Saturday, September 16, 2023

Orange Moon Saturday, September 16, 2023 Wonder - Part 2. The Unselfishness of Wrath

The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…


Part 2 - The Unselfishness of Wrath


    "If aspects of His devotion to others could be measured, God's execution of wrath would be realized as no less unselfish than His bestowal of grace."    



   But what about wrath?  When pondering, or seeking to communicate the truth of God's perfect, infinite, and eternal unselfishness - His love that "seeketh not her own" - the question may come to mind: does the Lord act unselfishly when He judges and condemns? (I Corinthians 13:5).  He does.

   "I am the Lord.  I change not" (Malachi 3:6).

    The God of the Bible exists in a purity of character from which all of His actions flow.  He cannot deviate from His nature in any thought He thinks, any word He speaks, or any action He performs.  In terms of our present consideration, He cannot "seek His own."  He can do nothing that fails to correlate with the love that comprises His fundamental nature (as confirmed in yesterday's message).  Thus, we must view every movement of our Lord's hand - be it creation, redemption, provision, or the execution of wrath against sin - in accordance with His heart's nature of devotion to others.

   The cross of the Lord Jesus Christ most confirms this truth.  The wrath of God fell upon that holy place, and upon its holy Subject.  It fell not for the Lord's friends, but for His enemies, namely, a race of beings who had all fled Him as sheep going astray (Romans 5:10).  It fell after the Father had witnessed human hands subject His beloved Son to untold shame, sorrow, and agony.  It fell to the degree of God forsaking His Son and pouring out His wrath upon Him rather than upon those who perpetrated His suffering.  Indeed, the wrath of God fell not from a selfish heart or narcissistic hands, but rather from an unselfishness we will never fully comprehend, or for which we can express enough praise and thanksgiving.  "The love of Christ passeth knowledge" (Ephesians 3:19).

    The wrath of God always falls from His unselfish nature.

    "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live" (Ezekiel 33:11).
    "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9).

   To judge sin and sinners, God must act in a manner that brings grief to His heart.  Consider the flood that destroyed most of a race of being that would have destroyed itself apart from Divine intervention.  "It repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart" (Genesis 6:6).  This is precisely as we would expect from a nature of unselfishness that means He must act against sin and sinners, but never with pleasure.  In fact, if aspects of God's devotion to others could be measured, His execution of wrath would be realized as no less unselfish than His bestowal of grace.  

   Of course, those who experience His wrath will not perceive it in these terms.  God's sons and daughters in Christ, however, must know Him accordingly.  Indeed, we experience a similar reality in our own lives when we wander from our Lord.  "Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth" (Hebrews 12:6).  Our Heavenly Father's discipline certainly does not seem like His unselfish devotion.  This is only because of our incomplete and sometimes faulty understanding of love, as existing in the heart of God, and defined by Scripture.  If He acted otherwise when we require discipline, He would actually act selfishly.  "He that spareth His rod hateth His son: but He that loveth him chasteneth him betimes" (Proverbs 13:24).

    In simplest terms, God is too holy to act selfishly.  EverForever.  He must be true to Himself, and He eternally will.  This we must know about His grace and mercy.  And this we must know about His wrath and judgment.  The understanding changes our hearts with wonder, as it illuminates our minds with the truth of One whose being of light ever shines outward from Himself for the benefit of His creation, even when He must act in wrath.  Moreover, it changes believers into increasing likeness with Christ as we discover this, the very essence of God's nature, and as we realize He has imparted His sublime character into our hearts with the promise that…

"We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."
(I John 3:2)
"The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us."
 (Romans 5:5)
"Beholding as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
(II Corinthians 3:18)
"Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth (well being).
(I Corinthians 10:24)

Weekly Memory Verse
    And if any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. 
(I Corinthians 8:2).






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