Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Here are two statements. Which of the two do you believe comes closer to the truth?
(A) God demands perfect obedience from those who will be ready for the second coming of Christ. He requires that they "overcome" perfectly "even as" Christ overcame, all this demanded because He cannot and will not "translate" any sin into His kingdom. His people must respond, on pain of being lost forever.
(B) God's people will gladly "overcome even as Christ overcame" (Rev. 3:21), motivated not by fear but by their heart appreciation of the sacrifice of Christ. A clearer, more mature understanding of His atonement will result in a people who "follow the Lamb wherever He goes" (Rev. 14:4), a people who will stand "without fault" before the throne of God, as fully reconciled in heart to Christ as a loving bride is reconciled to her bridegroom.
The first statement (A) is a very widespread view, but its popularity demonstrates the need for something the Bible speaks of as the "Day of Atonement," a cosmic Day of Reconciliation, the time of corporate at-one-ment with the Lord, the "time of the end" when all misconceptions of the character of God are resolved by truthful Good News. This first statement translates into a kind of Holy Terrorism for anyone who thinks God demands, requires, what is impossible.
Isaiah speaks of what will produce the blessed statement (B): "'Nations all over the world will be in awe, taken aback, kings shocked into silence when they see Him [Christ], for what was unheard of they'll see with their own eyes, what was unthinkable they'll have right before them'"--a revelation of His cross (Isa. 52:13-15, Peterson, The Message).
In other words, what they at last "see" is "the third angel's message" of Revelation 14 "in verity," the message of Isaiah 53 in essence. A people will respond: "He shall see of the travail of His soul, and be satisfied" (vs. 11).
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: December 4, 2003.
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