Exposed And Burned

Exposed and Burned

In a very short time, there will be no America. There will be no Europe, no Asia, no Africa. No one will call themselves Republican, Democrat, or Libertarian. Facebook and Twitter and Instagram will all be obsolete along with all their content.

“The day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.” (2 Pet. 3:10; ESV).

Some say the word at this verse’s end is “exposed,” and others that it is “burned up.” This earth—America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia—and the works that are done on it will be exposed, or they will be burned up.

Really, both are true.

The secrets of every heart will be exposed. What God witnesses with clear eyes now, every conspiracy down the corridors of shadow, every error buried in the deepest part of ourselves, will emerge from the dirt and see sunlight. “No creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:13). “I tell you,” says Jesus, “on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak” (Matt. 12:36).

And when those parts of us that are impure emerge, they will face fire. The person not clothed in Christ will perish in the blaze; we who are clothed with his precious righteousness will survive the purging flame, but as through fire.

For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. (1 Cor. 3:11-15)

So Paul spoke of his own ministry of planting churches, but he might speak similarly to us.

And we who don the garb of Christ are not afraid of this fact! “Perfect love casts out fear” (1 Jn. 4:18). We are sobered into holy seriousness by the account that we must give, but more than that, we rejoice.

We rejoice that the matters which confuse us now will not confuse us later, because they will all be thrown out into the open. “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known” (Luke 12:2). There are more secrets conceived at the highest levels of society than I can ever entirely discover. But I do not have to discover them all. I can do what is right with the knowledge I have and “leave” the undiscoverable evils “to the wrath of God” (Rom. 12:19). We can rage against the evils we see, without being paralyzed by those we don’t. All will be accounted for.

Again, we rejoice because we do not have the exhausting responsibility of making everyone approve of our deeds and motives. If I am misunderstood on Facebook and do not win the argument, what does it matter? “The Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done” (Matt. 16:27). “He will render to each one according to his works” (Rom. 2:6).

I am free from the opinion of all, and bound only by the opinion of my Lord. “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Gal. 1:10).

And in all of this, I am innocent. I can risk, and attempt, and change, and alter course, and try again in the service of my Savior, simply because he is my Savior. I can repent of wrong because wrong cannot condemn me. It condemned Christ; I am cleared. “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.” (Rom. 8:33).

I too must give an account before Christ for my behavior, but I know the final verdict. When all has been exposed and burned away, I will stand.

Until then, as Peter concludes,

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Pet. 3:11-13)