Every Thought Captive

Repent and Believe

Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them.

The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.

The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water, because it had been made bitter.

The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night.

Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!”

Revelation 8:6-13

What would it take for you to be convinced you are wrong? For many people, it takes more than facts. We have to be convinced of our sin both with our heads and our hearts. Then comes the painful process of confessing those sins to God, and to the people we have wronged. As Christians, the Holy Spirit convicts us and points us to truth, even when our hardened hearts slow down the process. Imagine how different this is for non-Christians. Without the hope and conviction of the Holy Spirit, they are left to their own shame as a motivator for repentance. Some may not repent because they do not see their sin as bad.

In the book of Exodus, Moses acts on behalf of God to free God's people from slavery under Pharaoh. It takes many plagues and judgment from God before the Israelites are free. Why does it take so long? Pharaoh has a hardened heart and will not repent of his sin. He thinks of himself as a god and will not surrender to the God of the universe. However, God brings judgment on Egypt to stir Pharaoh's heart. Even after this, Pharaoh chases the Israelites to bring them back and is killed in the Red Sea.

In the book of Revelation, God is bringing judgment on the unbelieving people of the world. This judgment is meant to show the seriousness of sin, and the need for repentance. God is only taking a third of the land in this judgment, giving people time to repent before the final judgment envelops the entire earth.

How do we respond to God bringing judgment into our own lives? Do we get angry at God and try to shove Him out of our life? Scripture tells us that God uses judgment to bring repentance. Peter warns the church that the world will be judged and that Christians will face a different type of judgment (1 Peter 4:17). Unlike non-Christians, God is not condemning His people for their sin. Instead, as a loving Father, He may be disciplining us to point us to the truth. Have you ever been so consumed by something that you needed someone to point you away from it? God does the same thing for His people. He disciplines His children out of love to get them away from things that are destructive. 

Ultimately, God brought that judgment on Jesus, because He knew we could not face the weight of our sin and judgment. Instead of feeling ashamed when we sin or being angry with God when difficult trials or circumstances happen, we can lovingly run to God knowing that Jesus experienced every hardship in this life, yet He did not sin (Hebrews 4:14-16). God loves His children and wants them to experience the blessings that come from a loving relationship with God, which includes discipline. The Gospel of John calls this pruning. Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches (John 15:2). Jesus cares for us, and in doing so, He prunes His people so we can bear fruit. Pruning is painful, and it can make us question if God cares for us in our suffering. However, if Jesus left us in our sin, it would lead to death and destruction in our lives. 

The people in Revelation 8 needed to be awakened from their sinful slumber. It required extreme judgment because of the hardened hearts of the people. We need to be reminded in our everyday lives that this world is not our home or our hope. God uses different means to remind us of that truth. He brings friends and family to point to the truth, as well as His Word. Do you spend time abiding in the Word of God? Is it shaping your heart? If not, we need to repent and seek God through His word and prayer. We do not like to be wrong, so we can be stubborn and double down in our sin. God uses many different means to show us that we are wrong and that we can only find hope and satisfaction in God. 

Reflect on what is helping and hurting your relationship with God. Pray for your non-believing friends and lovingly share the Gospel with them. We do not change hearts, but we can pray and point people to the love of God. We are slow to embrace change, and our unbelieving friends, family, and co-workers may not want to change either. Jesus calls us to love everyone as a neighbor. We are to bring them into our lives – sharing meals with them, inviting them into our children’s youth league teams, and thinking of ways to invest in them. Unbelieving people need to see the hope of the gospel, and we as the church need a daily reminder of the love of God.

In the end of Revelation, Jesus will come in judgment and make all things new. He will wipe every tear from our eyes and do away with death (Revelation 21:4). Until then, we have to live in a world with pain. Do we believe God can use pain to bring healing in our lives? Do we believe that through Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection, we have been given new life? If so, let us draw near to a God who loves, and even in judgment, brings us closer to His love.

About the Author

Photograph of Will Peters

Will Peters

Ministry Leader of Middle School

Park Cities Presbyterian Church

Will Peters was born in Dallas and raised in Paris, Texas. He has felt a call to ministry since his freshman year of high school. Will is a graduate of Texas Christian University and is pursuing a Master of Divinity from Reformed Theological Seminary. He currently serves as the Ministry Leader of Middle School at PCPC. Will is married to Leah, and they have a dog named Teddy.