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Posts tagged ‘John 1’

What Does the ‘Wrath’ of God Actually Look Like?

What does the wrath of God look like? We know from the Bible that there is something, given the name ‘wrath’ that involves God and that involves people. But, what does it mean? How does it, or has it played out. What does the wrath of God actually look like?

Many people for a long time, inside the church, and out, have been taught the idea that God, in the past, developed some serious anger, and that it was because of the sin of humanity. Many believe that from the first ever sin – from Adam and Eve partaking of the Tree of Knowledge and good and evil, God’s wrath waxed hot against us all. 1But is this true? I mean if you forget the fact that it was actually man that hid from God, not the other way around, and if you forget the fact that God acted pretty cool about the whole thing, he was even gracious and merciful, he even provided for mankind in covering their shame with the skins of animals. So, if you forget those things, and also the truth that God displayed outrageous kindness to Saints throughout the Old Testament… you can kind of believe that God was actually the one who needed space from humanity. But we can’t forget the truth! Many though, still believe that God was getting ready, if not for Jesus, to destroy this world and every one in it.

In the beginning, as detailed in Genesis 3:8, Adam and Eve hid from God. It’s important to remember though that God didn’t hide from them nor harm them. God, from before the beginning loved and adored humanity, and nothing changed after the ‘fall’. After Adam and Eve ate from the ‘law’-tree God commenced his rescue mission to save mankind and grant them access to this great Salvation we know today!  6Genesis 3:15 tells part of this glorious rescue mission, it says: ‘And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.’ (KJV) God did not withhold his love and adoration from humanity – he in effect says: ‘I am not going to do nothing while sin, sickness, poverty, and sorrow hurt my children – I’m going to crush all that oppose them!’

However, although the grand story throughout the Old Testament, and of course Jesus himself, testify that God wasn’t angry with humanity itself, just that which would harm her; many still insist that the wrath of God is his anger toward mankind.

Many get their view of the wrath of God from religious idea which lacks creativity – you know, it’s really a mashup with concept from other religious ideas and texts from the Old Testament. When one ignores the grand story, good contextual tools, and of course the reality of Jesus and his Finished Work, one can concoct a whole host of funny doctrines – including that of the wrath of God being his anger against humanity, and of course the like of penal-substitution etc.8

But, this isn’t accurate! It’s not how it is! John explains in John 1:18 that no one has ever seen God apart from Jesus. Many take their understanding of God from accounts written by people who didn’t even see the fullness of God – they only saw a shadow of the true and good God that we see revealed in Jesus! It is in the shadow reality that his passion was mistaken as anger – to those who saw dimly it was only right that God would want to destroy those who opposed him.

But the truth revealed in Jesus shows that his wrath was for that which opposed his creation. The truth about God, indeed about his wrath is revealed when Jesus appears on the scene in a body. Jesus and his finished work reveal what God’s wrath actually looks like! Many define the atonement by their idea of God’s wrath, but the finished work of Jesus actually, and accurately, defines God’s wrath! On the cross we see a good and kind God who would rather suffer than forfeit our fellowship. 4We see a God who cries ‘forgive them’ (Luke 23:34), and we see Jesus, looking weak, but destroying that what would dare to oppose the Almighty’s creation; namely sin and the curse.

In John 3:14 Jesus backs this up and relates his finished work to that of Moses lifting up the snake in the desert – the account details the Israelites been bitten by snakes and suffering under the cruel effects of the poison. Moses lifted a bronze snake on a pole and everyone who looked at it got healed. And likewise, Jesus took the curse, the poison of death and brought it down to the grave – he wasn’t busy appeasing his Father, he was actually saving us from that which we needed saving from: sin.

This is the good news – God is for humanity! Yes, even the wrath of God is something to be celebrated – even his wrath is for humanity!

Romans 8:3 explains God’s wrath further, it explains that sin has been condemned in the body of Jesus! Sin needed destroying and its death sentence was carried out in Christ; it wasn’t that God condemned the fruit of your sin in Jesus so he wouldn’t have to condemn it in you – no God condemned sin itself and all of its effects in Jesus so that sin couldn’t kill you.3 John 3:17 backs this up and states that God did not send Jesus into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world. Sin was condemned – humanity was always meant to be saved!

Now, the idea that the wrath of God was his anger against humanity for their sin has a lot of whacky resulting ideas and doctrines, and this is another reason it’s so important to know the truth of what Jesus has accomplished and the motives behind it. This is why it’s important to know what the wrath of God looks like! One of the resulting whacky ideas that follows the idea of God’s wrath as his anger against humanity, is the idea that the wrath of God was aimed at the Son on the cross. This idea is erroneous; how can the Father be against the Son, or the Son be against the Spirit, or whichever way you want to phrases it. No, the Bible clearly teaches in 2 Corinthians 5:19 that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself!7

God doesn’t need target practice – his wrath wasn’t aimed at Jesus – the Godhead knew who they were after – and they did it –they got him – they took down the old creation, and every form of evil and every bit of the curse.

God’s wrath was his anger, not at us, nor aimed at the Son, but toward sin. The wrath of God should be rightly defined as his passion to save us! In fact, the Greek word for wrath correctly and accurately denotes ‘passion’!

You know, some read verses that talk about God’s wrath, for example Romans 1:18, to be saying that God’s fiery anger was poured out against human-kind for their evil behavior. But, the Greek word for wrath, orgē, can be translated; ‘passion’, as I said above, but also ‘movement of the soul’,’ impulse’, or ‘desire’. ( You know, God has always had a fiery passion for his creation, and this was what we see happening at the cross – Daddy God’s passion for us was revealed from heaven against all that would dare to threaten and harm his beloved.

The judgment and wrath of God aren’t coming, they already came. In Christ God put an end to the spiritual evils which plagued us, and he set us free – free to enjoy the fullness of his love and grace, and as we do that we see manifestation of his glory which is the answer to all earthly ills! 5

Did you know the wrath of God and the judgment of God go hand in hand? His judgment – the eternal judgment of the Godhead is that we were worthy and worth saving! We see this further in John 5:22 where Jesus said that the Father entrusted all judgment to him, and Jesus’ judgment was the same as it has always was – Jesus says in John 3:19 that the verdict had arrived when Jesus arrived – light has come into the world – the purpose – the verdict was the redeem, not punish!

Your Daddy God’s purpose and heart has always been grace-centered, gospel centered! Wrath, as in wrath being his anger against humanity, isn’t the ‘other side of the same coin’. God is Love. Pure Love. And his wrath is perfectly in line with the revelation of his being!

Judgment took place upon that cross, through the resurrection, and in the ascension, but it wasn’t scary – it was beautiful! The wrath of God has, already, been displayed, and it was beautiful too! We are now, as Jesus put it in Luke 4, quoting Isaiah 61, in the acceptable year of favor!2

Know today that your heavenly Father, your heavenly family – the Godhead, are so in love with you! You are in the New day of the New Covenant! Let’s be people who proclaim the gospel and show people the result of God’s judgment! Let’s be people who delight in the result of his wrath.

The Exact Representation of God (Part One)

By Josh Hunt

Sometimes I’m shocked at how people view God! I mean, he’s so good, and it’s so sad when people don’t see that! I know that not everyone has embraced grace, but even when talking to a legalistic believer, I still get surprised by the adjectives, phrases, and metaphors they use to describe our God! I used to be legalistic, and a long time ago, I used to believe some of the things they say. But, after tasting his goodness the bitter taste of penal substitution or the nasty aftertaste of God-being-a-cosmic-judge just aren’t tolerable (of course the people are! It’s just the concepts that cause harm that are intolerable!). man-742766_1280 It’s sad to hear these misconceptions of God because they not only misrepresent our Daddy, but they also keep people in bondage!

God is pure light! Brilliance – Love! And when people misrepresent him – detailing him as angry, as the cause of pain, or as the reason for depression – it puts people off from embracing the One who is wooing them into wholeness! James 1:17 says:

‘Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.’ (KJV).

How wonderful is this picture! This is our Papa – ‘the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness’! There is nothing in God that is not predictable to pure LOVE! God is LOVE! (See 1 Jn 4:8).

It’s important that we present God as he is! It’s important that people see him as he is! Because when we see God as he is, when we know him, we have confidence to enjoy our union with him and see heaven made manifest on the earth. A lot of believers see themselves as God-servants, and God as a foreign King trying to invade this land. The truth, though, is so much better. We are one with the King! Sons and Daughters at his royal table! We get to rule and reign on this earth now (Rom 5:17). wedding-72180_1280

Until we see God right we won’t see ourselves right; until we see God as the caring, loving Papa he is, we won’t see the glorious Jesus living in us! 2 Corinthians 3 details how the veil of the law never led to manifest glory. However, under grace we can see Jesus purely as he is, and manifest outwardly the same glory Jesus has, the glory we carry around in our spirits!

‘But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.’ (2 Cor. 3:18, KJV)

This is the portion of the child of God – to live victoriously in the practical, multi-faceted favour of Jesus, which is his manifold wisdom (Ephesians 3:10).  This wisdom reveals that we were made in the image of the Godhead and share in the resurrection life of the Christ; thus, this wisdom is God’s detailed, practical care and adoration of us. It is our recipe for success; for activating and engaging with heaven on earth in the here and now.

Jesus reveals the truth that God is a good Father, and through this truth the glory inherent within us begins to shine and radiate from us, touching everything in our lives and transforming it with the beauty and harmony of heaven! We were hand-crafted after the image and likeness of Christ’s very own brilliance and glory. To walk in the power of this reality, we have to accurately see the one in whose image we are made, and we do this by meditating upon and gazing at the radiant glory emanating from the Gospel message, articulated through Jesus:

‘[Jesus] Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:’ (Heb. 1:3, KJV).

This verse is so rich in gospel truth! Jesus is the ‘image’ of God, or in other words: God looks like Jesus. Jesus came to save us, to recue us from the dominion of darkness (see Col. 1:13), superman-149156_1280and it’s important to keep in focus that, in rescuing us from darkness, Jesus practically unveils to us that God is perfect majesty, whose ways are splendour, and whose heart is filled with the grandeur of goodness and magnificence. Jesus colours in the heart of God for us with passion and eloquence, so that we can see that God is truly good, and that God is truly Love supreme, in very human terms.

One of the things Jesus came to save us from were false images we held of God, the misconceived ideas, the religious connotations. Jesus came to show people the truth about our loving Papa, indeed the truth about himself, the truth about the Spirit; Jesus came to show us that the Trinity is good, and that ‘God’ looks like the gloriously good Jesus who came to save us! photo-camera-219958_1280

Now, when Jesus came, his primary audience, at least in terms of public speaking, were the Jews, who held a distorted image of ‘God’ and subsequently kept others in bondage. The Pharisees found it hard to believe that Jesus was the messiah and that God was doing what Jesus claimed he was doing. This was mainly because the Pharisees were standing on the shoulders of those who had a distorted image of God, who stood on the shoulders of others who had a distorted image of God, who stood on the shoulders of those who experienced God, but never saw his fullness, namely the Old Testament saints. John makes it clear in John 1:18 that no one has ever ‘seen’ God except Jesus who resides ‘in the bosom of the Father’. Here’s the full verse:

‘No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.’ (Jn. 1:18, KJV).

Jesus came to declare, through his words, stories, and actions who God really is; Jesus came to save us and thus reveal to us the God who would rather die than be without us, who would rather suffer than forfeit our fellowship!

Some people think that theology doesn’t matter, that what we believe about the nature of God, or about the atonement, or about eschatology doesn’t have proper value; to some as long as one is ‘serving’, or ‘worshipping’, or ‘loving’ then all is good. But it does matter. What we believe about God, and what we teach he is like to others, truly matters. There are two main problems with the above ‘some people’ point I just made; 1) is that God wants us, not our service; we are called to be Children, not slaves. And, 2) What we believe about God; about his nature, his actions, his will, his motives, directly correlates to how much we trust him – knowing God is good enables us to ‘settle down’ with him and to enjoy his love without the ‘what if’ fears of religion! This then results in us demonstrating the power and glory of heaven! Oh, and also (this is still number 2) what we teach about God matters because people need to hear the message that lines up with what the Holy Spirit is saying in his wooing of the heart; people need to hear about the true God, then they will embrace the Kingdom with joy!

Jesus thought it pretty important to show us the nature of the glorious Trinity. If you are unsure of how good God is then ask the Holy Spirit to show you Jesus. Simply ask the beautiful Spirit to show you the exact representation of God…


Limitless Life Devotional

Enjoying Spiritual Treasure

John 1:16

‘And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace’ (KJV)

Some people relish in the idea of lack; to some the concept of living in lack and ‘just getting by’ is appealing, and there are many possible reasons for this. One is the religious ego, or the power people feel they have over those who aren’t as ‘trusting’ as they are. But, in short probably the main reason is that they see poverty as a virtue, as a holy lifestyle which requires their devotion and trust. Thank God that he doesn’t see it this way! In God’s mind poverty has always been a result of the curse, and he has never willed it upon any of his children! God himself has only ever been poor in Jesus on the cross, and that was for our sake – ‘so that you through his poverty might become rich.’ (KJV)

It’s important that we know a few things concerning prosperity and poverty; one is that poverty was a result of the curse. Another is that there is nothing wrong with you if you aren’t seeing your provision made manifest just yet (you aren’t under the curse, you are free from the curse, See Gal. 3:13-14). One more is the truth that you have the very same spiritual riches and prosperity of the Trinity – indeed, ‘of his fulness’ you have received! And another is that you can see this prosperity made manifest and enjoy the provision of your Papa in every area of your life. Oh, and another is that being poor is overrated, it’s not holy or unholy, it’s just a contradiction to the truth you can experience. YOU are holy and YOU are complete, and as you enjoy your holiness and fullness you will see glorious manifestation of the provision and prosperity of your Daddy God!

Know today that whether you have, in terms of wealth, plenty or little, your spiritual bank account, your spiritual treasure chest is FULL with the innumerable riches of the Godhead! Know that you have the prosperity of the Christ! Know that you can see this made manifest! Rest today in the reality of the sufficient one within, don’t buy into the religious lie that God isn’t interested in seeing you prosper, and don’t buy into the lie that it’s better to be poor. You are already rich! In Christ you are prosperous, and as you enjoy this reality you will see this prosperity tangibly manifest and flood into every area of your life!

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