The Father Himself

 

Grace 101

“Jesus loves me, this I know, but the Father wants to destroy me because of my sin.”  That’s what many people have been taught.  Somehow Jesus intervenes between us and the wrath God wants to pour out on us.  It’s a good thing we have Jesus to protect us from God.  That’s what they think.

But how sad is that?  And how wrong?  There is an anger, a passion, that builds in the heart of God because of sin.  He hates sin, there is no question about that.  But that’s why the Father sent the Son.  To destroy the power of sin over us and release us from sin’s influence.  In Jesus, the Father destroys sin.

Think about that for a moment.  Who initiated the whole salvation plan?  Who loved us from the beginning?  God has been on our side all along.

We commit theological error if we believe the Son does anything contrary to the Father’s will or even to the character of the Father.  Jesus said that He and the Father are One.  From eternity, Father-Son-Spirit have been One.  One mind, one heart, one motivation toward us.

The Christian gospel is not about the Son doing battle with the Father to protect us from the Father’s wrath.  The gospel is not about us narrowly escaping eternal punishment by hiding from God behind Jesus.  The gospel is about how much God loves us.  He loved us so much that He sent His Son to save us.

I think Jesus understood that the legalists of His and our day would get this mixed up.  So in John 16:27 He makes it very clear:

“The Father Himself loves you!”

But what about God’s wrath?  I know that if that topic were taken away a lot of preachers wouldn’t have anything to say on Sunday morning.  But God’s wrath is not against you and me.  God’s wrath is against sin.

Let me use a silly illustration.  Suppose you are holding some kind of homing transmitter that leads a missile to its target.  The missile is in the air, headed to the transmitter, ready to blow up everything in its target range.  Now, as long as you hold that transmitter, you are in trouble.  That missile is headed toward you.  All you have to do is drop the transmitter and get out of range.  But if you insist on holding it, the missile will get you.

Okay, God’s wrath is against sin.  He sent Jesus to separate you from sin, both your personal sin and the corporate sin of humanity.  If you refuse Jesus, then the wrath of God is headed your way—not to get you but to get sin.  If you want to be safe from the wrath of God, come to Jesus.

But listen: those who have come to Jesus are free from sin and have no reason to fear the wrath of God.  In fact, the wrath of God has nothing to do with believers.

And this was the Father’s idea from the beginning . . . because He loves you!

3 Comments

Filed under grace, Grace 101, Grace definition, Legalism

3 responses to “The Father Himself

  1. Suzanne

    I hear what you are saying and believe you, but then I run into confusing passages about God’s anger. Why does David say things like, “O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger,” and…”there is no soundness in my flesh because of Your anger,” (Ps 6 & 38) It kind of sounds like God is angry.

  2. Thanks, Suzanne! You are right that it sounds like God is angry and, of course, that’s because He is. I wouldn’t deny that. But, as I said above, He isn’t angry with us. In fact, if you look at Psalm 38:3 you get the idea:

    “There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your anger, nor any health in my bones because of my sin.”

    Notice how David understands that his real problem is his sin. He is not suffering because God is angry, but because he sinned. But David knows that God loves him. So God hates David’s sin but loves David. That’s the separation we need to understand.

    I realize this seems like twisting words and ideas, so I want to be careful. When the doctor gives us a shot, it hurts. But is it the doctor’s goal to hurt us? No, his goal is to cure us. In much the same way, God zeros in on our sin to cleanse us and release us. We know that it hurts when God deals with our sin. We might suffer financial hardship, physical pain, emotional stress, or whatever. And it will feel like God is angry with us. But this is not punishment in anger. This is healing in love.

    Proverbs 3:11,12 are favorite verses in some groups because they talk about the chastening of the Lord. But these groups often miss the whole point. This chastening has nothing to do with God’s anger with us. It has to do with His love for us. When the flesh is separated from its favorite ways to meet its needs, it cries and struggles and believes that it is being abused. It is the flesh that sees anger against the person in the discipline of God.

    Sin causes all kinds of problems, even in the lives of believers, and God would spare us from that trouble. In fact, He may deal with that sin aggressively and seriously. He may let a young man sit in jail or a young woman worry about being pregnant. He may reveal the cheating to the IRS or let the email be seen by people outside the relationship. It is for our good that the Lord breaks through our secrecy and deals with our sin, but in our fear of consequences and our shame, we think He is angry. I believe these things are from His love.

    Now, I don’t always remember that when it happens to me, but eventually I remember and am grateful. And eventually I feel His love again. Sometimes I still respond in the fear and shame I lived in when I didn’t know the truth.

  3. Suzanne

    Wow, this was incredibly helpful!! Thank you!!

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