We’ve been asking people this past week, “What do you think God is like?” That has yielded some predictable, and surprising answers. But maybe a more thoughtful question is, “What do you think God thinks of you?”
Most people seem to think that God is kind and forgiving. But at the same time, I suspect a whole lot of people think God is mad at them. But that doesn’t make sense, does it? How can God be both kind, and mad at me? And here’s the point: our thoughts of God are a mess!
If people think God is mad at them, it is an evidence of God’s kindness in retaining in their sinful hearts a remnant of the truth. The holy God must, by nature, be angry at sin – and his wrath hangs over the heads of sinners. If he were not angry at sin, he would not be holy.
Man’s most pressing need is to be set right with God. We are at odds with God and with his holy character. We are in rebellion against God. We are his enemies. How can that situation be remedied?
A key word for our answer appears in our new memory verses: Justified. It means that, appearing before the bar of God’s judgment, we are represented by Christ, who has borne our sin and our sin’s punishment. Standing in or behind Christ, God declares us “not guilty” by virtue of Christ’s sacrifice.
Our relationship with God the Judge has changed. We no longer stand under his wrath. We are no longer regarded as rebels or enemies. We no longer need fear God’s anger.
Justification doesn’t change us – it changes our relationship with God. There are other words and concepts which describe the changes that occur within our hearts and lives – but this word – justified – is the verdict that brings relief to our fears and rest to our dread – and sets in motion a tremendous change in our attitude toward God.
Now we can’t wait to talk about God and what he thinks of us.