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Early in my Christian life, I heard this truth: “God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.” Honestly, I gave it very little thought—actually, no thought at all. It was just a factoid plugged into the multitude of things I was learning about the Lord, but it had no impact on my life.

Well, recently that verse has come back into my mind. Here it is in Scripture with a bit of context:

“I will not accept a bull from your house or goats from your folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:9–10).1

The Christian God is a cattle rancher, but He owns much more than cattle. Every beast in the field is His.

The context in which this verse is found concerns Israel’s idolatry. Pagans at that time offered animals or food or money to their gods in order to placate them—and still do. The Lord was telling His people that they were making their offerings to appease Him like pagans, but He didn’t need food from them. One of the reasons He states is this:

“If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?” (Psalm 50:12–13).

If He were to need food from them, the people whom He had created and chosen, He would be dependent on them. That’s not how it works. That would put them in the position of exercising some kind of control over Him their God and Creator. Thus, He would no longer be sovereign over all things but subject to His people. So, no, the Lord God Almighty doesn’t need anything at all from His people or anyone else. He is perfectly self-sufficient.

But the Lord possesses more than cattle, birds, and the beasts of the field.

“The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers” (Psalm 24:1–2).

The earth belongs to Him. Everything that dwells on the earth belongs to Him. Thus, you belong to Him. For Christians, this ownership is not onerous but marvelous.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

This sounds like a wondrous thing, doesn’t it? It is. Glorious. However, it may offend your sensibilities, but He can do to you, for you, and with you whatever He pleases. Sometimes that means calling you to speak on His behalf or go somewhere for Him. Sometimes that means discipline. Sometimes that means suffering.

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Hebrews 12:5b–6).

I thought the word “chastises” was a bit ambiguous. Perhaps “vanilla” is a better word. So, I looked it up. The constellation of meanings around chastises includes flogs, whips, and scourges.

It is a very good thing that the Christian God is a God love, mercy, and compassion, isn’t it? Can you imagine a Creator who didn’t possess these positive attributes? Yes, He disciplines us, but it is for our own good and His glory.

There is no get-out-of-being-God’s-possession card where a Christian can sail through life on a cloud of love and pleasantness. It’s a difficult life.

Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13–14).

I thought I would look up the different meanings in Greek of the word “hard.” They are crush, suffer, oppress, and afflict.

Welcome to the Christian life. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5b).2

Glory awaits.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles except where otherwise noted.

2The New King James Version (1982). Thomas Nelson.

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Long ago and far away, I was the pastor of a small church in a tiny wheat town in central Washington State. While we were there, a Christian commune called the Christian House moved in and bought a defunct hotel. Laurie and I were suspicious. It was the time of dangerous cults. However, one winter day a member of the Christian House came by and helped me put up Visqueen on the exterior of the leaky, chapel-style windows of the church building. I was impressed by his kindness, and Laurie and I visited the group soon thereafter. To make a long story short, we started going over to the hotel on Friday nights to worship with them. It was wonderful.

Sometime after that relationship began, on a Sunday morning service at our church, one of our friends stood up and said everyone no longer wanted me as pastor because of our involvement with the Christian House. Representing them, he told me to stop, or I was out.

I resigned.

And started looking for a job.

Sometime after this, Laurie and I and our two little children were at the Christian House at Friday night worship, and one of the single female members asked to be prayed for. She didn’t say why. Some of the sisters gathered round her, and we all began to pray. During the previous worship time, although I’d been singing along with everyone else, I felt zero connection with the Lord and very unspiritual. In spite of this, the Lord spoke to me as I joined everyone in prayer for this woman. He said, “Go tell her that just as I raised Lazarus from the dead, I will raise her from the dead.”

Oh my.

I was a pastor whom my own church had rejected. I felt like I had sought some refuge among these brothers and sisters after that life-changing event, so I thought of myself as a bit of a wounded brother. I considered this sister an elder in the fellowship. I was supposed to tell her she was dead? So, I said back to the Lord, “I’m not worthy to say this to her.” Immediately, there was an answer. “You will never be worthy enough to speak my words.”

I got up and told her what the Lord instructed me.

Not long after, this sister confessed to having sex with the fatherly elder and leader of this fellowship. The results were predictable. If this man had had sex with this woman, it put into doubt all that he done and taught before committing this sin. He wasn’t present at the meeting when the prophecy was given. He was down in California with another single sister. Although it seems naïve looking back on it, no one thought anything was amiss. This grandfatherly man and Christian sister would never do such a thing. As it turns out, when the elders called him and told him they knew what he had done, he said he loved the woman he was currently traveling with and wanted to divorce his wife. It wasn’t long before the House began to fall apart. A very sad, heart-wrenching time. People started leaving, and that was the end of the Christian House in this small town. However, the stories of many of those who had lived there still live on as they love and serve God today with all their hearts.

In the first book I wrote, Deeper: A Call to Discipleship, I wrote about this incident. The female editor couldn’t believe that the Lord would say such a thing to me, about never being worthy to speak His words. However, our worthiness before God has nothing to do who we are based upon feelings of spirituality or the lack thereof. The basis of my disagreement with God was that according to the way I viewed myself at the time, I wasn’t worthy to speak.

But He was sending me in His name, not mine.

And He is worthy.

“Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!’” (Revelation 5:11–12).1

Amen. Lord Jesus, bless Your name forever and ever.

1The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Edge.

I continue to be dazzled by nature. Please notice that I did not capitalize the word “nature.” Nature is not a deity, although it seems as though much of the Western world somehow considers it to be, or at least as an entity that provides beauty and wonder in the earth. I thought evolution provided that, from their point of view, so pardon me if I’m a bit confused.

My wonderment lately has to do with the Tailor bird which sews nests together with its beak the same way we sew up a stitch. I’ve been thinking as well about the humble honeybee which creates honey from the nectar it collects from flowers. This insect also creates the wax cells in which it stores the honey. The amazing leafcutter ant brings bits of grass and leaves into its nest. A fungus grows on the gathered litter which is fed to the ant larvae. Tailor birds, bees, and ants don’t teach their young’uns how to do these things. They are doing what the Lord created them to do.

Their Creator provides for them and all other creatures. Otherwise, they would die.

Let’s look at this verse.

“He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry” (Psalm 147:9).1

We read such things in Scripture and say to ourselves, “Amen.” However, in my case at least, I haven’t given it much thought. Yes, He feeds animals as part of His sovereign, creative plan. But what does it mean that He gives food to the beasts? In His answer to Job, He said,

“Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, when they crouch in their dens or lie in wait in their thicket?” (Job 38:39–40).

Wait a minute. The Lord hunts the prey for the lion? What does that mean? Perhaps like me, you have watched many nature videos of lions stalking, chasing, and bringing down their prey. Oh, that silly antelope fawn that wandered away from the herd? Yep. It is the provision. What are antelopes for, after all? Well, their beauty and nobility glorifies God, but they are, to put it crudely, lion food.  

The other half of the verse from Psalm 147 tells us the He gives food “to the young ravens that cry” (Psalm 147:9).

Jesus re-emphasized this, saying,

“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26).

Once more, in Job:

“Who provides for the raven its prey, when its young ones cry to God for help, and wander about for lack of food?” (Job 38:41).

I would like to ask a question here. How wondrous is our God in this aspect alone? How does He feed all the birds? I can imagine a family finding an abandoned nest of raven chicks and endeavoring to feed them until they have grown and flown from the nest. I can imagine thousands of families over all the earth doing this. But it’s not just the chicks, it’s every bird on the earth. Can you imagine what an enormous task that is?

Perhaps we should place it in the same category as this wondrous reality:

“He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names” (Psalm 147:4).

There is more going on here, however, than God’s involvement with birds, lions, and stars. Jesus asked that if the heavenly Father cares enough to feed billions of birds, doesn’t He care about us? Yes, of course, He does. He cares enough about us to offer Himself to be punished for sins He Himself did not commit—we did—in order that we may know Him, love Him, and be with Him in life here and in eternity.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy giphy.gif.

             The other morning as I knelt down to pray, I immediately experienced fellowship with the Lord. I was thankful, but it was beyond my ability to express that emotion adequately to Him. No fellowship among mankind approaches this level of friendship. I find this biblical truth spoken by Jesus stunning:

“You are my friends if you do what I command you” (John 15:14).1

The restriction Jesus places on His friendship may seem odd to us. What kind of friend would say, “I’ll be your friend, but in order for that to happen, you must do whatever I tell you.”

I think most of us would say, “Um, no thanks.”

But it’s different with Jesus since He is God Himself. Let’s think about this for a moment.

We are talking here about being friends with the Creator of the universe; the Creator of everything that exists, including you. His power is so immense that the human mind cannot comprehend it. His knowledge and sovereignty are so expansive and perfectly all-encompassing that we, with our feeble minds, want to reject it as impossible.

He names every star and knows how many there are.

“He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names” (Psalm 147:4).

We know, don’t we, that stars are so numerous and that multitudes exist beyond our ability to discover them so it is impossible for us to count them?

He knows about every sparrow that falls.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father” (Matthew 10:29).

There are more than a billion sparrows on the earth.2

Would you like to try keeping track of fallen sparrows? Sounds like a full-time job. With a lot of overtime.

He knows how many hairs are on our heads.

“Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:7).

It is estimated that there are an average of 100,000 hairs on the human head.3

Multiply that by the over seven billion people on the earth. Would you like to start counting now?

He provides food for lions and ravens.

“Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, when they crouch in their dens or lie in wait in their thicket? Who provides for the raven its prey, when its young ones cry to God for help, and wander about for lack of food?” (Job 38:39–41).

Didn’t we think that was, like, evolution and chance, or something like that? No, that silly calf or fawn that wandered away from the herd? That’s Him, doing what He said He does.

So, I trust you will agree with me that we simply do not know how to be friends with such a Being. So, it makes sense that we are only able to know this friendship if we do what He commands. He will tell us how to be His friends.

He will do this with boundless joy. He is a friend that will always stand up to help Christian believers, even when we are foolish. Forgiving us after we sin. Providing for us abundantly. He is the all-powerful friend who laid down His life so we could be friends and have His life within us—eternal life in His wondrous kingdom. Let’s take His offer of friendship and obey Him. Blessings are sure to follow.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

2https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-57150571

3https://www.healthline.com/health/how-many-hairs-on-a-human-head

Gif courtesy giphy.gif.

I am ill. I won’t go into specifics, but it is sufficient to say that the pain and discomfort I am experiencing are so great that my ability to think in any substantive way are too diminished to offer anything of value to the reader.

I often write about suffering, and the passage below is one of my primary sources on this topic:

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).1

I have written that this is easy to say but difficult to do. The last few days have borne that out. It is understandable that the Christian sufferer may question God’s love and will. So, to encourage others—and me—I offer this small piece I wrote a while back. May the Lord bless you as you read.

“God is not in a muddle of conundrums. It is impossible that He does not know and understand everything, and thus somehow not know the right and wrong of it all. The Lord Almighty is the referent for what is right and good. He created the concept of good. He is good in the highest sense of that word “good.” All that is good has God as its origin. He is, in truth, the only One who knows what good is, in the ultimate, eternal sense of things. There is no evil intent or betrayal whatsoever in the heart of God, only loyalty, love, and steadfastness. He is holy: morally pure and spotless without sin, error, or flaw. No darkness dwells in Him. He does not submit to wickedness, treachery, or perversion. He lives only in purity. He grasps no selfishness and displays no arrogance.”

Bless His holy name.

1Scripture quotation is from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

 Gif courtesy giphy.com

So, here I am, recipient of two COVID-19 vaccinations and being encouraged to get a booster. Scientists are concerned about a Delta variant. After two injections, I still am under the mandate to wear a mask. I have serious doubts that this third shot will have much effect as the virus continues to mutate. Will there ever be an end? There are twenty-four letters in the Greek alphabet. How many variants will there be? How many vaccinations must we receive?

So, I wonder.

Without embroiling myself in the no-vax-yes-vax controversy, as a believer in the Lord God Almighty and His sovereignty, I must hold to the truth that He has either caused or allowed this deadly corona virus to wreak its havoc. He could have prevented it. He could kill it.

He has not. He may have caused it. He may be the force pushing those mutations.

So, we frail humans are forced to ask, “Why?”

I can offer no answer to this question. Only that God knows all things. He is sovereign. He is good. He is love.

My wife and I watched a movie recently in which there was a scene at a graveside service. The father of his dead grandchild and daughter was wondering aloud how these terrible, senseless murders could be part of God’s plan. “How could it be part of anybody’s plan?” he asked.

The one who was created asks his Creator if He knows what He’s doing. The pot questions the Potter.

Oh, we weak, unknowing, ignorant humans who think we can put the Creator of the heavens and the earth on the witness stand so we, in all our arrogant, insufficient, unbelieving knowledge can pepper Him with questioning accusations. It is wise for me, in a godly and loving way, to encourage those on that prosecution team to read the Book of Job, when that suffering man put the Lord on the witness stand. In His response, God didn’t go down the list of accusations one at a time in order to defend Himself. In fact, He didn’t attempt to defend His actions at all.

He looked at the one accusing Him in the eye and asked him, instead, to defend himself, asking, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know!” (Job 38:2–5a). 1

Where was Job when the Lord created the earth? Um, he hadn’t been born yet. Better, he hadn’t been created yet. He had no hand in forming the earth and undeniably had no knowledge whatsoever of how to do so. He didn’t offer advice or counsel to the One laying its foundations. He had no knowledge of how the creation occurred nor how he could have contributed to it. None whatsoever.

Am I being too flippant in addressing the reader who has suffered the loss his or her loved ones in this pandemic? I trust what I write here has not done this.

As Scripture says, in the middle of trials, I endeavor to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).

In times of suffering and loss, I must believe Jesus when He said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).

I must surrender my understanding to the truth that is in the Lord’s Prayer:

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

May the Lord bless you as you surrender to His sovereign will as the earth is shaken by the onslaught of COVID-19.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Bing images

I was reading in Isaiah last night about King Ahaz, who eventually capitulated and trusted in a treaty with an ungodly nation rather than trusting in the God of Israel. The Lord was speaking this particular portion, however, to Isaiah himself:

“For the Lord spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: ‘Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many shall stumble on it. They shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken’” (Isaiah 8:11–15).1

Read the rest of this entry »

In this article, we will consider a being that possesses power that we cannot conceive. Mankind created the most potent force yet possible for humans, nuclear power. However, many powers not produced by us exist over which we have no control. Hurricanes. Tornados. Earthquakes. Floods. We work to mitigate their effects, but that’s all we can do. As formidable as these unstoppable forces are, they pale in comparison to the potency the Lord God Almighty exercised when He brought into existence the universe, all it contains, and the forces at work within it. We humans cannot comprehend this. A thermonuclear blast is but a balloon popping in comparison.

We are also considering a being who possesses unreachable holiness. This reality is as incomprehensible to us as His power. He is perfectly sinless. Unconditionally pure, true, and good. No fault in Him about anything at all, which has been true about Him, well, for eternity. The closest I get to grasping this truth is after I have sinned because I realize how very much unlike Him I am. I sin so naturally in my thoughts, something hateful or selfish. Sometimes, I just want to sin and to blazes with the consequences. I am very thankful for Paul’s confession.

“So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin” (Romans 7:21–25). 1

As I read this, I noticed for the first time that Paul wrote, “I find it to be a law…”

A law. So, we’re toast. As if we didn’t already know that.

Thus, we have a God whose power is incomprehensible, whose holiness is unreachable, and human beings whose sin is abominable. We can’t do a single stinkin’ thing about it. We are as unable to do that as we are to match God’s power. We just can’t obtain the perfect holiness of God.

Does the word “abominable” rub a bit the wrong way? Overstated? In the context of sin, the word abomination is used only once in the New Testament, and Jesus said it.

“The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. ‘And he said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God’” (Luke 16:14–15).

What is exalted among men? In this case, it’s the love of money. But we know what else is exalted in this world. The love of status, popularity, beauty, and power.

Good thing none of us have problems with these abominations.

So, we serve and worship a God who has so much power that we cannot comprehend it. He possesses perfect holiness and sinlessness which we cannot obtain, no matter how hard we may try. Shocker of shockers, He loves us, we who are soiled with those abominations, with a love that is eternal, that will never fade or die. He will never stop loving us. We know this because of a startling truth. God is love, straight through. He could no more stop loving us than He could stop being God. Thus, He forgives. He is compassionate. Merciful beyond our capacity to grasp. His character is so infused with love that He Himself died to wash away our abominations. In addition, He gives us His holiness, and we become as holy as He. Because we are now holy, we can come into His presence. This is all free.

He won’t give us all His power, however. He keeps that for Himself, although He does work it through us. His primary concern is our relationship with Him. If He were to give us His unlimited power, I can’t imagine the dreadful results. We already struggle with getting holiness right. Foolish people, we think we can possess rightness before God, somehow, all on our own.

But He forgives that one, too.

1All Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Bing images.

I live in the Northwest, and right now wildfires are burning everywhere, in every state. Huge areas of Oregon, California, and Nevada are ablaze. Hundreds of thousands of acres. The state I live in, Washington, has had history-making high temperatures in July, and we are now experiencing record drought. Is this global warming? Everyone on the planet seems to think so. I’m not going to deal with the issue of climate change here. Books have been written about it. But I would like to ask a question. Is Mother Nature, whatever that is, in control of the earth’s climate? I think most would say that Mother Nature does what she does all on her own, but concerning climate change, we are in charge.

Are we?

Or is God?

Some may answer that humanity has done a poor job of stewarding this planet, and it’s hard to disagree with that. We’ve also done a poor job of stewarding one another, if that’s acceptable terminology to use regarding how we treat each other. So, if the planet is warming because people are sinners who think only of their own needs, I get the point.

However, the Lord God Almighty is either allowing this climate change with all its resulting catastrophes or causing them. This must be true. Human nature or Mother Nature cannot be more powerful than He is. He could have stopped this long ago and can now. I personally believe that He is withdrawing His hand of restraint on this nation and many other nations, as well. Perhaps the whole earth. Thus, He is saying, “You have rejected Me as Creator and Savior. Here are the results of your godless, lawless decisions.” The judgment of God is a terrible, interesting thing.

Christians should not sleepily accept the world’s never-ending proclamations about climate change. We live in godless societies, run by godless governments, informed by (mostly) godless scientists who believe in evolution, which means we are just elevated creatures and, ultimately, just sacs of stardust, water, and goo caused by time plus chance plus mutations. So, we should be circumspect about the worldview these individuals hold.

The Bible is clear about the source of all things that happen on the earth, whether good or ill.

“I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity. I am the Lord, who does all these things” (Isaiah 45:7). 1

“Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it?” (Amos 3:6).

Seems clear who is in charge, doesn’t it? The earth may indeed be warming as a result of man’s activities. Climate scientists tell us that warm and cold climates have come and gone throughout earth’s history. Whatever the cause or causes of a warming climate, one thing is sure. God is the sovereign ruler of it all—not just of the earth, I should add, but of the universe. If we believe the Lord is simply standing by watching all of this transpire, we have a weak and insufficient view of the almighty God. We have been duped by a godless culture and are not thinking in a Christianly way.

One final word to put all this in perspective:

“Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread” (Isaiah 8:12–13).

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.  

Gif courtesy Bing images.

           

“God don’t never change,” sang Blind Willie Johnson in a song recorded a little over ninety years ago, in 1929. Was Blind Willie’s theology on track? Yes, it was. The Lord said the same thing about Himself.

“For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed” (Malachi 3:6). 1

Some Christians think that the Lord God Almighty changed between the Old and New Testaments. He was the punishing God of wrath in the Old Testament. He drowned every living thing in the world when He flooded the earth. “Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark” (Genesis 7:23). He obliterated Sodom and Gomorrah with fire. He called for Israel to completely destroy several people groups: the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. (Deuteronomy 20:16–18). He was cruel and merciless. It’s embarrassing, they think, that the Christian God is like this. The God of the New Testament does not behave this way. He is loving, forgiving, and merciful.

However, many of the same Christians, if one of their loved ones was murdered, would be calling for the killer to face the death penalty. They would probably agree that it would have been a good and just thing if Hitler or Stalin would have been killed in infancy. We can judge others worthy of death, apparently, but the Lord cannot.

So, they believe things have changed since the beginning of the New Testament era and the birth of Jesus, our loving Savior. God is a God of love and is not “cruel.” Somehow, they ignore the word “wrath,” both in Jesus’ teaching and Paul’s. The citations are too numerous to list here, but here two good examples, the first from Jesus, the second from Paul:

“Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people” (Luke 21:23).

In this passage, Jesus is referring to His own people, the Jews.

“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming” (Colossians 3:5–6).  

God’s wrath is coming against those whose sins have not been washed away in the blood of Jesus.

However, perhaps the most stunning truth concerns the actions of Jesus, whom many consider only gentle and kind. He is a lamb, after all.

“Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?’” (Revelation 6:15–17).

The wrath of the Lamb?

If you read last week’s article, you may remember that we considered the seemingly contrasting truths of Jesus being the least as well as the greatest, the vulnerable Lamb as well as the Almighty God. Now, we are being asked to wrap our heads around the truth that Jesus is the Lamb who is wrathful and destructive.

God don’t never change. He was wrathful and destructive in the Old Testament. He remains so in the New Testament era. He has always judged as righteous those who believe in Him, all the way back to Noah. Thanks be to the God of love and justice who has rescued us from the wrath to come. What an amazing God.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Bing images.

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