Read Romans 3:25-26
25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. (NLT)
Over the years, many have attempted to make the faith more appealing to seekers. Nothing wrong with that as long as we don’t substantially alter the faith we are trying to make attractive. Not much point in watering down Christianity to such a degree that we finally persuade people to embrace what is not really Christian.
Instead of explaining that God’s anger against sin is legitimate and not bad-tempered vindictiveness, we dismiss any notion of his anger. Instead of ensuring we define sin carefully and perhaps use a clearer word for it, we downplay its reality. Instead of declaring that God’s final judgement will be just, we explain it away as violent metaphor.
Texts like this one today remind us that such things cannot be easily put aside. God has to act against human wrongdoing, but has offered Jesus as the means by which we avoid his fair judgement. We don’t rubbish the idea of God being angry at sin; we rather trust that Jesus willingly endured the consequences of that anger so we need not.
A diluted faith may appear attractive but is not worth having. It may end up being merely warmed-up humanism in religious disguise. To quote an earlier theologian: “Liberalism in faith describes a God without wrath bringing men without sin into a kingdom without judgement through the ministrations of Christ without a cross.” Utterly inoffensive; utterly unreal.
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