The psalmist said, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” I wonder to what degree each of us understands how much God cannot look upon SIN. According to Habakkuk 1:13: God’s pure eyes cannot even look upon sin.
We hear this and we know this, yet I am guilty of praying without confessing sin. This must be because I don’t have same hatred for sin that my God has for sin. It must be that I don’t understand how sin interferes with my fellowship with God.
God hates sin: God has a righteous, holy indignation toward all sin; He has a righteous anger that fully understands the degree to which sin has ruined all that He has created and is still creating.
God does, must, and will pour out wrath against sin; God is the perfect Parent and cannot allow sin to go unpunished. He is never slack, and He is never tired. The world has experienced God’s holy wrath against sin, the world is experiencing God’s holy wrath toward sin; and God’s wrath toward sin is being stored up against the world even now as we speak.
And for every day that God is merciful and delays His judgment, that same judgment becomes more and more severe until such a time that the wrath being stored up is equal to what is described in the book of Revelation and then the world will experience judgment for its sin.
EXAMPLES OF GOD’S WRATH
The Bible is full of examples of God’s wrath. All that was in the world, save Noah, his family, and a few animals, was destroyed by God’s wrath because the wickedness of man was so great and every plan and aspiration of man was evil. So God vowed to destroy all that He had created, and if Noah had not found favor in God’s eyes—we have no idea what the future would have held for humans.
One cannot count the number of times that all of Israel would have been consumed by God’s wrath if Moses, a righteous man, was not continually intervening on Israel’s behalf. In fact, the Bible records a time when God told Moses to get out of the way and let Him alone so that He could burn down upon all of Israel with a red-hot wrath that would consume them all except Moses.
God destroyed entire cities in the Old Testament and Israel was commanded to kill entire nations—men, women, children, and anything that had a pulse because of their sinful nature.
THE GOD OF THE NT
Today in the 21st century, man in general and Christians in particular have concocted a fairly tale of sorts that the God of the OT is a different God than the God of the NT, and now God does not have the same degree of wrath toward sin that He previously had.
We live in sin; we regard sin in our hearts and openly ignore God’s commandments; and still we pray, pray, and pray again believing that because we are NT Christians, God will give us a bye on our sin.
A NEW TESTAMENT EXAMPLE OF GOD’S WRATH
Question: Have we forgotten that the New Testament contains a far greater, perhaps the greatest, example of God is wrath being poured out on sin than example in the Old Testament?
Are you thinking? Are you running through ideas and Biblical references? Are you thinking about the book of Revelation? If you are thinking about that book, you’re cold.
The greatest example of God’s extreme hatred and in ability to even look upon sin has already occurred.
The book of Matthew records one cry, one utterance, one amazing question, that must have wrenched the very heart of God more than anything He has ever heard or will hear for all eternity.
This historical event reveals more than any other verse or passage of Scripture the degree to which God cannot look upon sin; the degree to which God hates sin; the degree to which I must strive to hate sin like God hates sin.
With a writing instrument that was probably shaking and tears that may have been ready to drop to the parchment under his pen, the Apostle Matthew records that is was about the ninth hour of the day when Jesus cried out with a loud voice saying, “Eli, Eli lama sabachthani?” And then Mathew translates this Hebrew/Aramaic phrase in which Jesus asked, His God, His Father why had He forsaken Him?
Jesus doesn’t ask because He doesn’t know the answer. Jesus is God, and as God He fully knows that the Father cannot look upon sin. He is God, and the Father is God; and as such He cries to His God “My God.” Who else do you address during your greatest moment of agony?
Matthew records that although the time was noon there is no sun shining down on Jerusalem; God supernaturally darkened no less than the city and probably the entire planet. This is a dark time. This was not a lunar eclipse; the Passover is celebrated with a full moon. This is God’s judgment against sin.
Never for all eternity past has anything separated the Father from the Son—they have always had a perfect relationship. There was never a cross word; never a hint of rebellion; never a moment of separation, and now after three agonizing hours on the cross at the height of the day, Jesus’ humanity is fully revealed as He lifts Himself up to catch a breath and express for all to hear that He has been forsaken.
At this very moment, He alone is experiencing wrath sufficient to save all of mankind, if they would repent and believe the Gospel.
At this very moment, Jesus and Jesus alone, is experiencing the greatest amount of wrath ever poured out in the history of mankind.
Experiencing the full brunt of His Father’s wrath, He cannot remain silent for even another moment, and so He cries out: “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
This is the essence of Hell: separation from God, and this is the Hell that I deserved. This is the punishment of sin sufficient that anyone who repents can be forgiven.
This is the moment that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that if God could look upon sin, He would not have abandoned His only begotten Son whom He loves beyond comprehension.
The holiness of God required that the perfect fellowship of the Godhead be temporarily severed so that sins could be forgiven without compromising the integrity of God’s holiness and justice.
This is the Lamb of God, and He must go alone into the Holy of Holies on Golgotha’s hill. He is the great High Priest who is worthy of all praise and adoration beyond measure, and the Father is well pleased when He is adored as such.
He is alone; the angels are ready to move at the command of the Father, but no command is given. The disciples are gone. Their cowardly behavior will haunt them for years as they regret abandoning the Son of God at the lowest point of His life. His mother is helpless to intervene, and the Roman Centurion has already confessed that an innocent man is being crucified.
THE AGONY OF UNMITIGATED SIN
This expression, “My God, My God why hast thou forsaken me?” communicates the agony of unmitigated sin that was piled upon He who knew no sin so that we who are sinners can have our prayers heard by a Holy and Righteous God.
This is what you cry out when you have had a perfect relationship with someone forever and suddenly it is severed because you are experiencing a hell that God alone cannot experience.
The miracle of the incarnation is an amazing thing. We cannot even remotely comprehend how God cannot even look upon sin, yet the Son of God can be made sin. We don’t understand that. We don’t understand How Jesus is God, yet He cries My God, My God; but we don’t have to fully understand it.
We simply must believe. We must understand that the secret things belong to God (Deut 29.29).
We must know that if God turned away from His only begotten Son when He was made sin, it is foolishness for us to consider for even a moment that God is ignoring our sin.
We must appropriate the forgiveness that Christ made possible and rejoice in His righteousness.
We must strive to forsake sin at all cost as we follow Him and recognize that God cannot hear our prayers as we harbor iniquity in our hearts.
The prayers of a righteous man avail much. Let us confess our sin and seek His face. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. But the grace of God is sufficient to overcome sin.
My fallen mind will never be able to fully grasp what our Savior experienced when He was forsaken so that I don’t have to be forsaken.
But I must NOW understand that if God did not prevent sin from interfering with His relationship with His only begotten Son, He will NOT and He can NOT ignore my sin.
When was the last time I grieved over how sin interferes with the intimate fellowship God wishes to have with me?
Jesus expressed to His chosen people a divine desire to gather them to Himself, like a mother hen does with her little chicks, but they would NOT!
Only a few decades later, Jerusalem would be utterly destroyed because they would NOT.
Dear God, “May there never be a time in my life when I would NOT.”