Zephaniah 3:8 “Therefore, be patient,” says the Lord. “Soon I will stand and accuse these evil nations. For I have decided to gather the kingdoms of the earth and pour out my fiercest anger and fury on them. All the earth will be devoured by the fire of my jealousy.”
God will not be mocked. He sees the lives of humans as inconsistent, indifferent at times, and even stubborn in their acknowledgment of Him. He is patient with all people, hoping that His patience will pay off as they face life without Him. However, at the end of the day, God is described as a fire … an all-consuming fire of His jealousy. His jealousy is about the inability of people to acknowledge Him as God instead of the thousands of idols they worship. As Creator and Savior, He has made Himself known, not only in creation but by an inward witness of being God.
Romans 2 5But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6God will repay each person according to what they have done.
Later in this same Chapter, the Apostle Paul talks about how our conscience will bear witness that there is a God. Some Bible commentators say that we were created to worship God, but because of our sin, we have decided to worship everything but Him. Jealousy is stored up against us because we have traded the glory of knowing the Creator for the glory of His creation. God wants us to enjoy the creation, but He does not want us to trade Him for it.
Romans 1 21Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.
God’s anger is toward the decisions we make and the carelessness of living in sin, rather than taking a stand against it. We opt out of knowing God for the specific fulfillment of satisfying ourselves. King Solomon made it easy for us to understand when he said, “Fear God and keep His commandments.” Let’s face it, it is easy to live life going through the broad gate, but Jesus makes it clear that that life only leads to death. The narrow gate is the measured gate of life, and when we choose to reject the norms of this world and follow God through the narrow gate, that is where we can find God. God never wants anyone to enter the broad gate, He is always encouraging us to through the narrow gate. That narrow gate is always counter-cultural, it always opposes the ‘broad gate’ and can never support it. That is why Christianity is counter-cultural … because of the narrow gate.
Recently, I have written a lot about the broad and narrow gate because I believe it is the best way to describe our culture according to Jesus. It also describes how destruction is the end of anyone who follows this path. People do not understand that God is not just about love … He is also about judgment. This is the least understood message in our Christian culture. We do not realize that Jesus protected us against God’s wrath by dying on the Cross. His mercy and grace are all wrapped up in the Cross. His message is about grace and mercy, and anyone, regardless of their circumstances in life, can be right with God. All of us are thieves on the cross beside Jesus, one cursed and denied Christ and one embraced him.
There is only one choice to make in life … what do you do with Jesus Christ. Choosing to accept Him as your Savior and Lord spares you from the wrath of God that is coming to judge this world. That wrath is the fire of His jealousy. He will not spare any person who has not accepted His Son Jesus … they will experience His wrath. Now, this is not a popular message to preach on a Sunday morning, but His wrath is as true as:
John 3:16 For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish (experience the wrath of God) but have eternal life.
Those who experience the wrath of God will perish. It will destroy you and quarantine you in a place called hell (the place of punishment) and you will be there forever. The perish in John 3:16 is about life without God, without ever having the opportunity to gain life with Him ever again. It is very serious to be destined to a place of punishment forever. What would you do to escape such a place? What would you give not to have to experience it? Therefore, God’s gift of life in Jesus Christ is the most amazing gift we could ever receive. He has given you a chance never to experience God’s wrath of life without Him.
In Christ, God is sparing you from the reality of His wrath. God is jealous about His creation when they go after other gods and other idols, replacing Him as the one who should be loved and worshipped. God’s jealousy isn’t about envy … it is about His love that sent His Son to a Cross so all could be saved from His justice of wrath. His jealousy is about how none should perish, but all come to the knowledge of the truth.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler