Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Wrath and Grace of God

"And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:1-7, NASB).

The grace of God is more fully appreciated when I remember the wrath of God.

God has every reason to destroy my life and cast me into hell. My sins are that offensive. My sins hurt God that much. He is fully justified in being that angry toward me.

However, God's justified wrath makes his grace even more amazing. With every reason to punish me more than I can imagine, he took the intiative to save me. He had mercy. He showed unusual kindness.

On the cross, Jesus Christ demonstrated how angry God is toward sin. He took the full force of God's wrath for us. His death was painful, humiliating, and lonely.

On that same cross, the Son of God demonstrated how far he was willing to go to save us, along with how deeply the Father loved us. He was not content to leave us as hopeless children of wrath. He was intent on sacrificing in order to deliver us from what we deserved.

When I stop to consider the wrath and grace of God as displayed on the cross of Christ, I find the motivation needed to thank God and to turn away from sin and temptation.

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