In recent days we have witnessed the world’s wrath directed against NFL players accused of domestic abuse. For many, the actions of these players violated their standards of right and wrong. A vocal contingent of sports media, sponsors, politicians, and outside observers have responded with righteous indignation.
Consider the pattern of their response. When their wrath was aroused upon hearing and seeing these misdeeds, the world demanded justice – that these players pay for their sins. Justice was demanded not only in these players facing the legal system, but also in their employer suspending them from the league and thus separating them from participating in their job. The players have confessed their sins, but confession is not enough. They must atone for their sins and change. Acceptance back into good standing will be granted only when these players have made full payment for their sins and have demonstrated a new direction in life.
Such are the “righteous” expectations of the world when someone has committed a sin in their eyes. But little do they realize that, in their wrath, they illustrate the truth of – and their need for – the gospel.
When the world responds with righteous indignation against those who offend them, do they realize that God has every right to respond in holy wrath against their sin toward Him?
When the world condemns someone for violating their moral standards, do they realize that God has condemned them for violating his perfect standard of right and wrong?
When the world separates these players from the league because of their misdeeds, do they realize that they are separated from God because of their misdeeds?
When the world demands the guilty pay for their sins, do they realize that God justly demands payment for their own sins?
When the world expects full atonement from these players in order to accept them back, do they realize that God also expects full atonement for their sins in order for Him to grant them acceptance and a right standing with Him?
What the world demands of others, they may not realize God demands of them.
God’s wrath is poured out against all unrighteousness of man. Every person in the world is guilty before God for their sin. Their sin separates them from God and makes them an enemy of God. His justice demands payment for sin – an infinite payment to atone for sin against an infinite God. The bad news is that, unlike players who can repay their debt to society, sinners cannot repay their debt to God. All the world is condemned and hopeless in themselves.
But the good news of the gospel of Christ is that God has provided someone else to pay for our sins. Jesus made full atonement at the cross. His death satisfied the wrath of God. And he calls the world to repentance and faith in Him.
The world withholds its mercy until the players pay for their sins. Yet God has been merciful to the world by sending His Son to pay for sin with the sacrifice of His life.
May the world look beyond their own wrath against others and see God’s just wrath against them. May they ask God to be merciful upon them for their sins. And may they trust in the Savior who paid the infinite price so they may be accepted back with God.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.” Romans 3:23-25 NIV