Wednesday, June 01, 2016

SALVATION AND WRATH IN THE GOSPEL, Dan Mayfield

Sometimes people refuse to understand and grasp that in the Gospel is contained both salvation and wrath. The idea of a wrathful God is troubling to them. They like the love language of John 3:16 that says, "whoever believes should not perish, but have everlasting life." But that word "should" ought to be a clue that there's more to it. The word "should" is accurate because the Greek is in the subjunctive mood suggesting possibility of not being saved. There are people who believe who will perish because they allow fear of men to hold back from confessing him, Jn 12:42. These believe, but are not saved. In the Gospel is salvation, but those who do not believe it will be condemned, Mk 16:16. To be saved by the Gospel, believe and be baptized. A believer in Christ should not perish, but he will if he doesn't obey Jesus. Hence we see the salvation and wrath in the Gospel.

The entire world is divided into two camps of those who are saved by the Gospel and by those who are condemned by the Gospel.

Paul said in Romans 1 that God has revealed salvation and wrath. Paul said that he was glad to preach the Gospel because it is God's power to save, for in it the righteousness of God is REVEALED so that the righteous shall live by faith, Romans 1:17. The revelation is the Gospel that saves those who believe and obey it, Romans 1:15-16; 1:5 (it's a good idea to look up these verses). But those who do not obey the Gospel will be lost, Rom 10:16; cf John 3:36. This is what Paul says in the next verse that "The wrath of God is being REVEALED (the same word as in previous verse) from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness.", Romans 1:18. In a matter of two verses, Paul says God has revealed both his salvation and His wrath. How can men believe in only part of the revealed will and plan of God? As God revealed salvation by faith, God has also revealed that those who do not believe shall be condemned. If we do not yet understand God's wrath of hell, we need to examine our own hearts to see if there's something fabricated from man that is hindering the plain truth.

It's true that in the Gospel is both life and death. Paul said, "we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life." 2 Cor. 2:15-16. Similarly, Peter said that Christ is the precious cornerstone to believers but to those who reject Him He is the stone of stumbling and rock off offense, 1 Peter 2:6-8. This is all fairly easy to understand unless our theology is coming from man. Jesus said He was, "the stone which the builders rejected that became the chief cornerstone" which men would stumble over and then be crushed by. The choice is to accept the precious cornerstone or reject it and be crushed in His judgment. If we believe in the revelation of salvation through the Gospel, then we also must accept that wrath is revealed from heaven to those who reject it.

Peter also said, "And if judgment begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the Gospel", 1 Pt 4:17. The Gospel is not merely to be believed. The Gospel beckons. It calls. It pleads for sinful man to leave sin, take up the cross, and follow Jesus. But the Gospel also warns of judgment for unbelievers. A gospel message that does not also warn of wrath is a perversion of the Gospel, Gal. 1:6-10.

It is evident that many still do not understand contrary to what the Bible says. Their minds have been infected with modern philosophy and humanism. They also have been lax in personal Bible study and have depended more on what others teach them.

Only by coming to God's holy book with an open heart and mind can the ignorance be replaced with knowing. "The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent," Acts 17:30. So don't be foolish, but understand what is the will of God by spending the hours in God's Word, Eph 5:17. Instead of listening to the world, listen to the Gospel and learn.

Embrace that God is the loving God who will also exercise perfect justice to send them to hell who do not obey the Gospel.

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