Who’s Fault Was It?

Easter has become a somewhat divisive time of year. Some people simply ignore it as a “religious holiday” and they don’t do religion. Others enjoy it as a commemoration of New Beginnings—the start of spring and a time when children can do Easter egg hunts and receive Easter baskets filled with Easter candy. Sort of a light-side Trick or Treat.

Of course others will be in church rejoicing and celebrating and worshiping the risen King of Kings—Jesus.

But even for those of us who believe Jesus died to bring life, there’s some division. Some Christians, apparently, blame the Jews for crucifying Jesus, and they hold a grudge even to this day. Some blame the Father—He killed His Son to satisfy His wrath.

While Scripture is clear that God rightly and justly responded to sin with wrath, there’s a way in which this concept can be twisted to make God look as if He’s the bad guy.

In case anyone’s in doubt about God’s wrath, Scripture makes the point clear. Here’s what Paul said in Romans 5:

Much more then, having now been justified [fn]by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. (v 9)

The writer of Hebrews stressed the same point in chapter 3:

Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says,
“TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE,
DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME,
AS IN THE DAY OF TRIAL IN THE WILDERNESS,
WHERE YOUR FATHERS TRIED Me BY TESTING Me,
AND SAW MY WORKS FOR FORTY YEARS.
“THEREFORE I WAS ANGRY WITH THIS GENERATION,
AND SAID, ‘THEY ALWAYS GO ASTRAY IN THEIR HEART,
AND THEY DID NOT KNOW MY WAYS’;
AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH,
‘THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.’” (vv 7-11)

I quoted the whole passage because I wanted to show that it says this is from the Holy Spirit. The New Testament writer was actually quoting from Psalm 95, and clearly, throughout the New Testament the various individuals referred to the Psalms and the prophets as direct words from God. They referred to them as Scripture. And here he says the Holy Spirit said it. Which makes since because Peter tells us all the Scriptures were God-breathed, that they didn’t come from an act of human will, but God gave them through His Holy Spirit.

So essentially, from the mouth of God, we know of His wrath.

But did Jesus die because God was angry and vengeful?

Not in the least. First, God did not act in a fit of rage. Scripture tells us that Christ’s coming was “foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:20). Nothing spur of the moment. Not something that God did because He flew off the handle. His plan all along was to love us to death—His death.

Secondly, God acted because He is just. Sin deserves punishment. He told Adam and Eve that from the beginning. He told each of the patriarchs that when He gave them His promise of blessing. They’d prosper if the obeyed and they’d fall under a curse if they disobeyed. He told Moses and the people of Israel the same thing.

So, guess what? When they hardened their hearts and basically told God they were determined to go their own way, not His, God said, essentially, Your actions triggered (or provoked) the curse I told you about.

So who’s fault was Jesus’s death on the cross?

Ours, and only ours. We are the ones who went astray, creating the need for redemption.

Christ, on the other hand, willingly gave Himself as a ransom for us all. He said, in fact, that it was the joy of thinking about us that got Him through the horrors of crucifixion.

The ironic thing that those who want to claim that God the Father turned His wrath on His Son, seem to forget is that God is One. We do not have three gods. Somehow in the beauty of the triune existence of God, He exhibits three persons, but they are all Him. All One. So the idea that God was angry at Jesus is just another way of saying that God was angry at God.

It’s kind of a nonsensical idea.

But it doesn’t change the facts. When we sinned, God’s righteous justice demanded His wrath. Jesus dying in our place satisfied that wrath.

We must not soften any of those truths, but we also must not impugn the lovely character of our good God. He has only and always treated us according to His character. He passes judgment upon us because He is just, but in love He redeems us, sacrifices for us, dies for us. Even if there were only one of us, He’d give Himself up in order that the one might be saved.

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. “Much more then, having now been justified [fn]by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. (v 9)”

    “So essentially, from the mouth of God, we know of His wrath.”

    “Christ, on the other hand, willingly gave Himself as a ransom for us all.”
    “He exhibits three persons, but they are all Him. All One. So the idea that God was angry at Jesus is just another way of saying that God was angry at God.”

    “It’s kind of a nonsensical idea.”

    Becky, so does the fact that we are saved through the wrath of God with the willingness of Jesus to be sacrificed make sense to you?

    Considering you said God was angry at Jesus means God was angry at God and for you this is nonsensible, therefore why is it actually sensible for you when a God sacrifices a God and a sacrifice of a God is undertaken to prevent the wrath of a God and all being the same God?

    I think you have a very idealistic way of looking at what is complete nonsense.

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    • Steve, again you are talking about what you don’t know. You have it wrong. We are not saved through the wrath of God, but from the wrath of God. You quoted the verse yourself: “. . . we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. (v 9).” That’s through Jesus and His sacrifice.

      I do understand why you don’t comprehend the Trinity. None of us actually does! Some people pretend they do, but as I said in that post, many of those border on worshiping 3 gods, not the One Tri-unity who is the sovereign God. All I was doing was showing the confusion that some experience when they say some of the things they say about God.

      But how do I see the sacrifice of Christ? Necessary and a total demonstration of God’s love and mercy. Yes, we sin, so yes, we deserve the penalty of sin. But yes, God determined to pay that penalty for us. Why? because He loves us. More than He loves His own justice? That’s actually a good question—too bad you didn’t think to ask it. 😉 I’ll answer any way. God didn’t exactly “love” his own justice. Rather, it’s a part of His nature. It’s who He is. Sort of like I’m a writer—part of my makeup as a person. I’m also analytical and mathematical. Can those two things co-exist? Well, they kind of have to, because if I deny the one in favor of the other, I’m being less than who I am. Not everything I do demonstrates both or both in equal measure, but I am not going to stop writing because “analytical people don’t write fiction,” or some such idea.

      So with God. He IS just and He IS love. Those are traits of His nature. In His dealings with us humans He can’t stop being one or the other, though we won’t always see both in every situation or in equal measure.

      BTW, Steve, these are not my “idealistic” thoughts about God. These are truths clearly revealed in the Bible. Honestly? I don’t think a human would ever manufacture such things. They are so contrary to the way we think, the way we do things. No, if a human was to make up his own religion, he’d come up with something like the Mormon founder, Joseph Smith came up with—plural wives for all the men so that they can be saved, and their wives. Yeah, that sounds human. Or how about what the Muslims who hold strictly to their prophet’s teachings believe—behead all the infidels. That’s the kind of thing humans would invent.

      God does something so completely other, it’s clear this couldn’t be contrived by some human. It just flies in the face of what we think. And that’s because God’s ways, His thoughts, are so far above ours. We could never figure this stuff out if He hadn’t cared enough to tell us.

      Becky

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