The starting point for this study is to understand the implication of God’s anger: if God is angry with you, then you’re in a lot of trouble. His anger is fierce and devastating, and there is no hiding from it.
"O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your wrath, Nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure!
For Your arrows pierce me deeply, And Your hand presses me down."
- Psalm 38:1-2
God's anger is a terrible thing. Our next question therefore is this: against what and when did the anger of the Lord emerge? Put simply, His anger is against SIN, and the ultimate sin began in the Garden of Eden.
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness." - Romans 1:18
Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." - Genesis 2:15-17
Satan told Eve, "God is withholding something from you! He knows you will be like God when you eat it." She then obliged, and as a result sin entered into all mankind, and thus the curse:
And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'" Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." - Genesis 3:2-5
"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—" - Romans 5:12
"For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ." - Romans 5:17
It therefore is of utmost importance that we deal with this all important issue of sin. It is what stands between God and mankind:
"Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened,
That it cannot save;
Nor His ear heavy,
That it cannot hear.
But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
And your sins have hidden His face from you,
So that He will not hear."
- Isaiah 59:1-2
God made provisions under the old covenant of Moses for sin to be temporarily covered on the Day of Atonement:
"Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house. He shall take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the Lord's lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering. But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness." - Leviticus 16:6-10
In the New Covenant, Jesus is the Lamb that takes away our sin, and that of the whole world:
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" - John 1:29
And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. - 1 John 2:2
In doing what He did on the cross, Jesus fully reconciled us back to the Father. Sin has been paid for. This is the good news, that God is no longer mad at us. Rather, He is in love with us—not because we earned it, but because of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
It is very important you know that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself; and He no longer imputed their trespasses to them. That means He does not charge it to their account, but to instead to Christ’s.
Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. - 2 Corinthians 5:18-21
Back then, even those who lived under the Old Covenant had their sins covered:
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit. - Psalm 32:1-2
God’s goodness to us is far beyond words. Rather than cover them, He has chosen not to remember our sins at all:
"I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake;
And I will not remember your sins." - Isaiah 43:25
"I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions,
And like a cloud, your sins.
Return to Me, for I have redeemed you." - Isaiah 44:22
As a result of what Jesus did for us, we are no longer under any curse. Rather, we are altogether blessed:
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. - Galatians 3:13-14
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. - Ephesians 1:3
The truth is that God is no longer angry with us because of Christ, and thus it is very important we change the way we think. Wrong thinking produces bad behavior. Sin has been fully atoned for. There is no longer any additional sacrifice to be made for sin, other than that which Christ already made. Sin is no longer the issue: Christ is what matters.
Much unlike the sacrifices of the high priest under the old covenant, Jesus made a permanent sacrifice for all of our sins:
"And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified." - Hebrews 10:11-14
Now that I know that my sin has been atoned for, and that sin is no longer an issue between me and God, how should I live?
- Live in liberty, and make sure no one makes me feel guilty, or teaches me anything to the contrary.
"Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." - Galatians 5:1
- Refuse to live in fear, and refuse to allow my conscience or any person to condemn me.
"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." - Romans 8:1
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us." - 1 John 4:18-19
"Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything." - 1 John 3:20 (NLT)
- Approach God with confidence, knowing I am His son.
"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." - Hebrews 4:16
- What do I do when if I sin? Confess it to Him and move on.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us." - 1 John 1:9-10
- Keep your eyes on Jesus. If you don’t do this and live in fear of sin instead, your Christian journey will be painful and worthless. What you keep looking at is what you will become. Keep looking at Him; He started your journey and trust Him, He can and He will see you through to the end, as the Author and Finisher that He is.
"looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." - Hebrews 12:2
- Stop living and acting like an orphan - instead live like a son of the Father:
And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. - Galatians 4:6-7