There are so many mysteries about God that we will simply not understand until we see Him face to face and are transformed into His perfected image. (1 John 3:2) However, there are many other things we all wrestle with that do have answers, things that we simply misunderstand or haven’t encountered yet in the Word of God. (This is why the Word of God must be a daily part of your life- to strengthen your faith and nourish your continued growth in your knowledge and revelation of God!) One of the most common issues Christians – and non-Christians – ponder is how a loving God could have wrath- the kind of wrath that would send people to hell, or wipe out entire civilizations. Have you ever thought about that? Has anyone ever asked you to explain it?
The single most important answer is not found in God’s sovereignty. Too often “sovereignty” is used as a catch-all for the difficult things we cannot explain about God or to explain our human experience and that is just as dangerous and in error as trying to figure God out. He is unknowable. “How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable are His ways!” Paul wrote in Romans 11:33. Remember, God’s sovereignty doesn’t negate our responsibility, it empowers it. So how can a loving God have wrath? Here is what so many misunderstand and cannot explain: God’s wrath was never aimed against humanity. God’s wrath has always been against sin. YOU MUST REMEMBER THAT. Write it down somewhere. Memorize it.
“…for those who live apart from Christ and reject His sacrifice for their reconciliation with God, they are held, by the power of their own choices, under the punishment of death that was levied against SIN, not against THEM.”
(When you’re done reading today’s devotion, check out “The acts of the Lamb made Jesus the Lion” for more about the “contradictions” we see in the Lord’s nature!)
When we choose to walk in sin, apart from Christ, we are under the curse of the law, which was set into motion against sin, not against mankind. Unfortunately, the enemy is right there tempting us with all kinds of trickery and evil, luring mankind into sin and away from the Savior, Jesus Christ. Why? Because of this (taken from Isaiah 53):
“Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering, But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all…Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. [The Lord] shall see the anguish of His soul and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous servant shall justify the many, for He shall bear their iniquities.”
Satan knows that Jesus Christ set you free from sin, and bridged the gap between the darkness of sin and God’s holiness and light so you would be counted as holy and worthy to stand in His presence. This is why he fights to violently. God’s “wrath” that wiped out people was never against those people. God’s wrath against sin was satisfied at Calvary!! His anger burned against sin, to which human beings have been enslaved. “Do you not know that to whom you yield yourselves as slaves to obey, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16)
GOD IS GOOD. If you ever read anything in the Bible that conflicts with His goodness, do not then redefine “goodness” as His “sovereignty” and then throw your hands up and stay confused. No! God is GOOD. But more than His goodness, He is holy. God is against SIN. He is not against YOU. He loves you and He sent Jesus to die so you could be within His “unapproachable light” through His Son. (1 Timothy 6:16) That is the message of the Gospel! That is why we worship!
Thought for today
Aren’t you glad that God’s goodness, love and mercy are based on His character and not your own? Jesus Christ is forever honored and worshipped in heaven for what He did on the cross. What kind of person sits in complete silence and lets themselves be whipped, spat on, stabbed, reviled, mocked, humiliated and killed for people who will never change? For people who will never accept that sacrifice? Even just to give them the chance to receive it? JESUS CHRIST. The pure and spotless Lamb. There is no more wrath against sin, it has been FINISHED, as Jesus said. However, for those who live apart from Christ and reject His sacrifice for their reconciliation with God, they are held, by the power of their own choices, under the punishment of death that was levied against SIN, not against THEM. When people ask you how could a loving God send people to hell or wipe out people like He did in the Old Testament, remember God’s WRATH was against sin and His LOVE sent Jesus Christ to rescue us. WHAT A MIGHTY GOD WE SERVE!!