Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Romans 12:19: 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.”
I can see where the Roman Catholic church back in the days of Martin Luther got the idea that God was angry, waiting to "zap" a person to hell for disobeying His will and the laws of the church. That is the message received by the people, who included Martin Luther. He was constantly "looking over his shoulder," waiting to see if God was going punish him for his sin. One of Luther's early questions was, "Why are you so angry, God?" He misunderstood vengeance.
Luther thought that God was dispensing His vengeance in the same manner that people do; with fear and anger. "I'll get back at him for hurting me." is what WE think is vengeance. That's NOT vengeance. That's revenge. They are two DIFFERENT things.
Vengeance is based strictly upon innocence or guilt. Vengeance is based upon, "You sinned. It's against God's Law. There is consequence and punishment." Yet people continuing to think God is angry at them. For example, "What did I do to deserve my house to be flooded out and I can't live in it anymore? Is God angry with me?"
No, God is not angry with you. You didn't do anything that angered God to send the hurricane. The hurricane is a consequence of a broken creation. It is affected by sin. That which God created good and perfect was ruined by man's disobedience. And man continues to be disobedient. We deserve the consequences of our sin. We deserve God's vengeance.
And God's vengeance was poured upon Jesus. You are the beneficiary of Jesus' death upon the cross. Jesus received the punishment and consequences for your sins so that you won't have to. Jesus experienced "man's inhumanity to man." Jesus' own people brutalized Him and the Romans poured their malice and hatred of Jews onto Jesus. That is why Jesus' torture and death was so gruesome.
Jesus didn't deserve the brutality. At the same time, He took it so that we are forgiven. Jesus received God's vengeance that was supposed to go to you along with every person from every age all over the world. When you believe in Jesus and what He did, YOU ARE SAVED! Dear God, lead me to understand more fully Your vengeance, Amen.
Pastor Robert Hemsath joined Faith Lutheran Church and School as the Senior Pastor in January 2017. Pastor Hemsath comes to FLC from Christ the King Lutheran Church in Waxahachie, TX. He has also served congregations in Aberdeen, ID and Pocatello, ID. He has been a Lutheran pastor for the past 20 years.