“And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the Lord…” (Ezra 9:8).
If you know anything about the history of Israel, it was a constant series of them sinning, God punishing them, them repenting, and then “a little space” of grace in between, such as this space that came after the punishment of the Babylonian captivity. Today, of course, we live in the dispensation of grace (Eph. 3:2), a time when God is dispensing grace unmixed with any periods of wrath. No matter what you do, you can’t make God punish you, whether you be saved or lost.
Of course, a believer who sins grieves God’s holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30) and may still suffer the natural consequences of sin. For example, a believer who ignores God’s prohibition against homosexuality (Lev. 18:22) may contract AIDS. However, this is not the wrath of God, this is just an example of reaping what you sow (Gal. 6:7), a principle that applies in every dispensation. If you want to know what God thinks of homosexuality, don’t look at a mealy-mouthed disease like AIDS, look at Sodom and Gomorrah. Then remember that it is true of all kinds of sins that “because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them” (Eph. 5:6,7). Just because you are saved and immune from the penalty of sin doesn’t mean you should engage in the kinds of sins for which God will punish unsaved men in Hell for all eternity.
If you are not saved, enjoy the dispensation of grace while it lasts, for you are going to be left behind when the Rapture brings an end to this dispensation. The Great Tribulation that will follow the Rapture will be the exact opposite of a dispensation characterized by grace not mixed with any periods of wrath, for it will be a time of wrath unmixed with any periods of grace. When that day comes you will “drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture…” (Rev. 14:10). As the uncut, unmixed, undiluted wrath of Almighty God is poured out, “in those days shall men seek death” (Rev. 9:6) because they will understand that even the slightest space of grace will then be out of the question to seek. Your only hope is to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” (Acts 16:31).
If you are thinking that you’ll wait and see if the Rapture really comes before believing on Christ in the Tribulation, think again, for God’s undiluted wrath will not convince you to believe as you might think it would. In John’s vision of that day,
“…men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not…and they gnawed their tongues for pain and blasphemed…God…because of their pains…and repented not of their deeds” (Rev. 16:9-11).
Of course, these pains will be the least of your worries, for all who persist in unrepentant unbelief will be “tormented with fire and brimstone” (Rev. 14:10), “and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night…” (Rev. 14:11).
The choice is yours: undiluted grace or undiluted wrath. “Christ died for your sins” and “rose again” (I Cor. 15:1-4). All He asks of you is to believe it, and rest in what He did for you on Calvary’s Cross.
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.