God's Anger Emptied Out. The outpouring of our sinful wrath on others and others pouring their sinful wrath upon us is always wrong and undeserved. However, God's wrath being poured out upon us is always right and always deserved.
As we read through the Old Testament we see the evidence of God's wrath being poured out upon Israel as well as other nations. It is always deserved, but it is never fully expressed. We likely struggle understanding how God could do such a thing, but we must be honest that our questions and uncertainties regarding God's wrath are tainted by our own sense that we, and others, are not really all that bad and definitely not deserving of the horror of God's wrath. Part of the deception of sin is that we struggle to see how wicked we truly are. More importantly and more significantly, we fail to comprehend God's holiness and righteousness. We do not comprehend how holy God is. This blindness keeps us from understanding God's justification for judgment on man while at the same time it prevents us from appreciating His incredible mercy and grace that He pours over us in abundance. We do not see ourselves as bad as we truly are, but we often see ourselves as better than what we are. It is only God's grace that opens our eyes to perceive the wickedness and desperation of our own heart. It is only because of God that we understand that we deserve judgment but that He gives grace instead. It is only because of God that we can respond to His free gift of grace.
If we can begin to comprehend our sinfulness and God's holiness and thus His justification for pouring out His wrath upon us (Romans 1:18), then the scene of the cross becomes rightly horrifying. In the Scriptures we see glimpses of God's wrath rightly being poured out, yet the cup of His wrath is never fully emptied. At the cross and upon His own Son, God's wrath is completely emptied out. For all the physical pain that Jesus suffered, it was the bearing of God's wrath for ALL of our sins (the sins of ALL mankind) that was the greatest suffering. We seem to pass over this too quickly. We need to contemplate deeply this scene and ask God for a right appreciation and understanding of His wrath and the sacrifice of Jesus taking this wrath in our place. We must also consider the ramifications of rejecting Christ as our substitute. He is the propitiation only for those who believe and confess. For all who reject His death, burial, and resurrection, the wrath of God will be fully experienced individually.
As we study humanity we see the atrocities that man is capable of towards his fellow human, but we often fail to comprehend the vileness of our sins against the Holy God. We understand how people need to pay for their acts against us and how we seem to be justified in our own anger, but we struggle to acknowledge that we need to and deserve to pay for our sins against God. We deserve the full force of His wrath. But God does not pour His wrath upon us, but chooses to pour out His wrath upon His own Son for our sakes. It is only by His grace that we do not suffer His wrath that we deserve. Because of this, we are free withhold our wrath and anger from others. We minister grace with the same grace that we have received ourselves from God.
How do you respond knowing that you deserve God's wrath, but that He poured it out upon Jesus instead?