Is God Angry?

August 15, 2013

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One of the biggest fears in the hearts of believers is having a God who is angry with them.

We lie awake at night feeling guilty for our latest mess-up, resolving to try harder the next day. We wake up and engage in good, spiritual activities attempting to “earn back” the favor of God we feel we lost in our failure. We attempt to try to climb back up the ladder we believe we descended by our sin.

Romans 3:25 speaks of Jesus being our “sacrifice of atonement.” It is this which helps us determine if God is angry with us when we fail.

The sacrifice of atonement has two parts, the first being propitiation. This unfamiliar word literally means “wrath taker.” We could say Jesus is the one who takes away the wrath of God.

Angry

By: Jelle

The second part deals with the change in God’s emotions once wrath is gone. God is not emotionally neutral up in heaven. We know His anger is satisfied since His wrath is gone. But how does God feel?

Does He like us? Would He pick us to play on His sports team? Would He friend us on Facebook?

The word translated “atonement” or “propitiation” stems from he Greek word “hilasterion”. This word relates to the Old Testament image of the mercy-seat and can also be related to reconciliation. Jesus shows us mercy through being our sacrifice of atonement, which restores the relationship broken by sin between God and man.

The Christians from the church in Rome would be familiar with this idea. Culturally, the idea originates with Greek mythology. In these legends, hilasterion relates to the emotions of the gods changing from negative to a state of hilarious happiness. In mythology, the gods would need to be manipulated for this to occur.

Their emotions would never change as a free act of grace. This would cost the people greatly.

Paul uses the word hilasterion to illustrate God’s emotions being changed towards believers. Some define hilasterion as an overwhelming, over flowing, out-of-control love.

God is no longer angry, with the need to execute wrath. Christ has taken that wrath on himself.

I often meet believers who feel like God is out to get them, people who subconsciously wait for the lightning bolt from heaven to strike them down over past sin.

When Christ satisfied the wrath of God, it was completely gone. In its place came hilasterion, an overwhelming, over flowing, and out-of-control love.

We believe we need to climb the ladder and be good Christians, earning his favor.

Wrong.

Common sense tells us to climb; grace tells us we can get off the ladder. The gospel truly is good news. Sin remains the largest of problems, but the solution is more than up to the task.

Is God angry with me?

Grace says no, taking away our fear. Our response should be love, to obey, and to be grateful for such and amazing gift.

 

Portions of this post taken from Death of the Modern SuperHero: How Grace Breaks our Rules, Copyright 2011.
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Chris

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God