Bags of Bran


God and anger
July 5, 2013, 11:43 pm
Filed under: Biography

I recently preached on Psalm 15 and remarked that if we fail to live up to the expectations delineated there, God is angry with us. Given the current ecclesiastical climate, I got some furrowed brows, mostly from a younger generation.

One person asked me about justification: if we are positionally righteous in Christ, how could God ever be angry with us? [The reader will note that I am gratuitously using inclusive pronouns] I replied that God is always angered by sin, and obviously the types of sins mentioned in Psalm 15 would be worthy of His contempt. Does God demonstrate anger toward justified people? Yes, if you believe that people were justified the same way in both testaments. You would have to concede that God’s anger actually burned toward Moses’ excuse-making (Exodus 4:14) and rock-whacking (Deuteronomy 4:21). Furthermore, David understood it as such: “slow to anger” does not mean “immune from anger” (Psalm 27:9; 38:1; 86:15; 103:8; 145:8). Other references abound in the OT which you can look up for yourself.

Distinguish anger from wrath and it makes sense. Banish pictures of courtrooms and judges, and imagine instead a family where the father watches his son deliberately disobey. The anger the father feels is not going to be retributive anger, but restorative. It will be mixed with love for the son, and will result in chastisement, as the KJV so melodiously puts it (Hebrews 12:4-15). Things are not right: they are not as they should be. Ought the father rejoice in such circumstances? The son ought to know better, ought to do better, and yet has done thus.

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