed in his judgment and justice. We often praise God for his love and grace and the beauty of his creation, but we neglect to praise him for his justice and righteousness revealed in his judgment of sin and those who reject him. Yet we find in Isaiah 66:15-19 the nations will declare the glory of God even when god pours out his judgment upon them. In Ezekiel 33:29, the prophet states, “Then they will know that I am the Lord when I make the land a desolation and a waste because of all their abominations which they have committed.” When we see God’s judgment, we will again affirm, “There is God.”
In our praise of God, we should not only praise him for his grace but also for his justice and righteousness revealed when he judges sin. When Christ returns and fulfills the final act of the Day of the Lord, he will be honored for his righteous judgment. Even those who are judged eternally for their rejection of God will still have to affirm that Christ is Lord and he is justice in his judgment (Phil. 2). Today, in your time of prayer, not only express your gratitude for God’s salvation, also affirm that God is just and holy even in his judgment.