I have sworn by Myself, The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness And will not turn back, That to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue swear allegiance. They will say of me only the Lord are righteousness and strength. Men will come to Him, and all who were angry at Him shall be put to shame. Isaiah 45:23, 24 (New American Standard Version)
I heard it once said that the gates of hell are locked from the inside. While God does offer us an escape from our sins many do not want to take that narrow road choosing instead to run down an eight-lane highway to destruction.
But while the gates of hell try to prevail against Christ’s church His grace is a power to be reckoned with. God is angry with the wicked everyday (Psalm 7:11) yet while everyone was yet sinners He sent His Son to die for us that we might be brought back into fellowship with Him (Romans 5:10). Because God is perfectly holy He hates sin perfectly and instead of hurling lightning bolts at us He sheds tears of grief over the refusal of the wicked to come out of their sin and to take His light and easy yoke upon them.
I am coming to a new appreciation of grace and exactly what it is and does for the human race. Grace is both getting what we don’t deserve and not getting what we have coming. God poured out His entire wrath toward sin onto Christ who took our penalty for what we had coming and in return put His righteousness on us (2nd Corinthians 5:21).
While God is a perfectly rounded personality He shows, among many of His attributes, both the abilities toward anger and tenderness. God is not willing that anyone should perish but that everyone should come to repentance (2nd Peter 3:9). While the Bible is silent about what those who reject Him will say on that final day when God reviews their life choices I wonder if the sorrow won’t be as much from the judgment but something more horrible. I believe those who are found outside of Jesus Christ on the Day will be stunned by His wonderfully beautiful, gracious and breathtaking Being. Will it be that the deepest sorrow of those outside of Christ will be looking upon God’s Only Begotten Son, fully aware of the beauty they rejected during their lifetimes? They will go into eternal separation with the memory of the Beautiful One they rejected as they turned the key to the gates of hell from the inside. It is not a pretty thought yet its message is evident throughout Scripture. Grace is indeed a power to be reckoned with. Its message offers new lives for old, beauty for ashes and an abundant life in Christ that can be lived right now. Every human who ever has lived or ever will was born with the key to the gates of hell in their hand. The choice is will it be used for its purpose or will it be tossed aside for the God of
Grace? Taking the easy yoke of Jesus is more satisfying and easier than turning a key.