Thursday, October 3, 2013

Why Knowing God's Wrath is Important

I thought about what to title this post and after a little bit of debate in my mind, I just typed out the blunt truth of what I am writing about. I know that in the blogging/writing world many choose to title their work with catchy, even sometimes seemingly scandalous wording, in order to attract readers. It's publicity - I get that - and I have done it. However, though this title may sound like just that - it isn't. I truly believe that without having felt God's wrath over our sin - we can never fully understand his love. We can never fully understand who He is.

It Breeds Salvation

After all, what is salvation? Isn't it understanding that you should die because of your sin and responding to that? Isn't it knowing that in and of ourselves we deserve God's punishment but don't have to experience it in full - eternity in Hell? Is a supposed wrath enough to make one understand the gift of sacrifice that Christ made on our behalf? Is it necessary to really feel this offense down in our soul; to experience the dread and shame it produces in order to then be relieved by the saving grace? I believe it is.  Because the truth is, He hates sin. 

It Gives perspective 

But, Shara, there is no condemnation is Christ - remember? Here is my response to that: how would we ever realize the amazing gift that is no condemnation if we'd never felt the weight of it? How would we appreciate love if we never knew hate? Would we truly give thanks for our health if we'd never been sick? When I lived at home and would get sick, my dad would say to me, "Sure makes you appreciate the days you feel good, doesn't it?" He was right - it did, and it is the same with sin. When you feel the sting that sin brings, you welcome and praise the salve of redemption. So, yes, I believe that there is "NOW no condemnation for those in Christ."- Romans 8:1 Remember who Paul was speaking to, though. He was speaking to men and women to had already experienced the law. He was saying to them - (my paraphrase) you've known God's law, now you will discover his love. The Romans had felt the sting of their sin. They'd known his wrath and understood the importance of this precursor!

It allows Confidence

Not only does having felt this power give us perspective of our otherwise fate, it gives us the knowledge of our fierce savior. We see firsthand how magnificent He is. We do not fear the enemy, for "Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world." - 1 John 4:4 We know what an amazing defender he is, because we've seen His wrath - and have been saved from it.

It Cultivates Intimacy

Philippians 3: 10 describes intimacy with Christ this way: "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death." This verse makes my head spin and my heart leap into my throat. I want to read this and think to myself, you're a better man than I, Paul, then carry on with my life. But I can't, because then I read verse 11: "That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body]." (Amplified Bible) And then I understand, that in order to have the latter, I must do the first. 

What does knowing Christ in his suffering have to do with God's wrath? We cannot truly appreciate the sacrifice that he made on our behalf if we do not know God's wrath, for Christ experienced it in full as he died upon the cross. 

Experiencing God's anger can be a bit scary, but that is ok, for "The fear of The Lord is the beginning of wisdom." The commitment of being a Christian is not all rainbows and butterflies. It is dirty sometimes, but it amazing. I want to end this post with a poem that I wrote a few years ago. I hope you enjoy. 

Your wrath is like a book, though I have only read a page.
Your fury a fire, and I have only felt one flame.
Your anger, rushing waters, I've been tossed but by one wave. 
Tis not because I've caught myself, before being consumed, 
but because of your love that watches over, 
your love that ever looms.
For your love- 
the same as your wrath.
It pushes me away,
it snatches me back. 
It's a love affair, 
a seeming game, 
because one lover, 
wanders where she may. 

Oh! If she would just make up her mind!
Then the tide would pull back, the flame would die. 

But battle draws.

She roams.

Wrath thunders.
Love groans.

And it is He!
It is He that keeps bringing her back.
The tide that sweeps her in, 
the beach her lovers lap. 

A love she'd never known 
had she never known the wrath!