Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God

Have you listened to “Sinners in the hands of an angry God” by the preeminent theologian Jonathan Edwards? Wow. What a message.

Advertisements

A Christian is to live righteously.

It astounds me people who have been taught the truth about God want to keep poo-pooing what scripture says, ignoring it in favor of choosing to follow their own desires.

But remember, we are expected to love our brothers – this means showing them how to live righteously, calling them on NOT doing so, and then forgiving them when/if they repent.

Calling someone on their behavior is not the same thing as judging them. According to JESUS CHRIST, we are expected to live righteous lives. And we are expected to call out our brothers in Christ who are not living like God said to live. And we are expected to forgive them when they repent.

Matthew 7:21-23
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

Matthew 18:15-17
15 “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Matthew 18:21-22
21 Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

1 Peter 3:13-22

1 Peter 3:13-22

“Submission, Salvation, Soaking”

 

Today’s message is taken from 1 Peter 3:13-22. If you’ve been following along in this series, you know that this was written to believers in various churches in what is now Turkey  about 64AD, just a few years before Peter’s crucifixion. It was written to encourage the readers during difficult times to endure and live lives that were worthy of the name of Christ.

In the previous chapter, Peter wrote about how we need to submit to the government and our employers. In the first half of chapter 3, he wrote that a wife needs to respect the leadership of her husband, and that a husband has to be considerate of his wife and respect her. All Christians need to “live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing,”

 

Peter continues …

13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?

            If you are doing what God says you need to be doing, then what harm will come to you? Most people will respect you for how you act, even if they think you’re crazy to believe in Christ. We need to be eager to do good, not trying to repay people who do evil to us, whether they intended to harm us or not. I’m not saying it is easy to become someone who is eager to do good. Nor am I saying it is easy to become someone who does not want to retaliate. But we need to pray in difficult times for the right understanding of the situation, for guidance in how to act, and for the right attitude. Don’t be who you were. Don’t be who you are. Be who God wants you to become. Let GOD change you.

 

14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.

Turn to Matthew 5:3-11. The word for “blessed” in 1 Peter 3:14 is the same word used by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.[1] If you suffer for doing what is right, God said you will be blessed.

 

“Do not fear what they fear b; do not be frightened.” c

            Isaiah 8:11-12. Peter is quoting GOD! We don’t need to fear people. Matt. 10:28 – we need to fear GOD – IF we do not trust him. We need to not worry about the things of this world, but be worried about the things that REALLY matter – the things of heaven.

 

15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.

Peter is reminding BELIEVERS that they need to let Christ run their lives, rather than their fears of being hurt, or their fears of not having what they need, or their fears of being looked down on, or their fears of being judged by mankind. People need to let GOD be in charge. Its freeing to know that you are not the one ultimately responsible to make the sun revolve around the earth – yes, I know the earth revolves around the sun, but we so often get things confused that that I said that way on purpose. When we try to do things our way, in our times, we often miss the true picture of how things are or will be and so make mistakes – the way people in the middle ages used to think the sun revolved around the earth. GOD created it all – including what to us is the future – let HIM run things. You sit back and relax and enjoy the show. Get some popcorn, and a soda if you need to. Go to the bathroom if you need to. Do what you need to do, but let God run the show. I’ve read the book, and know the ending – you’ll find it’s a good one!

 

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

Turn back to 1 Peter 1:5, 1 Peter 1:13. Peter is reminding us that we need to be prepared! We need to trust God and let people know WHY. Turn to Acts 20:1-25. When you are able to be serene in times of difficulty, its for one of three reasons: you are ignorant of how bad things really are, you don’t care how bad things really are, or you know that no matter how bad things get, you have CHRIST, and HE WILL PROVIDE AND PROTECT what’s really important! You can’t loose your salvation, and what else is there that’s as important? So when people see you and wonder what’s the ‘deal-e-o’, tell them of your hope in Christ.

 

But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

`           1 Peter 2:15. God wants you to do what is right and to do it with the right attitude. We need to be respectful and gentle. When we’re doing what God wants, in the way that God wants, with a clear conscience, we will cause those who speak against us to be ashamed of their behavior.

 

17 It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

            Turn to 1 Peter 2:13-20. God wants us to honor what he has created and to be ok with where we are. He wants us to accept where we are, and if that brings us difficulty, but we’re doing the right things with the right attitude, then that’s better than if we are in difficulty and doing the wrong things or even the right things with the wrong attitude. GOD CARES NOT ONLY ABOUT WHAT WE DO, BUT HOW WE DO IT! Attitude counts!

 

18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.

Romans 3:23 – we are all sinners. Romans 6:23 – our sin deserves death. Romans 6:10. But Christ died for everyone’s sins – yours, mine, everyone. Romans 10:9-10 – all we have to do is believe and live the faith we have. Romans says we need to confess our belief – we need to let people know, with our mouth, our reactions, our lives – if we don’t live it, how do we know we’re saved? Christ died so that everyone who believes will be brought to God as adopted children.

 

He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, 19 through whom d also he went and preached to the spirits in prison 20 who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.

The first part of this passage is easy to understand: Christ’s human body died, at the hands of men. But The Holy Spirit raised him from the dead to live in heaven. If we believe, then we too will be raised again.

This can be a difficult passage for some people. Its been used to try to show all kinds of errant beliefs. Some people use this scripture to say that Christ entered hell after he died. Others use this passage for the idea of purgatory. But take a look at Hebrews 9:27. We know that to enter heaven a body has to put his faith in Christ’s redeeming work in THIS life — what good would it do to preach the Gospel to dead people, when they are awaiting judgment? Turn to Luke 16:19-31 – it is certainly too late to preach to dead people that they need to live a righteous life – they’re DEAD and have already been put into “prison” and are awaiting final judgment. Others say this speaks of Christ preaching to the fallen angels – but take a look at Luke 20:34-36. Angels do not die and so can not gain eternal life – indeed, according to 1 Peter 1:12 even the angels long to see us get the wonderful life we have coming! So Christ couldn’t have descended to hell to preach to men or fallen angels. There is a better answer to this puzzle.

Now, normally, I do not like to take scripture from various parts of the Bible and put them together to form a conclusion, but when what we read does not make sense, we need to search out scripture to help us understand. In this case, I challenge you to go home and read these scriptures in context and then see if what I’m about to say makes sense to you.

Turn to Genesis 6:3. God said his Spirit – the Holy Spirit – would not put up with the sinners in the time of Noah forever. Turn to 1 Peter 1:10-11. The Spirit of Christ – the Holy Spirit – was in the Old Testament prophets, long before Christ took on a human body. Now turn to 2 Peter 2:5, Peter called Noah “a preacher of righteousness”. The best way to understand 1 Peter 3:19-20 is that the Holy Spirit was in Noah and preached (through Noah) to those people who were disobedient to God while Noah was building the arc – these disobedient people were ‘spirits’ who, at the time of the writing of 1 Peter, were NOW ‘in prison’, awaiting their judgment.[2]

 

In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water,

God chose eight people to save from the destruction of the flood – Noah, a righteous preacher filled with the Holy Spirit and his family. God baptized the earth and eight people were given a new life THROUGH the waters of the flood. They were not saved BY water – only through it. Water was not their savior, it was the judgment through which God brought them.[3]

 

21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge e of a good conscience toward God.

Turn to Luke 12:50. Christ himself said he had a baptism to undergo, and he was not speaking of being dunked! He was talking about the baptism of God’s wrath – the baptism of Christ’s own blood. Christ’s blood was shed so that you and I, and anyone and everyone who believes could have eternal life! And once he was baptized by God’s wrath, He was resurrected.

Baptism represents a complete break with the way things used to be. In Noah’s time, the flood wiped out everything that breathed, except what had been saved. When a Christian is baptized, it symbolizes a radical change has happened in our lives – the old life is dead, we have new life.

 

It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

Some people think it is water baptism that saves us, or that it is faith AND water baptism. It is not baptism with water which saves us. It can not be water baptism which saves us – it HAS to be CHRIST. Turn to John 14:6. If it was water baptism that saves us, then how is that Christ is the way? Now turn to Luke 7:50. The woman in question did not get baptized. Turn to Ephesians 2:8-9. We are not saved by anything we do (and being baptized with water is certainly something we do) – we are saved through FAITH IN CHRIST!

Turn to Acts 10:43-48. Turn to 1 Corinthians 12:13. It is the baptism of the Holy Spirit, through faith in the death and resurrection of Christ that saves us. Only after we receive the Holy Spirit should we be baptized in Water. In the first century of the church, baptism was a public commitment that one would follow through with his commitment to Christ, regardless of the consequences, and those consequences could be dire – Even Peter was crucified (the early church leader Origin said he was crucified head down, as he did not feel worthy of being crucified in the manner of his Lord). When we decide to be baptized, we are giving saying publicly that we have died and been born again. We are baptized into Christ’s death. The water baptism is a public symbol of the spiritual baptism we have already received.

 

22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him. [4]

Hebrews 12:2. Christ suffered for our sins – he submitted himself to both the authority of God the Father and to the Jewish and Roman leaders who crucified him. But Christ was resurrected and now sits at the right hand of God – with angels, demons, and earthly kings all in submission to him.

If Christ can be subject to someone, shouldn’t we follow his example?

Submit yourself to God. Right now. If you are not sure you are going to heaven, come forward and I will pray with you to receive Christ. If you know you are going to be with Christ, there’s at LEAST one area in your life where you are not totally surrendered to Him. Pray that He bring to mind the places in your life where you are not obedient. The altars are open.


[1] Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

 b Or not fear their threats

 d 18,19 Or alive in the spirit, through which

[2] Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[3] MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. (1997, c1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments (1 Pe 3:13). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

 e Or response

[4]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (1 Pe 3:13). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

What does God say about the death penalty

Many Christians are against the death penalty because

1. Jesus said to turn the other cheek in Matthew 5:38-39,

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.

2.  Jesus taught us to forgive in Matthew 6:15,

But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

3. Jesus said to not judge lest you be judged in Matthew 7:1,

Do not judge so that you will not be judged.

4. Paul taught believers in Rom. 12:14-19,

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, butassociate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, Iwill repay,” says the Lord.

5. People have a hard time believing that God, who is love, can suggest people should kill people who murder.

But lets take a look at the death penalty in scripture.

First, we must realize that spiritual death was the penalty for sin in the garden of Eden – Genesis 2:16–17 (this has never been abrogated, but was met with the death of Christ for those who believe and accept Him as Lord and Savior – 1 Corinthians 15:3).

Then God forbade the physical death penalty because of Cain’s complaint – Gen. 4:13-15.

13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is too great to bear! 14 Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” 15 So the Lord said to him, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord appointed a sign for Cain, so that no one finding him would slay him.

Then without the death penalty, sin reigned in all the earth Gen. 6:12-13.

12 God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. 13 Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.

Then the physical death penalty was implemented  after the flood – Gen. 9:6.

“Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.

All of what I written about before this point was before the Law of Moses was given.

The Law reiterated that people who murder shall be killed Lev. 24:17-22,

17 ‘If a man takes the life of any human being, he shall surely be put to death. 18 The one who takes the life of an animal shall make it good, life for life. 19 If a man injures his neighbor, just as he has done, so it shall be done to him: 20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; just as he has injured a man, so it shall beinflicted on him. 21 Thus the one who kills an animal shall make it good, but the one who kills a man shall be put to death. 22 There shall be one standard for you; it shall be for the stranger as well as the native, for I am the Lord your God.’”

The death penalty was not optional Num. 35:31-33.

31 Moreover, you shall not take ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death. 32 You shall not take ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to live in the land before the death of the priest.33 So you shall not pollute the land in which you are; for blood pollutes the land and no expiation can be made for the land for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it.

So at this point, people are usually willing to accept that in the Old Testament God commanded the death penalty. But they claim that the New Testament rejects it.

First we have to realize that God was not saying to not judge between right and wrong or whether someone has done something they should not, but to not be a judgemental hypocrite (as can be seen in Matthew 7:1-5, see Should Christians Judge?).

Second, we must recognize that that God has forgiven adulteresses before and did not have them killed, ie. Gomer’s wife in Hosea 3:1,

Then the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.”

Yet, God still demanded people obey the Law, as we see in Hosea 4:6

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children

Third, we must realize that forgiveness is what an individual must do, but this does not remove the consequences of one’s actions – ie, if you break the law, the government will still prosecute. This is not an individual judgement of whether someone is good or bad, but a decision made upon whether one is guilty of breaking the law – these are entirely different things. Neither is prosecuting someone and being on a trial jury taking revenge – it is fulfilling part of the purpose of government (which we shall see below).

Now as to whether Jesus was against the death penalty, we can see that Jesus supported the death penalty in Mat. 15:3-4

And He answered and said to them, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother is to be put to death.’

and in Mark 7:8-11

Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.”

He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, is to be put to death’; 11 but you say, ‘If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you isCorban (that is to say, given to God),’

Now some will say that was Jesus recognizing what God had said in the Old Testament and it is not in effect for us today. But  capital punishment is reiterated elsewhere in the New Testament:

In Rev. 13:10, the apostle John wrote,

10 If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is theperseverance and the faith of the saints.

In 1 Tim. 1:8-9, the apostle Paul wrote,

But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers

In Romans 13:1-5, we see at least part of the purpose and role of government, which is to bring wrath with the sword upon the one who does evil.

 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.

Paul supported capital punishment in Acts 25:11,

11 If, then, I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die; but if none of those things is true of which these men accuse me, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar.

Some will ask, “Why does capital punishment not work in the USA?” God has an answer to that as well, in Eccl. 8:11,

11 Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.

We have to find ways to implement accurate trials and execute punishment rapidly, rather than allow innocent people to be convicted and to allow years to pass while multiple appeals go through. Additionally, life sentences can never be executed quickly. So the length of time it takes for criminals to be punished works against the idea that punishment is a deterrent.

Our personal behavior must be one of forgiveness and turning the other cheek. But this is not the role of Government. Government must protect its people by punishing those who would not follow its laws. In this country, people on juries must ascertain the gilt or innocence of someone on trial.  God has said, in both the Old Testament (before the Law was given and in the Law itself) and in the New Testament, the punishment for murder is to be death.

Those who are not pure are corrupted

Scripture tells us that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, so we will approve of God’s will.

Romans 12:2

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Some people are unable to see God’s will as something good.
Titus 1:15-16 15

To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

There are people who claim to know God. But their lives show otherwise.

Paul said we have to have faith and have a life which gives evidence of it.

Acts 26:20

20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.

James said the same thing.

James 2:14-19

14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

Does your life show change? Do you not see a problem with certain TV shows, or movies or music? Does what you watch glorify sin and Satan, or God and godliness?

If you dont see anything wrong with certain things on television or in movies, then perhaps you are not yet to a point where you can accept what God has said. Turn to God. Trust God. Show that change in your life.

 

Does Matthew 23:23 teach we are supposed to follow the Mosaic Law?

There are some who believe that Matthew 23:23 we are supposed to follow the Law. Let us look at the text.

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law : justice and mercy and faithfulness ; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.

Remember, this text is before Christ fulfilled the Law, and the Jews were still under the Law. But we have been freed from the Law. Yes, the Scribes and Pharisees should have paid attention to the heart of the Law: love manifested through justice, mercy, and faith. These are the same spiritual ideas Christians are taught to follow. However, just as Christians do today, many of the Jews got hung up the letter of the Law, rather than having the attitude of love.

The scribes and Pharisees had the problem that they outwardly followed the Law, but inwardly were full of hypocrisy and lawlessness
Matthew 23:28

28 In the same way, on the outside you seem righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

So no, while the Pharisees and scribes taught one thing, and even followed the Law, this does not mean we are meant to follow the Law as Christians. What it means is that the Jews were under the Law and that people should not be hypocrites, but model love through justice, mercy, and faith. Christians are to have these same traits internally to a degree where their lives model them.

%d bloggers like this: