We have been talking about the day of recompense. The day of vengeance. But before we go any further we need to remember that this is God’s right alone. We are not to take vengeance into our own hands. We must leave it all to God.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord (Rom. 12.19).
And He will. The day comes when God recompenses all men according to their works.
Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with the him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.
Woe unto the wicked! It shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him (Isa. 3.10,11).
In other words, God repays them in kind—repays them out of their own pocket, actually. For some this means trouble, and wrath.
But for the faithful Christian it means the recompense of salvation.
So above all things, beloved Christian, in the fiery trial hold tightly the certificate of your faith.
Faith is the substance—the title deed—of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen (Heb. 11.1).
As long as we have this title deed in our hand we are the possessors of a very great salvation—a salvation so great that even the angels desire to look into it. This is why the testing of our faith is so important. It is tragic when in the fiery trial someone draws back or turns aside. What loss… when God meant the whole thing to be for our great gain. Whatever the Devil or wicked men have in mind, God’s intent is to purify our faith in the fire—not that we draw back unto perdition, but that we believe unto the saving of our souls (Heb. 10.39).
Our salvation is sure—as long as we maintain faith and hope. Our salvation is in the sphere of faith and hope—and we are to arm ourselves accordingly lest this hope be robbed from us. For the day comes when we obtain this great salvation.
But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and for an helmet the hope of salvation.
For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who died for us, that whether we wake (Gk. watch) or sleep we should live together with Him (1 Thes. 5.8-10).
Notice this, it’s very beautiful. If you and I are faithful on our watch, and then when the watch is over, fall asleep (in death)… our salvation is just as sure as for the one who is still awake and watching when Jesus comes with His salvation. We don’t miss out on anything. We shall live together with Him.
So let us be faithful on our watch!
And let us always remember how important our faith is, and the trial of that faith. The trial of our faith is “more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire” (1 Pt. 1.7). As we are faithful in that trial, and endure, it will be found “unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing (in the revelation) of Jesus Christ.” My. That is something. Help us dear Lord not to be short sighted when we are in the midst of the trial of our faith!
Yes, we who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ—we are saved. But our salvation is in the sphere of faith. We are saved by grace—through faith. That faith is the title deed to what we hope for. And so we guard it, protect it, nurture it in one another against the day when that salvation is revealed. We are saved—but we anticipate the day when this salvation is revealed. We in this day are “kept by the power of faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pt. 1.5). It is a “great salvation,” and we dare not neglect it (Heb. 2.3)—so great a salvation that “the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you; searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow…” (1 Pt. 1.10,11).
This theme is much on Peter’s mind as he writes his first epistle—that this day is the day of suffering, the day of the trial of our faith—which is followed by the day of glory. (We don’t wonder that Peter would write so much along this line; he went through a very severe trial of faith himself.) He exhorts us:
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy (1 Pt. 4.12,13).
And still further he says:
The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed… (1 Pt. 5.1).
There is a salvation ready to be revealed to us—in the day of Christ’s glory when we are glorified with Him. If we suffer with Him, we shall be glorified together with Him. And the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed to us. Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory… as we come out of it all with tried, and tested, but unshaken faith.
The Christian’s portion in this world, this present evil age, is trouble—humiliation, suffering, alienation, rejection, misunderstanding, persecution… hatred from a world that hates God and His Christ.
But what is coming? Another day. The day of judgment. The day of recompense. The day of vengeance. For some, this means wrath. But for some it means salvation, as we are faithful to take up our Cross in this age, and wait for His Son from Heaven, who has delivered us from the wrath to come (1 Thes. 1.9,10).
We can sum it all up by saying that we who are saved anticipate salvation in the day of wrath which is at the door. Our judgment will be salvation—not wrath. And so we are not afraid of what is coming. We anticipate it! We anticipate the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ—our Salvation Himself. Those in all ages who have suffered for His Name have cried out, “O Lord Jesus, how long, how long, till we shout the glad song: Christ returneth, Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Amen!…”
He comes—His recompense with Him, and His work before Him—to the joy and rejoicing of our hearts.