Tuesday, April 13, 2010

God's Wrath is Not For You {Part Two}

To read part one click here.

Here I am thinking out loud again. I want to begin this post with a few verses to keep in mind...

“Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." Dan 12:10

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail."
Lam 3:22

"In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it— one from the tent of David— one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness." Is 16:5

“So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty."Mal 3:5

So my personal view is that Jesus was sent to die for the world out of God's frustration or wrath against the enemy, the Destroyer. He was sick of seeing his little ones perish and so He sent Jesus as sacrifice to cover us in His protective blood. Remember the blood of the passover was to protect from the Destroyer, not from the destruction of God. God is not a destroyer! The devil is the Destroyer. And so the blood of Jesus protects us from the destruction of the enemy. If we don't accept the blood we are handed to the enemy for destruction. God's judgment is righteous because we have chosen our own destruction. So the judgment from God is separation from His protection by our choice not His.

"By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them." Heb 11:28

"...nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer." 1Cor 10:10

"To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." 1Cor 5:5

Now lets look a little closer at the concept of wrath and judgment in the New Testament. The word judgment in the Greek is krisis meaning to separate, to approve. So again the cross and the blood are the point of separation. Those who choose the blood are protected, those that don't are "approved" of their choice and "separated" given to the destruction of the enemy. Then both are separated.

"Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son..." Jn 5:22

“Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world{the Devil} be cast out."
Jn 12:31

The word wrath in the New Testament is a translation of a few different Greek words. Wrath is one of those words that unfortunately too many people love. It is their favorite aspect of God. But we must see what God's wrath is against before we get too excited. One is the word 'orge meaning temper, character, natural disposition. What is God's "natural" disposition? A man named Jesus, the cross, love, mercy...should I go on? Come on guys! God is not pissed at people he is pissed at the Devil and sin. He is grieved for his created that traded truth for a lie.

"And when He had looked around at them with anger{'orge}, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand."" Mark 3:5

"For God did not appoint us to wrath{'orge}, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him."
1 Thess 5:9-10

The other Greek word for wrath is thymos meaning passion, heat, ardour. It comes from the root word thyo meaning to sacrifice. This is the word used throughout the book of Revelation in the phrase "wrath of God--thymos theos--God sacrifice". Again it's the cross, the sacrifice, the payment, the victory over the Devil! So if you look it that way the it makes sense that the "wrath of God" is foolishness to those handed over to the destruction enemy and the enemy himself. The cross is where the power is, the sacrifice is where the power is. Punishment is not where the power is. The cross is the love that conquers all!

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." 1 Cor 1:18

"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death...for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath{thymos}, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time." Rev 12:11-12

"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." 1John 4:18

Are you starting to understand where I'm coming from? God is not a punishing God. God is a loving God. God is a just God. And there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Our job as Christians are to save as many as we can from the "devil...having great wrath" in this present age. We are to be marking them with the blood of Jesus so that in the end they will not suffer eternal separation. He is being patient in the end time coming because he wishes that none should perish! But some Christians just can't wait for the day of the Lord. They want justice now, they want wrath now, they want separation now. That is not the heart of God.

"For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." James 1:20

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9

If we believe that the destruction in this age is the judgment of God and not the wrath of the devil it creates a lot of problems. What it does is give Christians the permission to marginalize the "wicked" and "judged" in hopes to be on the side of God. This is dangerous territory and it just so happens that it is the enemies territory. God is not judging and separating and will not judge and separate until the end. Man is the one separating himself from God. We as Christians were given the ministry of reconciliation to tear down the dividing wall of hostility. Even the totally wicked are given the chance to decide. And yes even after witness of the gospel for some wickedness has taken over to the point they do not see. But in that they are still the one's separating not God. In the end when God does judge and totally separate those people it is in love because they don't want to be with God anyway. But we were given the task to make sure everyone has that choice.

We are to be walking in the Spirit to bring forth conviction of sin. We are to be ones facilitating the heat of the Spirit to melt the hearts of men. To purge, purify and refine. Not to judge. To get rid of the sin and unrighteousness in the people. Not get rid of the people. Being a light in the darkness is warfare that the lost will not be consumed in the fires of wickedness. Changing desolation to correction and working all things for good so that judgement is avoided. Shame becomes testimony and glory to God. That in turn shames the devil and that is our power over Death!

Finally I want to share an interesting word in the Greek. It is another word that I was surprised to see its actual meaning. Brimstone, as in fire and brimstone. In the Greek the word for brimstone is theion meaning divine incense, to hallow or consecrate. In Greek times sulfur{brimstone} was burned as a purifying agent. It was also known in both old and new testaments as a cleaning agent. Torment is a word also associated with hell. In the Greek the word is basanizo meaning to test a metal on the touchstone. Remember we discussed that in the last post. Of course you know from other posts that the word hell is Hades, the Greek personification of the underworld. Just as Thanatos {Death} was also personified.

"Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." Rev 20:14-15

"And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet [are], and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." Rev 20:10

So I must say given the Greek definitions it sort of gives hell a whole new spin. What type of spin I'm not sure. But it gives me the same sense of consuming and refining that was in the last post. Do I think the Devil and his principalities will be totally crushed? Absolutely! Do I think all men will be spared from eternal separation. No. But I do believe that the natural temperament of our God is to love and to save. I also know there are some men that don't want to be loved and saved by God. So we can't really know what will happen. I think our focus should remain on the saving part. That was what we were called to do. To love, to bind up broken hearts, to fight against injustice, and to be a light in the darkness of this present age. The final judgement is not up to us, the final judgment is up to God. And it could be in no better hands.

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