The Awkward Truth About God’s Wrath

The Awkward Truth About God’s Wrath

The awkward truth about God’s wrath makes it an unpopular topic. Because, well…the thought an Almighty God is angry and might punish us is frightful and something we’d rather not talk about. But scripture mentions it frequently. So here are three things to keep in mind about it.

The awkward truth about God’s wrath. God’s thoughts and emotions are higher than ours

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (ESV, Isaiah 55:8-9)

We are made in God’s image with His emotions and relational character traits. Along with a will and conscience to distinguish between right and wrong. Furthermore, we have intelligence and the ability to observe God’s existence demonstrated through His creation.

But God is infinite and we are finite. Furthermore, our image is marred due to sin. Therefore, our thoughts and emotions are capricious and unpredictable. And our wrath is often uncontrolled, which leads to irrational actions with disastrous consequences.

But not so with God. He is perfectly holy, righteous, and just. Absolutely consistent in all His ways.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. (ESV, Romans 1:18-19)

So what exactly is God’s wrath? It is His divine anger towards and sovereign will to punish sin. What the Bible calls ungodliness and unrighteousness. All who embrace sin and reject God’s provision, Jesus Christ, must face it.

Even so, God’s wrath is not capricious and out of control like ours. Nor does He seek personal vengeance. But His wrath and judgment are individually measured and appropriately dispensed.

That’s the bad news. But there’s good news too.

God’s wrath is received at the end of this life

What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction. (ESV, Romans 9:22)

God loves us and is patient. He doesn’t fidget on his throne, gleefully rubbing his hands together in anticipation…eager to zap us with lightning bolts. He gives us an entire earthly life to see His truth and respond to Jesus Christ. And many opportunities to seek Him.

However, keep in mind that God is equally love and just. And while He lovingly waits for us to respond, His absolute justice won’t be denied. Furthermore, His absolute wrath and judgment are perfectly measured and administered according to His perfect character. We get exactly what we deserve.

The awkward truth about God’s wrath. It is turned away by God’s grace.

And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. (ESV, 1 Thessalonians 1:10)

Jesus Christ was God’s gift to us and an expression of His love. As the Son of God, Jesus lived a perfect life, died on a cross for our sins, and resurrected from the dead three days later. When we ask Jesus to forgive our sins and accept him as Lord, we receive God’s grace instead of wrath.

And are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, received by faith. (ESV, Romans 3:24-25a)

The Greek word for “propitiation” is hilastēriŏn, which means an atoning victim. In other words, Jesus’ sacrificial death atoned for our sins and satisfies God’s requirement of perfect justice. Because Jesus was a perfect sacrifice.

Ultimately, we all face Jesus for judgment.

Till then, God’s wrath bears down on us like a speeding locomotive. Standing firm on the tracks means facing God’s wrath. But we can step off by accepting God’s grace. The choice is up to each of us. Those covered by the atonement of Jesus will receive grace. And enjoy an eternal homecoming. Those who reject Jesus will experience an awkward realization and an awful reality. Just don’t blame the train if you chose not to move.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview. This blog is originally published here.

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Three Pillars Of Biblical Grace

Three Pillars Of Biblical Grace

Three pillars of Biblical Grace are critical supports for this important concept of Christian faith. And you must embrace them to appreciate its full transforming power. Let’s examine them.

Three pillars of Biblical Grace. The corruption of sin.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. (ESV, Romans 5:12)

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, that disobedience was sin And it corrupted their unspoiled human nature. Since then, this sinful corruption has spread and infected the entire human population.

Although many people do not see themselves as a sinner.

In fact, you seldom hear “sin” used in secular culture. It’s simply a church word for religious people. Sure. Most people admit they make mistakes and aren’t perfect. They just consider themselves more perfect compared to others. However, sin is more than a mistake. It’s intentional disobedience to God.

Furthermore, God measures us by His standard. And that standard of absolute perfection is way beyond our reach.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds. (ESV, Jeremiah 17:9-19)

Until you see the wickedness in your heart and accept yourself as one totally corrupted by sin, you’ll never fully grasp or appreciate how undeserving you are of God’s grace. Or understand the magnitude of the grace God offers.

Three pillars of Biblical Grace. God as Judge.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. (ESV, 2 Corinthians 5:10)

We demand justice when we’re the victims, but expect something different from God. After all. Isn’t He love? So shouldn’t we get an exception?

Unfortunately, this idea misunderstands God’s character. Yes, He is perfect love. But He is also perfectly just. And one does not supersede the other. The idea that God holds us accountable for our sins is unpopular. But it is a clear teaching in scripture.

It is only when you understand that judgment is both impending and deserved that you can fully appreciate God’s grace. Because that is exactly what it means. That you DON’T get what you DESERVE.

Three pillars of Biblical Grace. Jesus Christ is God’s provision for sin.

 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (ESV, 2 Corinthians 5:21)

God sent Jesus Christ to die in our place and pay the penalty for sin. By asking Jesus for forgiveness and following him as Lord, God’s standard for perfect justice is met. Because Jesus was the perfect sacrifice. And when those who follow Jesus appear for judgment, Jesus will extend to them grace.

Therefore, Jesus Christ is God’s provision of grace. The gift of a perfect, loving father who satisfies the demands of a perfectly just God. And that’s what it means to be redeemed people of God. And saved by grace.

It’s good to remember that grace is both undeserved and free. But it was not cheap.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview. This blog is originally published here.

Looking for a Bible Study for yourself or small group??

Check out Philippians Bible Study For Individuals and Groups.

Winning The War For A Godly Mind

Winning The War For A Godly Mind

Winning the war for a Godly mind is a never ending fight. Because it’s one battle after another. And there is a real spiritual adversary who knows our every weakness and attacks the most fertile field for reaping a sinful harvest. Our minds. Here are three ways to fight back.

Winning the war for a Godly Mind. Fill it with Godly thoughts.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (ESV, Philippians 4:8)

What fills your mind will occupy your thoughts. So a Godly mind is intentional about what it lets in and allows to stay. Of course there’s Mindspace reserved for work and family obligations. Along with other cognitive calculations in the grind of daily life. But beyond them, what sources of news, entertainment, and lifestyle do you consume? Because they drive your thoughts. Frame your attitudes. And form your worldview. Too much slop causes brain rot. And gives your adversary, Satan, much to work with.

Therefore, guard what gets in. A great way to start your morning is by reading God’s Word. Play inspirational music in the car, when doing chores, and at work. Read, watch, and listen to content that promotes what is pure, lovely and admirable.

As you actively consume content that honors God, your thoughts will more regularly influence actions that honor him too.

Winning the war for a Godly Mind. Keep it purposefully directed.

Behavior is seldom completely random and impulsive. It begins with a thought. And thoughts are rehearsals for actions. Therefore, purposefully direct those mental rehearsals in a positive manner by…

Capturing your thoughts

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. (ESV, 2 Corinthian 10:5)

Capturing your thoughts involves immediately addressing the ones you want to push out. Rather than trying NOT to think about them, consciously replace them by turning your mind to other thoughts.

Renewing your mind

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (ESV, Romans 12:2)

Our minds are plastic. And while we can’t eliminate bad memories and negative thought patterns, we can diminish them by building new, Godly memories and thought patterns. God’s Spirit renews our mind as we honor him through praise, worship, and feeding on His Word. These new thoughts and activities influence Godly behavior that forms a new, Godly character.

Leaning on God’s mercy

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (ESV, Lamentation 3:22-23)

We won’t win every mental battle over sin. But God is gracious. And as we regularly confess our sin and seek God’s forgiveness, he covers us with His mercy. In that mercy and by God’s grace, our minds can reset and start fresh with each new day.

Winning the war for a Godly Mind. Rest in God’s peace.

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. (ESV, Isaiah 26:3)

A Godly mind will celebrate complete victory in an eternal future. But it can still experience a present peace. Because peace in a Biblical worldview is more than inner tranquility or lack of conflict. It is achieved through a right relationship with God. So rather than seek within for peace, reach up to God. Because real peace is experienced through His presence in your life.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview. This blog is originally published here.

Looking for a Bible Study for yourself or small group??

Check out Philippians Bible Study For Individuals and Groups.

When You Pray For Others

When You Pray For Others

When you pray for others. Jesus taught his followers to show care and compassion to others, which includes praying for them. It was a radical teaching then and applies today as well. Jesus taught us how to pray for others in Luke 11:1-13 and how it benefits us too.

When you pray for others. It helps you look beyond yourself.

Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him. (ESV, Luke 11:5)

Thinking about, caring, and praying for others doesn’t come naturally. But Jesus regularly demonstrated it in his life and taught his followers to do the same. And when we do, our own problems seem less pressing as we see them from a different perspective.

Notice the man in the story asking his neighbor for bread had none in his house. Why? Did he neglect going to the store or lacked the money to buy it? Did his guest showed up unexpectedly? And wasn’t a midnight run to the neighbor inconvenient for him too? Regardless, he was on a mission to see to his guest’s needs.

But then, isn’t that how many of life’s difficulties happen? Unexpectedly? And in this particular story, Jesus seems to be saying prayer is your first, urgent response. Not your last.

When you pray for others. Pray with bold persistence.

I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. (ESV, Luke 11:8)

The Greek word for “impudence” is anaidĕia, which means shameless audacity, shameless boldness, and persistence. When praying for others, we are to ask boldly with selfless motives and trust God for his answer.

You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (ESV, James 4:2-3)

We don’t know how prayer works or the reasons for God’s answers. But we know Jesus prayed regularly and tells us to do the same. Boldly and persistently. In other words, nag God with a determined sense of urgency.

Consider Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, just before his arrest and crucifixion. He knew his mission as the Son of God was to sacrifice himself on the cross for our sins. And yet, he asked God to spare him from it. If the Father had said “yes” and spared Jesus, there would be no hope for us today.

Prayer blesses you too.

For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 

We often approach prayer as presenting our grocery list of wants to God. But it’s more than that. It connect us intimately with our Heavenly Father. To confess our sins, seek his will, and align our plans as participants in his divine plan. That’s why our prayers should reach beyond ourselves to a global level. Because the more you consider God’s world mission, the better you see your place in it.

Of course, it doesn’t mean our determined persistence eventually wears God down until he says “yes.” Prayer is one of the great mysteries of God we will never understand. He answers them according to His sovereign will, not ours. We pray because Jesus taught us to. Then trust God’s goodness and faithfulness to His promise. And share in the blessing when we see Him at work.

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview. This blog is originally published here.

Looking for a Bible Study for yourself or small group??

Check out Philippians Bible Study For Individuals and Groups.

Ways People Approach Ultimate Life Questions

Ways People Approach Ultimate Life Questions

Ways people approach ultimate life questions. Who am I? Why am I here? What happens when I die? Over the years in ministry I’ve observed different ways people approach these ultimate life questions. Here are four of the most common ones.

Ways people approach ultimate life questions. Press on and don’t think about it

When I was in seminary as a single adult, I attended a religious conference in Glorieta, New Mexico. The conference center was nestled among mountains. And during free time, a girl, another guy, and I decided to hike up the side of a mountain.

Now this was not Mount Everest. It was covered by trees, not snow and actually had a hiking path to the top so it wasn’t treacherous. But it was very steep with some spots where I climbed on all fours. Along the way we came to a clearing and the girl and I paused to take in the scenery. We were awed by the majestic beauty and an Almighty God who created it.

However, the other guy chided us for wasting time. He was on a mission to reach the top. And as he pressed ahead the girl looked at me with a smile and said, “He’s a get there hiker.”

That’s how some people approach life.

Always busy. Moving forward. Determined to get there. So they set goals, establish agendas, and move forward on the path to get ahead. A better job, bigger house, and higher income. Don’t waste your time speculating. Just keep pressing forward.  

I see this approach most often in young adults who are full of energy, dreams, and aspirations. Older people slow down because…well, you don’t have a choice. And become more introspective as they realize there is more of life behind than ahead of them.

Of course, the Bible talks about pressing ahead too. It just has a different focus. Here’s what the Apostle Paul says:  

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (ESV, Philippians 3:13-14)

Paul pressed forward with a goal and Godly purpose which was to follow and more closely imitate Jesus Christ. He would claim his prize when he entered heaven.

Ways people approach ultimate life questions. Hope for the best.

This is my approach to golf. In my younger days I played golf with a friend who was a scratch golfer. I on the other hand, was a hacker.

And if we were on a hill in the fairway as we approached the green, and the green was at the top and we couldn’t see the pin, my friend would pace it off. He’d walk up to the hole and back, select a club, and put the ball within six feet of the pin.

I on the other hand just took my chances. Guess on the right club, hit the ball and hope for the best. Because for me, hitting the ball straight was an accomplishment and getting within six yards of the green a win.  

And this is how some people approach their spiritual life. They generally believe in God and have a sense of moral right and wrong. They know bits and pieces about Christianity and perhaps attend church occasionally. But they don’t explore it deeply or make it an important part of their life. They aim in what they see as the right spiritual direction and hope for the best.

But you don’t have to wonder. Or guess. Or hope for the best. Scripture says you can know.

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. (ESV, 1 John 5:13)

The Bible answers life’s ultimate questions. And provides assurance to those who embrace its truth.  You don’t have to guess, but you do have to seek its truth. And take the time to study and learn God’s word.

Ways people approach ultimate life questions. Do good things.

This is the most common approach because most people believe in God. They have a sense of right and wrong. Good and evil. And know heaven is where the good people go. But they don’t recognize the real problem, which is sin. Instead, they mistakenly believe that God uses this spiritual scale to weigh the good against the bad and if the good wins out, you go to heaven.

So, typically, this person compares themselves morally to others. They admit they aren’t perfect, but consider themselves morally superior to criminals shown on the news. And to prove it, they post all their virtuous acts on social media.

We see an example of this approach in Matthew chapter 19:16-22.

A rich young man who encounters Jesus and he asks him, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?

 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”  He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?”  Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

He did the right things and checked off all the boxes. But knew something was still missing. So he asked, “What else do I lack?”

And what he lacked was a heart sold out to Jesus. And Jesus saw his heart. Just like he sees our hearts. The young man’s first priority was material possessions. Which is why Jesus told him to give it all away. Because Jesus wants to be our first priority. You see the do good approach wants to make a contribution. But Jesus wants a commitment. And this takes us to the last approach.

Ways people approach ultimate life questions. Follow Jesus

John 3:16 is one of the most well-known scripture verses in the Bible and says, “For God so loved the world he gave his only son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

However, Jesus was more demanding.

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. (ESV, Luke 9:23)

Following Jesus is not an easy path. Especially in today’s secular culture that is growing more hostile towards the Bible and Christians. It takes more courage and commitment to follow Jesus today than ever before.

It involves submitting yourself to God. Confessing your sin, asking Jesus for forgiveness, and following him as Savior and Lord. It’s the approach that answers all the ultimate questions in life.

Deuteronomy 13:4 puts it this way:

It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.  

It’s simple though not easy. But it’s a life full of joy. Of meaning and purpose. And eternal hope. As you consider these different approaches, I pray you consider the one that follows Jesus.

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview. This blog is originally published here.

Looking for a Bible Study for yourself or small group??

Check out Philippians Bible Study For Individuals and Groups.