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Love and an Angry God

February 21, 2016

Sinner at the Bar of Justice,  Illustration from Book III of “Emblems Divine and Moral” by Francis Quarles (published 1777) (PD)

Justice: Lord, shall I strike the blow?

Jesus: Hold, Justice. Sinner, speak on. What hast thou more to say?

Sinner: Vile as I am, and of myself abhorred, I am thy handiwork, they creature, Lord, stamped with thy glorious image, and, at first, most like to thee, though now a poor accursed, convicted… and degenerate creature, here trembling at thy bar.

Justice: Thy faults the Lord knows well. Shall I strike the blow?

Jesus: Speak, sinner. Hast thou nothing else to say?

Sinner: Nothing but mercy, mercy, Lord. Judge not my faults, miserably poor and desperate as I am. I quite renounce myself, the world, and flee, Lord, to Jesus and from thyself to thee.

Justice: Cease thy vain hopes. My angry God has abused [exhausted] mercy [and] must have blood for blood. Shall I strike the blow?

Jesus: Stay, Justice, hold…my fainting blood grows cold to view the trembling wretch; methinks, I spy my Father’s image in the prisoner’s eye.

Justice: I cannot hold…

Jesus: Then turn thy thirsty [blade] into my sides, let there the wound be made. Cheer up, dear soul; redeem thy life with mine. My soul shall smart; my heart shall bleed for thine.

Sinner: O groundless [bottomless] deeps [mysteries]! O love beyond degree! Th’ offended dies to set th’ offender free.”

– Excerpt from Book III of “Emblems Divine and Moral” by Francis Quarles

We are once again in the Lenten season, that six week period during the liturgical year when Christians repent their sins and do penance, in preparation for the Easter celebration.

The Puritan minister, Jonathan Edwards, was famed for his fiery sermons on repentance, among them “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” At the time the sermon was given in 1741, worshipers were so terrified that some collapsed in the aisles. The sermon is now studied as literature in schools, and ridiculed for its “exaggerated” language and images.

These days, if we concede the existence of a god at all, we prefer to view him as an understanding and forgiving sort of guy — someone either too distant to be concerned about our few foibles or willing to give us the benefit of the doubt.

Former Evangelical preacher Rob Bell (“Love Wins”) teaches the heresy that hell is inconsistent with a loving God. Even televangelists like Joyce Meyer, who acknowledge the existence of hell, can mangle the concept [1].

But Edwards was right. God — the One and only God Almighty — cannot tolerate sin. If He could, Salvation would not have been necessary.

For a fire is kindled in My anger, and shall burn to the lowest hell…” (Deut. 32: 22).

The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Ps. 9: 17).

Hell and destruction are before the Lord; so how much more the hearts of the sons of men” (Prov. 15: 11).

Hell from beneath is excited about you, to meet you at your coming; it stirs up the dead for you…” (Is. 14: 9).

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10: 28).

It is sin, not hell, that is inconsistent with God’s nature. Recognition of that fact drives home all the more the great love required of God for our Salvation.

[1] See, https://carm.org/joyce-meyer.

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  https://avoicereclaimed.com

11 Comments
  1. Great post, Anna! And what an eye-opener about Joyce Meyer…
    I used to listen to her all the time, but haven’t for several years now.
    Her teachings are actually quite messed up! :-/ ♥ ❤

    • I’m so glad you liked it! I was disappointed to discover the discrepancies in Joyce Meyer’s teachings, as well. You may know, she’s an abuse survivor.

      • Yes, I knew that 😦 Sad to think how she’s gotten tangled in false doctrine, which I suspect grew out of her intense desire to make the life of Christ come “alive” for her listeners :-/ ♥ ❤

      • Alot of Christians in our culture, I think, compromise their values in a well-intentioned effort to seem “relevant”. The Gospel does not, of course, need to be re-written in an effort to recruit followers for Christ. The message of Salvation is timeless.

      • Agreed! Compromise is a sneaky sibling to tolerance. Both have infiltrated the deep corners of our minds—twisting/erasing what used to be (seems like only yesterday?!?) common, steadfact values! :-/ ♥ ❤

  2. Hi Anna, I have to say that I have struggled with the doctrine of substitutionary atonement as an Evangelical for the past 20 or so years. And though I have wrestled with it, I cannot reconcile it, or the doctrines of original sin and hell, with a loving God. There was just too much cognitive dissonance within me working out how God could be truly angry with God, or how God could actually punish God. So as a Recovering Evangelical I side with Rob Bell et al. However, I did find Joyce Meyer rather confusing with some of her explanations. Blessings, Denzil

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