Love cannot exist without wrath. I love children. Therefore if I truly love children, I must by default hate the evils of abortion. I love my family, and if anything or anyone tried to hurt them, they would see my wrath. If you truly love something, you must be wrathful against that which opposes it. God is love. But His love is seen through His wrath. He is righteous. And His rightness is seen through His justice enacted against the. unrighteous.
Tomorrow morning, Christians all around the world will celebrate Easter. And most everyone who professes faith or even a simplistic belief in Jesus knows that this is the day that Christ rose victoriously from the dead. The love of God, that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us, was magnificently displayed in the sacrificial death and resurrection of our Savior. The church most definitely has the greatest of reasons to rejoice on this day.
However, if we are not careful, we can get caught up in the emotionalism and celebration of Easter so much so that we totally ignore the Biblical implications of why the sacrifice of Christ was such a loving act of God, thus stripping the resurrection of it’s meaning. During Easter, more times than not mankind elevates the love of God while simultaneously disregarding the wrath of God because by nature, humanity desires self pride over God’s glory.
Just read the popular cliché sayings that are prevalent when Easter comes around. I once heard someone say this of the meaning of Easter; “The cross proves that humanity is the apple of God’s eye.” A very popular social media meme states, “God could not bear the thought of eternity without us, so He chose the nails.”
Although these statements may give us warm and fuzzy feelings, they are theologically inaccurate and they rob Christ of His glory. For starters, the proverbial apple of God the Father’s eye is Christ the Son. And God did not save humanity because He was lonely without us in eternity. This is blasphemy in insinuating that God was somehow lacking within the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit, and He needed us to make Him complete. Statements like these elevate the worth of man’s value above the worth of Christ’s glory.
We can easily fall into making ourselves the reason for the celebration of Easter by elevating the love of God over the justice and wrath of God. The good news of Easter is that Jesus had taken the punishment for sin on the cross so that God’s disposition towards those who believe in him would be not condemnation but everlasting life. The brutally honest truth of the resurrection is that God the Father poured out his wrath that was meant for sinners like us upon His one and only Son.
Some have argued that God is not wrathful towards sinful humanity. And some have even taken offensive at the thought of God executing justice upon Jesus instead of us. When the justice and wrath of God are spoken of during Easter, many refute the thought of seeing God in this way and say, “That is not my God.” It may not be their God, but it is the God of scripture.
“Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.” Isaiah 53:10.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” Romans 1:18.
My question to this opposition is, “If God did not send His Son to endure the wrath that you deserved due to our sins, then who has paid the penalty for your trespasses?” If a price for our sins was not required by God, then why did Christ have to die? You see if Jesus had not incurred the wrath of God at Calvary, then you and I are still under His wrath and awaiting our eternal execution. You cannot separate the love of God from the wrath of God. Once you do this, the other ceases to exist. His love is seen through His wrath against sin.
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” John 3:36.
Why did God send His Son to die in our place? Was it for the glory of man? Was the sacrifice of Christ necessary because God desperately needed us to make Him complete? Or was the cross ordained in eternity past primary for the Glory of His Son?
“But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and rthe Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” Acts 7:55-56.
“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. iAfter making purification for sins, jhe sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” Colossians 3:1.
“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11.
In the death of Christ, God saved us by Himself, from His wrath, and for His glory. There would be no reason to celebrate Easter without an understanding of why Christ had to die under God’s wrath. And there would be no reason for the death of Jesus if God were not one to execute justice against evil. The love of God is see through the wrath of God.
“Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” Romans 1:18.
God the Father sacrificed His one and only Son so that He would receive the utmost glory. The enemy loves an Easter that ignores the wrath and justice of God. As theologian Jared Wilson wrote, “The devil doesn’t mind a shiny trinket around your neck so long as it’s not a shining treasure in your heart.”
Satan is afraid of the truth of the resurrection. He is afraid of true repentance and sorrow over sins coming upon Christians during Easter. He would much rather we celebrate and place the focus on us, not Christ. Satan knows that when we gaze upon the wrath of God that was meant for us, it pierces the heart of man and reveals that the blood of Christ washed sinners clean. Satan knows that the justice of the Lord, when it is rightly understood, creates true worship of Jesus among God’s people. And he knows that the blood of Christ satisfied the wrath of God against sinners, thereby making us free from condemnation.
This is the Gospel. That the wrath of God was directed at you and I for our transgressions. The justice of God had to be carried out. And the Son of God took our cross under that wrath, dying in our place and for our sins. Don’t let the devil distort the meaning of Easter by ignoring the wrath and justice of God. God’s wrath and justice only serve to magnify His great love.
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.