Bowls & Rebellion, 1

At this point in the year, family and friends will typically gather to celebrate Independence Day. Like any holiday, the 4th of July is known for various traditional festivities, not least of which include musical concerts and firework shows. For both of these activities, there is a collective anticipation for the coming grand finale. As we come to Revelation 16, the wrath of God’s judgment is about to be discharged in climactic fashion. Man’s universal rebellion against God will be met with swift and severe punishment not seen since the universal flood of Genesis 7. But why is it that such an occasion comes as a surprise or is even denied by so many? Objections levied against the concept of hell and God’s condemning wrath end up placing His very character on trial. “Eternal damnation doesn’t fit the crime,” therefore, God is not just. Or perhaps they will claim, “Eternal hell for any sinner is cruel,” therefore, God is not love. However, the authors of Scripture have a completely different takeaway when confronted with the reality of God’s wrath. The Apostle Paul equates God’s wrath with righteous justice in Romans 2:5. Similarly, Solomon makes note, “If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’ does not He who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not He who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will He not repay man according to his work?” In Revelation 16, it’s not a coincidence that the angels reflect on God’s righteous holy character during the outpouring of the six bowl judgments (16:5-7). J.I. Packer rightly summarizes in his book, Knowing God: “God’s wrath in the Bible is never the capricious, self-indulgent, irritable, morally ignoble thing that human anger so often is. It is, instead, a right and necessary reaction to objective moral evil.” It is the very nature of God’s character that demands such wrath. And the very fact that God saves anyone from their deserved punishment in hell is an act of mercy beyond our comprehension. As we wait with great anticipation for the final act of God’s justice, rejoice in His immutable nature, warn of the wrath to come, and marvel at the grand finale of God’s wrath already meted out for us on the cross when Christ bore God’s wrath received for you and me. —Pastor Nate

Sunday at Liberty

9AM: 1 John 2:28-3:10–Practicing Righteousness, 1

10AM: Pastor Rory–Bowls & Rebellion, 1–Revelation 16:1-21 (sermon notes)

No Evening Gathering

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