Read Revelation 16
Focus on verse 5-6
“Don’t I deserve a little happiness?” This was the question the person with whom I was talking used to justify a course of action that was likely to negatively affect on many of the people in his network of relationships. After what seemed like a very long pause, I surprised him with an answer he was not expecting. “That is an interesting question” I replied, “the truth is that according to what I understand about God, not one of us deserves anything other than to spend eternity in hell, separated from God.” This answer was not only not what he was expecting, it is also validated in today’s chapter in the book of Revelation.
And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say,
“Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was,
for you brought these judgments.
For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets,
and you have given them blood to drink.
It is what they deserve!” (v. 5-6)
The context of these verses is the judgment of God upon those who rebelled against Him and refused to accept His gift of grace. They are the people whom the enemy used to persecute and kill others who did accept that gift and who choose to obey and trust in God. I suspect that among the Christians who actually read the book of Revelation, too many of us read this sort of text with a sense of vindication. “Finally, all those mean spirited people who persecuted Christians are getting what they deserve.” While that may be true, we forget that it is also what we deserve. The only reason some of us are not in line to receive it is because we have accepted the grace that God offers through what Jesus did by dying on the cross.
The truth of the matter is that because we are all equally guilty of committing sin of one kind or another, we all deserve to be punished. We have all broken God’s law. “You commit the crime, you do the time – no exceptions”, that would be justice applied fairly. So the answer to the original question – “Don’t I deserve a little happiness?” It is in fact, a resounding “No” – because I don’t deserve any happiness. What I deserve is death, I earned it the first time I broke God’s law. That may sound harsh, and to those who continue to rebel and refuse to repent, it will be a harsh and terrible realization when their time comes. The good news however, is that we don’t have to get what we deserve! We can get the happiness and peace that we seek, but we don’t get it by earning it by doing good stuff. We get it by placing our trust in Jesus Christ and the fact that by His death and resurrection He accepted what we deserve, setting us free to share in what He deserves. It’s not a secret, and it is not exclusive to any particular culture. All that is required is to repent of our rebellion and say yes to the offer of eternal life that God extends to any person willing to choose to believe that His offer is real.