God's Wrath and Judgement
We have heard about God’s holiness, wrath and judgment. Sin must be punished. It cannot be overlooked. We fully deserve God’s judgment and wrath.
We have also sung about and heard scriptures about God’s amazing love, his mercy, His compassion, and His grace.
So how can God be both holy and loving? Judging and merciful? Expressing wrath and grace? How can He judge our sin and love us at the same time? The answer is at the cross of Jesus Christ!! That’s where the judgment and the love of God collide in a beautiful yet violent way.
The fullness of God’s character is expressed at the cross of Jesus. This is why Jesus often spoke of His death as the means by which God would be glorified. The glorify God is to reveal His character and likeness. This is why Paul said I glory only in the cross! At the cross His character and likeness is revealed in the most profound way, because it is there that those attributes most central to His being are expressed in their fullest form!
Look carefully at the passage on the screen:
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God.” Romans 5:8-9
In Rom. 5 we see these 2 truths coming together: God shows His love: how? By Christ’s dying. And He died for us while we were still sinners. He didn’t wait for us to get our act together.
Then it says we are justified by His blood, that means declared righteous. Cleansed, purified. The blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, washes away our sin, all of our sin, past, present and future.
Ex. This week I counseled someone who has done something pretty bad, and I reminded this person that that very sin was paid for 2000 years ago, and confession is simply making a withdrawal out of the full account of forgiveness and cleansing that was given to us by Christ’s death.
But what about judgment for sin? It says we are saved by Him from the wrath of God.
Passover: the background for this was when God delivered His people out of slavery by having them sacrifice a Lamb, and taking its blood and applying it to the door of their house, and when the angel of death and judgment came by, it would see that blood and Pass Over that house. This is what Jewish Passover is all about. God’s judgment would pass over those who applied the blood of the Lamb to their house.
And then every year on the OT Day of Atonement the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies and take the blood of a Lamb and apply it to the sins of the people for forgiveness!
Back to Rom. 5: when Christ died and shed His blood He was taking God’s wrath. He was receiving the judgment of God, but not for His sin. Instead He was taking our judgment. He was dying in our place! This is called substitutionary atonement. He was your substitute, dying for you and me. This is why
1. In the Garden Jesus said if it be possible for this cup to pass from me ... What cup? The cup of divine wrath (Isa. 51:17)! But it was required and He did drink it.
“You who have drunk from the hand of the LORD the cup of his wrath” Is. 51:17
Jesus understood that what awaited Him was taking God’s wrath. And that’s when He said, not my will but thine by done. Willing to accept this sentence for you and me.
2. When He was on the cross, He cried out “my God my God …” He was separated from the Father at that moment because the penalty for sin is separation from God and the judgment and wrath of God. Literally experiencing hell for you and me.
He was bearing the weight of our sin and God’s judgment for our sin. This is why:
3. 1 Peter 3:18 Christ died for sins … just for the unjust
4. Isa. 53 the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
5. 2 Cor. 5:21 God made Him who knew no sin to become sin on our behalf.
6. Gal. 2:20 I am have been crucified with Christ. Because of His death for you it was as if you were crucified for your sin, but it was Him in your place.
And the reason Jesus was willing to do this is because of His great love and mercy and compassion and desire that we be reconciled with our Creator! His motive was love. His heart is love. He would rather die for you than live without you as part of His family.
Jn. 3:16: God the father so loved the world that He gave His only son. Jesus the Son gave His life willingly. He chose to lay it down.
Hebr. 12 says “For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, despising its shame.”
1John 4:9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
Listen carefully to this: if you were the only one on planet earth, Christ would have come and died for you, because He loves you and wants you to know Him and walk in freedom from sin, freedom from guilt, freedom from your past. To accomplish this required that He bear God’s wrath. Justice accomplished; love expressed.
The judgment and the love of God collide at the cross.
In a moment you are going to hear a medical description of Jesus’ death by crucifixion. As you listen to this, you might wonder:
Why such pain? Why such horror? Why such abuse? Why such a cruel and violent death? Ever wondered this? Feel like it is a bit over done by God? I believe the reason Jesus had to go through such a horrible death was:
To show the fierceness of His wrath.
To uncover the horror of sin and how much sin hurts and pains the heart of God.
To show the seriousness of our rebellion
To reveal how God is willing to feel pain to have us as His.
To demonstrate the extent of His love and what He is willing to endure so that we not have to..
And to elicit our worship … our gratitude … our total surrender … our complete devotion.
When we see the depth of what He has endured for us, how can we continue to live for self and sin and pleasure?
In the words of the great hymn: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross …. It says, “love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.” When I consider how much He has done for me, how can I not live for Him?
His sacrifice motivates mine. His endurance empowers mine. His pain gives meaning to my pain. His blood takes away all my sin. His love makes me love Him back.
The cross, beloved, is both ugly and beautiful; cruel and loving; full of judgment and mercy.
At the cross of Jesus, God’s complete judgment and wrath was poured out on sin … and His grace, love and mercy was extended to all who embrace it. Will you cling to the cross today and forever for your forgiveness … hope …. Identity … purpose … eternal life?