Is God Angry with Believers When They Sin?
September 4, 2011 Pastor: John Fonville
Is God Angry With Believers When They Sin?
I. A Christian is dead to the law as a covenant of works.
“…the whole power and sanction of the first covenant was conferred upon Christ, and in him fulfilled and ended.” John Owen
No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own!
(Charles Wesley, ""And Can It Be That I Should Gain"")
“The Gospel forbids nothing under pain of damnation to a justified believer, more than to Jesus Christ.” Samuel Rutherford
II. A Christian is subject to loving discipline not vindictive wrath.
“Though the sins of believers deserve hell, and the intrinsic demerit of sin is still the same; [yea, I think the sins of believers being against so much love, and so many mercies, they deserve a thousand hells, where others deserve one;] yet, being dead to the law, he hath no vindictive wrath to fear, Rom. v. 9, “While we were sinners, Christ died for us; and much more now being justified by his blood, we are saved from wrath through Him;” and sure he is not to fear that which God calls him to believe he is saved from: his slavish fear, therefore, is from unbelief, and weakens his hands in duties.” (Ralph Erskine, “Law-Death, Gospel-Life,” p. 56)
“God never punishes his children in the sense of avenging justice. He chastens as a father does his child, but he never punishes his redeemed as a judge does a criminal. It is unjust to exact punishment from redeemed souls since Christ has been punished in their place. How shall the Lord punish twice for one offense?” Charles Spurgeon
III. A Christian cannot lose fellowship with the Lord but rather the sweetness of this fellowship.
“Though I will not send them to hell, nor deprive them of heaven, no more than I will break my great oath to my eternal Son; yet, like a father, I will chastise them; I will correct them for their faults: I will squeeze them in the mortar of affliction, and press out the corrupt juice of Old Adam that is in them; yea, I will hide my face: I will deny them that communion and fellowship with me that sometimes they had, and give them terror instead of comfort, and bitterness instead of sweetness. A filial fear of these Fatherly chastisements will do more to influence the believer to holiness and obedience, than all the unbelieving fears of hell and wrath can do:
...fear, lest he want that sweetness of God’s presence, which sometimes he hath had, will make him say to his sins and lusts, as the fig-tree in Jotham’s parable, ‘Shall I leave my sweetness, and be king over you?’ O! Shall I leave all the sweetness that I have enjoyed with God, and take on with base lusts and idols! And hence, when the believer hath gone aside and backslidden, what is it that brings him back to God? He finds the Lord breaking him many ways, and he reflects, through grace, upon this sometimes. O! How am I deprived of these sweet interviews that once I enjoyed? Therefore I will go and return to my first husband, for then it was better with me than now. Yea, his freedom from law-threatenings, and being only under fatherly correction, when he sees this, it breaks his heart, and melts it more than all the fire of hell could do. The slavish fear of vindictive wrath discourages him, weakens his hands in duties, and makes him run away from God: but the filial fear of God’s fatherly wrath, which is kindly, is a motive of love that encourages him to his duty. Which of these motives think you will work up the believer to most obedience?...This legal one, O! My wrathful Judge will send me to hell, if I do so and so; or this Gospel one; O! My God and Father in Christ Jesus will be angry at me, and deny me his love-tokens? I suppose the former works upon enmity, and raises it, but this works upon love, and inflames it.” (Ralph Erskine, “Law-Death, Gospel-Life,” pp. 56-57).
“…for eminently the Father himself loves you. Resolve of that, that you may hold communion with him in it, and be no more troubled about it. Yea, as your great trouble is about the Father’s love, so you can no way more trouble or burden him, than by your unkindness in not believing of it,” (John Owen, “Communion with God,” The Works of John Owen, vol. 2, pp. 20-21).
“The man that is under the covenant of grace, he hath a principle of grace within him, causing him to walk in God’s statutes; he hath the promise of grace to be sufficient for him; if sin prevail, and pollute him, he hath daily access to the fountain open for sin and for uncleaness, to which he runs; if his backslidings increase, he hath Christ engaged by promise to heal his backslidings: which, when he views by faith, it doth not encourage him to sin, if he be in right exercise of his senses, but draws him to his duty, like a cord of love, and brings him back to his kind Lord.” (Ralph Erskine, “Law-Death, Gospel-Life,” pp. 57-58).
© John Fonville
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