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.
Jesus is a wrecking ball. Once he starts to work in your life, get ready for walls to come crashing down, and to feel the effects. It takes a lifetime of struggle to get used to your new duds, but they are yours, they are beautiful, and they are kept spotless by His righteousness.
“I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspringand her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.” – Genesis 3:15
God has always pursued us. Right after our first parents blew it, he was there promising to crush Satan by crushing his own Son.
God’s Law is much more capable of condemning a sinner than we sinners are capable of condemning ourselves. If we saw ourselves in light of His perfect standard, we would cease all religious hostilities against God and commend ourselves to His mercy alone, a mercy so graciously provided in the cross of Christ
Don’t we realize that we don’t have to sin anymore? We have been set free! How? See Romans 6:1-11, where we read that we are dead to sin and alive to God by virtue of being buried with Christ in His death, and raised with Him in His resurrection. What does this mean? It means that when we are saved, our sin nature, our “old man,” was put to death with Jesus. That is, the ruling power of sin over us was dethroned, no longer having the same kind of authority it once did. This leaves us now with a choice where there was none before. When sin ruled, we had no choice but to obey its desires. When sin is dethroned, we now have the much more attractive option of presenting our “members to God as instruments of righteousness” (6:13). We have been set free from the ruling power of sin! But it doesn’t stop there, for we are not only buried with Christ in His death, but we are raised with Him as well. Now that the power of sin over us is dethroned, we don’t view our new option of righteousness neutrally, but as those who now share in the power of Christ’s resurrection. Being a Christian doesn’t just remove the penalty of sin, but imparts the gift of true life! You have been set free from sin, but you are not wandering about aimlessly. You have been given a new compass heading that points towards your new home, and the Holy Spirit has been poured out upon you to help get you there!
Many in Paul’s day, and in ours as well, think that we are made right before God by following the Law. But Paul tells us that this is not the purpose of the Law at all, and that in fact any attempt to justify oneself through it is evil and prideful (Philippians 3:2). So what is the purpose of the Law? In short, so that our “sin might be shown to be sin,” and that it might” become sinful beyond measure” (Romans 7:13). Does this mean that the law is sinful? Paul vehemently says no! The Law is life for those who can keep it. And this is precisely Paul’s point. The Law does not equal life for us, but death, because it exposes that which exists within every human being, indwelling sin. The more we look at the Law and take it seriously, the more we are crushed by its perfect and unreachable demands. Far from despair, which is prideful in its own way, we Christians are driven to find our confidence not in ourselves, but in a Savior who did keep the Law, and who did pay the righteously demanded price for our failing to keep it. With Paul we confidently say, “Wretched folk that we are! Who will deliver us from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25). So far from saving us, the Law condemns us, and points us to our need for a Savior, who was graciously supplied to us through the person of Jesus Christ.
This was the response of the Jewish crowd when Pilate washed his hands of Jesus saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. See to it yourselves.” The Jews were saying, “we are so confident about Jesus that we are willing to put ourselves and our children under God’s curse.” It is amazing, in light of the book of Acts and 2000 years of church history, how true this statement came to be. Jesus’ blood came to be on many of them, but not in the way they expected. They would certainly be under God’s curse, but only in their relation to the One who God cursed on their behalf. Through His shed blood on the cross, Jesus bore God’s hatred of sin, His curse, for the Jews back then, and for you and me today.