Focus on the Advent 1: The day of the lord: Meditation for the 25th Sunday after Trinity
We have started focusing on the Advent, which comes up in two weeks’ time. The Collect for the day, recalling that Jesus “came to bring us good news and power to transform our lives,” petitions God to “grant that when He comes again as Judge, we may be ready to meet Him with joy.” We are anticipating the day the Lord will come again for judgment. The New Testament severally made reference to the “Day” of Christ in the context of an impending judgment. This is derived and developed from the Old Testament phrase: The Day of the Lord.
God Will Judge The Nations On The Day Of The Lord
“The Day of the Lord,” occurs 26 times in the Old Testament, always in the prophetic literature. They generally refer to God’s visitation/judgment of the rebellious nations of the world. It was anticipated as the time God would manifest and prove Himself as the de facto Lord and Judge of all the earth. The Day of the Lord assures us of God’s direct intervention in man’s affairs in this earth. This accords hope and consolation in times of trouble and tribulation – The Lord will come one day and right all the wrongs.
The Israelites, as the people of God, looked forward to this Day as a time for their vindication and exaltation and then the vindictiveness and humiliation of the hostile nations. It was thus seen as a day of judgment for others and only a pat on the back for themselves, particularly in consideration of their religious activities. But the prophets, like Amos, refuted this. The Day of the Lord would, in fact, be darkness for the people of God, if their religion remained empty as it was.
The People Of God Will Also Be Judged On The Day Of The Lord
The people of God themselves were not exempted from the woes of the Day of the Lord, if they fail to meet the requirements of the Lord. God has shown Himself to just and impartial. He gives every person according to his due, irrespective of the person’s relationship with Him. This is not to contend that God has special people, whom He has called to become His children, justified and assured of no condemnation. But the privileges of being a child or people of God also go with enormous responsibilities. This calls, on the part of His people, for faithfulness and genuine repentance, failure of which God’s wrath and judgment will be incurred. The history of Israel shows that God has always judged His people for their sins.
Many Christians quote Romans 8:1 as ground for the assertion that God does not judge His people, since it clearly states that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. But they fail to read down to verse 4 to discover that “those who are in Christ Jesus” are, or should also be those “who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.” God judges His people, if they harden their hearts and remain sinful. In fact, it is written that time has come for judgment to start in the household of God (1Pet. 4:7; cf Ezek. 9:6; Isa. 10:12; Jer.25: 29). God has no sacred cows. A good example of God’s judgment of His people in the new dispensation is the judgment of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11. Both of them were disciples of the Lord, redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb and filled with His Spirit. They also decided to sacrifice their land because of their love for the Church. But by their unfaithfulness, they incurred the judgment and wrath of God.
The OT passage (Zeph. 1:14-18) warns that the Day of the Lord is imminent and disastrous. The Lord will deal with those who have sinned against Him and their strength and wealth cannot save them.
The Epistle (1 Thess. 5:1-11) warns that the Day of the Lord will come suddenly, but the people of God should be prepared, as “God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (V.9).
The Gospel (Matt. 13:24-32) is the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares in which the Lord indicated the fate of the good and bad on the Lord’s Day.
Ven. Dr Princewill O. Ireoba Is The Rector,
Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,
Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.