In the Old Testament we see a God who is angry about sin. This is offensive to our sensibilities. How dare God infringe upon our freedom by being angry about something! How dare He get in our way! But God is angry about sin not because He is a grumpy killjoy but because He is eternally committed to His own holiness and the good of those He loves.
Think about it. If God were not angry with sin then He would not be holy. Would an unholy God be worth worshiping and following? We should be glad about it! In addition, God’s anger over sin is a function of His love for us. He wants us to truly live, and sin keeps us from it! If anything, God is angry because He cares. This is not foreign to ordinary life. I keep my son Henry from running out into the street because I don’t want him to get hit by a car. I might even deal harshly with him if he persists. No one in their right mind would say that I was being unloving. In fact, just the opposite is true.
Yet this is the very thing many people complain about when it comes to God. We tend to get it all backwards. We see sin as freedom and God’s law as too restrictive…not life giving but life taking. God tells us what to do because He is insecure and somehow needs us (see Clash of the Titans). Of course this is no surprise. The human spiritual taste bud has been tainted to the extent that we enjoy the wrong things. In fact, we enjoy them so much that we follow them right to the grave. We sin because we love ruling over self, and we hate being ruled by God…a God that we attempt to placate by running and hiding under the false pretenses of man-made religion. These religious charades allow us to maintain control over our own lives while giving the illusion of actual commitment to God.
When we talk about the Gospel in many of our circles, we don’t deal with this reality. Jesus died to get us out of hell (many say), but not to give us the new taste buds that steer us away from it. We’ve been taught to hate the otherworldly consequences of sin, but not the soul sucking reality of it in the here and now. Christianity becomes only about life after death with not much to offer today. This goes a long way towards explaining the weakness of the church in the West. We don’t preach or believe in a robust Gospel. A Gospel that makes us alive spiritually, where we are really “born again.” A Gospel that de-fanged both Satan and sin at Calvary. A Gospel that renews our taste buds daily and empowers us with the very presence of God the Holy Spirit.
May we continue preach and believe in a robust Gospel every day of our lives, from start to finish. It is then and only then that the Holy Spirit will pierce our idolatrous hearts and set them to beating for Him.