Devotional for Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Twilight: God's Fires Are Buming
by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
Peter's first epistle is addressed to "strangers in the world," who have their homeland in heaven. They are not surprised that they suffer when they do what is right. They follow the footprints of Jesus.
1 Peter 4:17–19
It is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; ... what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? (1 Pet. 4:17).
The Old Testament prophets warn that those who speak of God's coming to earth as a big celebration do not know what they are talking about. "Who can endure the day of his coming? ... For he will be like a refiner's fire" (Mal. 3:2).
And now, says the New Testament apostle, the time has come. The fire has been kindled.
The whole world must pass through the refiner's fire, so that only the gold remains. But the church goes first. The people of God are first in all things because the church has the gospel, and the gospel is the beginning of the end. By faith in Jesus we are already sharing in the power of his resurrection. The order of the new age has already begun in the love and peace the church possesses here and now.
But the judgment has also already begun for God's people. Now it must become apparent whether we are loyal to Christ and to the way of the gospel. This is the hour of our tribulation.
Some Christians today readily agree with Peter that the final judgment has begun. Others disagree. Or, maybe, we are so blind to the ways of God that we are unable to observe God's final test.
May God enlighten the eyes of our faith so that we can clearly discern both God's will and our present temptations.