Sunday, February 21, 2010

Proverbs 19:11 and The Gospel

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
Proverbs 19:11
Meditations on how this verse relates to the gospel and how it highlights some of the infinite difference between God and humans:

God is slow to anger by nature (Exodus 34:6). This quality is intrinsic to who He is. It's part of His essence.

Humans, on the other hand, are not slow to anger by nature. Among other bad things, there lurks murder in each of our sinful hearts (Mark 7:21) and this often causes us to get angry at other people (Matthew 5:21-22) even though most of us usually never act out (at least not fully) on that anger. So how can we become more slow to anger? Solomon says that good sense makes one slow to anger. The phrase "good sense" can also be translated as "understanding." Understanding makes one slow to anger. How does this relate to the gospel?

One way to explain the gospel is to say that as a result of our sinful nature that causes us to become angry at other people (even in passive ways) and break many of the other laws that God created us to live by, God is intensely angry at us. And rightfully so. But Jesus Christ came into the world so that He would absorb God's righteous anger toward us (=propitiation). And, as a result, God is no longer angry with us (Romans 8:1, Psalm 56:9b)! Even though we still sin and He has every reason to be! If we really understand this gospel, then we will know that no matter what anyone does to us--no matter how outrageous it may be--God has more of a right to be angry at us for the ways we've sinned against him than we have a right to be angry at another person. Because there is no way anyone could sin against us more than we have sinned against God. We should be so amazed by the fact that God is not angry at us that it makes it really, really hard for us to become angry at others.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32

[Bear] with one another and , if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive
Colossians 3:13
Understanding the gospel makes one slow to anger.

The good news of the gospel can also be expressed by saying that God overlooks our offenses--all of them, past, present, and future. But He doesn't just sweep them under the rug of the universe. Otherwise He would not be just. He overlooks the offenses of humans because He punished every offense committed by those who trust in Him when He poured out His wrath on Jesus at the cross 2,000 years ago (Romans 3:21-26). For David and Moses and the men and women of old who trusted in God, all of their offenses towards God before the cross were fully punished at the cross. And ever since, for every man and woman who trusts in God, our offenses towards God after the cross were fully punished at the cross. The cross is the defining moment of all of history. God also currently overlooks the offenses of those who don't trust in Him because the day is coming when He will fully punish them in perfect justice (Romans 2:5, Revelation 21:8).

Because of this gospel, God calls us to be people who overlook offenses because we trust that He--and He alone--is the one to deal properly with every offense committed, towards Him and towards us. He either did so 2,000 years ago at Calvary when He poured out His wrath on Jesus or He will do so at the return of Jesus when He fully repays those who have not put their faith in Him.
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:19-21
Radical calling prompted by a radical gospel.
Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
Proverbs 19:11

No comments: