Tag Archives: God’s anger

Grace makes the difference

Grace 101

When I talk about grace, I usually mean the whole message of God’s love and provision.  Grace is the activity of God’s love.  Because God loves us, He reaches out to us and brings us in.  He provides all we need for salvation, sanctification, justification and more.  Forgiveness, victory, and Heaven are ours because of His initiative and His work.

If we remember that God loves us and acts for our good, then prayer becomes a positive thing in our lives.

Many of us were led to believe that confession was the most important part of prayer.  Whenever we prayed, even if it was an emergency, we were supposed to stop to confess our sins first.  We had to confess that there was no reason God should hear us because we were so evil in our hearts.

So, think about that.  How easy is it for you to go to someone and apologize?  How easy is it to ask forgiveness?  It’s hard work, isn’t it?  I am not saying it isn’t important, but it certainly isn’t easy or pleasant.  And how easy is it to build a relationship when you constantly have to apologize?  Especially when you believe the other person is angry with you?

When many people pray, they feel they have to come to Lord groveling and shamed.  They are supposed to recount as many of their sins as they can remember since the last time they prayed and always know that they have missed some.  Then they have to ask God for mercy and hope that He doesn’t hate them as they ask for what they need.  How sad!

Grace tells us that God already loves us.  Grace tells us that He has already forgiven us.  Grace tells us that we are already accepted.  It is good to come to Him.  Grace turns prayer into something positive.

You see, God already knows about your sins and He has already forgiven them as you trusted Christ.  Those who belong to Him never have to worry about their sins separating them from Him.  We don’t have to confess in order to be forgiven.  In those times when we feel the need to talk about what we have done, we simply agree with Him that it was wrong and thank Him for working in our lives to move past it.  Forgiveness of sins—past, present, and future—was accomplished at the cross.

So you and I can come to the Lord as we would come to our very best friend.  We know that He loves us and it is good to focus on our heart connection again.  We will never be separate from Him, but sometimes we let ourselves get distracted.  Then we talk with Him again and feel His love and peace.

No wonder Paul encouraged us to pray without ceasing.  This is walking with Jesus.  It isn’t a difficult thing at all.  Prayer is a wonderful lifeline that keeps us connected to the Lord who loves us.

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Filed under Grace 101, Relationship

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!

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Filed under grace, Grace 101, Grace definition, Legalism