‘For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ 1 Thessalonians 5.9
It is so reassuring to read that God’s heart for us is not wrath and that he is not angry with us, particularly when most of us are tempted to think that surely he must disapprove of us. In fact, it is quite logical to think like this since God is perfect and we are not. He sent Jesus to live and die amongst us to demonstrate the full nature of his love, and yet we fail to live as he would live and all too often we don’t even acknowledge him – so no wonder it seems natural that God should disapprove of us!
However, this encouraging verse says that God’s heart has never been to show anger towards us, but rather to reach out and save us; to rescue us and set us in a totally different place. If we could picture God, we would not see his angry eyes but his outstretched hand reaching out to us in every circumstance of our life.
Yet we find this so hard to believe, instead tending to feel that God must be angry with us because of our actions or our past. Yet in reality, the truth is quite the opposite: it is because of these things that he has sent Jesus to rescue us.
The Message version of the Bible sums this up in a lovely translation of Philippians 3.12: ‘…reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me.’ There is no wrath in this - just God’s tender love.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission
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