Welcome back to this series! If you missed part one, you can read it here. To review, we’re going over some lies that you really shouldn’t believe… and the truth that destroys these lies. (But you probably knew that from the title.) 🙂 And now on to lie number two!
“The suffering heaped on Jesus is the ultimate example of the hatred and rage sinful man feels toward a holy God.”
This one actually makes me mad. That’s how wrong it is. But don’t take my word for it… let’s look at the Truth.
Let’s take this one section at a time, starting with the word “heaped.” I don’t like how involuntary that word sounds. Nor do I like how this quote seems to imply that humans are the ones who killed Jesus. Jesus wasn’t slaughtered without His consent. He was in total control. Look at this verse:
“The reason the Father loves Me is that I lay down My life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from My Father” (John 10:18).
No one took Jesus’ life. He laid it down. Even his dying is recorded as offering up his spirit (Matthew 27:50). So when that quote speaks of all Jesus’ sufferings as something humans did to Him, it ignores the awesomeness of a holy God offering Himself up for sinners, knowing fully what He was doing and for whom He was doing it… and going through with it anyway.
The next problem, and the huge, major problem I have with this quote is that it totally misses the point of Jesus’ death. Jesus didn’t die because people hated Him. He died because God hated sin. Don’t believe me?
“For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, nor shall evil dwell with You. The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity” (Psalm 5:4-5).
This verse makes it pretty clear that sinners are doomed before God. Why? Because God is unspeakably just. It’s part of His character to hate sin. And its also part of His character to condemn sin. Evil cannot dwell with Him.
The only part of this quote that got something right was that sinners do hate God. This is made clear in Romans 8:7, which says, “The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” And what about John 3:19-20?
“And this is the verdict: The Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness more than light, because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come into the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.”
So, sinners (those in darkness) do hate God (the Light). But that’s not why Jesus died. Not really. Jesus died voluntarily so that, “having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him” (Romans 5:9).
Do you see the big issue with this quote? The lie is that Jesus died to appease the wrath of sinful man toward a holy God. The Truth—the glorious Truth— is that He died to appease the wrath of a holy God toward sinful man.
You might say instead that what Jesus suffered on the cross is “the ultimate example” of the anger a holy God feels toward sin. But you might also say that what Jesus was willing to suffer on the cross was the ultimate example of the love God feels toward unworthy sinners.
And be sure to come back for the next and final post in this series, lie number three. It’s a whopper! I think this one is really, really important… so stay tuned!
Any thoughts? Please leave a comment!