We live in a world awash in warnings. Everything has an incomprehensibly deadly disclaimer. The simplest medical procedure, the latest app on our phone, the tortilla chips we dip in our salsa, all come with legal verbiage warning us of the dire consequences of going forward. We are so inundated by warnings that we have become desensitized. We don’t read the fine print, we just click ‘yes’ and plunge ahead, sure that the consequences, if any, will not be nearly so grave as the doomsayers say.
The problem with a world awash in warnings is that it has the effect of the boy crying wolf. When a serious warning comes, we ignore it, confident it is as irrelevant and unlikely as all the other unheeded disclaimers. During August 1945, American warplanes dropped leaflets on many Japanese cities, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to warn them of the disaster about to overtake them. The leaflets warned them to evacuate their cities and urge their government to surrender. The people did not take the leaflets seriously. Thinking it was propaganda, they ignored the threat and experienced complete devastation.
Are we equally apathetic when we hear of the judgment of God? Have we heard so often about God’s judgement for sin that it holds no terror for us? Have we repeatedly listened to the gospel preached, but never accepted it, presuming instead on God’s grace, inexplicably confident that “love wins” and “the God we imagine” would not be so harsh as to punish our sin eternally?
God is, indeed, a God of grace and mercy, but only because He is also a God of justice. The Bible says that God is “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:26) Those who have faith in Jesus’ finished work bearing God’s justice on their behalf are justified – that is, accounted right with God. But those who have faith only in their own works must endure God’s justice themselves. But God warns us repeatedly and calls us to return to Him.
The people of the prophet Jeremiah’s day, heard this repeated warning. Jeremiah was like the faithful watchman, warning of the coming disaster and calling the people to faith and repentance. But they were callous and apathetic. Faced with unparalleled judgment for their sin at the hands of their enemies, they ignored the warnings dismissing them as the ramblings of a madman, confident in their power either to resist or negotiate their way out of trouble. They chose instead to listen to those who preached that God did not care about sin and accepted everyone and everything just as they were. And the people’s hearts were hardened. They refused to repent. Then they suffered the judgement of God.
What about you? Have you ignored the warnings of the Bible? Warnings that unless you seek refuge in Jesus, you will experience God’s judgement – in all its fury? Have you become desensitized to your sin and its consequences? Have you become comfortably numb to God’s threatening and unconcerned about standing before Him at the end of your earthly lives? What is your response when you hear about God’s coming judgement?
Join us this Sunday, July 21 as we consider our response when God threatens judgement and calls us to return to Him. We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock. Click here for directions. Come with a friend and join us for fellowship and worship. We look forward to seeing you there.