“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!