Links Daily Devotional

Jesus, Our Shelter

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life. (Romans 5:10, NASB)

With sunshine and the smell of fresh grass clippings, golf beats a day at the office every time! But there are also times when dark storm clouds gather and make their way ominously toward us. We tend to be overly optimistic when this starts happening, hoping and willing the storm cell to pass us by. No one wants to leave the course for nothing, but then we get caught in the rain and make a mad rush to safety when the lightning bolt finally strikes a wee bit too near.

Do we perceive the impending storm in our lives? Do we know the metal of our sin justly deserves holy lightning? Are we overly optimistic, pessimistic or realistic about it?

The wrath of God is often a taboo subject in my own heart, and I am guessing yours as well, along with today’s church, but the Scriptures are voluminous concerning it. Thus we are challenged to meditate on it, for it is a perfection of our God.

In view of God’s glory and holiness, we suffer from a critically low view of sin. We forget sin is first and foremost hatred and offense against God (Psalm 51:4), and we often lose sight that sin actually hurts us and others. Every day, we fall short in our functional belief that we are indeed evil (Luke 11:13) and that sin deserves hell (Romans 5:12). The problem is that we are the problem; our unjust wrath disguised in grumbling against God burns daily in our hearts. We need to ask ourselves: could God be really good without making a distinction between good and evil? Between light and darkness? Between true love and mere manipulation? Between his beloved Son and we sinners who killed him?

The Bible strongly states the reality that God works as judge, and that he is altogether wise, holy, and good (Psalm 9:8). Sometimes people say that God as judge is a characteristic of the Old Testament; not only does this statement frustrate the harmony of the triune God (John 5:22), but it ignores the language of the New Testament which is pointing to the certainty of a coming day of universal judgment, when God will judge our secrets through Christ (Romans 2:16).

Because we are addicted to having a high opinion of ourselves and ignoring retributive justice, the grace of God doesn’t sink into our hearts as it should. With this cocktail of unbelief and rebellion to the truth, we remain drunken on indifferent thoughts of grace. We do not see that our stumbling leads us to certain condemnation apart from the grace of God, the only fount of pardon. But when our hearts sober up to the truth of our helpless state, then gratitude for grace awakens.

Perhaps what most convicts me in the end is that God’s righteous wrath is part of the cross of Christ, our Savior. God sent his Son to make peace with us, his enemies. God’s love was so triumphant for us that he sacrificed him, and Jesus willingly laid down his life and endured excruciating pain and separation from his Father for the joy set before him (Hebrews 12:2). To make light of the justice of God is to make little of Christ crucified; Lord, let that be far from us!

The storm is near. We need to know where the shelter is. Only the precious blood of the blameless Lamb of God will do for safety. Jesus is the perfect shelter the Father has provided: propitiation a wide umbrella, grace without leaks, and mercy keeping our weak grips dry. Not one drop of rain will fall on those in Christ. With the late theologian Jonathan Edwards, let us plea: “Therefore, let everyone that is out of Christ, now awake and fly from the wrath to come.” Jesus generously receives and keeps all who come to him.

Isabelle Beisiegel
March 19, 2015
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