No doubt you have heard of the only true and living God. Perhaps you know a Christian who has told you of the kindness and compassion and grace and mercy and love of God. Your Christian friend has assured you that God loves you personally and sent His one and only Son into the world to become the Saviour for sinners.

Maybe you have noticed in your Bible, that the very same God who loves every sinner also hates sin and punishes sin. In fact, when you read of the very real displays of God’s wrath in the Bible you have conflicting thoughts about Him. How could a God of love also hate something? How could a God who is thrilled to graciously bless a sinner with salvation also be a God of wrath and punishment?

National Church Committee’s Dilemma
Recently an American church committee was working on a new hymn book for their many churches across the nation. (1) Christian hymns, old and new were up for consideration. One of the more popular hymns in recent years, ‘In Christ Alone’ was carefully studied. For a number of years, this contemporary hymn has consistently been in the Top 20 songs sung in Christian churches around the world. (2)

Six out of the nine church committee members found just one line in the hymn objectionable. They asked the co-authors of the hymn, Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, for permission to change that one line to “the love of God was magnified” but their request was denied. (3)

Read the lyrics below and see if you can identify the offensive line.

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! Who took on flesh
Fulness of God in helpless babe!
This Gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied –
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine –
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

You will agree that the lyrics are powerfully uplifting – especially to those who have experienced the forgiveness of their sins and the release from all guilt; especially to those who are no longer in darkness or in some kind of addictive bondage; especially to those who are no longer restless and fearful about their future but are flooded with peace and security. Yes, the lyrics express the sentiments of sinners who have been reached by God’s love and saved by His grace.

Do you see anything in the above lyrics that causes you to worship and praise God?

One Offending Truth
The church committee objected to this one line: “The wrath of God was satisfied.” Are you offended by this line? Do you think it conflicts with the truth that ‘God is love’?

God has many attributes and all are equally true about His character. In addition to the attribute of love, God is righteous – always right and only approves what is right. God is just and never unfair. He never compromises His righteous and sin-free standards. Violations of His perfect and holy sin-free laws require Him to punish the offenders. He is not some renegade judge who sweeps-under-the-carpet the sins of some and harshly deals with the sins of others. He is not a God of preferential treatment or bias. His righteous wrath is required because sin has offended His holy character.

On a human level, if someone ever hurts or harms or violates you or your family in some way, you would want a ‘good’ judge in the courtroom to ensure the offender does not escape penalty and punishment. On an infinitely greater scale – God is the Perfect Judge.

Satisfaction to God
The thrilling news about God is, in addition to being the Perfect Judge, He is also a merciful God of amazing grace and love. The Gospel story itself revolves around the cross where God’s love and His justice met together and kissed each other – so to speak. (Psalm 85:10) In His love, God sent His Son to pay the penalty of our sin and to bear the wrath for sin so that His Justice could be satisfied and His love released for the benefit of all.

Salvation to Sinners
Without getting technical about ‘the wrath of God being satisfied’ a few verses from the Bible will help explain the truth. “The wages of sin is death…” Romans 6:23. Sin against the eternal God demands eternal death and that’s what you read about in Revelation 20:14-15. But when “Christ died for our sins,” (Romans 5:8) He “bore our sins in His own body on the cross.” (1Peter 2:24) Isaiah 53:6 says “the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.” A similar verse in the New Testament explains it this way: “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” (2Corinthians 5:21) The justice and wrath of God were satisfied by the death of Christ and God’s love for you and for me and for all was released. By virtue of His death on the Cross, you can now be brought safely by Christ to God for full and eternal acceptance – salvation. (1Peter 3:18)

Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied –
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

Good News for You
If you have never placed your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ by embracing Him as your personal Saviour, why not admit your sins in repentance to God and trust Christ right now. Personal faith in Christ alone brings you eternally into God’s family. It is called salvation. It is called the ‘new birth’ – being born again. You will experience the complete forgiveness of sins and full acceptance by God. Eternal life will be yours as God’s free gift to you.

Final Warning
The Bible is clear – if you refuse to accept God’s Son as your Saviour, the Innocent One who bore the wrath of God on the Cross for sin, then you will experience the wrath of God forever in the place of eternal torment. (John 3:36, Revelation 20:11-15) The choice is yours.

For more discussion or help click here.   To listen to ‘In Christ Alone’ click here.