Thursday, April 29, 2010

Remaining in Wrath

John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

36 ὁ πιστεύων εἰς τὸν υἱὸν ἔχει ζωὴν αἰώνιον· ὁ δὲ ἀπειθῶν τῷ υἱῷ οὐκ ὄψεται ζωήν, ἀλλ᾽ ἡ ὀργὴ τοῦ θεοῦ μένει ἐπ᾽ αὐτόν.

John 3 may be the most famous chapter in the Bible because of all the signs exhorting people to read and believe John 3:16.  I love John 3:16 as much as the next guy, but I think that we lose something when we read it out of context, as we do with any other verse.  No verse exists in isolation.  So before we try to use John 3:16 as the big Arminian trump card, let's look at another verse.

This verse gives us a different picture of who God is, doesn't it?  The more famous verse gives one the image of God sitting up in heaven with something akin to a teenage crush on every person, but He is anxiously waiting for our acceptance of Him.  Here we see the same offer, but a point is clarified a bit.  Here we see that ἡ ὀργὴ τοῦ θεοῦ μένει ἐπ᾽ αὐτόν.

I was really struck by the word μένει when I read this today.  It "remains" on him?  Really?  That implies that God's wrath was there all along.  In other words, every person is in a default state of having God's wrath justly upon him until there is faith in the Son.  That's what it takes.

Does this seem unfair or unjust to you?  Then you do not know the holiness of God.  He is, by definition, perfect.  How can perfection live with sin?  The good news is that Jesus Christ bore this wrath for those who would believe in Him.  I urge you to repent of your sin and turn to Jesus Christ as the lord of your life.  You will still fail Him from time to time as we all do, but His grace is sufficient for us.


Philip G said...

Your god is a sicko. he liked to kill people and look what he did to Job just to show off to the devil. Some god.

Jason said...

Actually, my God is the reason why there is something instead of nothing. Since He made the universe He gets to define the rules of the game. Perhaps as the creator of the universe he is a bit wiser than you and I?

Put another way, if we could completely understand God then that wouldn't be much of a God.

Meanwhile, even though my God is perfectly just and would be completely in the right if He just wiped the earth clean, He sent Jesus Christ to earth to redeem those who would believe in Him.

What stops you from believing?

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

Shallow their reasoning, shallower still their behavior, but deep the hole they have dug for themselves, and deeper still they plunge into the abyss carved out by their envy.

Death was not God's doing. It was the devil's envy that brought death into the world, as those who are his partners have discovered.
(cf. Wisdom of Solomon, Orthodox Old Testament, Jerusalem Bible)