Wednesday, November 27, 2013

This week's lesson: the Pre-Advent Judgment

Think of it as a circuit-breaker.

We all know how easy it is to make stupid decisions, after all -- the car that looked like such a good deal on the lot . . . the file we thought it best to delete . . . the angry words that seemed like the right thing to say at the time.

That's why we give ourselves time to pause, reflect, and maybe even reconsider.
  • Buy a used-car, for instance, and the law will give you several days to "cool off" and decide if you should keep it.  
  • Try to delete a file, and most programs will ask stop you to ask, "Are you sure you want to do this?"
  • And much as we'd like to tell somebody just exactly what we think of them and what they did, most of us have learned to count to ten before we do so . . . and sometimes, even a hundred!
Even the stock market has learned the value of this; if it starts going crazy, then a "trading curb" kicks in, shuts down trading for 15-minutes, and gives people a chance to catch their breath and figure out what's going on.

Likewise, God does not rush into the Apocalypse -- and what's more, He never punishes the wicked without taking the time to make sure this needs to be done.
  • Think of the plagues He sent before the Exodus -- plagues that showed there was no other way to free God's people.
  • Think of the Millennium that comes before the resurrection of the wicked -- a Millennium (and a resurrection) that shows there is no other way to deal with these people.
  • And when Jesus comes again in glory, we can be sure this was not a spur-of-the-moment decision -- something triggered by a whim or a momentary fit of pique. No, God has thought this through. He's "slept on it." He's made sure this is a good idea in that process we call "the pre-advent judgment."
To be sure, God doesn't need to do this. He doesn't learn anything in the process; there is no danger of "buyer's remorse" in His judgments.

But even if God doesn't need to do this, we need to know that He does -- that "the LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love, forgiving sin and rebellion, even though He does not leave the guilty unpunished" (Numbers 14:18).

In short, the pre-advent judgment is not a threat, but a promise.

Like a circuit-breaker, it is there for our protection.

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