Matthew 11:12 “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and forceful people lay hold of it.”
(a) Forceful entry?
The NIV translation links this difficult saying with Luke 16:16 “The law and the prophets were in force until John; since then, the good news of the kingdom of God has been proclaimed, and everyone is urged to enter it.” But it is not at all certain that both sayings are teaching the same thing.…
You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell. the arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong.
The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates.
Writing in Hard Sayings of the Bible, Old Testament scholar Walter Kaiser comments:
‘Our problem with any description of God’s displeasure with sin, unrighteousness or wickedness is that we define all anger as Aristotle defined it: “the desire for retaliation.” With such a definition of anger goes the concept of anger and hatred of sin as a “brief madness” or “an uneasiness or discomposure of the mind, upon receipt of an injury, with the purpose of revenge.” All such notions of hatred, anger and displeasure in the divine being are wide of the mark and fail to address the issues involved.…
I rather like how Jeremy Linn has captured some of the most popular atheist arguments against Christianity, and hinted at where some of its weaknesses might lie.
Moreover, says Linn, ‘for each of the arguments, we give an example question you can ask to better understand where the person who gave the argument is coming from. The goal is to listen and understand, rather than to dominate and tear down.’
1: Who created God?
This question is asked under the assumption that God needs a creator.…
‘In Christ alone’ (Stuart Townend and Keith Getty) is a fine Christian song.
But what about the words that stick in the throats of many:-
Till on that cross as Jesus died, The wrath of God was satisfied.
Please don’t tell me you won’t sing these words because you unwilling to think or speak of God’s wrath, and wish to sing only of his love. The song as a whole does a great job in exploring the various dimensions of Christ’s death and resurrection. …
It is often asserted that divine judgement is restorative, and not retributive. But this is a false dichotomy, and one that flies in the face of the testimony of Scripture.
Andrew Atherstone notes that the concept of divine retribution (punishment administered by God in return for wrong that has been committed) is not frequently encountered in the New Testament, but that it is present nonetheless:-
‘For example, after Jesus healed an invalid at the Pool of Bethesda he warned the man, ‘Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you’ (John 5:14).…
For years, scholars have debated whether God’s wrath, as taught in the New Testament is personal or impersonal. That is to say, whether ‘wrath’ is some that can be ascribed directly to God, describing something of his hostility towards sin, or that it merely describes the inevitable consequences of sin, the misery and self-destruction that it brings.
Writing in Aspects of the Atonement, I. Howard Marshall, finds the following points ‘decisive’:-
1. To allow that sinners bring calamity upon themselves does not exclude the idea that the calamity is not from God. …
It is often assumed that the picture of God in the Old Testament is that of a wrathful despot, while the God of the New Testament is nothing but love.
This is seriously mistaken. Not only does the OT have much to say about God’s love (see, for example, Deuteronomy 7:7,8; and Hosea 3:1; 14:4), the NT has rather a lot to say about god’s wrath. Let Roger D. Campbell summarise for us:-