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Monday, April 17, 2006

Beautiful Wrath

Sparked by some conversations with someone (?), and also with some friends and family, I figured it was time for us to revisit the wrath of God. We should fear the wrath of God (obviously) but should also love it (as I'll explain). The following are some things we should remember regarding God's wrath in contrast to our own...

1. Sin is always a violation to God. Psalm 51:4 reminds us that David sinned against God. David had an affair and killed the husband of his mistress (all while manipulating his army for his purposes) yet he sees that ultimately he violated God. He has a right to be angry, for He was violated.
2. God has never committed sin. God has a right to be angry at sin, for He has never committed sin Himself (James 1:13, I John 1:5, Titus 1:2) God does not call us to a standard that does not apply to Himself.
3. His wrath is extinguisable. Through the penalty paid by Jesus Christ, the wrath of God can be satisfied (Romans 5:9). More amazing yet, God provided the work to appease His wrath even as we were deserving of it.

Why you shouldn't compare our wrath to God's:

1. Man is not the ultimate offended party. Again, in Acts 5:1-11 we see that Peter acknowledges that God (and the Holy Spirit) were ultimately offended. Though Ananias and Sapphira chose to lie to the church, ultimately they sinned against God. I truly hold no authority over anyone, therefore I can not hold them to the standard that I desire.
2. I stand offended, yet guilty. I have no right to feel wrath toward someone, for I need to understand that I am just as guilty as they. Matthew 18:21-35 clearly expresses that I should extend forgiveness because I have been forgiven. Who am I to carry wrath toward a person's disobedience when I am aware of my own guilt. For me to carry wrath, often reveals a Pharisaical attitude...believing I am righteous in and of myself.
3. My wrath is not satisfied in true justice. Often, my wrath is satisfied in seeing someone else pay. It does not matter whether justice is served, per se, as long as they had to pay. The cross repesents true justice, where an infinite God received and infinite payment for the sins of humanity upon Him. My wrath is eased when I simply see evidence of guilt or sorrow in a person's life.

I really have no right to exercise wrath, for I am just as guilty as the one I am angry with. (Are there times we can exercise "righteous indignation?" Probably, but the flesh is so prevalent, we need to be very cautious...acknowledging it could quickly turn to something else.) God however, not only has a right to be angry, but His love of justice demands that He has wrath.

God's wrath is actually the evidence of the grace He extends to us. Until we understand how terribly violated He is by our sin, do we understand the love of God that would die in our place while we are still sinners. We should fear the wrath of God (for we all deserve it), driving us to the only place where that wrath can be appeased (the cross). However, we should not view His wrath as something sinister or evil. On the contrary, His wrath is proof that He is just and righteous and that he desires justice. Because of His wrath I can delight that God is holy. Because of His holiness, I know that He requires a payment for sin that I can not pay of myself. Because of His love, He made that payment for me.

His wrath is beautiful because it reveals a justice and righteousness about God that reveals only the tip of the iceberg of His love.

1 Comments:

  • At 5:25 PM, Blogger Gary McDuda said…

    It's interesting to note what things anger God, and what He Does when He's angry. Check out:

    Exodus 22:21-24; 32: 9-10
    Numbers 11:1; 16:41-45
    Judges 2:20
    2 Chron 32:25

    This is kind of a follow up on my previous comment about "but I'm not that bad."

    Oh yeah?

     

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