Wrath? Really?

Wrath?

Really?

God has wrath and it’s directed at me? I read this again today in John 3:36. Just a couple of dozen verses after one, if not the most quoted verse in the bible. A verse that stands as a testament – the testament – regarding the enormity of God’s love for me.

A foundation for understanding God’s grace.

Then, 20 verses later… A reminder that turning down His Grace subjects me to His wrath.

Paradox!

Ultimate Grace from a God who is love.
Angry wrath from that same god.
Both together. At the same time.

How is that possible?

Perhaps I’m misunderstanding His wrath. Maybe His wrath isn’t a judgement that I receive for sinning and failing. Maybe it’s the life I already live.

When I fear incurring God’s wrath I have to start from a position of having done something sinful. But all of my life is sinful. I’m bound by my sin. That’s why I need His Grace.

When John speaks of incurring God’s wrath he does by framing it through the absence of Grace. If I reject Christ and God’s grace I’m left to live in this world as it is. Hateful, violent, selfish… A worldly life, experiencing wrath.

However, when I accept His love and Grace, entering into loving relationship with him I’m able to transcend the wrath of the world.

Hmmm….

I have more pondering to do.

The Treasure Paradox

17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered.“No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”

20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

— Mark 10, The Message

How often I’ve struggled with this notion.  Could I give it all up?  Could I give up everything?

When I struggle though, it’s because I’m forgetting WHY I’d be giving it all up.  Why am I giving it up?

Simple…

“God’s kingdom is like a treasure hidden in a field for years and then accidentally found by a trespasser.  The finder is ecstatic – what a find! — and proceeds to sell everything he owns to raise money to buy that field.”

–Matthew 13:44, The Message

Radical!  Fantastic! Like the treasure itself there is real value buried here.

You’re the trespasser in the field and the field is for sale.  You stumble on the treasure.  It’s more valuable than anything else you could work for or find in life.  More valuable than all you have now or will ever have.

You realize that no one else is aware of what you’ve found, so you quickly hide it and then leave.  Once home you begin to sell everything you have.  You get rid of it all!  You stop at nothing – so that you can raise enough money to buy that field, and with it – the treasure.

The treasure is so valuable to you that you give up everything to have it.

In the end, you’re not really getting rid of everything at all.  Instead you’re gaining everything.  You have to give up what you have and know to gain the promise of what you might have.

Jesus is something – someone – worth giving up everything for.

Some of the most profound truths are the simplest to understand.  Yet…

How do we actually do this?