The Unspeakably Horrendous Nature of Sin and the Righteous Wrath of God
God gave Adam and Eve a simple command- a command with the greatest of implications. Would they give glory to God and honor His supreme authority as the Creator and Ruler of the Universe? Would they believe God’s Word which said that transgressing Him would in fact bring a deadly consequence that they could not see the possibility of, judging by their natural senses? Was what God had freely given them enough? Or did they need what He forbade them from having? We know that they made the wrong choice when it came to these questions. Hence the fall. The consequences being the connection to God in the human spirit broken (spiritual death), (eventual) physical death, mourning, sorrow, and pain introduced into a world thrown into chaos as its Perfect Creator and Designer was disobeyed. A world with its original perfect order and harmony broken by the rebellion of the creatures made in God’s image.
We see in the awful consequences of the fall the true face of sin. It would be impossible for the consequences to have been anything other than these awful things. The God of the Bible is the essence of love, goodness, righteousness, etc. Sin is worse than just hurting other people (though all transgression of God’s commandments does hurt someone, somehow). Sin is rebellion against the highest authority and the highest good, the One whose commands are given for the best for all. There is something evil about disobedience to God that words cannot express, yet disobedience to God is surely unspeakably evil because of the justice and excellence of His commandments, which stem from His perfectly Excellent character which is dishonored when He is disobeyed. The God of the Bible is not a malicious dictator who gives commands to satisfy His own ego. God is jealous of His name because He would be corrupt to not be! He must punish rebellion against Himself with the severest punishment or He would be a criminal who was complicit with evil otherwise. His will (expressed by what He commands) is given in perfect wisdom and knowledge. To obey God’s Word is to do what’s best for all of creation and to disobey Him is (essentially) to proclaim one’s own self to be god, to follow Satan, and to trouble the Universe. When a created being who owes their existence to the God who created all things seeks to put him/herself in God’s place, they are following a vain lie and calling others to that lie. This is why it is vain to worship a person or any other created being or object; and why it is simply logical and right to worship the true God.
The concept many have of God is a false god that lets them decide right and wrong for themselves. The “god” behind this mentality is Satan. The idea that we can be autonomous and do what’s right in our eyes is satanic. Satan didn’t want God to reign over him, Satan wanted (and still wants) man to follow him in his rebellion against God’s reign. Satan wants to make the world devoid of all true worship of God, and of the very remnants of His laws and institutions. The common idea that it is okay to do whatever you want, as long as you don’t tell anyone else what is morally right and wrong for them, is actually pure Satanism. So is the idea that we should be guided/ruled by the desires of our hearts and the seeking of our own happiness. The commonly known quote by occultic author Aleister Crowley “Do as thou wilt” bears witness to this fact. The most blatant enemies of the God of the Bible understand especially well that subjection to the God of the Bible and doing one’s own will are by nature opposed to each other. Of course, such typically allege that the God of the Bible is the “bad god” and claim that ridding the world of the knowledge of Him would enlighten mankind and free humanity from His restraints. We should know better though. It is people doing their own will instead of being subject to God’s law that corrupts the world. Imagine if Hitler and Stalin had been wholly subject to God and honored His law. They would not have murdered anyone then, no matter how strong the temptation. When anyone truly wrongs another, at the core of it they are casting aside the law of the true God to do their own will. People like Hitler and Stalin, in their casting aside God’s Law to pursue their own lusts, came to believe that their villainous actions were actually the right thing to do! They did not really consider themselves evil. Their own lust for power (or lust for something) deceived them. They really thought that they had good reasons to do the evil that they did. They could justify themselves and persuade people that they were right, and even make people who opposed them sound like evildoers themselves.
Hitler and Stalin were careless regarding obedience to God’s commandments- and they thus became what they at one time would have shuttered to become. Though not all sinners become Hitlers and Stalins, the sin of all who reject God’s authority and disobey His voice is of the same core nature as their sins. And all who reject God’s authority also do become enslaved to sin and somehow do become what they wouldn’t have chosen to be at a previous time- a time when sin’s effects on them hadn’t progressed as much and sin’s deceitfulness had a lesser impact on their judgment.
The cases of Hitler and Stalin also prove that there is a higher law than that which society deems acceptable. If that were not the case, we could indeed never truthfully say that Nazi Germany and Communist Russia were wrong! It has been rightfully said that man is foolish to think that he can turn from God and not serve Satan. The disobedient attitude towards God’s Law is the ultimate crime deserving of the most severe punishment. Psalm 14:1 says “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” This verse literally means the fool has said in his heart “no God” (instead of “yes God”). You don’t have to be an atheist or a professing Satanist to do this. You just have to set aside a commandment of God to go your own way like Adam and Eve did. The testimony of God’s Word is that those who do so are corrupt, abominable, and incapable of doing good. Subjection to the true God on His terms is the supreme issue of the Universe. Whether we are subject to Him or not is the difference between heaven and hell. Those in heaven do God’s will (Matthew 6:10), while those who go to hell do so for doing their own will (and following Satan in doing so- Matthew 25:41).
The Bible doesn’t deny that sin can be pleasurable temporarily (Hebrews 11:25). We all have legitimate God-given needs and desires that we want fulfilled. The Bible testifies of God’s wrath being against those who seek fulfillment of those needs and desires by means which He has forbidden; those who put their own needs and wants before honoring God and keeping His commandments. Such suppress the truth about God that they know inherently in order to somehow, in some way, gratify self instead of glorify God in truth.
It is a universal principle though that nobody receives eternal life from God who doesn’t take self off the throne of their life to yield control to the One who has the full, non-transferable right to it. In spite of the counterfeit Christianity that offers salvation in Christ without calling men and women to forsake the throne of their lives and to depart from all lawlessness that they might walk in the truth of God’s Word unshackled, the true Gospel of Christ indeed does cut at the pride of man’s heart and strikes a blow to the things people glory over in the world. The true Gospel of Christ calls us to walk in God’s ways without compromise in the midst of a world that is at enmity with God’s truth and which doesn’t receive kindly those “Abels” who are a bitter reminder to it of the truth which it has suppressed; a world where genuinely receiving Christ’s teaching without picking and choosing what we can stand and what we can’t (like Cain) puts our financial security, wealth, social status, acceptance by family and friends, and even our reputation as “kind, nice people” on the line. Jesus did not make it easy to be saved and spoke of the unconditional surrender that is necessary to be His disciple (and a true disciple of Christ equals a true believer in Christ). Such surrender is necessary to receive all His words, to honor Him as our true Master, and to receive His grace.
Matthew 16:21-27: “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.”
No one fully comprehends the heights and depths of God’s vast nature. Yet we can know what we need to know about who He is and what He requires of us by how He has revealed Himself through creation and in His Word (especially). We must heed that revelation and thereby have our understanding of God molded. We don’t have the right to think of “God” as we would have Him to be. It is wrong to fashion our concept of Him according to our own understanding. Such inevitably degrades the glory of the true God. It is wrong to harbor concepts of Him which are not compatible with the revelation of Himself in the Bible. We have to make a choice to be honest about everything God has said about Himself in the Bible and not alter that to suit ourselves. We have to make a choice not to entertain in our minds a chosen concept of “God” that is pleasant and/or suitable to the desires of our own hearts. Proverbs 28:26 says, “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”
Jesus preached only in Israel, a culture that at the time understood what God’s law said about sexual sin. By affirming the law of God as He did (Matthew 5:17), Jesus was confirming everything the Old Testament taught about morality, including sexual sin- the Law of God’s condemnation of adultery, sex outside of marriage, incest, homosexuality, bestiality, etc. When Jesus spoke about “fornications” (see Mark 7:21-23) as being evil, He was therefore including all of these things. He also spoke of God’s intent that marriage be between one man and one woman (Matthew 19:4-5). He also essentially said that lusting after anyone who is not one’s spouse is proof of an adulterous heart (thus condemning pornography and the spirit that prevails on college campuses, beaches, the advertising industry, and a ton of other places). We have to align ourselves with His words on these things or we deny Him. Some rebellious people hear the Bible’s verdicts and accuse the God of the Bible of being obsessed with sex. Yet it is people who are obsessed with sex- to the point where many would even do the unthinkable and transgress God’s boundaries to gratify their sexual desires. The world lies to us constantly, so God setting the matter straight for us is a great mercy in a world where we are lied to over and over, not least of all on things related to this topic. One need only read the New Testament epistles to see that they contain multiple rebukes of sexual sin, instruction on fleeing from it, and emphasis on the need to overcome it.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 says: “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification (holiness), that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification (holiness) and honor; Not in the lust of concupiscence (forbidden desire), even as the Gentiles which know not God.”
Satan has deceived multitudes to believe that keeping God’s commandments and telling others to do so is legalism; and that anyone who does this is a Pharisee and a legalist. But a true legalist (in the sense of that being a bad thing) is one who goes through some religious motions externally but remains lawless at heart. Jesus made it clear that we should cleanse the inside that the outside may be clean also. Likewise, the true Pharisee is the one who goes to church and can appear to love God, but who also indulges in sin in subtle and private ways, thinking he/she is entitled to do so because of all the other “stuff” they do “for God” (this is the spirit of Cain). Jesus on the other hand said that we should do the commandments that are from God’s Word, even if it should be a hypocrite who is quoting the Bible to us. We should not follow the hypocrite’s example.
Matthew 23:1-3: “Then spoke Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.”
Jesus obeyed God’s commandments and taught others to do so. The problem with the scribes and Pharisees is that they weren’t obedient to God and were motivated by self-seeking in even their alleged holiness. They took a selective approach to God’s commandments and used an external adherence to them, along with a strict adherence to human traditions that were convenient for people whose hearts were far from God to keep, to give people the misleading impression that they were holy. They thereby got the respect of a lot of people, whose praise they sought more than God’s.
Jesus thus also told the Pharisees and scribes in Matthew 23:25-28: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”
Consider also Pontius Pilate. He is a clear proof that seeking the esteem of men and siding with Christ inevitably come into conflict. Pilate could tell that Jesus was a righteous man who was falsely accused out of envy from the Jewish leaders. His wife had told him to have nothing to do with His death because of how she had suffered greatly in a dream because of Him. And Pilate did want to let Jesus go. But there was a problem. The stand he had begun to take was creating a tumult among Christ’s enemies. Pilate therefore proclaimed his own innocence and delivered Jesus to be crucified (see these things in detail in Matthew 27:11-26). But Pilate was not innocent, despite his declaration of his own innocence. The Bible implicates him as a partaker in Christ’s murder (Acts 4:27). If the tumult continued that would mean his own safety would be on the line, as well as his job- and his job represented his dreams and goals of advancement in rank and status in society. Pilate is clear proof that we either must side with Christ as Lord or inevitably side against Him. There is a popular song whose chorus goes “Jesus is just alright with me.” But just alright is not going to do with the real Jesus. That is impossible. We must confess Him to the risk of our own interests and our well-being in this world or deny Him to our own damnation in the next. We can’t be neutral. We have to take all of His words seriously, stand for them, and the conflict will become evident soon enough. We need to keep standing for Him when it does. However, we just need to refuse His words by not making a good faith effort to let them all mold our beliefs and our lives- and then we’ll save ourselves the trouble that confessing Him as Lord brings. However, that will get us into trouble with God which will make the trouble of confessing Christ as Lord in truth insignificant (to say the least).
For some, it’s not the issue of obedience to Jesus as Lord in their private lives that is their greatest obstacle to being on His side. It is rather the overall placing of their reputation on the line before others whose friendship and/or support they won’t risk losing. Or it could be fear of upsetting people whose displeasure they don’t want to risk stirring up. Yet a big aspect of truly worshiping God and genuinely obeying His commandments is standing for His truth despite the potential consequences of standing for that truth before people. To let those potential consequences keep you from being faithful to His Word is to commit idolatry.
Here are some Biblical Truths About the Fear of God: When the Bible talks about the fear of God it means “the fear of God” (yes, really). A word that is often used in the New Testament to refer to the fear of God is in the original Greek the word “phobeo” (the source of the English word “phobia”). The true fear of God is an intense dread of displeasing and offending God. Without this fear at the foundation of one’s life, it is impossible to shun sin’s temptations and to live worthy of God’s kingdom. We are told in Proverbs 9:10: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”
Any who doubt whether God should really be feared only need to look at the drastic, dreadful things He did in Scripture to make an example of those who turned from Him and did wickedly. There are many, many such examples in the Bible of God so working regarding individuals, families, cities, and nations. There are also the terrors of the end-time and of the Day of Judgment that we are warned about in the Book of Revelation (and of course elsewhere in Scripture too). There has even been a time already when the Lord killed every single person on earth except eight people. If your God has not done so, then your god is an idol and not the God of the Bible.
Those who do evil in God’s sight provoke Him to anger and hot displeasure (Deuteronomy 9:18-20).
God has a controversy with those who don’t walk in His ways (Hosea 4:1, Micah 6:2).
God condemned Sodom and Gomorrah with an overthrow, making them an example for those that after should live ungodly (2 Peter 2:6).
God is angry with the wicked every day. He has prepared His judgment for them if they turn not (Psalm 7:11-14).
God will punish workers of lawlessness on Judgment Day (Isaiah 26:21, Luke 13:27, 2 Peter 2:9).
He calls Himself “a great God, a mighty, and a terrible” (see Deuteronomy 10:17).
God’s anger/wrath are as great as He is (Psalm 90:11).
God casts people away for not hearkening to Him (Hosea 9:17).
In Malachi 1:6 God equates honoring Him with fearing Him. He also rebukes Israel’s priests for not fearing Him in the same verse.
In Jeremiah 2:19 He tells the people of Judah that it is an evil thing and bitter that they’ve forsaken the Lord and that His fear is not in them (thus connecting not fearing God with forsaking Him).
In Revelation 15:4 glorified saints marvel that anyone would not fear the Lord.
In having the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence and a place of refuge (Proverbs 14:26); in the true fear of the Lord there is life, satisfaction, and protection (Proverbs 19:23).
The passages in the Bible where people are told to fear not aren’t saying we shouldn’t fear God; they are implying or saying directly that we should fear nothing else if we indeed do fear God (Isaiah 8:12-13, Luke 12:4-9).
Nobody is getting away with anything. When God’s wrath fully comes, it is then too late to repent and get right with Him. The Bible says that the unrepentant treasure up wrath for themselves on Judgment Day (Romans 2:5).
Finding mercy of God is conditioned on keeping His covenant- which always involves fearing Him and keeping His commandments (Psalm 103:11, 17-18).
There is no contradiction between our need to love God and our need to fear God. At least once God expressly commands us to do both in the very same passage. Deuteronomy 10:12-13: “And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?”
Jesus said that it’s better to lose an eye, hand, or foot that causes us to sin rather than to be cast into the fire that shall never be quenched (see Mark 9:43-48- obviously this is implying that if we continue to sin we’ll go into the fire that shall never be quenched. Though cutting off a body part won’t deal with the root of sin in the heart, the point is obviously that we must be extreme in fearing God and forsaking sin at the heart so that we stop committing it).
Throughout the entire Bible we see both God’s goodness and His severity, just as we are warned in Romans 11:22 to behold “the goodness and severity of God.”
Aaron’s email is: [email protected]