This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. (Romans 3.21-26)
“God is always loving; the Bible can say that ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:8). But it is mistaken to think of God as always wrathful; there is no passage that affirms that ‘God is wrath.’ Even an affirmation such as ‘God is a consuming fire’ (Heb. 12:29, citing Deut. 4:24) lies within the context of encouraging faithfulness and perseverance, of warning against apostasy, unbelief, and disobedience. In other words, God’s wrath is the response (including an affective element) of his holiness to sin.” (D.A. Carson, “The Wrath of God,” in B. McCormack, Engaging the Doctrine of God, p. 49)
Prayer: Lord, we have heard of your fame; we stand in awe of your deeds. Renew them in our day, make them known in our time; in wrath remember mercy (cf. Habakkuk 3.2). In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s sing “Remember Mercy” (Vineyard). Click here.
What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. (Matthew 16.26-27)
“But what does it mean to lose our souls? To answer this question, Jesus uses his own solemn imagery—Gehenna (‘hell’ in Mk 9:47 and ten other Gospel texts), the valley outside Jerusalem where rubbish was burned; the worm that dieth not (Mk 9:47), an image, it seems, for the endless dissolution of the personality by a condemning conscience; fire for the agonizing awareness of God’s displeasure; outer darkness for knowledge of the loss, not merely of God, but of all good and of everything that made life seem worth living; gnashing of teeth for self-condemnation and self-loathing.” (J.I. Packer, Knowing God, p. 267)
Prayer: Lord, as Christians, help us to understand the dreadfulness of being eternally separated from you. While we rejoice in our salvation, give us compassion for those who are headed for eternal destruction. May we urgently present the gospel to them. May your Spirit empower us to minister effectively, that people who hear us may be saved. In Jesus’ name, amen.
The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The LORD takes vengeance on his foes and vents his wrath against his enemies. The LORD is slow to anger but great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished […] The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him, but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh; he will pursue his foes into the realm of darkness.
(Nahum 1.2-3a, 7-8)
“God’s love, as the Bible views it, never leads him to foolish, impulsive, immoral actions in the way that its human counterpart too often leads us. And in the same way, God’s wrath in the Bible is never the capricious, self-indulgent, irritable, morally ignoble thing that human anger so often is. It is, instead, a right and necessary reaction to objective moral evil. God is only angry where anger is called for. Even among humans, there is such a thing as righteous indignation, though it is, perhaps, rarely found. But all God’s indignation is righteous.” (J.I. Packer, Knowing God, p. 264)
Prayer: Lord, you are slow to anger but great in power. We trust that you will not leave the guilty unpunished, for you, God, are righteous, holy, just and good! We pray for our friends and neighbors who have yet to trust in Jesus’ salvation. Open their hearts to trust you, to receive your salvation. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s sing “Let There Be Wonder” (Matt Redman). Click here.
“The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” (John 3.31-36)
“Each of us faces the temptation to fashion God out of our own image. And a picture of God formed through our experiences of hurt, anger, injustice, or rage is a sad and vindictive one indeed. But this is not the infinite, good God we serve. God’s wrath is not like our wrath, and his ways are not like our own. Throughout Scripture, the need for atonement to be made is likened to a cup of wrath the sinner must consume. As we know, Jesus drank this cup for us. The cross was a remedy, providing for each of us a way to be saved.” (Keith Getty)
Prayer: Father, we rejoice in your love for the Son. You placed everything in his hands. In Jesus we have life! In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s sing “In Christ Alone” (UPPERROOM). Click here.
Let’s read aloud together the following passage, confession and prayer:
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Matthew 10.28-31 NIV)
“Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
maker and judge of us all:
We acknowledge and lament our many sins and offenses,
which we have committed by thought, word, and deed
against your divine majesty,
provoking most justly your righteous anger against us.
We are deeply sorry for these our transgressions;
the burden of them is more than we can bear.
Have mercy upon us,
Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father;
for your Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake,
forgive us all that is past;
and grant that we may evermore serve and please you
in newness of life,
to the honor and glory of your Name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
(Book of Common Prayer, 2019, p. 575)
Prayer: Father in heaven, you loved the world so much that you sent Jesus to save us from the eternal consequences of our sin. We gladly receive your salvation by trusting in Jesus alone. How great is your love! In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s sing “Grace Is On Our Side” (Vertical). Click here.