Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Message In Wrath

We don't hear much about the wrath of God anymore. I wonder if we're missing something important in ignoring and/or undercutting its message. There is certainly no absence of "discussion" about the subject in the Bible: do we need to be "discussing" it more?

Romans 1 tells us the wrath of God is in the process of being revealed from heaven. Obviously, the subject is important enough for God to include it in his self-revelation in nature. In other words, this is something we should know about him, he wants us to understand this. Life as we know it screams at us in no uncertain terms that God is upset, and he wants us to get the message. The repercussions of it echo incessantly rattling everything this time and plane.

Prophets, one after the other, tried to establish God's wrath as a stimulant to reasonable thinking on our part. Not that we live in fear of punishment, that is the Devil's ploy, but we should live in sober judgment discerning the nature of "how things work." When sky walking on a steel girder stories above the security of earth, that sinking feeling that discerns gravity is a boon to clear thinking and careful stepping. Surely wisdom owes a debt of gratitude to the wrath of God!

The death and burial of Jesus Christ reveal the true extent of God's wrath. The witness of life (see Romans 1 above), and the deadness of our souls invoke a certain trembling in us, perchance even the whisper of God's voice reaches us.
We hide, trembling in the bushes, knowing we are sinners and children of wrath by nature. We fear the face of him who sits on the throne. Nothing could coax us out of our hiding places but the sure knowledge that our sins were fully expiated through Christ's sacrifice and we were thereby reconciled to God. The outrageousness and brutality of Christ's passion impeccably scribe the fearful breadth of God's wrath against sin.

Do we even have a real purpose for ministry and evangelism without paying due deference to the wrath of God? Ours is a
ministry of reconciliation. The quality and depth of God' grace and forgiveness cannot be seen in proper relief apart from the backdrop of his animus against sin. He who is perfect in grace is also perfect in wrath. Have we truly delivered any message at all if we haven't revealed the message in his wrath?

4 comments:

  1. do you have sermons on this subject. i do not hear this much in churches that i have been to.

    i ment to say, is the Spirit urging you to speak this word? i suppose that most people going to churches would have heard the message. i suppose that a reminder could be in order for all of us to hear. and we should live in fear of God in a way of reverence and awe. it is certainly hard to live without fear. i have gone through things that i am afraid i might go through again...but, i know that God taught me some very good lessons while i was there and i came closer to God in that place. i know that i had to taste a bit of what death would feel like to understand and to really turn my head. but, for you to say the words, maybe someone's heart is ready and needs to hear that message. i do not know how a person that preaches knows what to preach on...but, i would think that the Spirit might speak to your heart in which way. i think that this is what the people are yearning for right now. i see a plea for Jesus preached right from the bible. people are hungry for the word...and all they get is a junk food snack. i think that a lot of preachers have fear...and not of God, but of what their congregation or those that pay the wages, or hire and fire. i think that we are all afraid of people instead of God. time for a change.

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  2. http://anti-itchmeditation.blogspot.com/2008/02/how-to-get-revival.html

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  3. Nanc,
    Sorry it's taken so long to get back to you. Yes, I have preached on the subject, and I have no doubts that you haven't heard it much in churches you've been to. I don't mean to imply that it should be the subject of many sermons, but it is a common subject in the word, it is part of God's character and governance and he does want us to know about it. ISTM, we should at least be hearing about it.

    I am a mystic at heart. I always endeavor to speak what the Spirit is stirring. Usually, I have no idea as to why, but I'm committed to letting God lead and be the smart one, so I go with the flow (as long as what's moving in me is verified in the Word). I figure when it comes to the mystery of reforming the human soul, his idea is bound to be better than mine.

    You are probably correct about preachers operating in fear. As easily as folk chuck one church for another, or as some congregational churches dump pastors, can you blame them?

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  4. thanks for the return comment.
    i appreciate it.

    my heart is glad to hear of your way of following the Spirit and the word. i think it takes faith and hope to do this.

    i do not lay blame on a preachers for having fear. the actions of people around us can cause us great fear. i lay blame on sin. i know that we all deal with our own fear and the fear of the people around us as well that comes from the lies that we listen to. it causes us to not live in the love that we are asked to live in. the love for God first and the love for others second as commandments. lies and fear from the lies. it takes great faith and trust to move beyond it. i do not think that preachers are any different in this battle than anyone else.

    all battle begins and ends with the spiritual battle.

    i pray for endurance for all

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