Somber Judgment; Sober Response

Posted on September 29, 2021


By David Ettinger

The Coming Wrath
This topic is not “reader-friendly,” but I am constantly drawn to it.

I am aware of God’s love, tenderness, patience, and provision; after all, I have experienced all of these. God is loving, tender, patient, and generous in His provision.

But there is also the God who will judge the wicked at the end of the age, and at that time He will display an entirely separate set of characteristics. This is because though our Sovereign is a God of love, tenderness, and patience, He is also a God of holiness, righteousness, and wrath who must judge wickedness, and do so decisively.

Throughout Scripture, God makes known this side of his character, and does so as a warning to the inhabitants of Planet Earth that they may repent of their sins, turn to the Lord Jesus Christ, and be saved from His coming wrath (John 3:36). And He always gives ample time for this. But this time will eventually end, and when it does, those who have spurned His love and refused His offer of salvation will experience the following:

Behold, the LORD lays the earth waste, devastates it, twists its surface, and scatters its inhabitants. … The earth will be completely laid waste and completely plundered, for the LORD has spoken this word. The earth dries up and crumbles away, the mainland dries out and crumbles away, the exalted of the people of the earth dwindle. The earth is also defiled by its inhabitants, for they violated laws, altered statutes, and broke the everlasting covenant. Therefore, a curse devours the earth, and those who live on it suffer for their guilt. Therefore, the inhabitants of the earth decrease in number, and few people are left (Isaiah 24:1, 2-6).

Our Response
Not much explanation is required as this somber passage is clear. But this does not mean Christians – though not subject to God’s coming wrath – do not have a responsibility and proper response in view of it.

We cannot just say, “That has nothing to do with us. We gave our lives to the Lord Jesus, and therefore we will not experience God’s wrath.” True, but God expects us to respond to His coming wrath.

Whereas God’s wrath will be somber, the Bible tells us that our response should be sober. Words associated with “sober” are “solemn,” “subdued,” “quiet,” “sedate,” and “temperate.” This is how believers should conduct their lives. A few examples:

2 Peter 3:11: “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness.”

1 Peter 4:7: “The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.”

1 Thessalonians 5:6: “… so then, let’s not sleep as others do, but let’s be alert and sober.”

1 Thessalonians 5:8: “But since we are of the day, let’s be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.”

Our Mandate
I hearken back to the above 1 Peter 4:7: “The end of all things is near …” Indeed they are and getting ever closer.

This somber truth should give believers a sense of soberness. This does not mean we can’t find happiness in this ever-darkening world and live life abundantly (John 10:10), but we should live in the truth that God’s coming wrath is drawing near, and that we have the message which can save those who are now subject to His wrath.

May God give us hearts breaking for the unsaved that we may share the glorious message of eternal life and salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord!