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Abimelech’s Experiment with Kingship and God's Wrath

April 26, 2015 Speaker: Paul Ortlinghaus Series: Judges: Fallen & Messy People; Faithful and Merciful God

Topic: Bible Passage: Judges 9:1–10:5

Here are some passages to consider on the wrath of God: future, present, and past.

The wrath of God is coming in the future.

Romans 5:9 (ESV)
9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

1 Thessalonians 1:10 (ESV)
10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

Colossians 3:6 (ESV)
6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.

The wrath of God is comes in the present.

This is what we see in this story of Abimelech's experiment with kingship in Judges 9.

Romans 1:18 (ESV)
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

"Is revealed" or is "being revealed" (NIV).

The wrath of God came in the past on the cross.

Matthew 26:39 (ESV)
39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

The cup in Scripture is symbolic of one’s divinely determined destiny, whether blessing (Ps. 16:5) or disaster (Jer. 25:15), salvation (Ps. 116:13) or wrath (Isa. 51:17). Here it refers to Jesus’ forthcoming suffering (Matt. 26:39). from the ESV Study Bible

Romans 3:23–26 (ESV)
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

1 John 4:10 (ESV)
10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Propitiation means “a sacrifice that bears God’s wrath to the end and in so doing changes God’s wrath toward us into favor” (Wayne Grudem).

Wayne Grudem notes in his Systematic Theology:

Three other crucial passages in the New Testament refer to Jesus’ death as a “propitiation”: Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2; and 4:10. The Greek terms (the verb ἱλάσκομαι, G2661, “to make propitiation” and the noun ἱλασμός (G2662) “a sacrifice of propitiation”) used in these passages have the sense of “a sacrifice that turns away the wrath of God—and thereby makes God propitious (or favorable) toward us.” This is the consistent meaning of these words outside the Bible where they were well understood in reference to pagan Greek religions. These verses simply mean that Jesus bore the wrath of God against sin.

It is important to insist on this fact, because it is the heart of the doctrine of the atonement. It means that there is an eternal, unchangeable requirement in the holiness and justice of God that sin be paid for. Furthermore, before the atonement ever could have an effect on our subjective consciousness, it first had an effect on God and his relation to the sinners he planned to redeem. Apart from this central truth, the death of Christ really cannot be adequately understood.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)
21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Miroslav Volf describes this as God “breaking the vicious cycle of violence by absorbing it.”


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