If we are all sinners, all of our sins must be dealt with in some way. Either you will pay for your sins in eternity, or Christ has already paid for them on Calvary.
9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.1 Thessalonians 5:9-10
I can’t think of anything more relieving to read than “God did not appoint us to wrath” (1 Thess. 5:9). While that is a biblical concept, many Christians struggle to accept it. You have probably heard specific descriptions of death and the afterlife, including certain punishments when we arrive. That type of understanding cannot work in light of scriptural promises.
If I deserve God’s wrath, but I’m not appointed to it, where did it go? It fell on Jesus—all of it.
If you are in Christ, Jesus took all the punishment heading in your appropriate direction and became your willing substitute.
Paul did not say that wrath was gone. He said that God wasn’t going to give wrath to “us.” Who is that group of people? It is the church. Wrath still awaits those outside of a relationship with Jesus. Either you or Jesus will be responsible for the punishment of your sin. There is no middle ground.
- If you have trusted in Christ, your punishment went to Him.
- If you are still trusting in yourself, your punishment still awaits.
God will not make you suffer for something Jesus has already paid in full.
Heaven won’t be heavenly if we have to experience punishments for earthly sins. If you have received the gospel, wrath is not awaiting you.
How can you be sure that you have such salvation? The reason you give for your salvation determines its validity.
How would you finish this statement?
I’m a Christian because:
- Did you say this because of your family’s religion?
- Did you mention that you try to be a good person?
- Is your answer contingent upon being baptized or being in a church?
The answer is that we “obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:9). The only way anyone is saved is through our Lord Jesus Christ. You may still be lost if you, your family, or your church were the reason for your salvation.
If you have never trusted in Christ, what’s stopping you from doing that now? If you can confess you deserve God’s wrath but believe that Jesus went to the cross so you wouldn’t have to endure it, trust Him as your substitute and be saved today.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.