Being presented with the question of whether or not Christ experienced God’s wrath made me think and feel a few things. I was trying very hard to find scriptures that specifically talked about God’s wrath, being forsaken, etc. My findings were…not what I expected.
There are a few things we need to be familiar with.
(NIV) Isaiah 59:02, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.”
Sin separates us from God. This is a simple truth we know. Scripture is clear God does not tolerate sin in any form. He chooses to hide His face to sinners, regardless of prayers or even fasting. (Micah 3:04, Psalm 18:41, Proverbs 1:28, Isaiah 1:15, Jeremiah 11:11, Jeremiah 14:12) *Note: This is not saying the prayer of a sinner who is sincere and seeks repentance will not be heard. I’m saying sinners who will not change their ways and are not sincere.
God’s wrath on sinners is not hidden.
(NIV) Ezekiel 8:17-18, “He said to me, “Have you seen this, son of man? Is it a trivial matter for the people of Judah to do the detestable things they are doing here? Must they also fill the land with violence and continually arouse My anger? Look at them putting the branch to their nose!” Therefore I will deal with them in anger; I will not look on them with pity or spare them. Although they shout in My ears, I will not listen to them.” (regarding the vision of idolatry in the temple.)
There are a couple of reasons why sin separates us from the Lord and the most obvious is simply when we sin we are not serving Him. It’s about us. Not Him. We know God is a jealous God. (Exodus 34:18)
Which is why Christ is so unique regarding this.
Christ Loved And Served God Always– Jesus was completely pure. He was a servant at all times. (Hebrews 2:09) He was never selfish, and the Lord WAS pleased with Christ. (Matthew 3:17)
I don’t think at all Christ was lying when He fulfilled scripture saying He felt forsaken. I used to look at the scripture and I thought Christ was declaring (in a way) that the Lord had physically forsaken Him. Many believers believe this, I did until a few days ago.
But then, I am reminded of Job. He felt despair and utter agony, and when he proclaimed these similar things in his prayers, God did not hold it against him, but we know the Lord was active in looking over Job. Job’s words weren’t sinning because his feelings were valid, and therefore, not lies, either. Is it possible Christ experienced something similar?
(NIV) Psalm 22:01, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from saving Me, so far from My cries of anguish?” (I highly encourage you to read this whole chapter, 22, is all about the cross and what Christ went through.)
Christ had prayed before He got arrested requesting that God be willing to take the cup from Him. It is clear the Lord’s answer to this prayer was, “No.” Therefore Christ would be not be saved and would have to endure persecution and death.
I want to point out how painful this had to be for Christ, especially the taunting of people telling Him, “Have God rescue You!” This was something CHRIST HIMSELF PRAYED FOR and He knew God’s answer was no. (Psalm 22:08)
Would that not feel like God had forsaken you?
We are not really given the specifics of what exactly being forsaken meant, and it’s important we do not add anything to scripture, but also to make sure we are not taking anything away either.
(NIV) Psalm 22:24, “For He has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; He has not hidden His face from Him but has listened to His cry for help.” (this does specifically refer to God listening to Christ)
This appears to show how God heard Christ, He may not have answered, but He was aware. Scripture many times as well shares how God listens to His servants (Psalm 66:20, Psalm 69:33, Psalm 69:17)
I think it is possible for the Lord to not have forsaken Christ to a degree, but for Christ to feel forsaken. I want to make a clear distinction between sinners being forsaken and Christ. The difference in when Christ bore our sins was that HE WAS NOT A SINNER!
The Lord forsakes sinners, so I think it is possible the Lord did not forsake Christ. But that does NOT at all, in any way, LESSEN what Christ felt on the cross! He felt forsaken because SIN TAKES US AWAY FROM GOD! Sin creates a barrier. It puts a veil over us. God, right now, has His hand prints everywhere on this world, and we, right now, STRUGGLE TO SEE HIM!
Scripture talks about Christ bearing our sin, but there are no scriptures that specifically indicate He also bore the wrath of God. But there are no scriptures that say He didn’t, either.
I think there was a lot of supernatural stuff at work in Christ’s mind and spirit, let alone what He was physically hearing and experiencing. Whether bearing our sins was an additional spiritual and supernatural weight that He felt on the cross or during the whole experience of His persecution, He bore them.
For God so loved the world, He gave His one and only Son (John 3:16). Christ was born to bear sin on behalf of us.
Something we could never repay happened on the cross. He was completely innocent. Yet, He died in one of the darkest ways.
(NIV) 1 Peter 2:24, “He Himself bore our sins” in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by His wounds you have been healed.” (Christ became our example of suffering)
Through His death and resurrection, we do not have to face the Lord’s wrath. Through Christ’s sacrifice, God was appeased with our sin through His own Son. Willing to forgive us when we turn our sinful lives over to Christ and not cast us into His wrath. Through salvation, we bear the mark of His Son.
The point is what Christ went through, His entire ministry for the Lord and becoming our Savior says so much. He felt the pain of sin when He bore it, but praise the Lord never fell into its trap. His life was always about the Lord. It was always about God’s glory, getting us to know God, and He was willing to give us everything dedicating His life in all ways.
Even now, His eternal mission is the glory of the Lord. Never forget that ❤
What are your thoughts? Do you have scripture you think adds to this discussion, please share 🙂
Monthly Scripture – (NIV) 2 Corinthians 4:02, “Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.”
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