Alright guys, we are in Romans 9, Romans 9, and we are going to look at one verse today, which we started to look at two weeks ago, but Romans chapter 9. I just want to read the one verse, put it back before your eyes, and I think you know what it is. Romans 9 verse 13, “Just as it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.'”
I really want us to get our arms around this verse and really understand and I don’t want to belabor this. I want to keep our pace going through Romans. However, we come to certain verses that really require some explanation more so than other passages. And this just happens to be one of those verses that I think we really need to just pause for a moment because there are so many strands of theology that run through this text and intersect with this verse that we really need to have, I think, an accurate understanding of what this means.
We have already looked at the first part of this verse. I said the authority Paul quoted, “Just as it is written,” and the affection God has, “Jacob I loved.” But now Roman numeral III, the animosity God has. “He says, “but Esau I hated.” And I want to just jump into this without much of an introduction at all because I don’t know that I even have time to squeeze all this in, because there is so much to be said. Let us just walk through this. Second half, it is a quote from Malachi chapter 1 verse 3. The second half begins “but,” which is a sharp contrast with God’s love for Jacob. It is antithetical. It is the opposite of what He has for Jacob. He says, “but Esau,” and just to remind you Esau is the older twin brother of Jacob. He says, “I.” The “I” is God the Father. So, this is God the Father personally, directly, perfectly saying, “but Esau.” God is the speaker. “But Esau I hated.”
It is a strong statement. It is a Greek word miseo, which means “to detest, to have hostility for, to have animosity toward.” It is the very opposite of “love.” And I admit every time I read this, this is still somewhat shocking, if not stunning and sobering. So, the question is how are we to understand this? Well, there are many things that God hates. Let us just begin here, because God is a holy God. God hates false worship. Deuteronomy 12:31, God says, “Every abominable act the Lord hates.” God hates idolatry, Deuteronomy 16:22, “You shall not set up for yourself a sacred pillar, which the Lord your God hates.”
God hates all unrighteousness, which is meaning all sin. God hates all sin. Proverbs 6 verse 16, “There are six things which the Lord hates, yes seven which are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies and one who spreads strife among brothers,” close quote. Got hates all those sins. God hates pride. Proverbs 8 verse 12, “The Lord hates evil;” semi-colon, “pride, arrogance, and the evil way, the perverted mouth, God says, ‘I hate.'”
So, God has to hate sin in order to be a holy God. If God ever was less than hate toward sin, it would water down and dilute His holiness. God hates hypocrisy, Isaiah 1 verse 14. God just interrupts the worship of His people and He says, “Bring your worthless offerings no longer. Incense is an abomination to Me. I cannot endure iniquity. I hate your new moon festivals. They have become a burden to Me.
So, God hates hypocrisy in worship, and He hates wrong forms of worship. Amos 5:21, “I hate, I reject your festivals, nor do I delight in solemn assemblies.” So just to put this out on the table, let us just be reminded that God hates all sin. It is repugnant to His holy nature. Psalm 45 verse 7, “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.” If we want God to love righteousness, He must by necessity hate wickedness. So, God is not indifferent towards sin. He is not neutral towards what is contrary to His holy character.
But here is the sticking point. Here is the bone in the throat. Here is the conundrum. We know that God hates sin. Here is the question. Does God hate the sinner? We know God hates sin. Does God hate the sinner? And sometimes we hear, “Well, God hates the sin but He loves the sinner.” So, we have to ask ourselves the question, “Does that pass the test?” So, there are two possibilities.
Number one possible interpretation: This means to love less. For example, in Luke 14 verse 26, Jesus said, “If anyone comes to Me, he must hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters – yes even his own life, or he cannot be My disciple.” The interpretation of that verse is found in Matthew 10 verse 38 where Jesus Himself tells us that we must love Him more than mother or father or wife or children or brother or sister. So, in that comparison, it actually does mean to love less. So, that is one possibility. And to take that into this text, then the interpretation would be that God simply loved Jacob more than He loved Esau, that He loved Esau less than He loved Jacob. So, that’s possibility number one. And there are countless formidable theologians who interpret it that way. So, they are heavyweights. They are not lightweights, and they base their interpretation on the Luke 14 and the Matthew 10.
Now, here is the other option, that hate actually means “hate,” that it is a very straightforward statement. And this is how I take it, and I want to support and substantiate why I take it this way. Now, this is not a matter of orthodoxy. It is an in-house debate among Bible teachers and theologians. However, I think it is a very important issue. It is a very important issue in evangelism. It is a very important issue in missions. It is a very important issue even in how we couch the gospel and what our motivation is to help reach people for Christ. Because if we just go up to someone and say, “Smile! God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life,” hey, my mother loves me too. You know, my wife loves me. So, what is the big deal God loves me?
It is a whole different ball game if the point is God is angry with the wicked, but this God who is angry with the wicked extends love in the cross. That has a whole different impact and would cause the person who hears this to run to Christ. If I am under the wrath of God and I must find refuge this moment, and I hear that love is extended to me in the gospel and in the cross that God shows love towards those whom He hates, that makes this amazing grace. But if you are extending grace to those you already love, well that is nice. So, I want to give you a bunch of
reasons why I think it is this way. I have got nine reasons. So, you can just number these as we go through this.
Number one, holy God hates everything contrary to His own holy nature. Now, I have already stated that, but just to reinforce that here at the beginning, God loves righteousness, but He hates
iniquity. That is the character of God. That is the very nature of God. God is not ambivalent towards that which is contrary to His holy nature.
Second, sin and the sinner cannot be separated. It is a false dichotomy. God doesn’t send sin to hell; He sends the sinner to hell. You can’t dissect the two. And I want to give you some verses for us to think about. You may or may not want to turn to these. But in the book of Hebrews, Hebrews 3 and verse 7, we see that the wrath of God is upon the sinner. It is not just that it is upon the sin, but the wrath of God presently is upon the sinner, and the wrath of God is an expression of His holy anger and righteous indignation towards the sinner. So, we must understand that. So, in Hebrews 3 and beginning in verse 7, the Scripture says, “Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says,” and he now quotes Psalm 95, “Today.” There is a sense of urgency. “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as when they provoked me.” “They” is a personal pronoun. It is the person that has provoked God because of their sin.
It is not just that the sin has provoked God, but God is neutral towards the sinner or loving towards the sinner or has no animosity towards the sinner but only hates the sin. No. Hebrews 3 verse 8 says that that God is provoked by the sinner. Then, in verse 9 of Hebrews 3, “where your fathers tried Me by testing Me and saw My works for forty years.” It was the forefathers who actually tested God because of their sin. Then in verse 10, “Therefore, I was angry with this generation.” “Generation” refers to the people. God was angry with the people. You can’t give a free pass and say, “Well, God was only angry with the sin, but He was just lukewarm towards the sinner.” No, this text says God was angry with this generation and said, “They always go astray in their heart, and they did not want My ways.” Verse 11, “As I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.” And this word for “wrath” is the Greek word orge. We talked about that in the past. It comes into the English language as “orgy,” which is “heated passions,” like in a sexual orgy. In this case in a positive direction, God’s heated passion against sinners.
So, there is no false dichotomy between the sinner and the sin. We can’t separate those two. Further, in Hebrews 10 and verse 26, another warning passage in the book of Hebrews. Hebrews 10 verse 26, “For if we,” referring now personal pronoun “we,” “if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.” God’s wrath is not going to consume just the sin; God’s wrath is going to consume His adversaries. That is, the sinner.
We come down to verse 29, “How much severer punishment do you think he,” that is a personal pronoun. Not “it.” “He.” “How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve, who,” that is another personal pronoun. “Who has trampled underfoot the Son of God and regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant.” So, God’s severer punishment rests upon the person, not just the sin. And then in verse 30, “For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay,’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.'” Not just judge the sin. It says here very clearly, He will judge His people. So, you can’t segment, you can’t separate. Then verse 31, “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. And by the way, that is in the New Testament. It is not sin that is going to fall into the hands of the living God; it is the sinner with his sin that will fall into the hands of the living God. So, that is the second reason why I can’t go with “love less,” because God is angry with the sinner.
Now, the third reason. I have got nine of these so hang in here with me. The third reason, and this to me is an extraordinary argument. Number three, the psalmist clearly states that God hates the sinner, not just the sin. So, come with me to the book of Psalms, and you are actually going to want to come with me for this because I may camp here for a moment. And by way of introduction, what I want to bring to your attention is we are going to look at Psalm 2, Psalm 5, Psalm 7, and Psalm 11. And I want you to just even hear as I say those Psalms where they are placed in the book of Psalms.
The book of Psalms is not arranged in chronological order. Psalm 90 was the first Psalm to be written. Psalm 126 was the last psalm to be written. These were compiled years after they were written, and they are placed in a certain order intentionally. There is an intentional frontloading of the book of Psalms of God’s anger towards sinners who are outside of His grace, and it is to awaken them to their need to depart from the way of the wicked and enter to the way of the righteous, which is what Psalm 1 talks about. It is contrasting the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked. That is Psalm 1.
As soon as you just come to Psalm 2, there are threats to the wicked of God’s anger towards them intended to move them off of the way of the wicked onto the way of the righteous. So, in Psalm 2 for example, “Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing?” This refers to all of the nations of the world, and it refers to all of the nations of the world in every generation, that there is a global conspiracy against God. There is a global rising up among the nations and among the peoples against God. It is true of every generation of human history, and peoples and nations are intentionally in the plural. Verse 2: “The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together.” They are presiding over the nations and over the kings of the earth, and here is the conspiracy against the Lord and against His Anointed. “His Anointed” refers ultimately to the Lord Jesus Christ. “Anointed” means “Messiah,” mashiach. Initially, it refers to the anointed king of Israel, the surrounding nations around Israel and their revolt against God’s people, but it refers ultimately to Christ, and it is quoted that way in the New Testament.
So, this is what they say in verse 3. “Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us.” The idea is they don’t want to be tied down with God’s moral law. They don’t want to be tied down with God’s design for the family. They don’t want to be tied down with ethical and moral issues. They want to be free to go their own way. They don’t want the constraints of God to be upon them. So, that is what they are saying in their heart and with their mouth. Men, we are living in this generation. We don’t want the Ten Commandments. We don’t want to be told how to live. We want to be free to go our own way.
So, how does God respond to this in verse 4? “He,” that is God, “who sits enthroned,” sits in the heavens, “laughs.” It is not the laughter of hilarity; it is the laughter of scorn. It is the laughter of ridicule. The Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in
his fury saying, “But as for Me, I have installed my king upon Zion, my holy mountain.” “Despite your rebellion,” God says, “I have enthroned My Son at My right hand and I will execute My purposes on the earth, and it is utterly laughable that you think you could throw off My sovereign reign over the earth.” All of the nations together, God laughs at it. “You puny little man think you can override My sovereignty,” and God scoffs and God mocks and God speaks to them in His anger and terrifies them in His fury. This is a long way from “Smile! God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.”
So, continue to look. Verse 7, “I will surely tell the decree of the Lord: He said to me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten you. Ask of Me, and I will surely…'” This is the Father speaking to the Son. This is an inner-Trinitarian conversation. “Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as your inheritance and the very ends of the earth as your possession.” So, the Father says to the Son, “Just ask Me because I am going to give it. Just ask Me for the nations.”
Now, sometimes missions conferences will use this text as their missions conference. You don’t want to use this for a missions conference because verse 9 is what the Father commands the Son to do with the nations. “You will break them with a rod of iron; you shall shatter them like earthenware.” God is angry and He gives them to the Son. They are like an earthen pot, and the Son is commanded by the Father to take a rod of iron and come down with omnipotence and to smash into a million pieces the nations in the fury of His anger.
Look at verse 10, “Now,” and here is the mercy of God. Here is the grace of God. He shows grace to those to whom He is angry. So verse 10, “Now, therefore, O kings,'” and it is also directed to all the peoples under the kings, all the citizens, “show discernment.” In other words, this is insane for you to try to reject God and refuse God. He is not a docile grandfather up in heaven. “Show discernment; take warning O judges of the earth.” Why? Because the Judge of heaven and earth is about to judge the judges, the Supreme Court of heaven and earth is about to be in session. “O judges, take warning.” Verse 11, “Worship the Lord with reverence and rejoice with trembling.” There is a crack in the door. There is a moment in time for you to turn from your rebellion and turn to this God who is angry with you, but now is showing mercy and grace to you.
Verse 12: “Do homage to the Son.” I like the Old King James that says, “Kiss the Son.” And the picture is not just run up to the throne of God, hop in His lap, and kiss Him. No. When a conquered king would suffer an ignominious defeat, he would be drug back to the conquering king’s palace. He would enter into the palace and the victorious king would have his throne elevated such that anyone who would come into his palace would have to look up to the king. And when the defeated king would come into the palace, he would have to go to his knees and get on all fours and kiss the feet of the victorious king to show his submission to the victorious king. So, in verse 12 when it says, “Kiss the Son,” it is not kind of a warm fuzzy kiss; it is to acknowledge that you are in subjection to the King of kings and to the Lord of lords. “Do homage to the Son.” Please note, “lest He become angry and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” So, this God is extending mercy towards those with whom He is angry. So, there is this love-hate relationship.
Now, come to Psalm 5, and I think it becomes more specific or clearer rather. Psalm 5 verse 4, “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness.” God is not in moral no man’s land towards wickedness. God takes no pleasure in wickedness. Why? “No evil dwells with You.” Verse 5, “The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes. You hate all who do iniquity.”
Please note He doesn’t just hate the iniquity; He hates the one who practices and commits the iniquity. “You hate all who do iniquity.” Verse 6: “You destroy those who speak falsehood. The Lord abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit.” That is why I cannot go with “love less.” These are very strong heated passions that God has towards those who are in their sin. Now, just so you know the word “abhors,” I looked it up. It means “to loathe, to detest, to reject, to treat as abhorrent.”
Now, come to Psalm 7. Psalm 7 and verse 11, “God is a righteous judge.” So, you know what that means? Righteousness means you reward obedience, there is retribution for disobedience, that it cuts both ways. God is a righteous Judge and a God who has indignation every day. Now, we normally think of indignation on the last day. We normally think of God’s indignation throughout all eternity future, but this says God has indignation this day. God has indignation every day. God doesn’t suddenly become indignant on the last day, something other than what He is now today. What God feels on the last day is exactly what He feels on this day. He has indignation every day. So, it misrepresents the point to just say to everyone, “Smile! God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” That is a distortion of reality. No, He has indignation every day.
Now, look at the next two verses. God is represented as a divine Warrior who is at war with sinners, and God is pictured as this moment now ready to unleash this wrath, not having to wait to the last day. So, notice verse 12, “If a man does not repent, He,” God, “will sharpen His sword.” In other words, the sword must be so razor sharp that it will pierce through the soul all the way down to the bone. “He,” God, “has bent His bow and made it ready.” In other words, it is not laying over there on the shelf and at the end of the age God will walk over for the Great White Throne Judgment and then pick up the bow, but right now God is just docile. No, it is already in God’s hand, the bow. It is already bent. The arrows of His wrath are already loaded in the arrow, and it is aimed at the center this very moment.
So, please note verse 13. “He,” God, “has prepared for Himself deadly weapons.” He is not going to wait till the last day to prepare these weapons. He has already taken action and they are now prepared. He has made deadly weapons. Not little flesh wound weapons, a little slap on the wrist, but deadly weapons to take down the one that it is directed towards. Now, the end of verse 13, “He makes His arrows fiery shafts.” In other words, it is not just enough that He propels an arrow into the soul of the sinner. That is not enough. He torches the shaft of the arrow so that it is on fire so that when it plummets into the heart of the sinner it will explode with wrath.
And as Charles Haddon Spurgeon says in Treasury of David God never misses the target. We have to have room in our understanding of God for an angry God. God is angry with the wicked every day. And I want to remind you these are not backloaded, Psalm 144, 145, 143. We kind of
hide God’s anger. These are frontloaded. As soon as you come into the book of Psalms, “Wow! I need to take God serious.” Alright.
Psalm 11, Psalm 11 beginning in verse 4. “The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven. His eyes behold. His eyelids test the sons of men,” meaning God is auditing the hearts and the motives of all upon the earth. “The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates.” God doesn’t just hate the violence; He hates the one who loves violence. We have got to have this adult understanding of who God is. And Psalm 95 verse 10, I will just read it quickly. “For forty years, I loathed this generation. I swore in My anger, ‘They will not enter My rest,'” God angry with the sinner. This actually intensifies the love of God and the grace of God that, He would show mercy toward those with whom He is rightly angry.
Number four, I may have to pick up the pace, the wrath of God. And I have already said this, but I am going to make this a separate heading here. The wrath of God rests upon the unbelieving sinner, not merely his sin. I have already said this, but let me just take you to John 3 and verse 36, John 3 and verse 36. I have just enough time to read the end of verse 36. “He who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides,” present tense verb, “on him.” The wrath of God right now this very moment is upon all who are outside of Christ.
Now, number five, the Malachi context indicates this is real hatred. So, if you want to turn to Malachi chapter 1. It is the last book in the Old Testament, the Italian prophet Malachi. I had to break the ice here just for a moment under this intense teaching. You imagine somebody who’s just turned in and has never watched one of our men’s studies before and we are just like going through this.
Alright, Malachi 1 verse 2, “I have loved Jacob,” now verse 3, “but I have hated Esau.” Now, context, context, context helps us interpret Scripture. So, we need to see what follows. “But I have hated Esau,” and this word “hate” by the way is a Hebrew word sane, which means “to personally hate.” God is the speaker, “I have hated Esau.” Now, notice what follows. “I have made his mountains,” Esau’s mountains, and it is referring to the territory of ancient Edom. “I have made his mountains a desolation, appointed his inheritance to the jackals of the wilderness,” which just means a barren wasteland. Verse 4, “I will tear down the people toward whom the Lord is indignant forever.”
This hardly sounds like “loves less” to me. I mean, this isn’t that God loves Esau less; this is God is pretty furious with Esau. And He has every reason to be furious with Esau because Esau is a sinner just like Jacob was a sinner. What is hard to understand is how God could love Jacob. It is not hard to understand how God would hate Esau. I get how he hates Esau. Esau is a sinner. What I don’t understand is the infinite mercy and grace of God to love Jacob. And this word “indignant.” Do you see it in verse 4, that the Lord is indignant forever? I looked up this word, zaam. It means “to foam at the mouth.” It means “to be enraged.” It means “to abhor.” It means “to be angry.” And please note for how long God is indignant. Forever. Esau was a reprobate. So, to interpret Romans 9:13 by going back to the original context in Malachi 1 verses 3 and 4, the context screams, no, this is not “love less.” This is a holy God violently reacting against the one who is contrary to His own nature.
Now, number six. What follows in Romans 9 hardly seems like “loves less.” So, come back to Romans 9 and we will look at the context of Romans 9, which will be an extension of what we read here in verse 13 of Romans 9, “Esau I hated.” So, what do the following verses say that would give some indication, is this love less or is this actually a righteous anger? Well, I will point us to two verses. The first is verse 18. “He, God, “hardens whom He desires.” That is a personal pronoun “whom.” Not He hardens “what” He desires. He hardens “whom” He desires. It is the person. And then in verse 22, it becomes all the more obvious to me, “vessels of wrath prepared for destruction.” That hardly seems like “loves less.” That sounds pretty strong to me. Vessels deserving the wrath of God that were prepared by God’s sovereignty for destruction.
Number seven. An unbeliever cannot be loved by God in this world but then suddenly be hated by Him five seconds after his death. I mean, death doesn’t change how God sees the person. You can’t be the object of His saving love in this world, but you just reject it in unbelief; you die and in five seconds now He hates you. No, there is continuity. What He feels for you after death is what He feels for you before death. And Malachi 3 verse 6 says, “I the Lord do not change.” It is the immutability of God. If He loves you now, then He is going to have to love you in hell. That is kind of a strange teaching. No, what He feels now will be unleashed in its expression, “after death.”
Number eight. In the book of Revelation, it hardly seems that God loves the unregenerate sinner in the last days in this life within time. In Revelation chapter 6 and in verse 12, and I take the book Revelation in a futuristic way describing the end of the age, but it doesn’t change if someone has an amillennial view or a postmillennial view. That doesn’t change. In fact, it would only intensify this all the more.
Verse 12, “I looked when He broke this sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?'”
It is a rhetorical question, the answer of which is, “No one outside of Christ will be able to stand in the great day of His wrath.” That is referring to human history. That is referring to present time, space, dimension history. It is not referring to hell one day, that God’s wrath poured out upon a planet that has been in defiant rejection of Him since the beginning of time. It has been building and it has been building. Revelation 8:12 and 13, Revelation 14:9 through 11, “Then another angel, a third one, followed me, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he will also drink of the wine of the wrath, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest and day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” This is God’s wrath unleashed upon this world at the end of the age, and it will then descend down into hell and the floodgates of His wrath will be opened in fullest measure.
Finally, Revelation 16:4 through 7. It is the third bowl of His judgment. I am not going to read it, but it is just there. You can read it on your own. I mean, we cannot lose sight of this aspect of God and who God is, that God is not ambivalent or indifferent towards the sinner and his sin in this world. That is why someone who is outside of Christ should flee to Christ, should run to Christ to find refuge and to find protection from this wrath of God. So, I believe that in Romans 9 and verse 13 when He says, “but Esau I hated,” I think there is an aspect of the holiness of God that finds the sinner abhorrent in his sin. But God has demonstrated His love toward us, in that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” It is with this black velvet backdrop of His anger towards sinners that God has taken the diamonds of His grace and mercy and placed them upon the black velvet backdrop. And it is the black velvet backdrop that causes the diamond to shine so brightly.
I have told you before; I will tell it again. I promise I won’t tell it again. This will be the last time I use this illustration, that when I asked my wife to marry me here in Dallas, I went downtown and someone pointed me to a jeweler. I got in an elevator, went up to some floor, walked in. “I’d like to buy a diamond for the engagement ring for my wife to be.” The counter salesman on the other side pulls out a drawer, begins to put diamonds onto the counter. I looked at those diamonds. Nothing really leaped off the page to catch my attention. Nothing really stood out. “Have you got any more?” And he reaches down, puts some more out. They just kind of all looked mediocre to me. He said, “Well, wait just one second!” He reached under the counter and he pulled out a black velvet pad. He puts the black velvet pad down and with tweezers he picks up a diamond and places it on the pad. And there were all these lights overhead. And when that diamond got onto the black pad, it was like that diamond exploded with light because all of the light in the room, it was as though it was being sucked in and through the diamond, and it just began to sparkle and radiate and it was just so beautiful. It was like this diamond was on fire.
Well, what was the difference? It was the black velvet backdrop underneath that made the diamond seem so beautiful. It is the same with God’s love and grace. If you just say, “Hey, smile! God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life,” I mean, I need almost NoDoz to keep me awake when I hear that. Yeah? Okay. So what? So what He loves me? What is the big deal about that?
Now, you put that black velvet backdrop. God is angry with you because you have lived in rebellion against Him. You have been in defiance of this God. And God in heaven is a holy God and God is angry with the wicked every day, and He has bent His bow, and He has fiery shafts that are aimed at your soul this very moment. But He is a God of love who extends grace and mercy to you this very moment. You need to run away from His wrath and run to His arms of forgiving mercy, and He will receive you and He will save you from His wrath. You see, salvation is salvation from God. You and I need to be saved from God, and there is only One who can save from God and that is God Himself. It is the mercy of God that saves us from the wrath of God, and it is only the mercy of God that can save you from the wrath of God, and it is only the wrath of God that makes the mercy of God have great value to you.
So, I have wanted to take this time to talk about this verse because I think it is a major theological point. I am going to stop a few minutes short. I have got in my notes here Jonathan Edwards’ Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, but I think you got the point. You can Google search Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. I think Jonathan Edwards hit the nail on the head, and I think that is one reason why the greatest movement of the Spirit of God on American soil in all of American history was in The Great Awakening because it was preaching that preached the full counsel of God. And God was so drawn to bless that kind of preaching that Jonathan Edwards brought, that George Whitefield brought, that the other preachers of The Great Awakening as they preached not just a loving God, but they preached an angry God as well. And it is as if there were “amens” from heaven and God sent the power the Holy Spirit upon that kind of teaching and preaching.
So, we need that back in the pulpits of our churches again. We need that back on the streets. We need that in the psyche and the mindset of people that God is not a doting aging grandfather up in heaven just patting people on the head, but He is angry with the wicked but He extends mercy and grace to those towards whom He is angry. It makes the cross of Jesus Christ shine brighter than ten thousand suns in the sky above.
So, alright, I know this was heavy. I know this was a big one, but I did not want us to just speed past verse 13. I am not going to micro-exegete the rest of the book of Romans like this. We will pick up the pace, but ever so often we just need to slow down to make sure we see what we are passing and for it to be in us.