Paul says we should be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
Rom 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. (AMP)
When we fell in the garden we ate the wrong fruit. This consumption of the knowledge of good and evil so changed the way we think that we lost sight of the true nature of God. We hid in the bushes in fear of a loving God. We “died” to the knowledge of the truth of God and instead embraced fear and shame. We made coverings for our shame, we made excuses for our behavior and we blamed each other for our mistakes. We never once turned to be rescued by infinite love but He turned to us and rescued us from our shame.
Thousands of years later Jesus comes in person to reveal the Truth of God. Jesus is that Truth. He is the Word of God. He is the Way to the Father. He is the door to the Kingdom. He is the exact representation of God. When we see Jesus we see the Father. We actually don’t need anything else. We need only Jesus to know the nature of our Father in Heaven. He inhabits us as His children so we are constantly reminded of His nature and love for us. We are His favorites, His expression of love on Earth, His bride, His family. So when we come to know Jesus we shed our old fallen-nature way of thinking. That fallen-Adam understanding makes us hide in the bushes. We begin to see the truth that God is not angry at His children. As fallen-humans we see everything through our broken and contaminated judger to include what we think about God. The enemy uses this fallen-thinking against us in the form of fear founded in religion. That is why Jesus came. We now have permission to look for a good and loving and kind and peaceful God. We no longer need to fear an angry, vengeful, blood-thirsty, penal-payment-seeking God. Jesus is what God looks like.
So I want to show you how this fallen way of thinking is so pervasive it finds its way into our Bibles. Want to take a little trip of discovery? Please understand that this is my opinion and hopefully you find permission to ask questions with faith in a good God. Jesus is your answer. The Holy Spirit is your guide. If looking for a good God is too stretching for you then I understand and you are free to reject anything you read here. If you are hungry for more and want to be set free in your mind of an angry God way of thinking, read ahead and enjoy!
Check out this verse:
Eph 2:3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (ESV)
See that phrase “children of wrath?” When you think of a child what comes to mind? You think of a family, blood line, heritage, inheritance, family values, traditions, reunions, siblings, holidays, vacations and probably more “family” stuff. So what does it mean to be a child of wrath? It means “wrath” is your parent. What is the relationship between parent and child? Parents pass down to their children what they have in their DNA, tradition, heritage, values, etc. So what does it mean to be child of wrath? The Greek word is orgé and I have covered it a bunch in posts like this one. It can be translated: anger, wrath, passion, punishment, vengeance, settled anger, to swell up or impulse. There are other translations substitutions we could make for “flesh” and “mind” and “desires” but I’ll save you the details. So this verse could read like this in the Lance Literal Translation:
Eph 2:3 among whom we all once lived from our fallen-nature desires to the point of following through on fallen-human impulses and poisoned-thinking logic. We were children of anger and hate and vengeance and rage desiring punishment and payback for offenses. We were just like the rest of fallen-mankind in our thinking. (LLT)
OK, for me that is pretty clear would you agree? Children of wrath is a bad thing, yes? Thank you Jesus for delivering us from all that junk. He sets us free to become His love while living His life.
Check out a few other translations of the same verse:
All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. (NIV)
All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. (NLT)
We also were employed in those works from the first in the desires of our flesh, and we were doing the will of our flesh and of our minds, and we were entirely children of rage, as the rest. (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)
All of us once lived among these people, and followed the desires of our corrupt nature. We did what our corrupt desires and thoughts wanted us to do. So, because of our nature, we deserved God’s anger just like everyone else (GWT)
among whom also we all did walk once in the desires of our flesh, doing the wishes of the flesh and of the thoughts, and were by nature children of wrath — as also the others, (YLT)
The last one is the Young’s Literal Translation. It is the closest to the Greek Interlinear as you come. The word for “God” is not in the original language. There is no “Theos” in the text. Are you surprised?
So why do some translations insert God as the administrator of “wrath?” I think it is an excellent question. You need to ask the Holy Spirit for an answer. My answer is our fallen-nature naturally sees God as the administrator of wrath (the horrific kind). Jesus does not demonstrate or suggest the kind of wrath that mankind is actually capable of. Jesus’ “judgment” and “wrath” was to die on a cross to reconcile all of us to God. Jesus was raised from the dead and instead of torching us with a divine flame thrower until we were match sticks, He loved us into the Kingdom. He actually came as the Holy Spirit to make His home in us. He told us and showed us how to forgive. He actually gives us the commission to and tells us we should be forgiving people of their sins:
John 20:21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”(ESV)
This is just one example of many where you get to decide what you will believe. Is God angry and full of blood lust for a penal payment? Does He want to torture people for ever and ever because they sinned out of a broken relationship with their Father? Does God need to punish people to get them to act differently or does He want to take away their shame? I believe Jesus demonstrates very clearly the nature of God in His love. God’s nature is forgiveness. God’s expression is Grace. Our fallen nature is the problem. Jesus comes to deliver us from our sin, fallen nature thinking, the fear of death and the works of the devil. He liberates us into a loving relationship with our Abba Father.
So go ahead and ask the right questions. All we need is a mustard seed of faith. Faith isn’t what we know but who we know. One tiny bit of trust in a GOOD GOD is all we need. He does the rest. Go find His goodness. Oh yeah, stop being a child of wrath. That really sucks. Jesus sets us free from all that angry, mean, hateful desire for vengeance and payback when someone “offends” us. Jesus was the most “offended” person who ever lived. His response was forgiveness. We have His life. We have His love. We have His power to forgive.