Monthly Archives: August 2013
If you’ve ever wanted an in-depth discussion of Christ’s two natures, here you go. I thoroughly enjoyed both of these videos and will probably be watching them again in the future. The lectures were given by Professor Fred Sanders as part of the 2013 G. Campbell Morgan Theology Conference, sponsored by Biola University’s Torrey Honors Institute.
In light of the recent decision by the PCUSA to remove “In Christ Alone” from their hymnal because of its reference to God’s wrath (and the ensuing national conversation this sparked), I thought it would be good to review why this attribute of God is and should be central to how we view God. I’ve written previously about being able to answer the question “Saved From What?” here. The following is an excerpt from A.W. Pink’s The Attributes of God.
It is sad to find so many professing Christians who appear to regard the wrath of God as something for which they need to make an apology, or at least they wish there were no such thing. While some would not go so far as to openly admit that they consider it a blemish on the Divine character, yet they are far from regarding it with delight, they like not to think about it, and they rarely hear it mentioned without a secret resentment rising up in their hearts against it. Even with those who are more sober in their judgment, not a few seem to imagine that there is a severity about the Divine wrath which is too terrifying to form a theme for profitable contemplation. Others harbor the delusion that God’s wrath is not consistent with His goodness, and so seek to banish it from their thoughts.
Yes, many there are who turn away from a vision of God’s wrath as though they were called to look upon some blotch in the Divine character, or some blot upon the Divine government. But what saith the Scriptures? As we turn to them we find that God has made no attempt to conceal the fact of His wrath. He is not ashamed to make it known that vengeance and fury belong unto Him. His own challenge is, “See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal; neither is there any that can deliver out of My hand. For I lift up My hand to heaven, and say, I live forever, If I whet My glittering sword, and Mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to Mine enemies, and will reward them that hate Me” (Deut. 32:39-41). A study of the concordance will show that there are more references in Scripture to the anger, fury, and wrath of God, than there are to His love and tenderness. Because God is holy, He hates all sin; And because He hates all sin, His anger burns against the sinner: Psalm 7:11.
Now the wrath of God is as much a Divine perfection as is His faithfulness, power, or mercy. It must be so, for there is no blemish whatever, not the slightest defect in the character of God; yet there would be if “wrath” were absent from Him! Indifference to sin is a moral blemish, and he who hates it not is a moral leper. How could He who is the Sum of all excellency look with equal satisfaction upon virtue and vice, wisdom and folly? How could He who is infinitely holy disregard sin and refuse to manifest His “severity” (Rom. 9:12) toward it? How could He who delights only in that which is pure and lovely, loathe and hate not that which is impure and vile? The very nature of God makes Hell as real a necessity, as imperatively and eternally requisite as Heaven is. Not only is there no imperfection in God, but there is no perfection in Him that is less perfect than another.
The wrath of God is His eternal detestation of all unrighteousness. It is the displeasure and indignation of Divine equity against evil. It is the holiness of God stirred into activity against sin. It is the moving cause of that just sentence which He passes upon evil-doers. God is angry against sin because it is a rebelling against His authority, a wrong done to His inviolable sovereignty. Insurrectionists against God’s government shall be made to know that God is the Lord. They shall be made to feel how great that Majesty is which they despise, and how dreadful is that threatened wrath which they so little regarded. Not that God’s anger is a malignant and malicious retaliation, inflicting injury for the sake of it, or in return for injury received. No; while God will vindicate His dominion as the Governor of the universe, He will not be vindictive.
Almost every day I read blogs. Some days more time is spent browsing than others, because I do have a job and a family. But at a very minimum I visit Tim Challies for his daily A La Carte, and usually I’ll peruse several others as well. Nothing however, like David Murray’s blog reading list, which completely blew my mind. (How do you have time for that?) And for the most part, I really enjoy this little routine. The ability to tap into so many diverse and creative minds on a daily basis is truly awesome. But I’ve noticed something that has begun to creep in on me as I click away every day.
Besides Challies’ daily summary of his good finds, many other bloggers also make it a routine of linking to other bloggers’ articles. Some have daily recommended reading lists, others have weekly wrap-ups, and yet others do it on a more ad hoc basis. Regardless, it is not uncommon to find numerous bloggers habitually linking to the same authors and vice versa. While this practice seems at times to create a sort of self-licking ice cream cone, it’s for good reason: there are good writers out there with things to say – mind you, “helpful” things to say.
Almost without fail, amongst all the circular referencing, I find the articles being described as “helpful.” For example, “I found this to be a helpful article concerning the wrath of God.” It is here that I’ve begun to notice and quite frankly, be affected by this seemingly innocent word. Again and again, day after day, I am confronted with an excess of helpful “ideas” and “suggestions” and “ways of thinking” and on and on it goes. I feel at times as if I’m being overloaded with “helpful”-ness. What once was a fun and informative way of “staying informed” in the circles of thought which I am interested in, has become a daily “keeping up” and even burden to take all the helpfulness on board. Read more, do more, be more… It has a certain pharisaical feel to it all.
I will admit that I may be the only one who has had these thoughts. But I have a feeling there are others who consciously or unconsciously experience an urge to stay current on all of the trending helpfulness. At the same time, I don’t want to diminish the undeniable positive effects the Christian blogging world has had since its inception. There have certainly been posts that I have found to be profound and utterly helpful; ones that I can walk away with and apply to my life on an ongoing basis. The fact that I myself am writing this on my own Christianity-themed blog is itself testimony to what I think can be a positive medium for the faith.
With all of this said, and at the risk of attempting to be helpful, I have had to remind myself of a few things to make sure I can continue reading blogs without feeling overloaded.
1) The cross of Christ freed, continues to free, and will in the future keep me free from having to add one iota of anything to what God accomplished to magnify His name and reconcile me to Himself. I could never read another blog post again for all eternity and I will still be just as redeemed and righteous through Christ’s imputed righteousness as I am at this very moment. Simply amazing.
2) My everyday priorities are and should remain to be God, my wife, my children, my job… and near the end of that list is reading blogs. Meaning, these priorities should be reflected in how I manage my time and efforts on a daily basis.
3) With the first two in mind, I am free to search out meaningful and yes, helpful, brothers and sisters in Christ who through the medium of the blogosphere, can come along beside me and help sharpen my ever persistent rough and sinful edges. The phrase “eat the meat, spit out the bones” is certainly applicable. There is no need to feel overwhelmed.
Their fleeting joys abound
Though lasting never found
Dust held in a clenched fist…
Shards of spurious gems
Decorating lives condemned
…Not knowing their play is but mist
Longing for an unknown gain
Ever steers their lives in vain
While Satan hides his blade…
“But do not fret your hell-bound plight”
A hiss whispers with delight
…”God’s glory is a rather good trade.”