Saturday, February 12, 2005

Saints In The Hands Of An Angry God?



Question: When is God angry with His children, born-again saints of God?

The answer: Never.

Now I know you've been taught that He's angry, directly or by implication. Admit it. You may even think when you are sinful or disobedient to the Word of God that God sees you as "wicked", and everyone knows "God is angry with the wicked every day", right?

Jonathan Edwards preached his famous sermon, "Sinners In The Hands of An Angry God" in the 1700's, and the picture has been applied to believers and has stuck...

...with those who don't understand the difference between a Sinner and a Saint. Or who don't understand the difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.

Oh, how the devil loves confusion. He loves confusion between the biblical concept of a "saint" as anyone who is a born-again child of God, and the Roman Catholic nonsense that a "saint" is someone who meets some elaborate criteria of the Mother Church, and is "voted in". The devil loves confusion between the Old Covenant (which Hebrews 8 says failed in bringing righteousness because of man's inability to keep the Law) and the New Covenant, in which God puts His laws in our hearts, fulfills those laws in Christ on the cross, declares us righteous, and forgives us of all our sins, past, present and future.

Yes, the devil loves confusion.

So it's no surprise (though a crying shame), that children of God think that God is angry at them when they fall short and sin. And otherwise fine Christians who mean well perpetuate this ridiculous notion, without one shred of support from the New Covenant scriptures!

And so Christians often run away from this angry God, instead of toward Him, when they fail. They won't look Him in the face, because they think it's a face of anger. What a tragedy.

This is not the place for an extended exegesis ("drawing out") of the subject in the scriptures. But here's a challenge for those who doubt what I'm saying: Search the epistles of the New Testament for any teaching that God is ever angry with His children.

By the way, don't think the passages on God's chastisement are regarding some kind of punishment out of anger. Study them closely, and you will see they involve loving gentle correction, from a loving Father, who just wants his kids to be in close fellowship with Him. No condemnation, no unforgiveness, no bitterness, no anger.

Like a daddy teaching his 1-year-old to walk, while the kid keeps wobbling, staggering, and falling...sometimes painfully in the wrong direction, but often into a laughing Daddy's arms for a big hug.

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9 comments:

Anonymous said...

So, I have a question. Was Ananias and Sapphira Christians? They "lied" to the Holy Spirit, and needed to be cleaned up off the floor. If they were Christians, it would seem like (at the least) they were "severely" chastised. If they were unsaved, well, that's another story.

I've always wondered about that passage. Most commentaries and study Bibles gloss over it.

Jennifer said...

Ok, I agree that we live in the favor of God but I also believe that there are some sins that make God angry whether we are believers or not. I'm not sure I agree on this point. But I still think your great. :)

Jennifer

Terry Rayburn said...

Anonymous,

I don't see anything in Scripture to indicate that Ananias and Sapphira were actually born again.

I personally think they were imposters, not because they sinned (which we all do), but because of the context regarding Satan filling the heart of Ananias.

I think commentaries gloss over it because they assume A & S are true Christians, but there is no evidence of this, other than that they were part of the visible assembly.

How true this is today with those who are seen as Christians, but don't know Christ.

Of course, if they were Christians, there still is no evidence of God being angry, per se. Only that He 1) chastised them, whereupon they would be in His presence for eternity in glory -- a wonderful thing; and 2) He taught the Church something about the importance of truth.

Still, I think they were unbelievers.

Thanks for your comment.

Terry Rayburn said...

Jennifer,

Thanks for stopping by, and the encouraging words.

Here's a question:

Can you show anyplace in Scripture, after the ratification of the New Covenant (the cross), that indicates God being angry with His children?

Full disclosure: I have asked that question of many, including myself, and no one has supplied a single passage.

However, as you imply in your comment, SIN does indeed make God angry, but not at His children.

Thank God He has poured out that wrath on Christ on our behalf, so that He could declare us righteous and view us with the love and acceptance that He does His own Son.

Saints in the hands of a loving (and fully satisfied -- propitiated) God.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Terry. You gave me some things to think about:

1) "Satan filled the heart of Ananias..."

This would indicate an unregenerate state - although not conclusively.

2) There was a lot of "I think" "I don't see..." statement in your comment.

Not bagging on you, just observing. It's a tough passage. I find it hard to believe that so early in the church - in an intensely persecuted Jerusalem - that there would be a whole lot of unregenerate. Maybe after 10 years or so...

3) Sapphira keeps bugging me. It was not said that satan filled her heart. It would appear that she was only covering for her husband, yet she met with the same judgment.

4) How would have the church perceived this event. Sure, going to heaven is a good thing, but I sure don't view them as receiving a "promotion." Would the church have thought so...doubtful. They saw it happen and probably said a few choice expletives in Hebrew. Being human, it's easy to imagine them thinking, "wow, the Holy Spirit was so upset at what they did [that's the key to interpreting this passage - the act of lying they committed] that He had to off the whole family."

Just my thoughts - I promise to stop hijacking your blog now.

Terry Rayburn said...

Ano,

"I promise to stop hijacking your blog now."

Not at all. I greatly appreciate the interaction.

BTW, I'm quite deliberate in qualifying what I readily admit is opinion (e.g., was Ananias saved?) from what I'm confident is provable by Scripture (e.g., that God never holds anger at His children).

Maybe I should addend WHY I even bring this angry-God subject up. I allude to it in my post, but specifically:

It's because for many years I've seen Christians who think that God is constantly angry at them and waiting to show His angry frown at them, and therefore they simply won't go to Him to commune and fellowship with Him after they sin, even if they confess the sin!

This compounds the problem, since we must go to Him for Spiritual filling and strength. If we don't, we spiral downward spiritually. All the while, God's Word is saying, "Hey, your sins are cast into the sea, all forgiven, as far as the East is from the West! There is no barrier between you and Him! You can BOLDLY go before His throne, the Advocate having taken care of things. You can rest in Him, rest in His love and forgiveness for you. It is finished! He is now your Friend, the Lover of your soul!"

When we get that, we have a totally different Paradigm for our Christian lives.

Blessings,
Terry

Blake Wyatt said...

I read this this post last night and have been thinking about it off and on all day so here are my thoughts...

I think God does get angry with us. I do, however think that there is a huge difference between condemnation, unforgiveness, bitterness and anger. It is no different when your kid drops your cell phone that contains your entire brain in the pool. You get angry but you do not condemn them, show bitterness toward them or refuse to forgive them. In Revelation 2-3 there is anger evidenced toward 6 of the 7 churches listed but there is always opportunity of forgiveness.

I fully agree that the church has spent too much time on the anger of God and not His grace and forgiveness, but I do think, that if we believe He is a loving parent, that he does get angry. Hebrews 12 makes me think this way too. just a thought...thanks for the prompting...

Terry Rayburn said...

Hi Blake,

Thanks for stopping by.

The question is not what you think or what I think, but what does the Scripture say. Agree?

Are there any New Covenant scriptures that indicate God's anger at us?

Anonymous said...

If we are consistently in a state of recognizing what our position is in relation to His position, we will realize that His anger SHOULD burn against us. The fact that it doesn't does not give us the right to continue in sin. Rather, it should fill us with joy and spur us to action.

@NPRFan