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"For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?" Revelation 6. 17

While calling down judgment on everything and everyone we don't like, we all want to be treated mercifully ourselves. And the Good News is that, on account of the sacrifice of Jesus for our sakes, we can indeed look forward to God's mercy. But we should never take it for granted.

Possibly the least understood and yet most compelling book in the Bible is Revelation. I say that because it is the one book which is primarily concerned with the present and the future or, to put it more accurately, John interprets the present in light of the future. A summary of his message might go something like: The world might be in chaos and you might be suffering terribly but God is in control and he will intervene at just the right time to settle the problem of sin, evil and death forever and to establish his own heavenly rule eternally.

Two essential facts should be noted: God promises to deal decisively with evil. In his wisdom, he may be tolerating evil now, as Jesus explains in the Parable of the Wheat and Tares (Matthew 13. 24-43), but the message of Revelation is that the day of reckoning will surely come. In the meantime, we inhabit what is called the "Age of Grace" for the good reason that, for as long as it lasts, the door is open for even the worst perpetrators of evil to receive the mercy which Jesus made possible, by taking upon himself responsibility for sin, through the offering of his own perfect life as a sacrifice on the cross of Calvary.

Remembering Jesus' sacrifice is particularly appropriate in the run up to Armistice Day, when we reflect gratefully on those who laid down their lives for our freedom and seek forgiveness for our own complicity in conflict and violence. Equally important is to acknowledge, throughout the year, that God raised Jesus to be king of his New Creation and the instrument of his judgment over the old order which is perishing. Secure your future, decide for Jesus today. Pray for others, that God would draw them into their own decision before it is too late. His mercy is sure and so is his judgment!



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