by Paul Benson
Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Ephesians 5:6
In this day of great end-time deception it’s important that the believer keep a biblical view of who God is, and how he deals with mankind. We are so prone to making God out to be who we think he ought to be. Or perhaps even more prone to make him out to be who we want him to be. The message of Christianity is being greatly hindered by many misconceptions about our Creator.
These range from the lovey-dovey ‘daddy’ preached by most charismatics today (that would NEVER! spank a child of his) to the wacky notion that God is an alien species that seeded this planet with life eons ago and has remained in the wings guiding us to perfection. The unbiblical ideas about the nature and character of God preached today are seemingly endless. But without a biblical view of God we cannot present a biblical view of his grace.
Many people have great difficulty comprehending the wrath of God and either flat-out refuse to acknowledge it or present a modernized version of it that is more user-friendly and palatable to a generation who have turned their ears away from the truth and unto fables (2Tim. 4:4). But the Bible contains all we need to develop a proper understanding of God’s holy anger.
And once we do grasp that understanding then his wrath (and the motivation behind it) no longer seems unwarranted or unfair. It will make perfect sense. I am going to make a statement here some will have serious issue with:
The motivation behind God’s wrath is God’s love!
Yes, you did read that correctly. God’s fierce and holy wrath, that he has in times past vented upon this planet (and will again in a soon coming season!), is an out-working of his great love for humanity!
The Idolatrous Modern Gospel!
Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Mark 7:7
A grave danger arises in allowing a backslid modern Gospel to convince us of a false image of who God is (and how he deals with mankind). But if we fabricate a patently false image of God in our minds and hearts, and worship that image instead of who he truly is, would that not possibly be seen by the Lord as idolatry? Worshiping a false God?
Absolutely! In the Lord’s sight that worship is idolatrous and in vain.
None of us (including yours truly) has a perfect comprehension of our Creator or his divine dealings with us. But he has given us the Word of Truth and the Spirit of Truth that we might find that Door of Truth which leads to life eternal. We do NOT want to miss that door or attempt to enter in through another door! The result would be a never ending nightmare. Unthinkable horror awaits those who followed lies rather than the truth. God help us!
I named this blog ‘Let’s Get It Right!’ for a very good reason. I understand and greatly fear the consequences of getting it wrong! A perverted understanding of God and his ways produces in turn a perverted Gospel. And a wayward Gospel is powerless to save a wayward humanity! But with the Word of God as our foundation, and the Holy Spirit to quicken our understanding of that truth, we can build a house that will stand.
We can get it right!
I recently received a post from Ezekielcountdown ( I am a subscriber to her site. Very edifying. Check it out!) that was a devotional writing by Charles Spurgeon on the great love our God has for the believer. Here is that quote:
“God is jealous.” —Nahum 1:2
Your Lord is very jealous of your love, O believer. Did he choose you? He cannot bear that you should choose another. Did he buy you with his own blood? He cannot endure that you should think that you are your own, or that you belong to this world. He loved you with such a love that he would not stop in heaven without you; he would sooner die than you should perish, and he cannot endure that anything should stand between your heart’s love and himself. He is very jealous of your trust. He will not permit you to trust in an arm of flesh. He cannot bear that you should hew out broken cisterns, when the overflowing fountain is always free to you. When we lean upon him, he is glad, but when we transfer our dependence to another, when we rely upon our own wisdom, or the wisdom of a friend—worst of all, when we trust in any works of our own, he is displeased, and will chasten us that he may bring us to himself. He is also very jealous of our company. There should be no one with whom we converse so much as with Jesus. To abide in him only, this is true love; but to commune with the world, to find sufficient solace in our carnal comforts, to prefer even the society of our fellow Christians to secret intercourse with him, this is grievous to our jealous Lord. He would fain have us abide in him, and enjoy constant fellowship with himself; and many of the trials which he sends us are for the purpose of weaning our hearts from the creature, and fixing them more closely upon himself. Let this jealousy which would keep us near to Christ be also a comfort to us, for if he loves us so much as to care thus about our love we may be sure that he will suffer nothing to harm us, and will protect us from all our enemies. Oh that we may have grace this day to keep our hearts in sacred chastity for our Beloved alone, with sacred jealousy shutting our eyes to all the fascinations of the world! C. H. Spurgeon
As I read (and reread) this devotional God once again dealt with me on a quite serious aspect of his love that is nearly totally ignored in the modern pulpit.
Understanding the tie between God’s great love for humanity and his jealousy is key to grasping a proper comprehension of his wrath. But how many today preach on the jealousy of God? Very few! I brought up this issue in a *previous article. Here is a quote from it:
For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: Exodus 34:14
It might surprise many that one of the names for God we find in the Bible is ‘Jealous’. Much preaching is done on the benevolent love of God; but sparse are the messages on the wrath Jesus will visit upon this world at his Return. A lot of folks seem to think he is going to descend with a kitty-cat in one arm and a bouquet of flowers in the other, but not so! The Bible tells us he will return: in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: (2 Thess. 1:8).
When we think along the lines of how great God’s love is it would be wise to consider that great love also carries with it a great capacity for jealous anger. It has been said, ‘Hell has no fury like a woman scorned!’. Whoever said that had absolutely no idea what they were talking about. The damnation the wicked shall face will be an eternal expression of the jealous anger of an Almighty God rejected by the creation he loves so dearly. END QUOTE
This truism (that the greater the love the greater the capacity for jealous anger if that love is rejected) is key to a proper understanding of the divine wrath of God; and it helps us to see the future expression of that wrath in the proper light.
Many seem to think it unreasonable God would visit his anger upon Mankind. (Who does he think he is?) They see him like some ogre with need of anger management for his violent outbursts of anger. Others have no expectation of a coming time of wrath. They fail to see the cause and effect connection of sin and the coming retribution. Others still hold to a false hope (Ultimate Reconciliation) that in the end God will relent and allow ALL to enter his eternal Kingdom.
To most folks the idea of the coming wrath of God is either unreasonable, irrelevant, or unnecessary.
And most preaching (particularly the sin-pacifying bat-scat preachers and teachers are slinging at us from nearly every podium or media platform) does very little to break through to these folks. There is just not enough truth or reality there to stir them to any sort of conviction concerning their lost condition.
But even the unsaved understand the idea of jealous anger over a love that has been rejected or wounded by infidelity. This is a concept they can grasp and relate to. Why are we not preaching it to them?
The world needs to know that God is a jealous God!
This is an image of God’s wrath that cuts through falsehood with the Sword of Truth and carries with it the power to convince and convict a heart. People need to hear a word that declares that not only are we (as God’s creation) his personal property, but also the object of his great love and desire. The true Gospel not only presents his love for us, but also the understanding that the rejection of that love will have disastrous consequence!
But more often than not the sinner is being petted, pacified, and entertained in order to bolster church attendance rather than being presented a sin-convicting gospel. Preachers are more worried about getting people (and their checkbook) to keep entering the door of their church door than they are about them entering the door to eternal life!
A Balanced Gospel
Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. Romans 11:22
We hear preachers everywhere telling us: ‘God loves you! God loves you!’ And YES, he surely does! But what good is a Gospel that does not convey the message that God views sin as unfaithfulness, and he demands fidelity from his beloved creation? A *repentance-less Gospel is not the Gospel of the Bible!
*(This has been referred to by some as ‘the Obama Gospel’: If you like your sin – you can keep your sin!)
Bible preaching that presents a demand for repentance has grown increasingly uncommon in this day; as has the testimony of true conversions to a life of righteous living through divine grace. And the lack of the latter is a by-product of the lack of the former! How can we fail to see the connection?
Is our wit that dull?
Here is a novel concept: If we are going to see the fruit of the good seed of the truth of God’s Word spring up in our midst we are actually going to have to PLANT that good seed (and not some sterile hybrid!). When are we going to see the folly of preaching a man-pleasing counterfeit of the Gospel and expecting to see the life-changing results of the genuine?
When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Acts 7:54-56
Without a conviction of ones sinful state and of the coming judgment upon that sin (and a vision of the Cross of Christ as the only solution for that condition) there is no salvation!
Conviction-less conversions produce unconverted converts!
And today’s churches are chock full of such! People claiming to be a new creation in Christ but they have never forsaken their sins! But the uncompromised truth of God’s Word addresses the true state of the lost; and at times this truth cuts right to the heart. It brings an unrest and discomfort upon those living out of sync with the will of God. This is a necessary part of the salvation process.
As in the case of Stephen in the passage above this type of preaching can bring great repercussions upon the one speaking those words. But don’t we want to be preaching a message that actually brings people into a true state of grace and not into the false assurance of a religious delusion?
And look at where that stand for the truth brought Stephen. Into the glory and presence of our Lord! Isn’t that the goal of it all? Are we out to please God or pacify man? The answer to that question can be easily ascertained by taking a good look at what we preach.
And the more I listen the worse we sound!
Charles Finney would not present an offer of God’s grace and forgiveness to a congregation until there was an evident atmosphere of repentance among them. Sometimes this took long weeks of earnest preaching for that conviction to grab a hold on the sinful and the religious lost. Then, and only then, would he present the means to escape from the damnation upon them. This method is scoffed at today; but just compare the results he saw against the pathetic scorecard of the modern American Church!
The Body of Christ needs to get back to presenting a biblical and balanced message of the goodness and severity of God. And I am not talking about ‘those guys’; I am talking about you and I!
Encouraged By The Jealousy Of God?
Brother Spurgeon made the comment we should be encouraged by the expression of God’s jealousy. As well we should! Let his propensity to outbursts of great wrath be to you be a measuring stick of his great love to you his follower!
- If his wrath is so immense it can destroy a world should not the immense love which fuels such jealous anger be seen as a great safety to his faithful ones?
- Is not his love for us even larger than the horrid expressions of anger it manifests?
- Is not his desire to protect and nourish the meek who love him and hope in his faithfulness even greater than his intention to destroy those wickedly unrepentant whom he abhors?
Yes, yes, and yes again! The measure of his love toward his people is boundless. Take courage in that knowledge. I sure do!
God is a God of immense love!
And God is also an immensely jealous God!
And Jesus is coming soon to visit that jealous anger upon those who have rejected his love and Lordship. I know that fact, and you probably know that also. But how is the world going to know it, and respond properly to that crucial message, if they are not hearing it from us?
Please, for their sake, let’s do get this right.
*The article quoted from above is ‘Does God Ever Get Angry? Are We Expressing A Balanced View Of God’s Love?’. It can be found RIGHT HERE.
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