Thursday in the Fourth Week of Easter

Revelation 15:5-16:21

And They Cursed God and Did Not Repent

Man bereft of the Spirit of God does not care to know God.  Indeed, he is in rebellion against God, and even prefers things that way.  And no matter what anyone does for him, no matter what judgments befall him, he will not repent.  Indeed, one can see Pharaoh’s shadow behind chapter sixteen in both the condition of sinful men and the nature of the judgments, which seem eerily similar to the ones that befell Egypt.  As Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, regardless of God’s judgments and the sufferings of his people, so the hearts of sinful men are hardened, regardless of God’s judgments and the sufferings of themselves and those around them.  Unsaved and unredeemed man chooses to be hardened, and he delights in his hardening.  He shakes his fist at God.  And no matter how respectable he may seem, no matter how good a citizen he may appear, until he is transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s dear Son through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, he is as much a child of the devil as Pharaoh, whose true colors only await the dreadful judgments that will come when God’s patience finally runs out.

And this is the sorry refrain we hear three times in chapter sixteen: “They did not repent and give him glory.  They did not repent of their deeds.  They cursed God for the plague.”  God’s judgments should bring sinful men to repentance; indeed, it is an act of God’s mercy to judge men that they might awaken and repent.  But they do not: “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light, because their works were evil” (John 3:19; emphasis added).

And this is the only way we can explain the unexplainable.  Sin ultimately makes no sense, and neither do sinners.  They destroy their lives, because it is their nature to do so.  Thus, Paul says, “For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21).  Thus, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).  No wonder Paul said, “The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing” (1 Corinthians 1:18).  This is why they will not repent – because they cannot.  But it is equally true that they cannot repent because they will not.  And so they are caught in the “mystery of iniquity” (2 Thessalonians 2:7 – KJV), but by their own doing.  And who has delivered us from a similar captivity?  “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:24-25).

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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