For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. (Psalm 30:5)

The anger of God is real. There is no disputing that. Any student of the Bible must come away with this reality deeply impressed upon his soul. If we throw away the anger of God, we toss out also the very nature of the biblical God. Paul wrote of the future day “when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus” (Rom. 2:16). If we remove the idea of God’s righteous anger against sin, and of the day of judgment, we have removed a foundational truth of God’s nature.

It is the judgment of God against sin, His holy and righteous anger against the sinner, that requires the cross of Christ. God did not say to the sinful world, “Oh, don’t worry about those little things we call sins. They are not so important after all. Just come on up to My heaven the way you are. We’re not perfect up here anyway.” He could not say such a thing and remain true to Himself.

It was the love of God that offered the cross, but it was anger of God against sin that necessitated the cross – only the death of God the Son for the sins of the world could atone for sinful people like you and I. Yet it is essential to grasp that the death of Christ for our sin completely satisfied the requirement of God’s righteousness¬† and justice. We are now set free from penalty and from accusation.

Compared to His righteous anger, His eternal love is overwhelmingly greater. The psalmist compares the two to a fleeting single night of anger against a lifetime of love and favor. For us in our experience and from our perspective His anger flashes and is no more, but His favor and love endure for all eternity.

Is there a parent who cannot understand this at least to some degree? Our child does something mean-spirited, something they have been taught not to do, and we are disappointed in them. We catch them being a bully to a weaker kid, or saying hurtful words to their sibling, or being unkind to a helpless person. Our sense of justice and righteousness cannot dismiss that act and our anger flashes for just a second.

But as soon as we see our child like that, our love also enfolds him. Discipline is done and is over quickly. That momentary disappointment does not describe our entire relationship with him, our thoughts about him, our love and esteem for him. Our anger is over in a flash, and our love for him lasts the rest of our life. After a reprimand we forget the incident, put it away from our minds, and stress to him to be kind to others.

The Bible declares,”We must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Cor. 5:10), and Christ will examine our lives, how we lived them, what we did with our time and opportunities here. But the believer is covered by Christ’s blood and is forgiven already. The lasting effect of that judgment is the deep personal knowledge of the completeness of God’s grace to us. The overarching reality of heaven is not judgment but salvation, not God’s anger against sin, but God’s love toward us. His grace is greater than our sin.

Confess your sins, but then let God raise your head in His love. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (James 4:10). Let His love for you enfold you and your heart. Look forward in faith to the continual blessings and favor of God in your life from this day forward.

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