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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Jesus: Holy and Righteous God of Love and Wrath - Part 2

By Justin Edwards

Is the Jesus you know the Jesus of the Bible?  Or is the jesus you know a figment of your imagination - one that you have crafted to be palatable with your lifestyle and worldview?  If you do not have an objective and absolute source of truth from which to base your understanding of Jesus, then all you are left with is your opinion, the consequences of which will leave you condemned.

What do you know of The Great White Throne Judgment?
There are many types of jesus' in the world today - there's the mystical jesus, the prophet jesus, the good teacher jesus, the good example jesus, the philanthropic jesus, the liberal jesus, the social gospel jesus, and the "love wins" jesus.  These jesus' are mere figments of people's imaginations because none of these jesus' exist.  They are false christs and have no power to save because they are dead gods created after man's own image.  They base these jesus' on mystical experiences or on loose interpretations of Scripture, cherry-picking verses while ignoring the rest of the Bible.

The Jesus of the the Bible, on the other hand, is the glorious and sovereign King of the universe.  He is Lord of lords and there is none like Him. He is supreme ruler of creation, robed in glory, majesty, power, and honor. This Jesus is beautiful and pure, and He is worthy of praise and worship.  No, there is none like Him.  And as yesterday's post clearly showed, the Jesus of the New Testament is the God of the Old Testament, and this God does not change.  He is the First and the Last and He is a God of compassion, mercy, grace, and love.  But His attributes do not stop there.  The same Jesus who is compassionate, merciful, gracious, and loving is the same Jesus who is holy, righteous, just, and wrathful.  Without understanding this Jesus, the One represented by the whole counsel of God, then one cannot know Him, or worse, one is not known by Him.

Let's begin with the holiness of God.

God Is Holy, Holy, Holy

And one called to another and said:  “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” - Isaiah 6:3

And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,  “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” - Revelation 4:8

Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? - Exodus 15:11

There is none holy like the Lord; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God. - 1 Samuel 2:2

The Lord reigns; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake! 2 The Lord is great in Zion; he is exalted over all the peoples. 3 Let them praise your great and awesome name! Holy is he! - Psalm 99:1-3

And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. - Luke 1:35

What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God. - Mark 1:24

But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” - Luke 5:8

What does it mean to be holy?  Most simply, it means to be set apart.  God is totally set apart from man.  There is none like Him.  He is totally "other".  Note too that no other attribute of God is so elevated than that of His holiness.  To make this point, R.C. Sproul says in The Holiness of God,

Only once in sacred Scripture is an attribute of God elevated to the third degree. Only once is a characteristic of God mentioned three times in succession. The Bible says that God is holy, holy, holy. Not that He is merely holy, or even holy, holy. He is holy, holy, holy. The Bible never says that God is love, love, love; or mercy, mercy, mercy; or wrath, wrath, wrath; or justice, justice, justice. It does say that he is holy, holy, holy that the whole earth is full of His glory (source).

We must begin with the holiness of God; we must begin with the holiness of Christ, who is God.  Jesus Christ is holy, holy, holy, and there is none like Him.  Let us now look at the righteousness of God.

God Is Righteous

The Lord is righteous; he has cut the cords of the wicked. - Psalm 129:4

The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he. - Deuteronomy 32:4

Clouds and thick darkness are all around him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. - Psalm 97:2

Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true. - Psalm 119:142

Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’ - Jeremiah 23:5-6

What is righteousness?  This attribute of God defines His goodness, rightness, perfection, and justice.  Psalm 18:30 says,

This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

His standard for good is perfection and is revealed through the Law.  This is why we all fall so short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  This is what is revealed about the Law of the Lord in Psalm 19:7-9:

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. 

Yet, those who hold contempt for the perfect Law of God will by judged by the perfect Law of God. If you find yourself being one who has rejected the Word of God or dismissed it for any reason, or perhaps you love your sin more than the righteousness of Christ, know that you will be held accountable for your contempt of His righteousness.  Psalm 1:5-6 tells us,

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

And perish you will if you are not reconciled by God through the Lord Jesus Christ.  You will perish by the justice of God and under the wrath of God.  You will perish under none other than the wrath of the Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, who was, who is, and who is to come.

This leads us into Part 3 that covers the divine justice and wrath of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

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