blind

The events of the past week have left our nation hurting, skeptical of one another and even more polarized on the topics of police brutality and social injustice.  As in the wake of all tragedies and disasters, the question is being asked “Where is God in all of this?” and “If there is a [good] God, why is there suffering in the world?”  The Old Testament Law painted a picture of cause and effect for sin.  We learn much about the character and purposes of God in the Old Covenant, but we gloriously have records of the person of Jesus and His explanation for many misunderstandings and misconceptions of God developed by looking at that Law (and from basic human logic).

One such misunderstanding that the Jews carried throughout the generations was that all suffering and misfortune was a direct consequence of sin.  This worldview and belief is still prevalent in many religious and basic worldviews today.  It is exemplified in concepts like karma and “balance” in the universe.  We also expect our social and political systems to respond to evil and sin with punishment to enforce the balance of good and evil where the supernatural fails.

We see brief examples of God’s sovereignty over suffering and troubles throughout the Old Testament with people like Job and the enslavement of the Jews in Egypt, but by in large people prefer to be autonomous and attribute their blessings and successes to their own efforts and character, and thus are left asking “why me” when inexplicable suffering occurs.  Thankfully, Jesus explains suffering clearly.

“As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth.  And His disciples asked Him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?’  Jesus answered, ‘It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.'”

– John 9.1-3

Jesus had been teaching in the temple about His identity, the bread of life, and made the Jews angry by claiming to be God.  Thus, Jesus hid himself from them and slipped out of the crowd because they were trying to stone Him to death.  On His way out the door, He saw this man who had been born blind, begging.  His disciples noticed Jesus taking notice of the man, and they piped up to ask Jesus whose fault it was that this man had been born with such a terrible disability.

The prevailing worldview of the day was so dominant that the disciples were unashamed to boldly speak out in the presence of this poor man and ask Jesus if he had somehow sinned in the womb or if his parents had sinned so terribly that he was doomed to an entire lifetime of blindness.  Can you imagine?  There are occasions that we cry out to God or doubt Him because of our current situations, but would you ever dare to approach someone with a handicapped child and speak to him about his sin or the possible sin of his child in utero which led to this situation?  If you can, or ever have, you need to repent.

The disciples were clearly asking the cause.  Whose fault was the blindness?  And Jesus responded simply and profoundly: the cause was not sin.  The cause was God setting up this very situation in which His works could be mightily displayed.

One of the most beautiful promises that Christians (and non Christians alike) claim is that God knitted us together and formed us while we were still in our mothers’ wombs.

“For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.”

– Ps 139.13

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
And before you were born I consecrated you;
I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

– Jer 1.5

God pieced each one of us together in exactly the manner He wanted us.  This promise is true for all people.  God has created us each for a specific purpose, for a specific life, and with an abundance of unique traits and characteristics.  Even the handicapped.  Even the blind.  Even the broken.  And God utilizes the ways He forms us for His own glory and honor.

Sometimes that glory and honor is exceptional service:  vast wisdom, bold preaching, faithful obedience.  And sometimes that glory and honor is through God’s dynamic intervention:  healing of blindness, dramatic conversion testimonies, undeniable miracles.  And sometimes that glory and honor is through God’s sustaining power and faithfulness when we are not healed or changed.

This blind man whom Jesus encountered was created without the ability of sight, in his mother’s womb, so that Jesus could heal him and so that Jesus could teach both the disciples and us an invaluable lesson.  Not every bit of suffering is the direct consequence of our personal sin.  We do understand from Genesis 3 and Romans 1-3 that all of creation is indeed under the curse because of sin and all of suffering is the result of the reality of sin in our world.  But we must also understand that all who are in Christ have been forgiven for their sins and pardoned from the wrath of God as retribution for their sin – therefore while some suffering might be a consequence of their sin, no suffering of the believer is punishment for sin (Rom 8.1).

Some suffering is governed by God for the purification of our faith.  We read throughout the New Testament that God utilizes suffering and trials to teach us perseverance and to refine our faith as through fire (1 Peter 1.6ff).  We also see examples of suffering which God does not relieve for the sake of growing faith, like Paul:

“Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself!  Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.  And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’  Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

– 2 Cor 12.7-10

Paul had some sort of physical ailment which caused him great distress.  So much so that He begged God three times to heal him from it, and God refused.  God used Paul to preform many miracles as a missionary and apostle, including bringing back a person from the dead.  But yet, when Paul felt a need in his own body God refused to heal him for the sake of exemplifying His own strength through Paul’s weakness.  Thus we learn that there are times that God will knit together a person in his mother’s womb with blindness and never heal him so as to glorify Himself in this specific weakness.  God will allow us all to suffer a variety of weaknesses and trials without delivering us from them so that we will be forced to rely on Him and His strength and He receive the glory for His power through our weaknesses and trials.

As we continue to process the difficulties in our nation today, let us remember that God is not shocked or surprised by our situations.  In fact, He is orchestrating our circumstances and situations for His glory.  It might be through a radical transformation of our society as a whole, through a mighty miraculous work of God, or it might be to test and grow our faith as individuals.  The greater problem might remain, but we as Christians in a weak and sinful society will need to rely on the strength and guidance of God to live loving, purely and rightly before God.  This will strengthen and refine our faith.

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You shall not avoid tribulation.

tribulation

There is a foreign gospel often taught amongst churches that lead people into a delusion and awful state:  that God intends to make us happy, healthy and wealthy while we are still on this Earth.  We are all familiar with the extreme teaching as found in the “health and wealth gospel”, most of us have bought into the hype at one time through “The Prayer of Jabez”, and I would guess almost all of us hope for it and can test our hearts on it through the things that we pray.  Is your prayer list a laundry list of needs – things that you desire to be fixed so that you can live more comfortably and happily?  I know much of mine is.

There is a verse that some attempt to apply to today, many attempt to apply to the end times, but upon close examination only truly speaks to eternity:

“For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.”

– 1 Thess 5.9-10

Taking this verse out of it’s setting in the letter Paul wrote to the Church at Thessalonica, we can understand how someone would erroneously apply this verse to our every day life.  If God has not destined us for wrath, then He intends to make everything go well for me!  However, this verse is speaking in the context of the end, of eternity.  The Church at Thessalonica was confused about death and the end, they even became fearful that they had missed the rapture!  Thus Paul wrote to explain about the end, that those who had died would be raised from the dead and that when everything is said and done, we will not suffer eternal judgment but salvation through Jesus.

Consider how Jesus prayed for the disciples and for us:

“But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.  I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.  As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.  I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me…”

– John 17.13-21

Jesus prayed for us that we would be unified with Him, that God would keep us from the evil one, and He sent us out into the world.  Jesus should be our example as we consider our Christian walk, and God sent Him into the world to seek and to serve.  He had no where to lay His head, He gave to the poor and needy, He lived His life with an eternal perspective of salvation and He was hated for it.  If we want to be like Jesus, the world will hate us.

“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.  Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’  If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.”

– John 15.18-20

The world persecuted Jesus, and they will persecute those who follow Jesus.

“Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

– 2 Tim 3.12

We have the promise of eternal salvation, and are no longer living under the wrath of God.  Jesus took God’s wrath for those who believe in Him.  We will, however, live under the curse of sin until the end.  Sin leaves consequences on Earth.  The world will suffer tribulation, and we must persevere through it, for it is only those who persevere to the end that will be saved.

“Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.  At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.  Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.  Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.  But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.”

– Matt 24.9-13

God gives us the grace to persevere through trials and tribulation.  We are made more like Jesus through our trials and tribulations, because Jesus suffered and came through victorious, and when we endure suffering with perseverance, it creates character and character leads to hope (Rom 5, James 1).  Let us not think today that we are greater than our master, that we will be loved by the world and that we will be kept from suffering and persecution.  Let us cling to Jesus as we walk through the trials and struggles of life, and be molded more into His image.  He has sent us out into the world to be His witnesses.  Let’s embrace it.

We were darkness.

What do you believe about yourself?  Are you a “basically good person”?  Our culture has made true faith a difficult thing to cultivate amidst our narcissism.  Consumer-based hedonistic morally blasé societies do not facilitate introspection or examination, but glorify differences and dispositions as leverage for uniqueness and attention.  We all need the new Iphone 6.  My neighbor has it, and I don’t want to be left with my old, crappy Iphone 5.  The 6 will make me happy.  It’ll take better pictures so I can upload them to instagram and facebook to make everyone believe that my life is the best and most interesting.  What’s that?  You have an open marriage?  You are so advanced in your thinking!  Good for you for not being closed minded.

We thrive on change.  The industrial revolution has forever marked our world as “progressive” and the rate at which we throw away traditions of old is now multiple times per generation.

Some change is good.  Some change is Biblical.  But to build the foundation of openness (or need) to change on the cornerstone of blanket acceptance and validation squarely disputes the Gospel.

“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.  Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.”

– Eph 5.6-10

Apart from Christ, Paul says that we were darkness.  We were not good people roaming around lost in the darkness.  We were not people affected by an outside disease of darkness or sin.  We. Were. Darkness.  Our souls were black.  We hated the things of God.  In American society, there is a level of glorification for dark people.  The melancholy thinker is so insightful and enlightened.  The death metal band offers verbalization for those who are depressed and in need of a friend.  The pessimist is now simply a realist and hipster.  A woman from my city just this week met an ISIS terrorist online, went to receive US military training to give him insight for terrorism, and was arrested trying to board a plane to fly overseas to meet and marry him.

Many of us do not revel in the outward darkness at such depths, but we validate this subculture and exemplify the darkness that we are by materialism, competition with our neighbors, coworkers or friends, and narcissism.

In this same passage, Paul defines the people of darkness as those who have any immorality, impurity, greed, filthiness, silly talk or crude joking.  Have you lusted lately?  Felt greed for a possession?  Have you laughed at a dirty joke?  Or enjoyed a sitcom that glorified any ungodly deed or language?

But when Christ transforms us, we become light.  Our nature is transformed from darkness to light.  We are in the light, because the ultimate source of light is Jesus, but since He takes residence within us, and because we are covered completely in Him, we ourselves become light.

…for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth.

– Eph 5.9

We need to get real about our nature.  Apart from Christ we are darkness, and we need to quit glorifying it.  Because even if our culture at large believe something to be hip, cool, acceptable or even honorable, if God does not approve it, it will receive His wrath (Eph 5.6).  So which are you?  Are you darkness or are you light?  Are you an enemy of God or a child of God (Col 1.21)?  There is no middle ground.  And all facets within our culture can be evaluated and understood in these simple, Biblical definitions.

light_in_darkness

If we don’t fight sin, we are going to Hell.

Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.  For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.

– Col 3.5-7

All good Baptists will tell you quickly that we are saved by faith, not by works (Eph 2.8-9).  There is nothing we can do to earn God’s merit or favor and there is nothing we can do to make Him love us less.  We cannot lose our salvation.  Once saved always saved.  We are the frozen chosen, for my more reformed friends.

The evangelical world is split on the topic, however, as more liturgical based denominations will consider the back-slidden, the worldly believer and the apostate as unsaved – though having once been saved (Heb 6.4, 10.26-27, Matt 6.15).

Both trains of thought have made a serious error, and that in dealing with the very nature of salvation.  The faith of salvation has been divorced, in concept, from the faith that produces righteousness.  The faith that gets you into Heaven has been voided of the holiness which earns us eternal rewards.  To view salvation as a one-time experience that was secured by walking an aisle, raising a hand, or saying a prayer is simplistic at best and damnable at worst.

Jesus said,

“But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.”

– Matt 24.13

Salvation is an ongoing process.  We do not earn it by obedience, but it is exemplified by obedience.  If we are not being empowered by and convicted by the Holy Spirit to live lives that honor and glorify God, we did not have a true conversion experience and we are not on the road to eternal salvation.  Remember the sower and the seeds?  The Gospel can look appealing to people.  They can even start out down the apparent road of obedience.  But when it is of the flesh, the burdens of the world and persecution will cause them to fall away (Luke 8).

This is precisely why Paul encouraged the Philippian  church to work out their salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2.12).  Why?  Because eternity is at stake.  If you are obeying in your own strength, you are seeking to earn God’s salvation by your works.  There is no faith and consequently no salvation.  If you are refusing to obey, then there is no fruit to prove that the Spirit is working out your sanctification no proof of your salvation.  And it is for sin that God’s wrath comes upon people in eternal judgment:  Hell.

When we come to a fork in the road between living a lifestyle prohibited by God and living a lifestyle of obedience, if we choose sin, we can rightly fear that the Spirit is not at work within us, and that we are not saved.

Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

– Matt 10.28

Terrorists can kill our bodies.  Disease, car crashes, old age, something will kill our bodies.  But Jesus tells us to not fear those things, but to fear God who, after we are dead, can destroy us in Hell in punishment for our sins.

“If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.  If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.”

– Matt 5.29-30

Jesus considered our personal war against sin so serious that He painted the picture of gouging out our own eyes which cause us to lust, and cutting off our hands that cause us to sin.  The consequence of lusting after a woman, according to Jesus, is eternal damnation.

Does keeping ourselves from lusting earn us salvation?  No, it most certainly does not.  Faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins and the power to die to sin and hope of eternal salvation alone saves us.  But if we continue in sin, we prove that the Spirit is not saving us.

The one who perseveres to the end will be saved.

So let us confess to God that we cannot obey on our own.  We are unable to persevere through trials and persecutions.  We give in to our flesh and fall to the wiles of the world.  Let us trust in His sacrifice of His life on the cross and resurrection to conquer death and sin.  And let us stand in the victory of the cross, by the power of the Spirit, so that the Scripture can be true about us that sin will not be master over us (Rom 6.14).

Work it out.  Eternity is at stake.

kill sin

Does Jesus Judge Me?

God is love.  

He doesn’t judge me.

He accepts me how I am.

This is the mantra of 21st century narcissistic individualism.  Because we elevate and glorify “unity in diversity” and tolerance, we neutralize God to our own individual ideas of love because He says,

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

– 1 John 4.7-8

We have come to believe that love means leaving one another to our own devices.  We are beginning to see tendencies of a shame based society where we are making it illegal to speak ill of someone or an idea.  Tolerance no longer means allow to exist, but respect as true.

Is that how God loves us?  Does Jesus judge us for our sin?

John the Baptist, when Jesus came to him to be baptized, declared Jesus as the “Lamb of God” (John 1.29, 36).  This title was prophetic in that a lamb is a sacrificial animal and Jesus came to be the final and perfect sacrifice for our sins.

When we look at the book of Revelation, the prophecy of what is still yet to come, we see a very ominous picture:

Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

– Rev 6.15-17

In the end, the Lamb of God – Jesus – will return in wrath and judgment.  He came in love the first time, to offer Himself as the sacrifice for sinners.  He shed His blood, taking the punishment that we deserve for our sins, so that we can stand before Him with the verdict, “Time Served”.  When we are saved, we do not stand guiltless but we stand redeemed.  We stand as one whose time has been served, but not by us.  And it is in this redeemed state that we will be able to stand when He comes in wrath.  His wrath will condemn the un-redeemed to Hell.

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.  And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.  Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.  And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

– Rev 20.11-15

Jesus will judge our sins at the end.  And not only that, but He judges our sins now.  The very fact that Jesus died for us should cause us to stop and think.  Why did Jesus die?  He died because we deserve to die physically and spend eternity in Hell.  He judges and despises sin.  But because He loves us, He took the punishment for us to offer us eternity with Him.  Sin, even though we all do it, is not trivial.  It required Jesus’ blood and will require ours if we do not repent.

When He was on the Earth, Jesus never once met someone in their sin.  Jesus did not go to the brothels and the bars.  Jesus did not condone people for sinning.  Rather, Jesus drew the sinners out and ate with them in people’s homes and He boldly proclaimed that their faith had saved them and instructed them to “Go and sin no more” (John 8.11).  Jesus loves us enough to save us and transform us, not to excuse us and leave us in our wickedness.

Does Jesus judge us?  Yes.  We will all give an account one day for every careless word that came out of our mouths and every single action that we preform (Matt 12.36, Rom 14.12).  And Jesus also loves us and offered Himself as the sacrifice and punishment for our sins (John 15.13).  If we want to be saved, we must believe and repent.  We are not left to our sins, we are instructed for holiness.

hell

Guilty. Punished. Redeemed.

courtroom

“Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

– Heb 7.25

Have you ever had to go to court?  I have not.  However, I just received my first call for jury duty after only six months of residency in Colorado.  And in reflecting on my upcoming civic obligation, I have been meditating on my standing before God.

The court system is modeled after a Heavenly example.  Most societies have a method of examining citizens and people within their country, determining guilt and innocence and declaring punishment against law-breaking.  And the picture of judgment is prevalent throughout the entirety of Scripture.  In the Old Testament, under the Law, God is on His throne and the priests functioned as intercessors for the people.  They would come to God and make blood sacrifices to atone for their own sins and then offer sacrifices for the people, because God established the law that “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins” (Heb 9.22).  And they had to pay for their sins before they could intercede for the people.

When Jesus came, He lived a sinless life and died the death that you and I deserve.  His blood became the final and perfect sacrifice needed to atone for the sins of the world.  Therefore, no one ever has to make blood sacrifices now, they need only accept the free gift of redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ.  And Jesus, as God, raised from the dead after paying the penalty of death, and now lives to make intercession for us.  He is the perfect priest because He does not have to make sacrifices for His own sin, and he paid the perfect price to finalize the sacrificial system.

The picture is this:  God is on His throne.  Satan, the accuser – or prosecutor, is in the Heavenly court making accusations against us (Rev 12.10).  Jesus, our intercessor – or defense, stands always to say, “Yes, he did that, but the sentence has been served”.  Jesus’ death on the cross does not make it as if you never sinned.  Jesus’ death on the cross also does not make you not guilty.  Jesus’ death on the cross counts your sins as punished.

And God is the judge.  We do not need to be saved from Satan, he only is fighting against us in the Heavenly court.  God’s wrath for sin is the terror from which we need saving.  God’s sentence of “guilty” is damnation to Hell.

While we are still living on the Earth, we will all fall into sin.  No one can maintain a sinless state.  Scripture promises that we are set free from the bondage of sin, meaning that we are able to glorify God – we are able to choose to not sin – once we have been forgiven and saved (Rom 6.22).  But we will sin.  We do sin.  And when we sin, we have a perfect advocate with the Father (1 John 2.1).

The only genuine and true response to this forgiveness is love and out of that love flows obedience.  If we love Jesus and are thankful for the price He paid to redeem us, we will seek to not insult His honor.  For every sin that we do is another lashing of the whip, another beating of the club, another nail in his hand.  If we go on sinning, we again crucify Him and put Him to open shame (Heb 6.6).  We cheapen His grace to wicked freedom.  If that is your response to grace, then you have not received grace for “by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments” (1 John 2.3).  And, “for this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5.2).

And ultimately, in the end, Jesus is the one who will carry out the final sentence against all those who have not come to Him for forgiveness.

Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

– Rev 6.15-17

So Jesus paid the sentence we deserve.  If we draw near to Him (Heb 7.25), and receive His forgiveness then we are atoned.  We are welcomed.  He stands before the judge every time you fall and says, “I paid for that”.  And when He comes in His wrath to exact justice against sin at the end, we will be found justified, we will ride with Him into battle against sin, evil and darkness.  Not because we are righteous, but because His righteousness covers us and we have become His righteousness (2 Cor 5.21).

There is no better defense.  The prosecutor knows all the facts.  He has all the evidence.  He will prove you guilty.  Do you want to hide yourself in Him who is willing to pay your punishment?  And if so, when you understand the weight of penalty that has been covered, you cannot help but love.  And obey.  To honor Him and glorify Him, always!

From what do we need saved?

Christians spend a lot of time talking about salvation.  Eternal life is at your fingertips.  Heaven.  Eternal happiness.  But have you ever stopped to ask yourself from what it is that we need to be saved?  Is it our sins?  Is it Hell?  The Devil?

“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.  For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.  And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”

– Rom 5.9-11

We need to be saved from the wrath of God.  The fundamental, primary, and sole problem for human kind is the wrath of God.  He hates sin.  He despises sin.  He abhors sin.  He detests sin so thoroughly and fully that anyone who has committed any sin He will repay with death, destruction, and eternal damnation.  This passage says that to live in sin is to be an enemy of God.  Adam and Eve, by eating a piece of fruit, effectively made themselves, and consequently all of humanity, enemies of God.  If there is one sin of disobedience you could forgive your child, wouldn’t it be eating something he was told to not eat?  But it is an abomination to God to justify the wicked (Prov 17.15); to let sin slide.  And He is angry at sin.  Ps 5.5 says that God hates everyone who does iniquity – sin.

God is the ultimate being in the universe.  He has attributes that we simply cannot understand:  He exists outside of time, He needs nothing to sustain Him, He is complete in and of Himself, He has perfect relationship within the triune nature of His being, He has complete creative power by which He created the universe out of nothing.  He created us, he established His will, and He had redemption’s story completed before he even said, “Let there be light” (Gen 1.3).

When we sin, it is against Him that we sin.  David, when he was confronted for having slept with another man’s wife, got her pregnant, and had the man killed so as to keep her for himself and hide his sin, made this statement to God, “Against you only have I sinned, so that You are justified when You speak and blameless when you judge” (Ps 51.4).  Did David sin against Bathsheba?  Yes.  Did David sin against Uriah when he took his wife and murdered him?  Yes.  But the weight of the sin is directly correlated to the value of the one sinned against and therefore by breaking the Law of God, David’s sin was primarily and ultimately against God.  And it is the wrath of God incurred for sins that condemns and justly judges us.

God, being the ultimate, perfect and loving being in the universe, also provided an escape from His own wrath by satiating His own wrath upon Himself in the person of Jesus Christ.  He poured out His wrath on Christ as He died on the cross and spent three days separated from God the Father in Hell, and ultimately conquering death through the resurrection.  Jesus took the punishment that you and I deserve and appeased God’s wrath in that, such that we can be at peace with God if we accept His forgiveness and submit ourselves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  This is the good news of the Gospel!  Let us, therefore, press on to maturity and good works while we rest in the saving grace of God the Father through the forgiveness of our sins!

“The love of God makes escape from the wrath of God by sacrificing the Son of God to vindicate the righteousness of God because people have sinned and trampled the glory of God.”

– John Piper