This passage closes the cycle of judgments, and the imagery tells how the world is set-up for the Second Coming of Christ (Is. 51:17-22; Jer. 25:15-29; Lam. 4:21; Ezek. 23:31-34; Hab. 2:16; 2 Pet. 3:9-15; 1 John 2:28; Rev. 3:1-6; 14:10; 15:1; 16:19)! In contrast, this is also about how God cares for His faithful and vindicates us from those who do evil and oppress us. These images are not meant to terrify us, but to show us how God works; then, we can beware and defend ourselves by exercising the precepts found in this letter as the early church did prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
God’s is totally fair! His judgments are pure and righteous; there is no fault or wrong with Him or His plan. Those who sin do so willfully, and when they refuse His grace and redemption they get what they want—His judgment (Psalm 97:2). Humanity has no right or argument to accuse or fight against God. Yet, within His judgments are His love and promises for those who are faithful; His love even extends in Judgment by giving the wicked what they want—separation from Him and His goodness. This is a call for the wicked to take heed and repent—or else. This is also a call for us to be ready for His glorious and wondrous return!