Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. (Psalm 91:8)
The Gospel is a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). It is the fragrance of life to believers and the fragrance of death to unbelievers (2 Corinthians 2:16). This explains its preciousness to the saint and its repulsiveness to the sinner. The one finds it invigorating and the other intolerable.
Unbeknownst to most people, the cross of Christ is two-sided. Although it speaks of the certainty of salvation for all who are willing to believe, it also speaks of the certainty of condemnation for all who refuse to believe. If God spared not His own Son, but poured out on Him the full measure of His wrath for all of the sins of all time, what hope is there of God sparing those who turn their nose up at the crucified Christ and trample His precious shed blood under their feet (Romans 8:32; Hebrews 10:29)?
The sight of God’s inevitable judgment of the wicked will forever remind the saints that God’s refusal to spare his Son from the cross is the only reason He can mercifully spare us. It will also eternally reverberate in our hearts as proof of God’s justice. How can God ever be accused of injustice for refusing to spare from judgment all who refuse to accept the salvation He has wrought for them through His unspared Son?
While the promise of seeing God’s judgement upon the wicked is an unnerving proposition, it is also a necessary one. Only in view of God’s judgment can we truly appreciate the depths of His mercy. It is God’s refusal to jeopardize His justice by letting one single sin slip by unpunished that shows us just how eternally beholden we are to the Savior who suffered on the cross the full penalty for our every single sin.
The Bible predicts that God will pour His judgment out on this fallen Christ-rejecting world at the end of time by such things as unprecedented pandemics (pestilences). In fact, Jesus Himself predicted it in Matthew 24:7 and Luke 21:11. In spite of these foreboding and foretold signs of the times, the recipients of God's mercy can still rejoice, even in the midst of such judgments, for they speak of both the justice and mercy of God (James 2:13).