The Summer Growth Challenge 2015 project is written by Kevin Kusunoki. He loves mentoring students, watching baseball and reliving his days as the frontman of a boy-band.
How do we make sense of all this wrath? A lot of us like to think that wrath does not exist in the New Testament. But clearly, the past two weeks of reading says otherwise right? How do we make sense of this character trait of God, and how do we reconcile it with our view of God’s love? I want to give you an excerpt from a sermon by Matt Chandler from The Village Church where he speaks on this subject:
See, love and wrath cannot be taken from one another. If you take one, you lose the other. If he's not a God of wrath, then there is nothing he loves enough to incite anger, and that's important. That means there is no love. You can't make God a sky fairy God of love and try to take from him his wrath.
Since he is such a God of love, his wrath is stupendous, and it's coming, and it is very real. Do you want to know how seriously God takes your sin? Look only to the horrific cross and the reality of hell. Those two stand as a signpost of God's rage against your sin and my sin. All of us are guilty. The Isaiah 53 passage as well as the rest of Scripture testifies to this. "There is none righteous, not even one…"This text is one of those that puts the self-righteous in a place of wanting to reject Jesus because it just says, "All of us like sheep have gone astray…"
Here's what's happening. You and I, the wrath of God being stored up, steadily building opposition against that will have its climax in our outright destruction and an eternity in hell. Jesus shows up. One of my favorite verses in the Bible… John 3:16 gets all the press, but John 3:17 is one that just makes my heart continuously leap. John 3:17 is Jesus saying, "I have come into the world not to condemn the world but rather to save the world from condemnation."
What Christ does is he steps into this mess, this steadily building opposition against, this boiling wrath toward those who love creation more than the Creator, who believe they're smarter than God and fail to acknowledge him. He steps into that messy world in human flesh, the second person of the Trinity, God the Son, and he lives an upright, perfect life. He fulfills the law, that law you and I break all the time. He fulfills it.
Here’s the stark reality of the situation. Matt Chandler is saying that we are all like those Israelites who were led astray by Balaam, the Israelites who paid the penalty for their sin by suffering the plague. However, for us, the wrath and judgement of God for our sins were paid for on the cross through the sacrifice of Jesus. God’s hatred of sin is directly related to his love for us. And so a penalty must always be paid; only this time,God himself paid the penalty for us.
If you want to hear this sermon or others like it, here are a few:
And be sure to follow along with this plan here!