What is the wrath of God

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;   ~ Romans 1:18

As I was studying for this week’s Bible study on Romans 1:18, I found a definition of wrath that I hope will forever change your thinking when you read the word wrath in the Bible

Wrath is “orge” in Greek meaning passion. But it’s the root of this word that I really like… it is “orego” which means stretching oneself out in order to touch or grasp something.

It is a beautiful picture of Jesus stretching Himself out (on the Cross) in order to grasp us.

It also means to yearn after, to desire, to stretch toward (to pull towards)

The Father in His love for us, desired us and stretched toward us (through Jesus), pulling us to Himself. (1 Cor 5:19 -reconciling us to Himself)

That’s the wrath of God in the New Covenant.

God did not forget His righteous judgments….. He simply judged all humanity in Jesus righteous.

God’s judgments were all satisfied in the passion….in the “wrath” of Jesus Christ….as He stretched Himself out on the Cross drawing ALL men to Himself and as the Father was personally present in Christ on the cross reconciling the world to Himself.

The Nature of God — part 2

Yesterday I started a blog post series entitled The Nature of God.  In it I shared about a Bible study I attend that is doing a curriculum by a well-known Bible study teacher on the book of Romans.  We are in Romans 9.  I don’t care for the curriculum because it doesn’t come from a grace-based, finished work of the Cross teaching.

Our most recent lesson was on the nature of God and I won’t go back into it today…. you can click the link above and read the blog from yesterday if you want.  One of the attributes or nature of God that was listed was “Just.”  I don’t disagree that God is just…. He absolutely is.  I didn’t care for the definition that was given to describe God’s justness. It said:

  • Just – God rewards righteousness and punishes sin proportionate to His love of the former and His hatred of the latter (Psalm 89:14; Numbers 14:18, 23:19; Romans 9:14)

Let’s look at the verses that are used to prove this Bible teacher’s lesson on the nature of God being “just.”

  • Psalm 89:14 (KJV) – Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.

In the Hebrew it says that Justice and Judgement are the dwelling place of His throne. Covenant Loyalty and truth shall go before your face. 

The foundation of His throne is Justice and Righteousness but when He turns His face toward us….. what flows from that throne…. that beautiful throne of grace…. is mercy and truth.  Or as it actually says in the Hebrew, covenant loyalty (chesed) and truth.  Psalm 85 also talks of covenant loyalty (mercy) and truth together.  God’s covenant loyalty and truth, of course, are really met together only in Jesus Christ.

John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ

To be just, God had to punish sin (Ezekiel 18:4 and 20). But His mercy didn’t want to give us justice (James 2:13). This problem was solved in Jesus. God the Father laid our punishment on Jesus (Isaiah 53:6), and now through Jesus, we can receive God’s mercy (Ephesians 2:4-6). Oh happy day!!!  Mercy triumphed over judgement.  Therefore, mercy and truth have come together. Righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Thank You, Jesus!  This is a miracle that could only occur because Jesus took all of God’s wrath for our sins (Isaiah 53:6 and John 12:32) into His own body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24).

Justice and judgment are seldom combined with mercy and truth. Since all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), all of us deserve death (Romans 6:23), not mercy and truth. But because Jesus paid for all our sins (2 Corinthians 5:21 and 1 Peter 2:24), mercy and truth are now offered to us in Jesus (Psalms 85:10).

Now what about Numbers 14:18

  • Numbers 14:18 The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.

I have a couple of issues with this verse in regards to the New Covenant.  First of

First of all it says He by no means clears the guilty.  That was under the Old Covenant.  Under the New Covenant, our guilt has been canceled.  The Law produced guilt.  Jesus took the Law as a document and nailed it to His cross, in effect writing across the bill “Paid in Full.” The New Testament believer is no longer under the Law ( 1 Corinthians 9:21, 1 Corinthians 10:23, Romans 3:19).

  • Colossians 2:14 – Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross;
  • Romans 3:19-20 — Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. (20) Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

I also have an issue with this verse saying God will visit the iniquity of the father’s upon the children Ezekiel 18:3 and Jeremiah 31:30 both say that everyone shall die for his own iniquity.  This is speaking of the New Covenant….. Jeremiah 31:31-34 says Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: (32) Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: (33) But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. (34)And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. 

Under the New Covenant, the sins of the fathers are not passed down generation to generation.

As for Numbers 23:19 I’m not sure why this one is included to prove that God hates and punishes sin and rewards and loves righteousness.  This verse is talking about Balaam being powerless to overturn God’s blessings.

The last verse given is Romans 9:14.

  • Romans 9:14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

The verse before it says Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated.  Jacob was called to a higher position than his brother, Esau, before they were born, but that does not display any rejection of Esau on God’s part.

I’m not sure what this verse has to do with God punishing sin and rewarding righteousness.  If anything it disproves it.  He chose Jacob and Esau before they had done any good or evil, to illustrate that election was not based on performance but choice.

Of course I believe God is just.  Sin had to be dealt with.  The price for sin, all sin, has been paid!  God dealt with sin once and for all in Christ. He is now focused entirely on righteousness. Jesus did not just take our sin; He became the embodiment of it, so that we could become the embodiment of righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Some scriptures about God being just that should encourage you…..

  • He is merciful and remembers our sins no more
    • Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
      • the word for merciful is hileos which means appeasing divine wrath; It means propitious, describing God’s covenant-mercy which rescues the believer by His atonement (bringing divine satisfaction).
  • Jesus became the propitiation for the WHOLE WORLD’S sins in order to satisfy the debt the Law had placed us under
    • 1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 
      • propitiation is hilasmos in Greek meaning to appease wrath; an offering to appease (satisfy) an angry, offended party.
  • Jesus offered Himself for our sins ONCE for ALL
    • Hebrews 7:26-27 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; (27) Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
  • Jesus came to take away the sins of the world
    • John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
  • We have been sanctified and perfected by Jesus’ sacrifice
    • Hebrews 10:11-14  By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (11) And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:  (12) But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; (13) From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. (14) For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
  • Jesus took our sins so that we could have His righteousness
    • 1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
  • God reconciled the world to Himself — making us friends instead of enemies
    • 2 Cor 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

      • reconcile is katallaso in Greek meaning to change from enmity to friendship, to reconcile
  • Jesus took our chastisement for our sin, giving us instead healing
    • Isaiah 53:5  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.
  • God in His kindness declared us righteous and freed us from the penalty of sin
    • Romans 3:23-24 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. (24) Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 
  • Christ died for us… justifying us and saving us from the wrath that the Law brought
    • Romans 5:8-11 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. (10) For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (11) And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
  • Grace abounded to us through the righteous obedience of Jesus
    • Romans 5:18-21 So then as through one transgression there resulted in condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted in justification of life to all men. (19) For as through the one man’s disobedience, the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. (20) The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, (21) so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

There are so many more verses that we could list.  I encourage you to study it for yourself.  Instead of finding Old Covenant Scriptures to “prove” that God hates and punishes sin look for New Covenant Scriptures that will show you what Jesus did for you.

Romans 3:26 shows us the nature of God being Just…… This was also to demonstrate his righteousness in the present time so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who lives because of Jesus’ faithfulness.  

His righteousness and His justness are demonstrated in that all men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (v.23) and yet God with undeserved kindness declared us righteous through Christ when He freed us from the penalty of sin (v. 24) because Jesus became the sacrifice for sin, shedding His blood for us.

He is a very just God… who has defeated sin and its power in our lives, completely forgiven us and has declared us righteous.  IN CHRIST His justness is clearly seen.

Next blog post is part 3 and talking about wrathful…..

~ Robin

Wise home builders — Deborah

This has been a fun series and we’re only just getting started.  So far we’ve looked at God’s purpose for women (Wonder Woman) and 3 wise home builders… Eve, Sarah, and Rebecca.  Now let’s look at Deborah.   This post will probably be a bit long.. because there is just so much about her! This woman broke traditional, male female role barriers.  What an inspiration for us as women….

This woman, called by God, broke traditional male female role barriers.  What an inspiration for us as women…. that we can be all that God has called us to be and our being a woman is a strength and an asset.  God didn’t use Deborah because He couldn’t find a man who would fill the position!

He chose Deborah to lead Israel because she was the person He anointed and appointed for the position!  Deborah was in a class of her own; her leadership role was unprecedented and unparalleled! She was a woman who led a nation to victory against all odds.  She was the 4th judge out of a total of 15… and the only woman who judged.

She was a born leader.  She was an intercessor, a judge, and a prophetess.  She was a deliverer and a military strategist! She was also a mother to Israel.  She possessed wisdom, strength, and compassion.  While she was judge, the land had peace for forty years.  She held the highest executive office in the land!  She led a nation to victory against all odds!!

I love Deborah!  I love the inspiration she gives us as wives and mothers.  Especially as mothers.  My ceiling is my children’s floor… so I am constantly raising that ceiling.  Breaking boundaries.  Pushing limits.  And showing my kids… especially my daughters…. that you can continue to go higher and that there isn’t anything you can’t do with God.  I’m a wife, a mom, a homeschool teacher, a business owner with my husband, I also run a second business with my mom and a couple of friends, I teach Bible study, and I write.  I want my ceiling to be as high as it can be so that their jumping off point is from a great height.  I want them to follow me as I follow Christ and go higher than I ever will!

Proverbs 31:28 Her children arise and call her blessed.  Each line of Proverbs 31 begins with a Hebrew letter from the aleph bet (alphabet).  Verse 28 is the letter “kuf.”  Kuf is a picture of the back of a man’s head.  The idea is following after or behind.  Her children arise.  Arise is “kum” in Hebrew which means to rise up, to go higher spiritually.  And they bless her.  Bless is “ashar” which is not the typical word for bless but rather means guide, advance, lead.  Put it all together and it shows us that her children are following after her lead… after her advances…. she is guiding them and they are going higher spiritually because of it!  This is what a wise home builder looks like.

Although there is no evidence that Deborah had children, she was a mother of Israel.  She led her “children” to go higher spiritually.  Deborah broke outside of her culture, but she wasn’t in rebellion.  She wasn’t a feminist,  she was in obedience to her God.   As a result she was used radically to set her people free, and the people loved her.  Her life is a wonderful story of faith in God.

She spoke life and released what God was saying NOW!

Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. ~ Judges 4:4

This is our first introduction to Deborah….. she is a prophet, she is Lappidoth’s wife, and she is leading Israel.  The first description we have is her name.  Names often have profound prophetic meanings.  Names reveal the character of the person, unusual circumstances at birth, or prophetic destiny.  Names are so important that at times God changed the person’s name to reflect what He said of them.

Deborah’name means bee (devorah).  Bee comes from a word that means “word” (davar)  and can also be translated thing or matter.  The original picture painted by this word to the Hebrews is the arrangement of things to create order. The fact that God said she was a prophetess tells us that she was saying what she heard from Heaven restoring or arranging order in Israel.  She was one who would set things in order and release honey….. a time of plenty, a time of peace in the land designed to flow with milk and honey!

Deborah operated in a heavenly dimension of a spirit of wisdom and revelation. She spoke life and released what God was saying to Israel right now thereby restoring order in the land.  And the result was 40 years of peace for Israel.  40 years represents a generation….. like David would one day do, she served her generation well.

But that’s not all we know about her… that’s just the first thing


She was a prophet.  There were seers (ro’eh and chozeh) and prophets (nabi).  1 Samuel 9:9 says tells us that prophets were once called seers.  In Judges 4:4 Deborah is called a nabi… a prophet… but she must’ve at one time been called a seer.   Samuel was the only other person who was both a prophet and a judge.

2 Peter 1:21 tells us that prophets were holy “men” who spoke under the power of Holy Spirit.  They were anointed by God to call the people to repentance and to reveal the will of God for Israel.  Numbers 12:6 says that if a person was a prophet then God made Himself known to them in visions and spoke to them in dreams.

The prophets are called by various names including: “Man of God,” “Servant of Jehovah (LORD),” “Messenger of Jehovah,” “Interpreter,” “Sentinel,” “The Man of the Spirit.”  I like the last one… man (or in this case woman!) of the Spirit.  The Old Testament only mentions 4 women prophets…. Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, and Isaiah’s wife (Isaiah 8:3).  And 1 woman prophet who attempted to stop God’s will for Israel….. Noahadia (Numbers 22-24).  

She was a holy woman…. a woman of the spirit.  God spoke to her in dreams and visions. And she boldly spoke under the power of Holy Spirit the will of God for Israel.

She burned for God

In addition to being a woman who restored order to Israel and a prophet who spoke with divine authority, she is referred to as the “wife of Lapidoth.”   His name means flame or torches.  According to rabbinic tradition, she was a keeper of the oil and the lighter of the lamps.  I’m not sure about that because Exodus 30:7-8 and Leviticus 24:3 tell us it was the priest’s (Aaron’s) job to do that.  She wasn’t a priest.  Of course, it may be saying “woman of fire/torches” instead of the wife of Lapidoth.  Either way, whether she was a woman of

Either way, whether she was a woman of lapidot or Lapidoth’s wife, she was a woman who burned for God.  She was a keeper of oil… of Holy Spirit.  She obviously valued and guarded her relationship with Him.  And she was a light given to Israel to deliver them from darkness.

She judged righteously

She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided.

She held court under the Palm of Deborah.  She would judge under a palm tree.  This was her court.  Palm tree means righteousness. Psalm 92 reveals that palm trees represent a life of righteousness that flourishes in God.  Her court would be a reminder to the people that a life of righteousness is what would cause them to flourish.  This would be a refreshing prophetic reminder to them after so many years of cruel oppression….. a wonderful encouragement.  Palm branches also represented victory…. through this woman’s leadership they would achieve victory over their enemies.  

She had Holy Spirit revelation and employed divine wisdom and strategies to influence her world.  John 7:24 tell us to not judge by appearances but to judge all things righteously.  We are to judge things the way God judges them….. His righteous judgments are always founded on restoration and reconciliation. Reconciliation to Him.

We judge righteously by applying 2 Cor 5:20-21 to our life “And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” 

From the palm tree bearing her name, and elsewhere, called “the sanctuary of the palm,” she dispensed righteousness, justice, and mercy.  She was God’s answer to the Israelites, who cried out for help to the LORD, who had been cruelly oppressed for the last 20 years by Jabin, king of Canaan.

 She was abundantly fruitful 

She dwelled under the palm tree (righteousness) between Ramah and Bethel in the valley of Ephraim, which means doubly fruitful.  The one city was Ramah, which means “high place or the seat of idolatry.”   Bethel was known as the house of the Lord with open heavens….. this is where Jacob had his ladder experience in Genesis 28.  Bethel housed the ark of the covenant (Judges 20:27).

From this place, she judged.  From this place that she abided …..victory and righteousness (under the Palm), Deborah was abundantly fruitful.  She turned the Israelites hearts back to God.  Back to a desire for His Presence.  And away from idolatry.  And it stayed this way for 40 years.  Double (Ephraim is double fruitfulness) the time of their oppression.

She would hear from God and release Heaven on earth.  He led, she followed. She led, Israel followed.

She loved well

Of all the things that we learned about Deborah…. a prophet, a judge, a leader of Israel, a military strategist, a warrior, one who burned for God, there were, however, a couple of things she said about herself.  And both of these things are about how she loved…. first God and then out of that, others.

  1. In Deborahs Song, her love for the Lord is described as “like the sun, when it comes in full strength” (Judges 5:31).
  2. She called herself the Mother of Israel.

Deborah was a lover above all things.  She loved well!  She loved God fully — like the sun in full strength.  Hot and bright.  There was no dimness or coolness in her love for Him.  It was a wholehearted love…. one that could pour out to those around her.

She loved Israel. She prayed, interceded and judged them as only a mother can…. tenderly, lovingly… always with a heart of restitution and reconciliation to God.  And she was obviously loved by the people…..the eleven other dispersed tribes of Israel walked for miles and literally risked their lives on the dangerous highways as they pushed through to hear from God, through Deborah’s voice.  They must’ve felt her mother’s love for them.  She felt the ache in their hearts for God. She knew they had come so far, how could they leave empty-handed?  Deborah could hear the groans of the Israelites who were oppressed for 20 years and feel the pounding pain in God’s heart over His peoples sin and oppression. I believe that it was her ability to hear His heartbeat that allowed her to save a nation in a day.

Deborah could hear the groans of the Israelites who were cruelly oppressed for 20 years and feel the love in God’s heart for His people…. a love that wouldn’t give up on them.   It was her ability to hear His heartbeat that allowed her to turn a nation back to Him.  Deborah ruled with the sword of a prophet but with the heart of a mother.  She led well because she loved well.

In “Matthew Henry’s Commentary,” he writes  “…..She was totally devoted to Israel. After Jehovah, Israel was her first love.”

Will you be like a Deborah?  Hearing God’s heartbeat and expressing His love for those who are oppressed?  Judging them in righteousness and victory?  Waging war on an (already defeated) enemy by declaring them free IN CHRIST?

~ Robin