Posts Tagged ‘Wrath of God’
The gospel causes me to do two things. First, the gospel makes me realize my utter sinfulness before a holy God. I have no righteousness apart from that which He imputes to me (Isaiah 64:6). I cannot earn the favor of this holy God. My sins have buried me in despair and I see how wicked I appear before this holy and just God. How can I approach this holy One? How can I find peace with Him who is perfect and I a sinner?
But the gospel also shows me the grace of God, that He would send His one and only Son to die for me, this wicked sinner. The gospel is the goodness of God expressed in His Son. The gospel is the love of God expressed in His Son. The gospel does shout that I am sinful, condemned to die for my sins against this God but the gospel also shouts, “Grace to it” (Zechariah 4:7). I see my wickedness but I see His beauty when I look at the gospel of our God (Romans 1:1).
The gospel reveals to me that Jesus has bore my sins. He took the wrath of God in my place. Isaiah prophesied about this Christ and His work in Isaiah 53. I will place the entire passage here for us to mediate upon and see the wonder of the grace of God at work in His Son:
Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
9 And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.
Notice verse 10. It was the will of the LORD to crush Him! The will of God was that His perfect Son would bear my sins. 2 Corinthians 5:21 reads,
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
1 Peter 2:22-24 says,
22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
Hebrews 2:9 reads,
But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
The perfect, holy, blameless, righteous Son of God bore my sins on the cross. He died in my place. He suffered for me. His blood was shed to wash away my sins (Matthew 26:28; Ephesians 1:7) and by His stripes I am now healed. He bore the wrath of a holy God for me!
Romans 5:8-9 reads,
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
1 Thessalonians 1:10 assures us that Jesus has saved us from the wrath to come.
On the cross, the Lord Jesus died so that I might live. He offered Himself to God for my sins. In that moment, on the cross, the holy Son bore the wrath of a holy God against me. That is the glorious gospel! The gospel is not a picture so that I can feel moved to obedience. I cannot obey a holy God enough to please Him nor can I perfectly obey Him all my life (Romans 8:8). I need forgiveness. I need grace. I get both in the Son. The cross is not a mere example of a holy God honoring His Law but it is the perfect Son bearing the wrath that the condemned sinner should bear and will bear if they don’t repent. The sole reason that I can now be saved from God is the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I pray that we all would honor the Son for His glorious work on the cross! Salvation is available only because of His work (Romans 3:21-26). Jesus died for our sins (Galatians 1:4) and He was raised for our justification (Romans 4:24-25). We can now be forgiven and justified before a holy God because of the work of Christ and the work of Christ alone (Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7). Throughout all eternity we will worship the Lamb who bore our sins (Revelation 5:13-14).
What does it mean to be saved? We use that term in the Church very often yet I fear that we have not thought much about what it means to be saved. We are implying by the term that we are saved from something or someone. In the biblical sense we are saved from several things including Satan (Hebrews 2:14), sin (Matthew 1:21), the wrath of God (Romans 5:8-9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10), and death (1 Corinthians 15:55). But ultimately we are saved from the very one who can destroy us and that is God (Luke 12:5). God is the final Judge of all the earth (Romans 2:5-11). Our salvation is no doubt from Satan, sin, wrath to come, and death but the focus in the Bible is upon God Himself. We are reconciled by God from God (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).
We receive mercy from God when we turn away from that which brought us to this place and that is sin. Sin is what separates every human being from God (Isaiah 59:2; Romans 3:23). The wages of sin are always death (Romans 6:23). Those who repent of their sins receive the mercy of God (Isaiah 55:7; Proverbs 28:13; Acts 8:22). Those who remain in their sins will receive the wrath of God (Romans 1:18; 2:5, 8-9; Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 3:6). All who abide in sin will receive the just wrath of God (Exodus 32:33; Deuteronomy 10:17; Romans 2:8-11; 2 Corinthians 10:6; Colossians 3:25; 2 Peter 1:17; 1 John 3:15; Revelation 21:8; 22:15). As a disciple of Jesus, I am to avoid sinning (1 John 2:1-2) and not be a partner with those who are under the wrath of God (Ephesians 5:6-7).
What can save me from the wrath of a holy God is nothing but the blood of Jesus. I am not saved by my works (Ephesians 2:8-9). The work of God, Jesus said, was to believe in the one whom the Father sent (John 6:29). I am saved when I repent of my sins and have saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who alone bore my sins (Isaiah 53:5) and who alone is able to save me (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5-6). Jesus is the only mediator we have before God (Hebrews 7:25). Jesus alone is the only one who was sinless and therefore is able to help sinners who cry out to Him (Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-10; 7:22). Jesus alone is the one who turns away the wrath of God (Romans 3:22-27). He is our only hope for salvation.
Let us then keep our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2). Let us not turn to a life of sinning (2 Peter 2:20-22) but let us focus on Jesus and stay close to Him (1 John 1:7). When we do sin, let us repent and ask for God’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9). Let us not turn aside to false teachings about Christ (Galatians 1:6-9) or to a life of sin but let us remain faithful to Him who deserves all of our worship and praise. There is no Savior but Jesus and so let us not seek to find forgiveness of our sins any other place but in Christ alone (Romans 4:5).
Here is a great video from Dr. Michael Brown from the late 1990′s I believe. It is a video that is powerful and describes where the Church in the United States is today. May God help us to preach on the wrath of God (Romans 1:18).
As a parent I love my children. I would lay down my life for my children. However, I love them enough to also keep them from harm. I correct them and discipline them (Proverbs 15:10). I warn them. I seek to provide for them. Yet what parent who truly loves their child would not warn them about harm or pain? Is it not the loving nature of a parent to keep their children from wandering into errors?
I say all that because I have met people who think it is harsh to tell someone that they are going to hell. Like Rob Bell, they suppose that we can’t judge others and have no right to say that a person is going to hell or is in hell. I would agree that ultimately God is the only true judge of all (2 Timothy 4:1) but we are told there are fruits that we can see as to whether a person is a disciple of Jesus or not (Matthew 7:15-27). Paul warned the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 13:5 to examine themselves to make sure they are in the faith. This is why a disciple of Jesus must preach the gospel to ourselves and not just to others. The gospel is not just that Jesus died for the world (John 3:16) which He did but also that He died for me (Galatians 1:4) and that His resurrected life lives in me by faith (Romans 8:9-11). Each day I pray to the Father and I thank Him for saving me through His Son (Romans 5:1) and I praise Him that Jesus sits at His right hand (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25). I praise God that my name is written in the book of life (Luke 10:20; Hebrews 12:23).
However, when it comes to evangelism does it not mean that we don’t love others if we fail to warn them about the wrath to come? Romans 2:7-11 and 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10 speak about this coming wrath that God is going to bring on those who refuse the gospel (Romans 1:18-32). Mankind, by nature, doesn’t seek God (Romans 3:10-18) in truth. Yes, we are religious but we don’t know want the true God (2 Thessalonians 2:10). This just wrath is coming and if we don’t warn people, can we claim to be following Jesus as He said that we must love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Mark 12:31)? How can we say that we love God and yet not warn others about His wrath coming against them because of their sins?
A truly loving person would not, as Rob Bell and others suggest, that we turn a blind eye to their false religions, to their sins but we would warn them that a day is drawing near when they must give an account for their lives and if they are not a disciple of Jesus and clothed in His perfect righteousness, they cannot be saved from God’s wrath (Romans 5:8-9). A loving person doesn’t give a fake smile and move on. A loving person lovingly challenges people to consider the gospel of Jesus Christ and asked them to repent of their sins (Acts 2:37-39). Even Paul the Apostle in Acts 17:30-31 called the religious people of Athens (who were acknowledged agnostics) to repent and believe the gospel. Paul didn’t commend them for their false religion and false notions but he called them to repent, to have a cosmic change of mind and heart. He also warned them that Jesus was coming to judge them.
I believe then that true love in evangelism begins when we open our mouths and warn people about their sins. The gospel doesn’t begin with “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” but it begins with their sinfulness before a holy and just God who will not allow sins to go unpunished. This is why we must begin the message of salvation with the Law of God (1 Timothy 1:8-11). The Law shows our sins (Romans 7:7). The Law leads us to see that we are guilty before God (Romans 3:19-20) and the Law is our tutor to lead us to salvation through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:24). Through the Law of God, we see that we are guilty of breaking God’s commandments (James 2:9-13). How important it is then that the disciple of Christ know the Law of God (Exodus 20:1-17) so that when we loving deal with the lost we open their eyes to see that there is nothing that we can do to avert God’s coming wrath against our sins other than repentance and faith in Jesus. Works do not save on the day of judgment (Ephesians 2:8-9). The work of God is to believe the gospel (John 6:29) and be saved from sin through Jesus Christ (John 3:3-7). Salvation, we must warn them, is not found in false religions but only in Jesus (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Romans 10:14-17; 1 Timothy 2:3-6).
So I urge you to pray for the lost (Romans 10:1) and pray for the Lord to send forth His workers to work the fields of harvest (Matthew 9:37-38; John 4:35). We should rejoice in the Lord that we have the promise of Acts 1:8 that He would empower us through the Holy Spirit to make disciples of Jesus for His glory. Our God is a missions God (Galatians 4:4) and we should be as well if we follow Him as our Lord (Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 24:47; 2 Corinthians 5:18-21).