Tuesday, March 11, 2008

we are deserving of wrath

We read in Ephesians 2 that before faith in Christ, "like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath." Humankind was created by God from whom all good comes. Of course a big part of the good is love, and this is a love that God freely gives, of course God is love (true, but also needs to be read in its context). God made Adam and Eve free beings so that they would return his love freely.

Of course humankind sinned in the garden, in Adam and through Eve- both guilty- and therefore became sinners deserving of God's wrath, which means God just judgment. Of course wrath includes anger; God is not an unemotional Being. And I take it that God's anger and wrath, along with everything else about God, is an expression of God's love. God's love is violated, therefore he is angry. God sees sin as destructive to others, therefore he is angry with the wicked.

But back to us plain, ordinary sinners, if there really is such a thing; isn't all sin great in a bad sense, and in light of the holiness of God? God's standard is for us to obey him. In the beginning there was only one prohibition, not to eat of the one tree, while all the rest was theirs to so enjoy. But now that we are bent on disobeying God there are a good number of prohibitions, quite well summarized in the Ten Commandments. And we've broken them all, if not in actions than in our hearts (also here).

We are deserving of God's wrath. But one truth of God's atoning work in Christ, and I say just one, not the only one, and not even necessarily the main one, though I think it's important and at least part of the heart of what God has done, is that God, in becoming human- one of us, takes our just punishment on himself at the cross. Yes, Jesus is God having become human, and he took that punishment for us, so that we might not be under God's wrath and just judgment any longer, even though still deserving it, and might come into full fellowship again with God. God has done that. By faith we must accept this verdict and truth about ourselves and God's remedy in Jesus for it. And return to the God whose arms in Jesus are opened for us. Then we are accepted.

Have you accepted this, in Jesus, for yourself? Have you come back, in Jesus, to God?


Every Square Inch said...


In the postmodern Christian world, we don't like talking about wrath these days...but it's real.

Thanks for being faithful to explain the "bad news" so that the "good news" makes sense and is cherished.

L.L. Barkat said...

I am a little curious what was on your mind... when you decided to write this. I guess I am like that, thinking about what urges a writer to broach a certain subject at a certain juncture. No need to answer. I just wondered.

preacherman said...

I agree with every square inch.
The post-modern world according to Dan Kimball thinks that Christians are judgemental and closeminded; that Christianity is a man-made organized religion; Christians are arrogant to think they are the only true religion. The message that those who do go to church in this post-Christian age is a message of Positive living. Encouragement. Sunday is like a pep-rally for Christians so they can live the Christian life the rest of the week. Great post Ted.
Excellent thoughts brother. Keep up the great blogging! Let's keep emerging!!!

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

yes - it is "bad news" - but it makes us realize how very much we have been saved from and truly how good the good news is!

Rachel Mc said...

I agree with the posts too, and it would be interesting to know what prompted this post, or was it just "wondering and musing" about where your readers are in their journey. For me (new christian) I need to be careful about God's wrath because it can be a fine line to feeling unworthy and then low self esteem and then saying "why bother" but I think that is the step all "newbies" take. As I daily read your posts and others comments I am amazed at how far off my response would be, but I am realizing I am not on the same page as your faithful readers, and that is ok.

Allan R. Bevere said...


Good thoughts.

What we deserve and what we receive from God in grace is important for us to emphasize.

As has been already said, the bad news makes the good news so good indeed!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes, there are "emergers" who believe in this ane "emergers" who don't. I'm a friend of them, and I do believe we have to take a clear stand on this. There's no way one can read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and then just discard this teaching about God's wrath/judgment. And indeed we need to understand this in order to understand our salvation. Both are an important part of it.

Ted M. Gossard said...

I'm not sure. I think it's related to simply working on the gospel. On my post yesterday I left a link to Bob Robinson's blog, an excellent post on the gospel.

I just think this needs to be said. God is a god of love, and loves everyone and all peoples. Wrath simply means judgment to me, but a judgment which is not devoid of God just and righteous anger.

But no particular mood or reason. And I wanted to answer you as best I can. Thanks for asking!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes, though I dont' consider myself emergent necessarily, I do want to be emerging, in being open to change theologically and in my practice. And much in better understanding what I believe, along with better understanding the message and Story of Scripture.

Good words in describing the mood today. It need not be a dark, somber one. But we need to seek to be true to God's revelation in his written word, and found in Jesus, who took that judgment on himself, God taking on him his judgment on us.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes. We need to understand or get a real revelation of the sinners we are, and of the just judgment and consequences of that from God, to appreciate this important aspect of our great salvation in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


Ted M. Gossard said...

God took what we deserve on himself. God values and treasures you as his daughter, and God- I believe, values and treasures every person of the human race, and is grieved when they go astray in their own ways, as we all have done, and still can do. And then there can come that time when God simply is angry, angry with the wicked, those who suppress other people.

Again, I'm not sure what prompted this. Probably to take a gentle, yet firm stand on a subject controversial to some Christians.

Thanks for your thoughts and sharing with us.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks, Allan. I always value and appreciate your "amen."

Yes, we need to be clear on both notes, to be sure.