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Series: “The Manifold Wisdom of God”
Title: “The Wrath of
Man Shall Praise Thee.”
Text: Psalm 76:10
Subject: God’s Wisdom in Using Evil
Date: Sunday Evening — September 7, 2014
Readings: Allen Kibby and Mark Henson
Is there any explanation for the existence of evil? Why did the holy Lord God allow sin to enter into and mar his creation? Why would a holy God permit sin to exist? Did he merely allow it? Did he merely permit it? Or, did he decree it, predestine it, order it, and ordain it?
· Either he could not prevent it, which is absurd (Abimelech)…
· Or he was determined to overrule it for good.
What does God say about this matter? James tells us plainly that “the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (James 1:20). Yet, the Scriptures clearly assert God’s absolute control of all evil and display his wisdom and grace in using evil is the accomplishment of redemption (Isaiah 45:5-7; Proverbs 16:4; Psalm 76:10).
Amos 3:6 Shall there be evil in the city, and the Lord hath not done it?
Isaiah 45:5-7 (5) I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: (6) That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. (7) I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
Proverbs 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
Now, here’s my text — Psalm 76:10.
Psalm 76:10 Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.
“The Wrath of Man Shall Praise Thee” — That is my subject. — “The Wrath of Man Shall Praise Thee.” Read the text again. — “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.”
The evil that is in man is in all things absolutely controlled by God. The evil deeds of men are sovereignly overruled by God and made to work for his praise. And the evil designs, desires, and intentions in men, which God will not use for his own praise, he sovereignly restrains.
Do you see how great our God is? — With great sovereignty and infinite wisdom, he ordained that sin and evil and wrath enter into and mar his creation that he might overrule it to show forth the great glory and magnificence of his own Being in the accomplishment of our redemption by Christ Jesus! — And the evil which cannot be used for his own praise he will not allow. To put it in the words of Thomas Manton –—
“God many times gets up in the world on Satan’s shoulders. When matters are raveled and disordered, he can find out the right end of the thread, and how to disentangle us again. And when we have spoiled a business, he can dispose it for good, and make an advantage of those things which seem to obscure the glory of his name.”
Let me show you some illustrations of the fact stated in our text in the Scriptures. — “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.”
· God sent Satan to afflict Job so that Job might praise him (Job 1-2). But he would not allow Satan to destroy Job.
· God ordained Joseph’s brothers to sell him into Egyptian slavery (Genesis 50:19-20). But he would not allow them to kill their brother. —— That Israel might be brought down to Egypt. —— That they might be bondmen for 400 years. —— That he might glorify himself in the deliverance of his people.
Had Joseph’s brothers not sold him into slavery, Israel would never have gone into Egypt, Moses would never have become a deliverer, the Passover would never have been kept, and Israel would have never crossed the Red Sea.
· God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and Pharaoh afflicted, persecuted, and tormented his church, that he might show forth his greatness, his power, and his glory in the overthrow of the mighty Egyptian monarch (Exodus 9:16; 18:11).
Exodus 9:16 And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.
Exodus 18:11 Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them.
· And God foreordained that the Jews and Romans crucify his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, that he might by the death of his Son accomplish our redemption (Acts 2:23).
Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
For the past four weeks, I have been talking to you about “The Manifold Wisdom of God.” Tonight, I want to show you the wisdom of God in sovereignly overruling and using sin and evil, that he might glorify himself in the redemption of sinners by Christ.
Proposition: God’s eternal purpose of grace to save fallen sinners by the merits of his own dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, shows forth his great, infinite wisdom in using the wrath of men, using the evil deeds of evil men to accomplish the redemption of his elect.
To all who believe, the gospel of Christ is both the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24). My message will be brief. But I want your undivided attention, as I make five statements, by which I hope to show you the great wisdom of God in using evil for the salvation of sinners by the precious blood of Christ. —— The Lord our God is a God of purpose; and his purpose includes all the evil that is in the world.
God’s Greatest Dishonor
First, By his eternal purpose of grace through redemption, God’s greatest dishonor has been made the occasion of his greatest glory. — What can be more dishonoring to God than sin? Sin is enmity against God. Sin is contempt for God. As Bro. Scott Richardson put it, “Sin is an attempt by man to rape God himself and rob him of his glory.” Man by his sin and rebellion has dishonored God. But this dishonor, by God’s eternal purpose of grace in Christ, is so wisely and sovereignly overruled by God that it provides a background for the greatest possible manifestation of God’s glory.
Jonathan Edwards, that brilliant instrument of God in the great awakening, wrote, “Sin, the greatest evil, is made an occasion of the greatest good.”
· Had there never been a fall, there would have always been the possibility of a fall.
· Had sin never entered into the world, God would never have entered human flesh.
· Had there been no sin, Christ would never have redeemed us.
· Had there been no sin, the mercy, love, and grace of God, as we now know them would have been unknown.
· Had there been no sin, there would have been no adoption.
· Had there been no sin, there would have been no saving grace. — “Where sin abounded grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20).
· Had there been no sin, there would have been no song of praise to the Lamb of God in heaven (Revelation 5:9-14).
Sin, the greatest evil in the world, by the wisdom of God, has become an occasion for the greatest possible manifestation of God’s glory.
Sin attempts to dethrone God; but it has instead given God opportunity to show forth his royal majesty and glory more fully than could have been possible otherwise. Yes, blessed be his name, the Lord our God is the Ruler even of sin (Psalm 76:10; Isaiah 45:7).
Man by sin slights and despises God; but God by forgiving sin, appears more gloriously honorable than he could had there been no sin to forgive (Psalms 103:8-13; 25:11).
Psalm 103:8-13 (8) The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. (9) He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. (10) He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. (11) For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. (12) As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. (13) Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.
Psalm 25:11 For thy name's sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great.
Sin is contempt for the authority and the law of God; but God, by redeeming us from sin in Christ, gives greater honor to his law than man could ever have given it, even if he had never sinned.
It was a far greater honor to the law that Christ became subject to it, obeyed it, and fulfilled it than if all men had done so. God’s authority as God is far more highly honored by the respect and obedience given to him by Christ than he could be by the perfect obedience of all angels and men.
· The incarnation – “Lo, I come.”
· The temptation
· Calvary (Romans 8:4; Galatians 4:4-6; Isaiah 42:21)
Romans 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Galatians 4:4-6 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, (5) To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (6) And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Isaiah 42:21 The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.
Man, by his sin, shows his enmity against the holiness of God; but man’s sin gives the blackest possible background for the greatest possible revelation of God’s holiness. The holiness of God never appeared to so magnificently as it did when God executed vengeance upon his own dear Son, when he was made to be sin for us (Isaiah 53:1-10).
Isaiah 53:1-10 (1) Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? (2) For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. (3) He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (4) Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. (5) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (7) He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. (8) He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. (9) And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. (10) Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
Secondly, we see the wisdom of God in our redemption by Christ in that those attributes of God which seem to require the destruction of sinners are most clearly revealed in the salvation of sinners. It would naturally appear to anyone, whose reason has not been perverted by false religion, that fallen man must be destroyed by a holy God. The justice, holiness, and truth of God seem to require the destruction of every sinner. The great and holy God is One “that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and fourth generation” (Exodus 34:7).
· The justice of God requires that sin be punished as it deserves. And it deserves to be punished with everlasting destruction (Romans 6:23).
· The holiness of God cannot bear to look upon sin and demands that sinners be banished forever from his presence (Psalm 5:5; 7:11; 11:4-7).
· The truth of God demands eternal death to be executed upon every transgressor (Ezekiel 18:20).
Yet, God in great wisdom found a way to save sinners that is not only consistent with, but glorifying to his justice, holiness, and truth (Job 33:24; Romans 3:24-26).
Romans 3:24-26 (24) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (25) Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (26) To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Through the substitutionary sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ in the place of sinners…
· Justice is vindicated.
· Holiness is maintained.
· Truth is uncompromised (Proverbs 16:6).
Thirdly, not only are these attributes consistent with our redemption, but the justice, holiness, and truth of God demand the eternal salvation of every sinner for whom Christ died upon the cursed tree. —— Please be sure you understand what I am saying. We believe in an effectual atonement. We believe, according to the Scriptures, that the Lord Jesus Christ actually redeemed and justified every soul for whom he died, and that by his death upon the cross, he infallibly secured the eternal salvation of God’s elect (Hebrews 9:12; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18).
Hebrews 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.
To suggest, as most people do, that Christ died for those who perish under the wrath of God in hell is to deny the justice of God, impugn the holiness of God, and repudiate the truth of God. Indeed, it is to trample underfoot the blood of Christ, as a common, unholy, useless waste!
The justice of God, having been satisfied by the blood of Christ, demands the salvation of every redeemed sinner. Yes, our salvation in Christ is as much a matter of justice as it is a matter of grace. It is but an act of justice for a creditor to release a debtor of all obligation when his debt has been fully paid.
If Jesus my discharge procured,
And freely I my room endured
The whole of wrath divine,
Payment God cannot twice demand,
First at my bleeding Surety’s hand,
And then again at mine.
The holiness of God, having been honored and maintained by Christ, demands the salvation of all for whom Christ lived upon the earth (Romans 5:19). Christ’s righteousness being made ours, God’s holiness fully approves of us!
The truth of God demands that every sinner who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ be saved (Psalm 85:10; Romans 10:9-13).
Psalm 85:10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
Romans 10:9-13 (9) That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (10) For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (11) For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (12) For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. (13) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
· God the Father promised his Son that he would save all whom he redeemed (Psalm 2:8; Isaiah 53:9-10).
· God the Son promised sinners that he would receive all who come to him (John 6:37-40).
· God the Spirit promised that he would keep every believer in grace (Ephesians 1:13-14).
Fourthly, we see the wisdom of God in his purpose of redemption by Christ in that those attributes of God which seemed to require our destruction appear most glorious in our salvation.
The justice of God is infinitely more glorious in our redemption by the death of Christ than it could be if all mankind had suffered the wrath of God forever in hell. He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked.
“If man had remained under the guilt and imputation of sin, the justice of God would not have had such a trial, as it had when his own Son was under the imputation of sin. If all mankind had stood guilty, and justice had called for vengeance upon them, that would not have been such a trial of the inflexibleness and unchangeableness of the justice of God, as when he own Son, who was the object of his infinite love, and in whom he infinitely delighted, stood with the imputation of guilt upon him.”
—— Jonathan Edwards
Now we know that God is no respecter of persons. When justice found sin upon God’s own dear Son, the Son of God was slain under penalty of the law.
The majesty of God is more evident in the salvation of sinners by Christ than it could be were all the world cast into hell. It is one thing for the King of the universe to punish such worms as we are. But for God to punish his own dear Son, the greatest man ever to live, when sin was found on him, is to proclaim the majesty of his Being to all the world (Lamentations 1:12.)
Lamentations 1:12-14 (12) Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger. (13) From above hath he sent fire into my bones, and it prevaileth against them: he hath spread a net for my feet, he hath turned me back: he hath made me desolate and faint all the day. (14) The yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand: they are wreathed, and come up upon my neck: he hath made my strength to fall, the Lord hath delivered me into their hands, from whom I am not able to rise up.
· Christ’s sufferings were of infinite value.
· Christ’s sufferings were infinitely effectual.
· Christ’s sufferings were infinitely satisfactory.
· Christ’s sufferings warn sinners of the infinitely dreadful Majesty whom we must meet in judgment.
Consistent with God
Here is the wisdom of God. —– Redemption by the Lord Jesus Christ is so sufficient a way of salvation that it is altogether consistent with all the attributes of God to save the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).
1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
For great sinners, there is great grace from the great God, by our great Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:20-21).
Romans 5:20-21 (20) Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: (21) That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
· His grace is sovereign (Romans 9:16-18)!
· His grace is boundless!
· His grace is free!
· His grace is immutable (Malachi 3:6)!
· His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9)!
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Psalm 76:10 Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.