Why are we so fickle in our Christian walk? Why do our mouths remain silent? Why are we not more inclined to boldly evangelize in deed and word? Why do we consistently compromise and court sin when God’s fantastic will is always best? Why don’t we hate sin more and love righteousness with white-hot zeal? Why do we continue to focus so much on the passing material things of this world instead of those things which are important, spiritual, and eternal? Why are our spiritual passions so low? What’s wrong with our hearts? Why are we not more inwardly inclined to externally worship?
I think many of us have lost the thrill of our salvation. Who Jesus is and what Jesus has done no longer compels us. We have lost our first love. Our spiritual fire burns low. The Gospel is not so energizing. Our internal motivation is sputtering.
And why is this?
I think many of us have not freshly remembered that from which we have been saved. We have walked far away from hell, fire, and brimstone preaching. We have a low view of law, guilt, wrath, condemnation, and judgment, and therefore we have a low view of the Gospel.
Well my friends, Ezekiel 5 will help us put things into perspective:
Ezekiel 5 … Thus says the Lord God: This is Jerusalem. I have set her in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. And she has rebelled against my rules by doing wickedness more than the nations, and against my statutes more than the countries all around her; for they have rejected my rules and have not walked in my statutes. Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you are more turbulent than the nations that are all around you, and have not walked in my statutes or obeyed my rules, and have not even acted according to the rules of the nations that are all around you, therefore thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, even I, am against you. And I will execute judgments in your midst in the sight of the nations. And because of all your abominations I will do with you what I have never yet done, and the like of which I will never do again. Therefore fathers shall eat their sons in your midst, and sons shall eat their fathers. And I will execute judgments on you, and any of you who survive I will scatter to all the winds. Therefore, as I live, declares the Lord God, surely, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your detestable things and with all your abominations, therefore I will withdraw. My eye will not spare, and I will have no pity. A third part of you shall die of pestilence and be consumed with famine in your midst; a third part shall fall by the sword all around you; and a third part I will scatter to all the winds and will unsheathe the sword after them. Thus shall my anger spend itself, and I will vent my fury upon them and satisfy myself. And they shall know that I am the Lord—that I have spoken in my jealousy—when I spend my fury upon them. Moreover, I will make you a desolation and an object of reproach among the nations all around you and in the sight of all who pass by. You shall be a reproach and a taunt, a warning and a horror, to the nations all around you, when I execute judgments on you in anger and fury, and with furious rebukes—I am the Lord; I have spoken— when I send against you the deadly arrows of famine, arrows for destruction, which I will send to destroy you, and when I bring more and more famine upon you and break your supply of bread. I will send famine and wild beasts against you, and they will rob you of your children. Pestilence and blood shall pass through you, and I will bring the sword upon you. I am the Lord; I have spoken.
Temporal damnation was what Israel and Judah deserved. God’s people had broken the national covenant. They had not kept the Lord’s sacred law. Therefore, based upon their horrid worship, wrath, condemnation and judgment were what they deserved and what they were going to receive. God determined to pour out hell upon their heads. Their nation was going down. Justice was about to be served.
Eternal damnation was what the Israelites and Judeans deserved. In addition to having broken the national covenant, all these men and women had personally broken God’s covenant of works. As individuals, none were righteous. All were sinful. All were guilty of violating God’s law. Therefore, not only did they deserve the horrid temporal damnation described above, but they deserved the much greater and more severe damnation of hell. After having hell poured upon them in this life, they had earned a date in the Lake of Fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
This same temporal and eternal damnation is what we deserve. Friends, we have all transgressed God’s holy law. We have spiritually spit in our Lord’s holy face over and over again. We have willfully disobeyed him and have done so brazenly and without shame. God has been so loving and long-suffering. He has called us to repent, but we have proven to be too much in love with this world and our fleshly desires to submit and obey. We are rank. We are wicked. We are devilish, and we deserve nothing but the temporal and eternal hell of God.
However, now it is time for us to give thanks to God for the Gospel. God’s condemnation, wrath, and damnation has already been poured out upon the Holy Son. The bowls of hell were distributed upon his head. The cup of judgment was thoroughly consumed by our Savior and Friend. He has already received that which we have deserved; he did so that we might forever receive what he has deserved. Our record has become his; his record is now ours. Our hell has become his; his heaven is forever ours. Our wrath is his; his delight is now ours. Our excommunication is his; his communion is ours without end. We are saved. We are free. We are in the Father’s good stead forever and ever, and absolutely nothing we can do today will cause us to receive any of the condemnation, wrath, and damnation we deserve.
Therefore, let this Gospel truth affect you. With fresh, internal, Gospel motivation, let us eagerly go forth to glorify and enjoy our God. Let us want to be less fickle and more stable. Let us desire to be more vocal and less silent. Let us long to hate sin and love righteousness with greater consistency. Let us focus on Christ and his kingdom instead of our own little palaces. How great is our Savior! How great is his salvation! How great is his sanctification!