Stunning Grace and Glorious Majesty
David Bahn-Reflections Podcast
Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished.
2 And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire—and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. 3 And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,
“Great and amazing are your deeds,
O Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways,
O King of the nations!
4 Who will not fear, O Lord,
and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
5 After this I looked, and the sanctuary of the tent of witness in heaven was opened, 6 and out of the sanctuary came the seven angels with the seven plagues, clothed in pure, bright linen, with golden sashes around their chests. 7 And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever, 8 and the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished. –Revelation 15:1-8 [ESV]
Perhaps you remember the old TV show, That’s Incredible! Somehow the show’s producers found story after story of incredible events. A treacherously dangerous but successful rescue attempt. A one-of-a-kind discovery of rare and extremely valuable treasure hidden in the most incredibly unexpected place. We’d watch an episode and say to each other, “That’s incredible!” And it was. I’m sure the producers told the story and edited the footage to make things appear even more amazing than they would otherwise appear. But the show was well-named.
Stack that up against this observation by author and pastor Max Lucado: “I’ve never been surprised by God’s judgment, but I’m still stunned by His grace.” Then look again at the opening lines of his hymn of praise: “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty!” God’s deeds are indeed great. And when we think of the greatness of his deeds we tend to think of miraculous things like crossing the Red Sea on dry ground, falling the walls of Jericho with a trumpet’s blast, or seeing Jesus walk on water. Those are truly great things.
But God’s most awesome work was done by the frailty of his Son (thanks Michael Card). You want amazing, take a look at Undercover Boss and then multiply it exponentially. Talk about a great work, consider just what Jesus accomplished when he died for the sins of the world. Consider how he reconciled the world to himself, not counting man’s trespasses against him. Consider how God has also passed on that ministry of reconciliation to people like you and me! That’s truly great and amazing.
What God said from the foundation of time has been vindicated. It is all as he said it would be. He promised a Savior and delivered his Son for us all. He promised eternal life and opened the gates of salvation to all who would believe. He said the devil would not prevail, and he triumphed over him on the cross and showed how complete that victory was by his resurrection from the dead. And on the Great Last Day we will stand in awe at the full implication of all these things.
There are times when the apparent winning ways of the world overwhelm. There are times when we are amazed at man’s accomplishments. There are times when we celebrate great human accomplishments as though they are the ultimate expressions of power and glory. There are times when we laud the athlete, idolize the celebrity, or put our hopes on a political leader. None of these are truly great and amazing. That’s God’s realm. His praise will go on for all time, and so will our rightful and proper amazement at his stunning grace and glorious majesty.