It’s hot outside! It’s been unpleasantly hot the past few weeks. Most of us have a variety of ways of enduring or avoiding feeling the full impact of the heat. I’m increasingly grateful for a fully functional air conditioner in both my car and my house. I feel sorry for folks having to work outside throughout the day.
We’ve all probably seen church signs that say something like, “You think it’s hot here?” That’s not exactly where this article is heading, so keep reading! The Bible does repeatedly describe God’s anger toward sinners with heat imagery. For example, in Lamentations 4:11, we read what God was doing when he sent Babylon to destroy Jerusalem, as judgment against his rebellious and idolatrous people: “The LORD gave full vent to his wrath; he poured out his hot anger, and he kindled a fire in Zion that consumed its foundations.” This fiery language does culminate in the descriptions of hell as the final destination for those who reject God’s offer of salvation in Jesus.
Nevertheless, even while God burns in anger toward sinners, he’s provided a way to be protected from the heat, an air conditioner that never fails to keep us cool forever, if you’ll forgive a crude image for Jesus. Sinners don’t merely “get off” without punishment; instead, Jesus died in the place of sinners, bearing and satisfying God’s wrath. In a sense, on the cross, Jesus bore the full impact of the heat of God’s wrath toward sinners, and his sacrificial death insulates all who trust him from the heat of God’s wrath, so that God’s anger will never burn against us again (Romans 3:23-26 and 5:8-10; 1 Thessalonians 1:10).
So, I hope that all reading this find ways to endure or escape the heat of summer in East Texas, but even more I hope that all reading this trust in Jesus, the crucified and resurrected Savior, who offers to take away your guilt and shame before God, so that you’ll never have to feel the full impact of God’s burning anger, but only the warmth of his great love.
Mr. Justin Langley is Minister of Discipleship of Kilgore Bible Church in Kilgore. You can reach him through the congregation’s website: www.kilgorebiblechurch.org.