Throughout the scriptures, much is made of the “day of the Lord.” It is a horrible experience for many, for it is a time when the the long-suffering posture of God is set aside as he determines to display his holy arm of justice.
Below are the some representative passages where the terrible day of the Lord is described:
Isaiah 13:6 Wail, for the day of the Lord is near, as destruction from the Almighty it will come.
Isaiah 13:9 Behold,. the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land a desolations and to destroy its sinners from it.
Ezekiel 30:3 For the day is near, the day of the Lord is near, it will be a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations.
Joel 2:1, 11 Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming; it is near … The Lord utters his voice before his army, for his camp is exceedingly great; he who executes his word is powerful. For the day of the Lord is great and very awesome; who can endure it?
Jeremiah 46:10 That day is the day of the Lord God of hosts, a day of vengeance, to avenge himself on his foes. The sword shall devour and be sated and drink its fill of their blood. For the Lord God of hosts holds a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates.
2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
Yes, if one were to do an exhaustive study of the day of the Lord, one would walk away with a very heavy heart. No one is safe. No one is spared. Nation after nation is destined to suffer the divine wrath of God, for they are all transgressing the sacred laws of Yahweh and are giving their worship to another. Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Philistia, Moab, Judah, Israel, Rome, and the United States of America — they are all going down hard, and this is because of their heinous rebellion.
And then comes hell … the ultimate day of vengeance, wrath, judgment, and condemnation.
However, as I muse upon the Day of the Lord through Gospel eyes, I cannot help but worship differently this morning. Strangely, I find myself giving praise to my holy God. Instead of screeching cries accompanied by tears of terror, I find myself desiring to sing with tears of thanksgiving, and this is irregardless of what the sovereign God might choose to do with my beloved country.
How can this be?
It is because I am freshly overwhelmed with what God has already done for me upon the hill called Golgatha. Upon that mountain of God, the Father poured out his furious wrath upon the Son, and the Son willingly took it all. On that day, my “day of the Lord” was received by my Savior. He took my sin — all of it. He took my blame. He took my guilt. He took the Judge’s wrath. He took the hell earned by me. Therefore, because of the violence and love of that day, there remains no more condemnation for me — not even a little bit. Jesus drank the cup of the Lord’s judgment to the bottom. He emptied it completely. He gave me his law-keeping righteousness, and because of the work of the Judge and his Son, I am declared righteous, perfect, holy, saintly, and deserving of eternal glee. I can glorify and enjoy my God, and I have no fear of any day of the Lord, because the Lord loved me on that day. Therefore, this morning, I cry. I mourn. I meditate, and I sing.
Oh friends, do you sing? Do you really believe the Good News, or have you added some bad news to the Good News of Jesus? Has someone added legalism to the work of Jesus Christ? Are you, or someone you know, preaching another gospel which is not gospel at all? Do you really believe Jesus paid it all? Do you believe 100% of the Father’s wrath was placed upon the innocent shoulders of the Son? Do you truly have faith that all the Father’s condemnation for your lusts, thoughts, words, and deeds was placed on Jesus? Do you daily hear the Father’s commendation? At the beginning of every day before you have done anything good or evil, and at the end of every night regardless of what you have done good or evil, do you hear the Father saying, “You are my beloved Son, and in you I am well pleased?” Yes, I know this seems to good to be true, but it is true if you understand the Gospel. You were not made right by works of righteousness. You do not keep yourself right by works of righteousness. You cannot mess up what Jesus has done by your lack of works righteousness. It is a total sway. All your sinful crap has been laid upon Jesus. All his fantastic goodness has been placed upon you. He has all your hell, and you get all his heaven. Of friend, are you really trying to add merit to the all-sufficient merit of Jesus? Are you trying to make his perfect robe of righteousness look better? Has Satan deceived you again, and are you seeking to earn that which Jesus has freely given?
Therefore, it is time to consider the day of the Lord, and it is time to moan, wail, lament, and cry … but not like the world; not like those who have no hope.
This morning, spend a few minutes of time weeping over your sin. This is good and right, for your transgressions are far greater than you imagine. Your righteousness record is horribly heinous, and because of your transgressions, you deserve only the hot and holy wrath of God. It is right to fall on your knees and cry over your sin.
Then, stay on your knees and spend a few more minutes weeping over the price paid by Jesus. He was the “Man of Sorrows” who willingly took hell for you. So horrible was that transaction that he — who spoke not a word when men abused him — cried out on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me.” As John MacArthur taught this week, he descended into hell, but he did so before he died and not after. Jesus took the hell of his Father on behalf of his brothers and sisters.
But then, arise to your feet, and spend many more minutes weeping with joy and thanksgiving. He loved you. He loves you, and nothing can in the future can separate you from his love. He adores you. He delights in you. He prays for you daily, and he can’t wait to see your face in paradise. Friends, the lyrics of the following song are true. Why not cry as you sing with joy regarding the day of the Lord.
In Christ Alone
In Christ alone, who took on flesh, fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness, scorned by the ones He came to save
‘Til on that cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid, here in the death of Christ I live, I live
There in the ground His body lay, light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day, up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory, sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine, bought with the precious blood of Christ
No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I’ll stand