Posted by: forfreedomalone | 30/11/2019

Look into hell, before you can see heaven.

I know someone who will not read the Book of Revelation because it terrifies her. In it she sees a God who judges and condemns; a God completely different to the one she is taught about in her church, a God of love and goodness alone. The fear this God invokes in her is so strong she cannot read about the return of our Lord and Saviour and the destruction of the wicked. Her fear totally undermines her faith in this good God who pours out his favour on her continually and so she concludes that Revelation should not be read.

This is a common response to the Scriptures which cause us to tremble since we have been taught that God is good and only good, loves us unconditionally and only favours us. This response totally undermine the value of the Cross.

The Cross is rarely looked upon as the single emblem which encompasses all that God is, that sin is and that man is. It is rarely looked upon as the natural end of man, the inescapable end of man. Death, natural and spiritual, is the end for ALL mankind. Suffering in this life and the next is what we, as humans, are consigned to and there is no way out of it, it is inevitable. Only when you see the inevitability of this is the wonder of a Saviour, wonderful. Look upon the Cross and see this inevitibility before you see the goodness and mercy of God, because if you do not, you will never see the goodness and mercy of God and what you accept will be shallow and unable to sustain you in times of trouble.

We cannot comprehend our salvation if we do not face the full horror of that from which we have been saved. This requires us to see the wrath, vengeance, holiness and purity of God in the face of evil. It requires us to see the depth of our depravity and sinfulness, unadulterated by doctrine and theology about how we are saved from it. We need to stare hell in the face before we can have any concept of heaven.

When you are told of the goodness of God without a pure understanding of the wrath of God his goodness has no contrast. It is like trying to understand light without understanding dark. We need both sides of the coin for there to be a coin at all. It is like looking at the Grand Canyon and seeing a big hole in the ground. It’s magnitude has no meaning because there is no way to evaluate its scale.

Praise and worship hinge on this understanding, because the praise I offer from a trite and shallow comprehension of salvation is all about me, it has left the Almighty God out of the equation almost entirely. I am not worshipping him, or praising him, for what he has done, because I have little understanding of what it is is he HAS done. The focus of my worship is not the one who has saved me, but on me, being saved, There is a, perhaps subtle, but vital difference.

Never be afraid of seeing yourself as a sinner wretched and helpless, fully aware of the end of all sinners, because it is only in that moment that you can see God, as the merciful and gracious Saviour he is and, knowing your need of him, in that very moment, fall on your face in humble submission to him. Only then will you know what salvation is all about and only then will you offer true praise and worship.

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