Dishwashers in the Revolution

Actively bringing about much needed change in our communities and hope to the broken and disheartened.

God’s Grace, Revisited

If you haven’t been following along, this post will make more sense if you scroll down a few posts and read my earlier post  “A Lack of Understanding on God’s Grace” followed by Tyler’s response “Re: A Lack of Understanding…”

I hope I was clear in stating in my last post that I do not believe the wrath of God is greater than the grace of God (or as Tyler puts it, the love of God). My point was simply to say that the wrath of God gives credence to the grace of God. As one commentator on Tyler’s post said, John 3:16 explains God’s love for the world in the midst of eternal punishment. If there was no punishment for sin, God’s grace wouldn’t really be grace at all. The love he shows toward humanity means so much more when understood in the context of how awful our sin is. Tyler argued in a comment that the fact that Almighty God loves any human is convincing enough in itself – but I would argue that it isn’t enough. Yes it is amazing to think that God would care about a small thing like a human being, but then take that human who is the center of God’s love and affection, and have them spit in God’s face, smack him, beat him, crucify him…and be able to say that God loves them in spite of all that. The weight of that kind of love is unbelievable.

My point was to say that too often we as Christians sugar coat who God really is. We too easily overlook the wrath of God and cling to the love of God. My thought is that when we do things like this, it actually impacts the way we live our lives. We somehow begin to believe that God won’t care about the sin we commit because he isn’t a vengeful God, he is a loving God. Just look at the way the Israelites acted throughout the OT, as Moses is on the mountain top receiving a word from God, they are down below worshipping idols. Every time something went wrong they immediately turned to the idols of the world around them. Yet God continually brought them back to himself – but it got to a point where eventually God allowed them to feel the fulness of his wrath and killed many of them and sent the rest into exile. God took their sin seriously – why would he not take our sin seriously?

Take a look at the story of Jonah. Jonah was an Israelite prophet called by God to take a message of repentance to the people of Ninevah – an Assyrian city. The Assyrians and the Israelites did not get along – in fact Jonah didn’t want to go because he wanted to see God’s wrath poured out on the Assyrians for their unrepentant hearts. But, in the end God wins out and Jonah goes and preaches to the Ninevites. What is his message?

Jonah 1:2 “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.”

Jonah’s message was one of God’s wrath against sin. But the people responded to the fact that there was sin in their lives that needed to be repented of – and subsequently God’s mercy and grace were made known to an entire city of people  because they responded to the rebuke from Jonah.

Just to clarify – I really dislike those guys on the streets wearing sandwich boards and shouting through a bullhorn that God’s judgement is upon sinners. I think Jesus came and spoke the truth in love – he knelt down next to prositutes caught in the act and told them that he loved them despite there sin, but to go and sin no more. He met with sinners and tax collectors for dinner and gave them hope in the midst of judgement placed upon them by others in their culture. But Jesus still told people that unrepentant hearts would suffer God’s wrath – but it was the way in which he approached it that left a lasting impression and changed the hearts of men and women for 2000 years.

My hope is that we can come to the realization that God’s wrath is real – and just because we say we are Christians doesn’t mean that God’s wrath won’t or doesn’t apply to us. Jesus said “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.” (Matt 7:21)

“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Rom 5:8)
While we were still sinning – under the wrath of God – God’s great love comes shining through and saves us from our sin. What a great message of hope!

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6 comments on “God’s Grace, Revisited

  1. tylerhudg
    November 25, 2011

    God’s grace is only grace if stops him from destroying me? That’s like saying that the best way a parent can show love is to sit their child down and explain that because of all the dumb stuff children do mom’s and dad’s have the right to beat them – but just to show their child how much they love them they won’t beat them today. What good news!!

    Did you know that God loved people before there was sin? I’m really glad that Adam and Eve screwed that up though because I wouldn’t want any of that cheap love. God can keep that. Really??!!

    Sin has been atoned for. When God sees you He doesn’t have to muster up extra energy to love you in spite of all of your sin – the sin that would have been enough to keep God from you has been paid for.

    Despite all of your warm fuzzy feelings about Martin Luther, I don’t think that he is the one to whom you turn to learn about God’s grace. At the end of his life he wrote “On the Jews and There Lies”. He might have had some insight on the short comings of the Catholic church, but to say that he had a profound understanding of grace is laughable.

    • hannah planje
      November 26, 2011

      Gentlemen-
      Maybe we should define terms here..old fashioned style. Because you might have differing views on God’s grace. Tyler- what is your view of grace from a biblical standpoint? I got Ryans.

      Do you think God’s wrath is active today like John 3 talks about? ‘whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them’..the greek here implies that God is actively opposed to everything evil…it is through Jesus we have grace at all..and can stand before God..because Jesus stands in our defense..and covers our sin. In sharing the gospel we need to have our sin and God’s wrath connected to Christ coming into the world to bring us back to God so that God’s grace can have meaning..as of our message…the gospel…

      And honestly…that was a bad example you gave of the parents telling their kids that they have the right to beat them..because that is exactly how it went down in the old testament but worse..except if kids disrespected their parents..they were killed. In the new testament..in Hebrews 12 it talks about God discipling the ones he loves- ‘chastens’ them..the greek for ‘whips’ so…I mean that example works good for me actually with your sarcasm…

      I wonder if it is more about taking responsibility here and owning yourd crap…you screw up..you pay the price..like you said…there are natural consequences for our actions. But you know our human nature is corrupt and tries to get out of paying the price for our actions…that is why i lie sometimes right? or say ‘just kidding’ or be sarcastic or try to get out of punishment… to make myself look better than i am…..i mean…how do you miss this…grace came because we sinned. And you know what..i would have never have thought of that…i would have been looking for an escape..because i am selfish..because I would have gotten so out of control with my anger if someone wronged me like I have wronged God..but thanks to be God that he knows what he is doing..That he is in control of his wrath…a type of anger we were never meant to have..because we sin everytime we use that kind of anger. and because his ways are so much greater than our ways. his good are far better than we could ever compare anything else to.

      That is why Paul always mentions grace and Jesus- his sacrifice has brought redemption and the riches of God’s grace (ephesians 1). Paul calls himself the worst of sinners, living out what Jesus meant when he talked about those who are forgiven little…love little..and those who are forgiven more…love more….Paul did not take lightly God’s wrath for sin..and fully lived out God’s grace in his life. I mean…read Romans 1 and 2..totally a picture of God’s love….God’s wrath..and his grace and kindness..’For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed..he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth…’

      So friends…about Luther..he wouldn’t want us to quote him anyways…he was all about biblical theology and would want us to study the scriptures..know God deeper and better..so we can love deeper and better….and you know no one is perfect..and we are all a work in progress. He was definitely one who would have been in this conversation though…

      I wish we all were sitting around drinking some tea discussing this in person..haha!! That would be awesome!

  2. paulmanansala
    November 25, 2011

    Tyler, from what I understand about your writing in these last couple of posts, it seems unnecessary, or even ridiculous, for someone to feel the need to mention God’s wrath when communicating the grace of God. It would be best to discuss the grace of God on its own – it’s not necessary to discuss wrath or punishment.

    That would be fine, I suppose… if it weren’t for the fact that you’re in disagreement with Jesus. I don’t know too much about Martin Luther, but I think Jesus can be a good authority to learn about about God’s grace and love.

    I’m sure we’re all familiar with Luke 7:40-50, where Jesus teaches Peter a lesson a time when there was an unworthy, sinful woman serving Him. Jesus said, “…I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Ridiculous right? Why didn’t He just discuss the grace and love of God since it’s powerful enough to stand on its own…Maybe He should’ve just discussed how that lady was making the most of her time in serving Him because she had a full understanding of God’s grace – without mentioning her sins and need for forgiveness.

    The debtors in the parable did not deserve to have their debts erased. They deserved the ‘wrath’ of the moneylender. In the same way, we do not deserve God’s grace, that’s why it’s so powerful that He was compassionate and made it available to us. His mercy allows us to continue to live. His grace gives us the chance to live in the salvation He provides.

    I’ve never personally been able to understand the grace of God outside of the context of my sinful unworthiness. At the same time, I understand that it may take some time for other people to understand this. Discussing sinfulness won’t always be the the very first thing that’s brought up when communicating the gospel, but I do believe that it’s impossible to have an accurate understanding of God’s grace apart from understanding His wrath.

    Glad to see we have time during this vacation to think about these things.

  3. tylerhudg
    November 25, 2011

    Luke 7:40-50 does not prove that I am in disagreement with Jesus. These are not stories about how God’s love increases for these people, it’s a story about how the people’s love increased for God. In both instances they didn’t need for someone to explain how pissed off God was at them – they understood that. This story is about how powerful God’s love is – how it changed their lives. Jesus did not love this woman more that He loved Peter, the woman loved Jesus more than Peter loved Jesus.
    The father in the story of the prodigal son loves both sons equally – he doesn’t love the prodigal son more because he had sinned more. The father does not love the son who stay home any less either. If taking into consideration how much trouble you would have been in were it not for Jesus makes you love God more that is valid. But God’s love for you does not increase the more you sin. God’s wrath does not make His love for you more powerful – it should make your love for Him more powerful.
    People understand punishment for sin. We all want Child molesters to pay the price for their actions. Its a very natural response built into each one of us. What people don’t understand is a God that loves a child molester as much as He loves the child that was molested. That is what we need to spend our time and energy explaining to people- that is a reality that will change lives.

  4. paulmanansala
    November 28, 2011

    “In both instances they didn’t need for someone to explain how pissed off God was at them – they understood that. This story is about how powerful God’s love is – how it changed their lives.”

    I guess we’re interpreting ‘God’s wrath’ differently?
    I don’t think we need to explain ‘how pissed God was…’ at people either.
    It’s inaccurate to portray God as an angry old man hungry to punish us because He hates our sin so much.

    I don’t think we’re going that far.

    When I think of “God’s wrath” I’m thinking of the truth that we are unworthy. We don’t deserve His grace. We don’t deserve His love.
    We actually deserve His wrath. God is perfectly justified to punish people for rebelling. But He chose not to do that. He has been pouring out grace from the OT down to the NT. And of course, He made the perfect way through Christ to let us live.

    When sharing the gospel, I think that that needs to be communicated.
    We don’t deserve salvation. But even though we don’t deserve it…
    “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”
    “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us…”

    I’m not on a mission to tell people, “Hey God’s pissed at you and hates your sin… won’t you accept Him?” That makes no sense.

    I just feel it necessary to communicate God’s grace in the correct context. And that being… that we don’t deserve it. God’s salvation is not just another ‘good thing’ to add to our lives. It should be cherished because it’s only “by grace that [we] have been saved.” We can’t work to to get it… and actually our rebellion deserves punishment.

    But thank God He’s made a way.

    “…the beauty of grace is that it makes like not fair”
    – Relient K (lol… good line though)

  5. Tyler MacDonald
    November 29, 2011

    I think one important distinction needs to be made in this conversation. God’s grace and God’s love are not the same thing. They are very much related but they are not the same thing. Focusing on grace I struggle to see how one can understand apart from wrath. If there is no wrath, if there is no divine justice than what is grace saving us from? And what did Jesus die for?

    I agree that I don’t have to say God really hates your sin in order to tell someone that God loves them. But I disagree that one can explain God’s grace apart from God’s wrath. Explain God’s grace to me without mentioning Jesus dying on the cross and I have a serious problem with your understanding of grace. Explain Jesus dying on the cross with out God’s wrath and you have significant theological problems (God just wanted to see God’s Son die?).

    Also it should be noted that in the modern American or Western context people’s problem is generally not that they fear they are horrible people whom God rejects. Instead we live in a context where people often feel they are going to heaven because they are “good enough.” I have encountered far more people who say they don’t understand why God would have to die for their sins than I do people who say they feel they are to awful for God to love. I grant there are people like that and as such the situation dictates the way in which you explain the Gospel to someone (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).

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This entry was posted on November 25, 2011 by in Uncategorized.
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