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Nobility of WRATH #1
by General James Green
MARK 3:1-6 gives us a glimpse of the nobility of wrath. Jesus entered the synagogue on the sabbath day and healed a man which had a withered hand. And of course, Jesus' enemies--the "religious"!--were there to see if He would heal the poor cripple on the sabbath. The account tells us that Jesus "looked round about on them (the Pharisees) with ANGER, being greived for the hardness of their hearts" (v. 5).
Yes, my dear religious church folks, the "loving Savior," the "meek and lowly in heart," the one who, "as a lamb before his shearers is dumb, opened not His mouth" in stern rebuke against His enemies (see Isaiah 53:7), is the same one whose ANGER indicated His HATRED for and VEHEMENT DISAPPROVAL of all unrighteousness and injustice (see Hebrews 1:9). The "Lord of love" was ANGRY! This account cannot be explained away.
The word translated "anger" is the regular New Testament word for "anger" or "wrath"--orge (or-gay), meaning "(justifiable) violent passion, abhorrence, indignation, vengeance." We might call Jesus' anger, as it is said, "Right Wrath," which, is also said, is no less noble than "Right Love." Wrath is just as noble as love. In fact, each one necessitates or requires the other.
Christ's loving offer of healing was followed by His ANGER against human hardheartedness and unfaithfulness. We can see Jesus' ire when He directed a question at the "religious" in their Pharisaic hypocrisy--"Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill?" (v. 4). Jesus eventually gave a tender appeal to the city, Jerusalem, which would not recognize her King; but it was obvious that His ANGER against the "religious" could not be quenched, and God's judgment eventually destroyed Jerusalem.
May we well remember the striking Biblical account of Jesus' cleansing of the Temple (Mark 11:15-19): His eyes were blazing, and with a whip of cords in His hand, He drove the money exchangers out and also drove out the crooks that sold doves, and He even drove out those who bought in the Temple. Yes, Jesus did that!
Our Lord's very holy love of purity, His unending love of righteousness, necessitated a Divine HATRED of SIN. His positive, active affection for the good involved a positive, active DETESTATION of the evil. And insomuch as His holy heart was forever tender toward the things that are worthy, righteous and pure, His heart was unavoidably hard and vehemently calloused toward all sin, unloveliness, and wrong.
Now we must consider, indeed, there is a "righteous anger," but we must resist unrighteous anger (See Galatians 5:20; Colossians 3:8). I think we all have failed in doing this! But it is thoroughly Christlike to be ANGRY at sin and evil (See Exodus 32:19; I Samuel 11:6; II Samuel 12:5; Nehemiah 5:6; et al.).
You see, having indignation at the sins of one's generation is good evidence of the believer placing himself or herself on the right side of Almighty God against unrighteousness and evil (See Exodus 32:19; I Samuel 11:6; Psalm 94:16; Jeremiah 6:11; Acts 17:16). Righteous wrath IS noble because it is necessary according to the standard of God's holiness. Indeed the sin of our present generation is "trying to maintain ourselves in a world of gross sin by a mere neglect of its evils while we seek its good." In other words, just ignore evil and pursue good things, people say. NO! It is not enough to simply "ignore evil." Our struggle toward what we seek in God involves a definite struggle from and against what we shun.
As some say, (sadly, in one sense,) "it is the evil of this world that furnishes us with footing for our ascent [unto the heavenlies]." One master stated, "We rise by the things that are under foot, by what we have mastered of good and of gain, by the pride deposed (removed) and the passions slain, and the vanquished ills that we hourly meet." Another master was quoted as saying, "...the life that is not a struggle against sin at all is in...danger of missing the end." If you don't struggle against sin you won't rise up in God. The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 12:21, "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." "How," you might ask, "can we do this?" Draw near to God! Resist the devil! It is stupid to submit to evil or sin when we don't have to. So we see that we must definitely fight sin, and to fight sin we must HATE sin.
An attempt to escape from evil or sin by just denying its existence, simply ignoring it, or cultivating a mere passive stance against it, is plain ol' COWARDLINESS. Plain and simple! It is REBELLION! The Christian Way is to HATE sin!! So it is not wrong to HATE evil or sin; more than that, we must HATE sin. Are we better than God the Father? the Son? the Holy Spirit? In the heart of God--Father, Son, Holy Spirit--we find their intense HATRED right beside their infinite love.
Did you know that the same disciple who spoke of the love that freely gave Jesus Christ to die spoke also of "the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God"? The God of love is the same God whom the prophet said was of "purer eyes than to behold iniquity" and who "cannot look on sin with any degree of allowance." Read God's Word! There are times in the life of a man or woman when this truth about God's ANGER needs to be revived and refreshed in the mind and heart, for it is important to recognize God as He really and fully is.
THIS IS THE GENERATION TO HATE SIN, my dear readers, right now, TODAY. Sin and evil are literally killing this WHOLE generation--right before our very eyes. What are you, professed believers in Christ, going to do? What will you do?--What are you doing? All around the world, countless souls are slipping and sliding right into the very habitations of HELL!! Do you care at all?
This IS the time and generation in which we all need to learn about and practice afresh and anew the nobility of wrath. But it is alarming how many professed Christians detest sound instructions! Yet shall we not be like the Psalmist who cried, "Hot indignation hath taken hold upon me, because of the wicked that forsake Thy law" (Psalm 119:53)? Aren't you concerned, Christian friends, to see so many backslidings among the professed Christians? Doesn't it bother you to see the ranks of evil men and women expand their evil, sinful influences all around this already dark world? Does not your spirit rise against the sophistries (false, deceitful arguments), diverse lies and squalors (filthy, unmoral things) of every kind?
Does not the Bible tell us, "Neither give place to the devil" (Ephesians 4:27)? And does not the Bible tell us, "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God" (v. 30)? We grieve the Holy Spirit by resisting the Holy Spirit; this, in turn, leads to quenching the Holy Spirit, which is a greater grief; and finally it leads to despising the Holy Spirit, which is a terrible sin. Will you resist the Holy Spirit if He comes upon you to fill you with righteous ANGER? OH FOOLISH GENERATION OF SPIRIT HATERS, HOW SHALL YOU ESCAPE THE WRATH OF GOD?
Does not the Bible tell us, "Be ye angry, and sin not" (Ephesians 4:26)? We can be angry and "sin not" when we honor God. We enter sin when we seek to bring personal honor unto ourselves. In any case, we must not ignore Biblical truth. Does not the Psalmist's HATRED for "every false way...every falsehood" tell us something? Should we not also HATE those same things, even in ourselves?
Some wrongly enjoy the "exhilaration of wrath for wrath's sake." This is of human (or demonic) origin. Yes, we should always share in the wrath of God and of the Lamb, but not in our own personal wrath--that is sin.
The LORD has enemies as well as friends. Sure He loves men and women, but He HATES sin. God's very Divine capacity for love involves a very Divine capacity for HATE. "Thou lovest righteousness, and HATEST wickedness: therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows" (Psalm 45:7). The Son of God HATED as well as loved and He found the true joy of life in BOTH. We too can be loving and tender towards the sinners but stern towards all falsehoods and sin. And our love may often manifest itself in ANGRY rebuke.
Why did Jesus die? Because He HATES sin and loves the sinner. He absorbed God's wrath in man's behalf--this is love! He died a cruel death on a cross because He HATES sin. He welcomed the cross with all its excruciating pain and shame. He bore the sins of the fallen world because He "so loved the world." He slew death by embracing death. And so His HATRED and love worked together.
It is true that the love of Jesus, the love of the holy and noble, must be what dominates our lives; and hatred of the unholy and evil must not consume the whole of our lives. But our HATRED for sin must always be there, acting as "the background and buttress (support)" of our love of the good. A true Christian must, I repeat, MUST have a holy HATRED for sin and a constantly working resistance of evil and sin, and must also maintain a reverence for purity and exercise an undying effort towards it. HATE the evil, love the good.
SEEK--STRIKE--DESTROY!! Go forth in a campaign against the adversaries of truth, beauty, purity. Seek out, strike at, and utterly destroy all evil and sinful strongholds in your life. Have an uncompromisingly cold heart towards wrong and a heated heart towards right.
Friend, do you look upon sin without abhorrence? Or do you love the noble and HATE iniquity? Godly HATE will drive a wonderful wedge between you and sin. Do you welcome the virtue of Christ's passionate ANGER to come and separate you from the enemy of your soul? This is not an impersonal question. This is a very personal, very important one. Where do you stand today with God?
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