Tuesday, July 24, 2007

God, More Than The Nice Guy in the Sky

This is not my forum for preaching. Most of that comes on Sunday mornings, but it is a wonderful forum for teaching. In my reading this morning, I could not help but be moved by a passage in Zechariah 10:3. God says, "My anger is hot against the shepherds." Here, God is speaking of his anger toward the leaders of Israel because they had not led as God desired. However, God's anger is not limited to the leaders of Israel.

God, because he is God, is holy and righteous and detests anything that is not holy and righteous. For that reason, it is absolutely proper and appropriate for us to speak of God's anger--even hatred--toward sin and sinners. Scripture itself testifies to God's wrath and to the eternal punishment that all who do not call on the name of the Lord will experience. Our society is bent against punishment and responsibility for wrong actions, but society's bent does not change God's eternal decree.

We live in a world that likes to refer often to God's love, and we should always refer to God as a God of love, for he is love according to 1 John. But, Jesus is more than our "homeboy" as hats and t-shirts claim today. God is more than a nice guy in the sky or a genie in a bottle. God is holy and righteous. The gospel is good news only because it is the means by which men, women, boys, and girls can be saved from God's wrath.

Though we like to be loved and to know a God of love, we as the church must never lose sight of the God of wrath. Without a just and wrathful God, there is no need for salvation. When we refuse to teach and focus on the wrath of God, we refuse to teach the gospel as it is taught in the Scriptures. We speak of hell and God's wrath, not because we are fire-breathing dragons, but because we love God and people. We love God enough to speak of him as he truly is and we love people enough to warn them of God's justified punishment for their sin. God is more than a nice guy, and we should all be glad. A God who is nice and nothing else could never be holy and a God who is not holy is no God at all.

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