In today’s Bible reading, three angels appear, proclaiming a different message.
“Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship the one who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” (Revelation 14:7 CSB)
“It has fallen, Babylon the Great has fallen. She made all the nations drink the wine of her sexual immorality, which brings wrath.” (Revelation 14:8 CSB)
“If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he will also drink the wine of God’s wrath, which is poured full strength into the cup of his anger. He will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the sight of the holy angels and in the sight of the Lamb, and the smoke of their torment will go up forever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or anyone who receives the mark of its name. This calls for endurance from the saints, who keep God’s commands and their faith in Jesus.” (Revelation 14:9-12 CSB)
Each message is different, but all convey the same essence: Glorify God, for His wrath is poured out on those who are not His own.
The Gospel is a very simple message. But we tend to complicate it. Unfortunately, in our complicating the simple message, we water down what the Gospel message actually is. “It’s social justice.” Or “It’s prosperity gospel.” Or “It’s God’s love for us”.
According to the angel who has the eternal Gospel to preach to the world’s inhabitants, (Revelation 14:6), it’s “Glorify God, for His wrath is poured out on those who are not His own.”
When you’re telling people about the Gospel — and when you preach it to yourself — don’t leave out the very important message of God’s wrath. The Gospel is good news (literally, that’s what the word means). The goodness of the good news is highlighted when it’s contrasted to the badness of the bad news. When you understand the reality of God’s wrath, the goodness of the Gospel message becomes even more attractive than imaginable.
The gospel message isn’t, “Clean up!”, but rather, “Repent!” and “Turn!”. Without turning to Jesus, there really is no cleaning up that any of us can do. Part of the bad news is that we don’t have the capacity to clean up! Lost people need Jesus to clean them up.
Don’t shy away from telling the bad news, so the good news can be heard for what it is: Good News!
This devotional was originally published December 18, 2019.