Tree of Life Blog

Engaging Culture with the wisdom and power of Christ!

Tag Archives: Wrath of God

Romans 2.5

0

5But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;

When you are religious you think that your behaviour is all that counts before God. If you behave well, God loves you, if you misbehave God hates you. As we said about the last verse religious people are judgmental and mean.

Also discussing the last verse we established that people are religious because they hate the goodness of God. In this verse we find out that when people hate the goodness of God and become religious that they develop a hard and impenitent heart.

This is a disaster place to be: a drunkard, a thug and a prostitute all know they are sinners and when they hear the grace of God in the gospel they can repent and change. Someone with an impenitent heart cannot even know they have sinned: religion’s worst problem is that it is totally deceptive. It makes you think you are heaven bound when you are hell bound. It makes you think you are kind when you are horrendous. It makes you think you are pleasing God when you are storing up wrath for yourself.

Let’s take this verse to pieces and examine what it means:

1. Religious people have a hard heart.

This word means harsh or intolerable. It means you cannot change, you are unyielding, you will be unforgiving and cruel. Whenever you think that you relate to God by performance you will be cruel to people. It is a fact. Your heart becomes harsh because you start to see God as harsh. You act like whatever you think God is like and if you think God is harsh and mean, you will be harsh and mean to people.

2. Religious people have an impenitent heart.

This word means someone who is unable to change their mind. Religious people are unable to change their mind about anything. If someone is in their bad books, they are never going to be in their good books because religious people never change their mind.

If they grew up in a church that says that tongues is not for today, it does not matter what they read in the Bible about tongues they will never believe it because that would mean changing their mind.

Stubbornness and religion go hand in hand. If you are struggling with being stubborn, check your view of God: do you think that you impress God with your behaviour? Do you think that God is capricious and mean? If you do, get into the Bible and realize that God is a good God.

3. Religious people heap up trouble for themselves.

This word in the KJV is translated “treasurest up” because the Greek word is generally used to describe someone who is building up a pile of treasure or making themselves rich. However, metaphorically this word is used for someone who is following a lifestyle that ends up in a particular direction.

For example if someone is taking drugs, it is not difficult to predict where they will end up unless they change direction. We know that this is true for obvious sins like sexual immorality, drug taking or fits of rage and anger. However, the Bible here is teaching us that this is also true for religion.

If you think that you can impress God with your behaviour and even worse that your behaviour does impress God, then you will never come to God for His grace and mercy. You will always look to yourself and never to Christ.

Your direction will eventually be wrath – the accurate and precise judgment of God for your actions. Even your best actions are filthy rags. Your only righteousness that will enable you to escape the wrath of God is the righteousness of Jesus. If you continue in your good works you will end up in hell.

4. Religious people will be judged on the day of judgment.

This is great news for religious people. It might not sound like great news at first, but think about it: God could judge everyone right now but He does not. This is the age of grace. If someone as religious and spiteful and destructive as Saul could become the apostle of grace and kindness Paul, then anyone can change. Anyone can move into grace, receive Jesus, stop trying to live on their pathetic self-righteousness and start living as a king in the righteousness of God.

5. When God judges religious people, He will be right!

The Bible here calls God’s judgment righteous judgment. This means that God will never judge someone based on His mood, His bias or anything other than an accurate and precise assessment of someone’s actions.

If you live your life in a selfish way, focused on your righteousness and your goodness and never repenting for what you have done wrong and never trusting in Jesus as Lord and Saviour, then you will end up in hell and it is right that you end up there.

The only way to enter heaven is through Jesus. Religious people still think that they can enter themselves because of their goodness. Some religious people think that it is just their goodness, others think it is some Jesus and some their goodness – both are completely and utterly wrong. It is only Jesus. If your trust is in something else you are in trouble, and it is right you are in trouble.

I urge you: put your trust in Jesus. ALONE!

Romans 1.19

0

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

Remembering that our last verse told us the wrath of God was revealed against unrighteousness; and that the wrath of God is the judicial punishment of God – not the violent anger of God, then we can see in this verse WHY God is punishing sin.

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them – and them here is referring to the people who are ungodly and unrighteous.

God is right to punish the ungodly and the unrighteous, because what may be known of God is manifest in them.

What does this mean?

It means this: every person knows there is a God. Every person knows that there is an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good, all-loving being that created them and created the universe.

That is what the Bible teaches. That is why it is correct for God to punish sin, because everyone who sins knows that they have sinned, knows that they have done something wrong.

This “knower” is called the conscience, and it is a great Trojan horse when you are evangelising someone.

It is part of their mind, part of their inner being and it knows there is a God. It knows that God is good and it knows that they have not always kept the standards of this God. Athiest, Hindu, Muslim, JW, whatever – every human has this conscience, this knower.

When you evangelise, ask people if they think they are a good person – if they say no, then ask why. If they say yes, ask them why. Ask them if they know any of God’s commandments and if they have ever broken any of them.

Awaken the conscience inside the person and evangelise them there. You won’t win over someone with an intellectual argument unless you awaken their conscience. As soon as it is awakened, it will start to deal with the person. Let them know what Jesus has done for them on the cross and that Jesus has redeemed them from all sin.

The Bible says in John 16.13 that the Holy Spirit convinces us of sin because we do not believe in Jesus. That is the ministry of the Holy Spirit, by the way, not to convince us of lying or stealing or adultery, but to convince and convict us of not relying on Jesus, not putting our faith in Jesus, not relating to Jesus, not trusting Him and His goodness.

Now when you have shown someone what Jesus did for them, and maybe illustrated it with an example or two from your life, then the Holy Spirit has material to work with.

That person walks off, but the Holy Spirit walks with them… you cannot escape the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit will work at convincing the person that they have failed to trust Jesus. They have to accept redemption from Jesus.

Most Christians seem to think the Holy Spirit goes around saying “sin, sin, sin, repent, you sinned, you are useless, you missed it again, you failed.” No – the Holy Spirit goes around saying “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, trust Jesus, put your faith in Jesus, Jesus has rescued you, Jesus has set you free.”

Same applies for us as Christians – it is not the Holy Spirit that is harping on about your sins. He harps on about Jesus and His redemptive power!

So, next time you share your faith realize that the person you are talking to, deep down, knows that there is a God. And that if you clearly show them Christ crucified and explain why (see Galatians 3.1), then the Holy Spirit can convince them of this truth and their spirit will bear witness to the Holy Spirit and they will be born again.

Glory and freedom,
Benjamin

Romans 1.18

0

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

This is a very serious verse and one that needs considerable contemplation by all Christians. Let’s first of all define the phrase “wrath of God”. The Greek word is orge (pronounced or-gay) and it can mean violent emotions or it can mean punishment.

Most commentaries I read seem to lean towards defining orge in this verse as violent emotions. This goes back to the Calvinist idea that God is angry with the world. I even read one commentary that said that God hates sinners – that if you sin, God hates you until you repent.

I believe whole heartedly that this idea of “sinners in the hand of an angry God” is a false one. We are not sinners in the hands of an angry God, and we were never sinners in the hands of an angry God! We were sinners, but God was not angry. Now, as Christians, we are not sinners any more: we are righteous saints in the hands of a loving Father.

The preacher of “sinners in the hands of an angry God” first transcribed sermon was about how God will not save anyone who comes to Him in sincere faith, as God can do what He likes and God will only save who He wants to save! People in his church were so depressed by his preaching that some of them committed suicide, including his own uncle. He then said that it was God that made them kill themselves! If I thought that unless I was specially chosen by God there was no way I could be redeemed from sin, no matter how much I wanted to be, I think I would be suicidal too! It is utterly Biblically incorrect to say that we are sinners in the hands of an angry God, yet many Christians use this era of Christianity as their benchmark of living Christianity and ignore the book of Acts!

Let’s look at this topic of the wrath of God across the wider Biblical teaching of God and then let’s look at this within the context of Romans 1 and unpick what this verse means. I believe it means that the legal punishment of God is revealed, not God’s emotional anger.

Firstly, let me say that the Bible is clear that God is pure and righteous and holy. Godliness is about being pure and acting right and living holy. I am not for sin – sin is a killer: sin will keep you enslaved and take you places where death can attack and destroy you. However, the sin problem has been dealt with. Sin will never affect your relationship and intimacy with God.

You see when God created Adam and Eve and when they first sinned, God did not punish them. Pain in childbirth, having to work and sweat to make the world produce, difficulty in relationships, being dead spiritually and eventually dying physically were not placed on Adam and Eve by God – they were just the natural consequences of kicking God out of your life and your planet. God gave Adam and Eve planet Earth and they booted God out of it – no wonder the planet is in a mess! No wonder marriages are in a mess – they booted God out of marriage! No wonder child-rearing and producing a living are such hard work – they booted God out of these things!

God wasn’t punishing them, they were just dealing with the natural consequences of their actions. If you live a promiscuous lifestyle and catch a sexually transmitted disease, God didn’t put that on you – it is simply the natural consequence of you actions. If you eat 5000+ calories a day, and you have a heart attack – God didn’t do it. If you drink and drive and crash your car, God didn’t do it. If you sin and end up in hell because you never accepted the redemptive work of Christ at Calvary, God didn’t send you to hell – it is simply the consequence of your actions.

God found Adam and Eve and clothed them with the skin of an animal. God brought death into an animal, so that Adam and Eve could live. That is not the actions of someone who is “violently emotional and angry”. You don’t make a sacrifice for someone you hate.

Now, God continually showed love and affection to the human race. Cain murdered his brother and God marked him. The mark of Cain wasn’t judgment it was mercy: it said that you couldn’t punish Cain. It was protection. You don’t protect a murderer if you are violently emotional and angry.

However, people took the love and mercy of God and the goodness of God for granted. The world became more and more wicked, and people such as Lamech said essentially if Cain could murder and God still loved him, I will go and murder who I like. The goodness of God leads to repentance (Romans 2.4) but not if we take it for granted.

So God had to develop a system of laws. He had to wipe out everyone in a flood. But God did it as a discipline and a punishment for sin – not out of a temper. He is our Father – if a father disciplines and punishes a son, that is fine. If my son was rude or stole something, I would punish them in some appropriate way. But, if I did it out of violent anger (which I have on occasion lost my temper at my children and had to repent of it) then you would say that this was bad parenting. How much more is God a good Father?

He flooded the world because He was the judge of the world, not because He violently hated mankind. Someone in a violent emotional state would not have led Noah to build an ark and waited 100 years to discipline humanity, spending that time calling them to repent with a powerfully anointed preacher. Violently angry people do not wait 100 years pleading with people to change!

He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because He had to stop their wickedness spreading. Violently angry people don’t wait until people escape before destroying a city – God did.

You see this idea of God being violently angry and needing to be placated is actually a pagan idea, not a Christian one. The truth is that sin does need a punishment, a death, but God is the one providing the lamb that takes away the sin of the world, not the one looking for it. We are the ones looking for it, and we found it at Calvary – the love of God in a human, giving up His life for us. That is the nature of God.

God must punish sin. The wages of sin is death, and if you die in sin you will go to hell. Sin cannot enter heaven. God’s justice demands that sin is punished. But the love of God triumphs over sin through Calvary. Mercy has triumphed over justice.

This is what this verse is talking about, not a God in heaven looking at people enjoying getting them and blasting them and being violently angry at them. It is a God who knows that sin must be punished and needs to deal with that so that He doesn’t have to punish sin. God doesn’t want anyone going to hell, God doesn’t want anyone sick, anyone suffering, God loves people! Your ungodliness must be punished, your unrighteousness has to be punished! But Jesus was punished so you don’t have to be!

The context of Romans 1.18 is the gospel. The whole reason we need the good news of Jesus is the wrath of God. Not the capricious anger of God, but the punishment of God. God must punish every sin you have ever committed, every impure thought you have ever had. But far from being violently angry with you, God loves you so much that He gave up His only Son to die your death, to bear your iniquity, to take the punishment for your sin – so you could have eternal life, so you could be righteous and pure and so you could have a relationship with God! Selah!

You deserved hell, Jesus went there so you don’t have to. You deserved death, but you are going to live forever if you accept by faith that Jesus took your place. This is the good news. The wrath of God is what makes the good news good news. If there is no wrath of God, then the gospel is meaningless. If sin did not warrant death, then the gospel is useless.

But let that realization of a clear punishment for sin lead you to say that God is an angry God – He is a God who only has thoughts to prosper you not to harm you. Angry people cannot think like that. God is angry – but not at humans, He is angry at injustice, He is angry at ignorance, He is angry that the devil keeps tripping people up and lying to them and making them think that He hates them. He is angry at anything that stops you and Him enjoying fellowship and friendship. But He is not angry at you.

Look at Isaiah 54.7-8:

8In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.
9For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.

God compares His never being wroth (angry) with us again like the promise that He will never flood the earth again. They are as important to Him. Every Christian knows that God will never flood the world again like He did. You need to know as well and as deeply in your spirit that God will NEVER be wroth with you. Ever.

Next time you see a rainbow, thank God that He is not and will never be angry with you. The wrath of God was entirely poured out on Jesus, the entire punishment for the sin of the world was laid entirely on Him.

That is good news!

Run Through Romans (ch 5.18-21)

2

18Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

 19For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

This is a wonderful continuation of what the word taught us in Romans 5.17: through Adam we were all made sinners, but through Christ’s life of perfect obedience that was offered up to the Lord for us, many people shall be made righteousness.  On the cross, Jesus was made sin so that we could be made righteous (2 Cor. 5.21) – to make it more real, I like to say it like this: Jesus who knew no sin became sin with our sin so that we who knew no righteousness could be made righteous with our righteousness.

That is one powerful realization: Jesus took our sin and became our sin on the cross.  Everything you have ever done wrong, every impure thought you have ever had, every lie you have ever told, every sin you have ever committed, every time you crossed the line, every time you acted like there was no line but you knew there was a line – every sin was placed on Him and He became sin with your sin.

No wonder He told the Father: if it is possible, let this cup pass from me.  No wonder as He died He yelled “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?”  No wonder the sky was black and the earth was shaking.  He took your sin.  He took my sin.  He took the sin of the world.

Adam disobeyed and his nature became the nature of wrath, he was a child of satan and therefore took after his father, satan (read John 8 – I will post some articles expanding this at some point).  Adam’s whole nature changed – he was spiritually alive created with the spirit and breath of God inside him (Genesis 2.7) , and on the day he sinned he spiritually died losing his communion and love and life, and becoming bound with fear and guilt and shame and blame.

Since then every child of Adam (that is, every single human) has been born dead in their sins and trespasses, unable to please God, unable to serve God, unable to live in victory.  The only solution for this sin issue was if someone completely righteous, someone who never sinned, someone who was born differently so they were born spiritually alive.  Someone who lived their entire life without ever sinning and therefore never dying spiritually. 

And then that someone would have to offer up their life on our behalf, to take all of our sin, to carry it all into their body, and pay the total penalty for all of our sin.  And that is what Jesus did.  Because all the price has been paid for our sin, then we can be made righteous – not by doing anything right – but by believing in Jesus and realizing what He did and then receiving His righteous and His life which then transforms our spirit.   This experience is so life shattering it is called in the Bible being born again (John 3.3,5) – your whole inner nature changes from being dead to being alive, you stop having the nature of death and satan; and start enjoying the nature of God – being a partaker of the divine nature.

 20Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

This is Paul re-iterating that this salvation, this life of abundance, this partaking of the divine nature, this being born again, this being made totally righteous and being able to stand before God without sin, without fear, without a sense of judgment or sense of inferiority – being able to come boldly to the throne of grace has NOTHING TO DO WITH OUR MERIT.  The purpose of the law is not to make righteousness abound, but to make offence abound.

The rules and regulations that were in the Old Testament were not to make the people good, but to show them how bad they were.  The Ten Commandments are not to make you good, they cannot make you good, they just make you want to disobey them, they just show you that you fail.  They have no power to change your heart and your attitude.

What is wonderful about this verse is that the more you sin, the more grace there is.  The more you have disobeyed, the more goodness God extends to you.  It is not your goodness that causes God to move towards you and bless you, it is His grace.  Even if you have broken all 10 commandments, and sinned in huge massive ways: God’s grace is more massive.  It is greater.

If you go back to the law and try and obey God and try and be good and try and obey God, the more you do that the more you will fail, the more you will mess up, the more you will offend against God’s holy law.  However, if you come to God and just accept that He is good, that He loves you, that He blesses you – not because you have been good but because He is good and He is kind and He is lovely, you will find that His grace is greater than your sin.  As soon as you stop trying to be good and start to trust in the fact that God is good, then you will be more holy and more loving by accident than you have ever been on purpose.  Say it outloud until you believe it from the core of your being: “God’s grace abounds more than my sin.”

 21That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

You see sin rules over your life before you are a Christian.  You are dead spiritually and sin is your master.  Because sin is your master, satan can come into your life whenever he wants.  You were the tail and not the head – just following around the circumstances of life.  Whenever you managed to succeed in one area of your life, you started to fail in another. 

But when grace entered your life because you heard and believed your entire nature changed, your entire life changed.  You stopped being spiritually dead and started being spiritually alive, you stopped being a sinner and started being righteous.  You started enjoying eternal life, you started enjoying a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

You stopped being the tail and started being the head – you can speak to mountains and they move, you can walk in victory, you can rule and reign and love life.  That is the joy of being born again, that is the fun of being a Christian: being in right relationship with God (His Son), being in right relationship with the world (it’s dominator) and being in right relationship with satan (your foot on his head, not the other way around).

Now you might read this and say: hold on Ben – I am not experiencing this.  This does not describe my life.  Well it should.  It is what you are in the spirit.  If that is not manifesting and not flooding out of you then you need to do three things:

1. Think it.  Spend time in the Bible reading Scriptures about you reigning in life. 

2. Believe it.  Let your mind paint pictures of you reigning, of you enjoying a great relationship with God, about you walking in health and wealth and victory and joy.

3. Say it.  Mark 11.23: For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. 

You need to speak to everything in your life that is in your way, and you shall have what you say.

Next time we will begin to answer one of the most important questions that a study of Romans 5 brings up: if we have peace with God because of what Jesus did, and no matter how much we sin, God’s goodness and graciousness is more than our sin, can we live however we want and sin as much as we want?  The answer will probably not surprise you, but the Biblical reasons for the answer probably will.

If this has blessed you or if you have any questions, please comment on the post and I will respond to all comments.

Blessings and love,

Benjamin

A Call to Prayer by Andrew Wommack

0

I think all Christians would agree that we should be praying for our nation during this critical time in our history. Judicial activists are no longer interpreting the law but attempting to legislate from the bench. By using these activist judges in our courts, the ungodly are systematically attempting to remove all reference to and influence of God in our society. It’s even become politically correct to discriminate against Christians. Christianity is also the only religious influence that can be prohibited by law. We need the intervention of God to turn this situation around.

Prayer is a powerful weapon. But, there is a right and a wrong way to pray. Just like any powerful weapon, without the proper instruction, it may be useless or someone could get hurt. Wrong prayer is not only ineffective, it can also release the power of the devil. I’ve experienced this firsthand.

In the beginning of my walk with the Lord, I listened to a teaching which used an example of a teenager who felt very ineffective in witnessing for the Lord. This young man prayed and asked the Lord to do whatever it would take to use him as an effective witness in his high school. He specifically asked God to give him cancer and take his life if that was the only way he could show others the power of God in his life. The next day he came down with leukemia. At his funeral, four of his classmates accepted the Lord because of the way he had dealt with his terminal illness.

At that time, I didn’t know that God had redeemed us from sickness. I had been taught that in God’s sovereignty, He controlled everything that happened to us. So, I bought into this teaching “hook, line, and sinker.” I then gave this tape to a close friend of ours. She also accepted it as truth to the point that she prayed this same prayer. The next morning, she was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with leukemia. At her funeral, four people accepted the Lord also.

Since then, I have learned the truth. God did not answer those prayers by giving two teenagers leukemia. Certainly, God received a measure of glory when those eight people accepted the Lord, but God doesn’t kill one of His children so that others can be saved. Satan is the killer; it was Satan who took advantage of the open doors these wrong prayers created. That’s why it’s important to know how to pray.

On this National Day of Prayer, millions of Christians will be praying for God to move in our nation. Typically, they will be pleading with an angry God to turn from His impending judgment and have mercy. That’s wrong praying. And as I’ve testified, wrong praying can open the door to wrong results.

There is a right way to pray for our nation. But first, we need to recognize that God isn’t angry any more. The war between God and man is over. That’s what the angels proclaimed at the birth of Jesus. Luke 2:14 says,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

These angels weren’t saying that from then on, peace would reign on earth and wars between people would cease. That certainly hasn’t happened. They were proclaiming the end of the war between God and man. Jesus paid a price that is infinitely greater than the sins of the whole human race. God loves the world, not only the church, but the whole world. He’s already paid for their sins as the Scriptures say in 1 John 2:2,

“And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Therefore, His mercy is now extended to all man not the judgment we read about in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, God’s punishment was poured out on individuals and entire nations. In the New Testament, God’s judgment was poured out on Jesus. Now, God’s mercy and grace are ours.

Through His mercy, we avoid getting the bad things we deserve, and through His grace, we receive the good things we don’t deserve. The nearly-too-good-to-be-true news of the Gospel is that we don’t get what we deserve, we get what we believe. Jesus has made all that God is and has, available to us, and it is through faith that we access that grace (Rom. 5:2).

So, the typical Christian is making intercession to an angry God, asking Him to turn from His fierce wrath, but that’s the wrong way to pray. I can just hear someone say, “But that’s exactly what people did in the Old Testament!” That’s true, but there is a major difference between the Old and New Covenant. That difference is Jesus. Jesus has forever changed the way we approach God and how we appropriate His favor.

Let’s look at an Old Testament example of intercession that will be used by many as the benchmark for the way we should pray on this National Day of Prayer. Moses was pleading with God for the nation of Israel. The children of Israel molded a golden calf and had an orgy as they worshiped it. The Lord became so angry that He told Moses he would destroy those people and make a new nation through Moses’ seed. Moses told the Lord in Exodus 32:12,

“Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.”

It’s amazing that a mere human being had the audacity to speak to God this way! What’s even more amazing is that God allowed Moses speak to Him this way and actually repented (Ex. 32:14). This example will be held up all across this land as the standard we are supposed to emulate.

However, this is not the way that we, as New Testament believers, should approach God. Galatians 3:19 refers to Moses as a mediator. The dictionary defines a mediator as “someone who seeks to resolve differences between two or more conflicting parties.” It was appropriate for Moses to act as a mediator because Jesus had not yet come, and the atonement for man’s sins had not yet been made. God and man were not reconciled.

But now, because of Jesus, God has been reconciled to man. All that is left is for man is to be reconciled to God, and that should be our message (2 Cor. 5:19-20). To approach God as an adversary who is ready to destroy us is to approach God without Jesus. It doesn’t honor the mediation that Jesus purchased. First Timothy 2:5 says,

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

When Jesus became our Mediator, He put all other mediators out of business. In the days of Moses, it was appropriate and necessary for him to act as a mediator and intercede for his nation, pleading with God to turn from his wrath. Why, because Jesus had not yet come and taken His place as the only Mediator. Now that Jesus has come and has paid for the sins of the whole world, it is wrong to continue to pray the way Moses did. It’s against everything Christ accomplished. In other words, it is anti-Christ. I know those words are strong, but they are the truth.

How then should a New Testament believer intercede for their nation? Start by praising God for what He has already accomplished through Jesus. Then take your place in what Christ has already done, and use your authority as a believer to speak God’s blessing over your nation instead of the curses that Christians so often pronounce. It’s really that simple. There is tremendous authority given to us if we will use it, and there is awesome power in our blessing.

Before I learned these truths, I used to say that God would have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah if He didn’t judge America because we are just as deserving of judgment as they were. But now that I know the truth, I say, “If God does judge America, He will have to apologize to Jesus because Jesus satisfied God’s demands of justice.”

That doesn’t mean that America is safe from the consequences of continuing on its current path. God won’t judge America; He has already judged Jesus on our behalf. But the farther we walk away from the Lord, the farther we get away from His protection. God won’t force Himself or His blessings on us. We have to pursue them and obtain them through faith. Without a change in the hearts of the people and a change in the direction we are headed, we will forsake our own mercies (Jon. 2:8) and reap death instead of life (Rom. 6:16).

Jamie and I encourage you to be a New Testament intercessor on this National Day of Prayer. Honor Jesus by approaching a loving God who has already made every provision for the revival this nation so desperately needs. Speak words of faith that release the goodness Jesus has so graciously provided. And then, do your part in sharing this good news with your friends and neighbors.

Most of America will be praying for a move of God, but I will be praying for a move of God’s people. God has already done His part. It’s up to us to take this good news to the world. God isn’t mad anymore. He’s not even in a bad mood. God loves us. Glory to God in the highest and, on earth, peace, good will toward man

Run Through Romans (5.6-11)

0

6For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

This emphasises the point of the law: to show you that you have no strength.  To show you that you could never achieve righteousness on your own.  Because you could never achieve it on your own, Christ died for you.  He died in your place, becoming your sin, taking your death, bearing the punishment that should be on you.  How wonderful!

7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Before you ever tried to do anything good, before you ever prayed, before you ever fasted, before you ever read your Bible, before you tried to walk in love, Christ died for you because God loves you.  Never, ever doubt the love of God for you: while you were still unrighteous and while you were cursing His name and disrespecting His people, He sent Christ to die for you.  He loves you.  He loved you when you were a rebel.  Now you have tried and failed, do you honestly think he doesn’t love you anymore?  He loves you.  He adores you.

You determine God’s love for you not by your feelings or experiences.  If you try that you will be a yo-yo Christian up and down with your moods and your feelings.  You determine God’s love for you on whether Jesus died or not. 

You commit a sin.  You don’t feel loved by God.  Did Jesus die for you? Yes – then God loves you.

You do something great.  You feel loved by God.  Did Jesus die for you? Yes – then God loves you.

You try to do something and make a mistake.  You feel unloved.  Did Jesus die for you?  Yes – then God loves you.

You have a row with someone.  You disobey the Holy Spirit.  You let everyone down.  You lose control.  Did Jesus die for you?  Yes – then God loves you!

9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

Follow Paul’s argument here because it is so powerful and will bring you so much confidence and peace.  Paul is saying that when you were a sinner and a rebel and there was nothing good in you, God loved you so much that He sent Jesus to take your sin and swap it for His righteousness. 

Now you have believed in the love of God and the death and resurrection of Jesus you are righteous.  If God loved you when you were a sinner, how much MORE – now you are justified (made righteous) by Jesus’ blood – are you saved from His wrath.  God will never punish you for sin.

Do you understand that: God will NEVER punish you for your sin.  You could go out and sin right now and God will not punish you for it.  You are righteous because of what Jesus did and are completely free from the wrath of God.

The wrath of God is the element of God’s justice and goodness that demands God punish sin.  Now when you were unrighteous, you were what Ephesians 2 calls “a child of wrath”.  Your whole nature was unrighteous and you deserved the judgment of God.  You lied, you stole, you blasphemed.  You were selfish.  When you died and were judged by God you would have gone to hell.

Now, because of your faith in Jesus you have been given a new nature.  You are not unrighteous anymore, but righteous: this change in your spirit is so monumental that Jesus Himself calls it being “born again”.  God punished Jesus for all your sins and He died on a cross taking your death.  He descended to hell, suffering your punishment.  Now you are now made righteous when you believe in Jesus.

Because you are righteous, you are not under the wrath of God.  In fact, it would be wrong of God to punish you for your sin.  God has already punished Jesus fully for every sin you have committed or ever will commit.  If God punished you for your sin, He would be unjust.   If Jesus has legally taken all the punishment for every sin you have ever committed you are not under the wrath of God.

Put in simple English: God is never going to punish you.  He is not mad with you.  He is not angry with you.  You are righteous.  The Lord God loves you.

Isaiah 54.9 says: For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.

Ask any Christian: do you believe that one day there will be another worldwide flood?  They will tell you not a chance – God has promised He will not judge the world with water again.   Ask any Christian: do you believe that God will ever be angry with you or rebuke you again?  They will most likely say: probably lots of times. 

Why? They are basing God’s love for them on their performance and not on the work of the cross and the grace of God.  Read Isa. 54.9 again carefully: as surely as God has promised that there will be no more worldwide floods, He will NOT be angry with you or rebuke you.  Ever.  That is what the Bible says.

You are righteous.  You are right with God.  You are at peace with God.  God is not angry at you.  Stop running away from God, He loves you.  He is not judging you for your sin, He is not holding your sin against you – He already held it against Jesus.  You are free and delivered and safe from the punishment of God.

This is the good news of the gospel!10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

11And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

If you realize this, you would joy in God too.  When you were God’s enemy and you hated God, He didn’t wipe you out: He sent His Son to die for you.  Now you are God’s friend, you shall be saved by the life of Jesus.  Jesus lives in you, and God loves you as much as He loves Jesus.  You should be shouting about now if this is sinking in.

We have now received the atonement.  Atonement is a terrible translation of the Greek word katallagē. It should be translated: exchange or reconciliation. 

You have received the exchange: Jesus took your sin and gave you His righteousness.  Say it out loud.  Get used to thinking that you are righteous with the righteousness of God.  That is the truth.  God is not angry with you, God is not going to punish you because you have received the exchange – the greatest exchange in history.  His righteousness for your sin.  God will never, ever deal with you according to your sin.  Most Christians don’t believe that, many ministers don’t preach that but it is the message of the gospel.

You have received the reconciliation: you and God are no longer at war.  The sin issue has been dealt with by Jesus.  You and God are at peace.  God is not about to punish you or rebuke you and that is sealed in the blood of Jesus.

So start to joy in God.  The word for joy here in verse 11 means to boast gladly about.  Boast gladly that you are saved, not because of yourself, but because of Jesus.  Boast gladly that God will never punish you, not because of yourself, but because of Jesus’ blood.

Praise His name forever,

Ben

Run Through Romans (1.18-1.32)

0

I have included the text of Romans 1.18-32 below.  The Bible text is in red, and my comments are interspersed with the text.  At the end of the Bible text, I will talk about the problem with unrighteousness.

18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

This verse tells us the problem of humanity: the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness.  The phrase “wrath of God” is only used 4 times in the Bible (Romans 1.18,  John 3.36, Ephesians 5.6, Col. 3.6) and it does not mean that God is having a temper tantrum.  It means that God is going to punish all unrighteousness.  This has happened once before in the world-wide flood of Noah (Genesis 6) and will happen again when the world is destroyed by fire.
As we shall shortly see in the remainder of this chapter, everyone in the world is unrighteous on the basis of their actions.  Therefore everyone must be punished by God.  God is a good, just God and must punish all unrighteousness.

19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

This verse explains why God is going to punish everyone that is unrighteous.  They should know the laws of God – God has shown everyone what is known of God.  Or put more simply: God has created everyone with the ability to know right from wrong.  We call this the conscience.  No one  who acts in an unrighteous way can ever say that they did not know how to act right.  Every time they act unrighteous, they know they have done wrong.  The voice that tells them right or wrong might be silenced by continual wrong-doing, but no-one can ever claim it was not there or that they did not know they have done wrong.

20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

The second reason that no-one can be excused for acting unrighteously is the creation of the world.  The creation of the world proves that God is all powerful and that He is Lord.  People might claim they think this world began in an explosion of nothing and that life came from non-living material, but itis scientifically impossible and is simply a denial of what the Bible says can be clearly seen.  If you see a building, you have proof there is a builder.  If you see a creation, you have proof there is a creator.

21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

So although every single human born has both a conscience and creation to prove to them there is a God and that they should live a righteous life, every human has done 4 things wrong:

1. They failed to glorify God

2. They were not thankful to God

3. They became vain in their imaginations

4. Their foolish hearts were darkened

Every person should know there is a God and that they should live right.  Every person has violated their own conscience and done things they know to be wrong.

Firstly, everyone has failed to glorify God.  To glorify God means to acknowledge that God is great, to think highly of God.  We have not done that – we have blamed God for our problems, we have thought that He is like us that He does not mind our sin, that He is not holy.  Every depiction of God in the media reduces Him from His true greatness.  We all have doubted that God would come through for us, we all have doubted His Word, doubted His love, doubted His holiness and His greatness.

Secondly, everyone has failed to be grateful.  In particular this is a Western problem.  We are panicking that we cannot buy the same amount of food we used to be able to in the credit crunch, but we forget how blessed we are to live where we live.  All of us have spent time moaning about the negative and ignoring the positive.

Thirdly, we have all become vain in our imaginations.  We have imagined ourselves committing sins of violence and sins of sexual immorality in our minds, we have imagined and worried about things that God promised to protect us from.  Our imaginations run wild, and we fill them up with junk from the TV just to make it worse.

Fourthly, we have all had darkened hearts.  God has tried to speak to us but we could not hear Him.  We failed to notice Him ministering to us again and agani.

Every human being has done these things in every single nation.  Every human is unrighteous in God’s eyes and therefore must be punished.  This is the problem of humanity – God’s goodness means He must punish unrighteousnes (the wrath of God) and every human is unrighteous.

22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

As an aside on v. 22, I noticed recently that Richard Dawkin’s new atheist club is called the Brights.  Immediately I thought of Romans 1.22.  However, we are all guilty of this.  We all think we know best, and that God’s ways are archaic, out-of-touch, unrealistic, or whatever.  Whenever we reject God’s ways, we are foolish.

23And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

Verses 23-32 show how unrighteousness caused by thanklessness and not glorifying God degenerates.  We have all been guilty of vv. 18-22, but not all nations have spiralled into what happens next.  However, all nations without a strong Christian witness – or if they ignore that Christian witness – will spiral into this downward fall into unrighteousness.
After ungratefulness, comes an honouring of the creation.  This takes many forms from the totem poles of tribal animism to the mother Earth  philosophy infecting many facets of our society.   Creation is given respect and God is ignored.

24Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

Following ignoring God over the creation comes sexual immorality.  People have sex before and outside of marriage.

25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Next the idolatry becomes more pronounced and people openly worship things that have been created.

26For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

27And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

Next the sexual immorality becomes more pronounced leading to a society which openly accepts homosexuality.  If this happens to a society it is deeply in this spiral of unrighteousness.

28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

At this stage, what happens is that the people in that society will develop reprobate minds.  The Greek word used for reprobate is adokimos which is used for counterfeit coins.  It means to have no value at all – to not be fit for purpose.  This is what is happening in large sections of Western society – people cannot use their minds at all.  They cannot think, they cannot show initiative, they cannot create.   All of society dumbs down.  People then fail to notice any sin, any wickedness and simply let everything pass.  Crime rates sht up, poverty and injustice increases and the society becomes a hard place to live in.

29Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

I could go through each of these words and show you what they mean exactly and you would realize that we are here people.  However, most of them are self explanatory.  When a society or a nation exhibits all these qualities it is simply showing the fruit of the fact that everyone fails to glorify God and fails to thank Him.  It has just spiraled out of control.

Ultimately without the gospel, this will happen to every nation on the planet.  Even with the gospel being present in a nation it still happens if people make unrighteous choices.

32Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Then, not only will people do all these unrighteous acts they will take pleasure in those that do them. The word take pleasure could also be translated applaud. Think about this: the Bible describes an unrighteous society at its apex as one where people worship the creation, treat homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle, disobey parents, invent evil things, hate God, hate people, and then finally clap and applaud people who do wicked things.

Our society has TV chat shows where you can clap and applaud people who divorce, comedy shows where you can clap and applaud people who hate and slander the government of our countries, romantic shows where you can clap and applaud people committing fornication and reality shows where you can clap and applaud people in all manner of wickedness.

Our society is unrighteous.  Our planet is unrighteous.  But before we judge the world and the nations and are smugly condeming of them, remember: I have failed to thank God and so have you.  I have failed to glorify God and so have you.  I have had vain imaginations and so have you.  I have had a dark heart and so have you.  On our next post we will show that we cannot judge anyone in a smug self-righteous way as we look at Romans 2.

We have to find out how a person like you and like me can be righteous.  Otherwise we are condemned to hell on earth and hell after earth.   Stay with us as we run through Romans, the journey will be worth it.

Blessings,
Ben

%d bloggers like this: