This past week I took the family to the Black Hills. The first day we rode the famous Needles Highway. Once we arrived at the end, where Silvan Lake is located, we parked and began our hike around the lake. While we were on the opposite side of the lake from where our vehicle was, the sky started going black. It wasn’t one of those “really scary blacks” where you are sprinting for cover, it was more of a “let’s hurry or we are going to get wet” kind of things.
I remember being at the July 4th Carnival at Sand Creek when Paige (who will be 23 next week) was about 9 years old. The sky turned really black, the temperature dropped dramatically, everyone was sprinting out of the park and when it became clear we were not going to make it to our car my wife hurried up to a house, she pounded on the door and basically charged past the owners with the kids. Although there was a big Pitbull in the house, and it seemed like an eerie place to be, the potential risk compared to what was coming was the best choice. The owners of the house welcomed us in and we all went down stairs, which was even more eerie. Although there was clearly drug use going on, they were very welcoming, and we all waited until everything was safe outside.
As an interesting side note, I am extremely allergic to dogs. My first question whenever we go somewhere, or book a hotel or AIRBNB is, “do they have or allow pets”. Our social life, and vacations are filtered through “are there or have there ever been pets in this place”. When we fled the coming storm we certainly didn’t ask this question – why? Because quick math of, “do I want to stay outside in a storm that is sure to rip trees out by the roots and throw them down the street OR do I want to risk having an asthma attack” – the choice was clear.
Contrast people’s reaction to a looming storm with their reaction to the warning of God’s Word and those sharing the warning of God’s Word. The reality is, some people might have read the above two accounts and been entertained or interested, but as soon as it turned to God they tuned me out and quit reading – why is that?
Although God’s Word is clear that the Wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, most do not care, or they don’t want to hear it – why?
God is very serious about sin, and punishing sinners – after all, He destroyed the entire world because of their wickedness except for Noah and his family. God wiped two cities of the face of the earth because of their wickedness except for Lot. Yet, people either do not take these stories seriously or they consider them fables – why?
The world makes up silly theology like, “God hates the sin and loves the sinner” – that is not true, God hates sin and He hates the sinner. The world doe not like to hear that – they do not think God is justified in hating them – why?
When the world reads verses like the one found in Romans 9 that reads, “Jacob I loved and Esau I hated” they might immediately think, well Jacob was a good guy and Esau was not – but then as you continue reading, God’s Word says, “they had not yet done anything good or evil”. The world then starts to become irritated, upset even, and yell, “that is not fair – why would He hate Esau!?” The better question is – why did He love Jacob? After all, Jacob, when they were born, was a sinner just like Esau. God should hate both, and God should hate us – why?
We have all sinned against God, and we have done nothing but sin against God our entire life. Yet, a continued reading of Romans 9 reveals, God’s hatred and love is based entirely on God’s purpose of election. It is against the backdrop of God’s hatred for sin, and the reality of His coming Wrath that makes His Grace and Mercy so AMAZING!
The irony is, those that are abiding under God’s Wrath do not care. God has never turned away anyone that says, “oh no, I am a child of Wrath and I deserve the full extent of God’s Wrath for my sin and I do not want to be here, Lord, have mercy on me a sinner!” A person broken over their sin that will repent and believe the Gospel will be saved. But, not all have been given eyes to see the coming “storm”. The sky is turning black, the temperature has dropped yet they go about as if it is 80 and sunny. They cannot see or hear the warning, because they have not been given eyes to see or ears to hear.
You say, “I am in trouble, I want eyes to see and ears to hear!” If that is true, repent and believe the Gospel. Yes, God hates sin and sinners, but He sent His Son to save those who will repent and trust in Him alone to save them from the Wrath they deserve. The Blood of Jesus has appeased the Wrath of God on your behalf if you will believe in Him to save you.
The big question isn’t all the “whys” in the above paragraphs. The big question is are you wiling to charge into the eerie “house” of the world’s mockery, persecution, and trials for the Name of Jesus? Are you willing holdfast against the “big Pitbull” of the enemy (Satan) and the temptations of this world?
The reality is, yes God hates sinners, and He will punish all sinners; however, when you trust in Jesus alone to save you (not religion or ritual), His Blood cleanses you from all sin, you are no longer viewed by God as a sinner. His Son is perfect, and you are now viewed as perfect because of His perfect sacrifice for you. It is a legal transaction of redemption, your sin is put on Christ where He paid the debt on His Cross, and you are given the righteousness of Christ. Your sin debt has been reconciled, zeroed out. Bad theology will tell you that your hell deserving sin debt was canceled and cast away – that’s not true. Your hell deserving sin debt was paid for by Jesus, not simply forgotten. The full measure of God’s Wrath was poured out on His Son when the perfect Lamb of God became sin for you – we dare not say the sin was forgotten, it was paid for and forgiven because of His finished work on the Cross.