Light-bulb moments occur frequently for me while I am preaching. A fresh understanding, or application, of Scripture jumps off the page as the Holy Spirit illuminates, connects dots, and snaps mental puzzle pieces together to help me see a clearer, more beautiful portrait of Christ. It happened again this past Lord’s Day while preaching Psalm 2, on the theme of the ultimate kingship of God mediated through the rule of His Son, the Anointed One, the King of Kings. The perfect blend of grace and truth made visible in Jesus, and which I long to someday emulate, moved again to the forefront of my mind.
To the rulers of the nations, the psalmist issued forth this warning: “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled.” The nations that dared to exalt themselves above and against God are rightfully warned of His just wrath if they choose not to repent. However, in the very next sentence, he also offers good news to those who will repent and trust in the Lord, “Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Ps 2:12).
I immediately thought of my Jesus, all that He is for me, the joyful weight of His merciful example, and the manner in which I confront my own sin, respond to fellow sinners, and how we counsel one another. Psalm 2:12 arrested me. It renewed my mind with two simple, yet connected truths.
Jesus, the Son of God, though rightfully angry at sin and sinners, speedily forgives and protects those who take refuge in Him. Jesus is the sinner’s protection from the Father’s wrath. In Christ, God became the just and the justifier of those who place their faith in Jesus. In Jesus we are safe. For your own personal study consider a few examples: john 8:1-11; Romans 3:21-26; 1 John 1:8 – 2:1).
As a believer—a follower of Jesus Christ—I carry within me the divine obligation and privilege to mimic Him by offering grace and mercy toward all who sin against me. After over 20 years as a biblical counselor, I must confess that the most dominant heart problem that surfaces time and time again is the lack of forgiveness. And yet, by very definition, one of the realities of what it means to truly be a Christian is to be a forgiven member of a forgiven community that consistently manifests the glory of God to the world as we freely offer one another forgiveness fueled by biblical love. For your own personal study consider just a few examples: Ephesians 4:32; 1 Corinthians 13:5-6; Colossians 3:12-13; and the book of Philemon.
It was at the Cross of Jesus that the love of God, holiness of God, wrath of God, righteousness of God, mercy of God, grace of God, and love of God all kissed each other. Therefore, we are never more like Jesus than when we withhold the power to punish for personal offenses in order to grant mercy and grace instead.
The Scriptures warn each of us as sinners to kiss the Son lest He become angry—bow before the King of Kings—and believe in Him and His sufficient ability to protect us from the wrath of God that we all deserve. When we bow before Jesus as King, and hide behind His righteousness and blood as Savior, we can truly say, “How blessed are all who take refuge in Him.”