The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Vengeance Is Mine - Saved by God's Wrath

Isaiah 35:4 4say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance ; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”

The Bible says we have an evil self (ego). We are our own worst enemy. The Bible also says, God says, “Vengeance is mine I will repay”. When I surrender and trust God (let Him have control) ego dissolves. I accept myself totally as I let go and place my faith in God. My energy is centered and flows outside myself and I focus on the goodness of God. I become His child through acceptance and faith. As I love the enemy through acceptance God’s wrath burns away the ego. I find my worth in Christ. By turning my gaze outward on Christ I find my inner true self. It’s a paradox. When I lose myself I find myself. I become my truest self as I behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Self-consciousness dissolves with self forgetfulness. My ego (self) becomes nothing as I turn outward and find infinite value and worth in Christ. By beholding the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ I move from glory to glory. To be most myself, I need to focus on things outside myself, like Christ, worship music, or the people around me. Positive distractions that worship God shifting the focus outward include:

  • Socializing
  • Playing games
  • Exercising
  • Cooking
  • Cleaning
  • Listening to music
  • Writing
  • Doing arts and crafts
  • Solving puzzles
  • Doing things for other people

These turn our focus outward expressing our value and worth as we find a healthy self-esteem. Whatever we do we do all to the glory of God. In the worldly sense I’m nothing but valuable as a child of God. In Christ I have eternal significance as I die to self (ego). Evil is non-existence (nothing). Therefore, I forget evil self and turn my focus and attention on the good. The old self is put to death by starving it to death and not showing attention to it. My gaze is just before me.

Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. ~~ Proverbs 4:25

It’s Like riding a treadmill. To keep my balance I focus outward and right before me forward. When my focus is turned outward (not inward) on Christ I walk on water. Everything balances out. I love God above all else and my neighbor as myself. I take care of myself but this isn’t the focus. Christ is.

1 Like

This is repentance. Despising the old ego self like Jesus despised the shame. The shameful self-consciousness of the ego dissolves when I accept my true self (Christ). Despise means to reject. It’s disdain and contempt. It’s to turn away from. This is a turning your focus outward on Christ. When this happens we love and accept our inner true self. We surrender under Christs control. We let go and trust. In Christ we are eternal in significance and worth.

It’s both. After I reject myself by turning away from self (repentance) towards Christ I then totally accept myself and Christ as my focus turns outward. My energy is centered and flows outward as I balance. I love God and my neighbor as myself. The self-conscious shame and fear dissolve.

Here’s the way John Piper puts it in Desiring God:

We look away from ourselves to Him, and only then do the manifold emotions of our heart erupt in worship.

Christian Hedonism is aware that self-consciousness kills joy and therefore kills worship. As soon as you turn your eyes in on yourself and become conscious of experiencing joy, it’s gone. The Christian Hedonist knows that the secret of joy is self-forgetfulness. Yes we go to the art museum for the joy of seeing the paintings. But the counsel of Christian Hedonism is: Set your whole attention on the paintings and not your emotions, or you will ruin the whole experience. Therefore, in worship there must be a radical orientation on God, not ourselves.

Page 95

It’s the paradox of both love and hate. I’m my own worst enemy. The Bible tells us to hate the enemy. But Christ tells us not to hate alone but also to love. So, we both love and hate ourselves when we surrender and put our faith in God. Just as Jesus despised the shame we despise the demon self. Despise here means to reject and turn away from. This is repentance. It’s a change of mind or focus. We turn away from self by turning our eyes outward to Christ. As we turn to Christ we accept the self in surrendered trust under the lordship of Christ. We are accepted and loved as we are part of the family.

Philippians 4-8 Whatever Is Worthy Of Praise Think On These Things white1

This is the repentance and self-denial of George MacDonald. In Unspoken Sermons “Self Denial” MacDonald is speaking to his self saying he’s disgusted:

If I were to mind what you say, I should soon be sick of you; even now I am ever and anon disgusted with your paltry, mean face, which I meet at every turn. No! let me have the company of the Perfect One, not of you! of my elder brother, the Living One! I will not make a friend of the mere shadow of my own being! Good-bye, Self! I deny you, and will do my best every day to leave you behind me.

MacDonald above is speaking to self saying he’s disgusted with it and will leave it behind. Again, below is MacDonald contrasting neighbor with self calling self the “demon foe”

Our neighbor is our refuge; self is our demon-foe

It’s the demon foe that is evil. The self is the demon foe. The self is evil. This is what MacDonald says he is leaving behind and denying. Here’s MacDonald on repentance:

What is repentance? Turning your back upon the evil thing; pressing on to lay hold of that for which Christ laid hold upon you. To repent is to think better of it, to turn away from the evil. ~~ The Gospel in George MacDonald, Selections from his Novels, Fairy Tales, and Spiritual Writings.

Repentance is a change of mind. A turning from the evil self to Christ. Our focus turns towards Christ. Beholding the glory of the Lord we are transformed into His image from glory to glory. Here’s George MacDonald in Lilith:

“Those are not the tears of repentance!.. Self-loathing is not sorrow. Yet it is good, for it marks a step in the way home, and in the father’s arms the prodigal forgets the self he abominates.”

Just as MacDonald turned with loathing from the evil God of Calvinism, he turns with loathing of the demon self. He says is Self-Denial that he’s disgusted with his self and calls the self the demon foe. When MacDonald turns with loathing from evil he’s repenting. When we repent we have a change of mind as we turn from our demon self to Christ. I’m like George MacDonald. When I hate something I turn from it. He turned with loathing from the God of Jonathan Edwards. He hated what he considered evil. But he didn’t get violent and kill anyone. Well, a proper self hatred is the same. It’s a turning from yourself to God. This is repentance. Repentance is a turning from sin to Christ. It’s a change of mind, The focus is off of self and on Christ. This balances things out where you love God above all and others as yourself. (true self). This is a proper self esteem. A proper despising of self leads to repentance. It’s in Job 42. It’s after God questions Job. MacDonald is in agreement with Righteous Job

Then Job replied to the Lord:

“I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.
“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.’
My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.

1 Like

From Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary:


A Turning away from sin, disobedience, or rebellion and turning back to God. In a more general sense, repentance means a change of mind…By repentance one turns away from sin; by faith, one turns toward God in accepting the Lord Jesus Christ. page 975

Adopting this attitude depends on the quality of your self-love. If you feel terribly superior to others, or gripped by insecurities, your moments of empathy and absorption in people will be shallow. What you need is a complete acceptance of your character, including your flaws, which you can see clearly but even appreciate and love. You are not perfect. You are not an angel. You have the same nature as others. With this attitude, you can laugh at yourself and let slights wash over you. From a position of genuine inner strength and resilience, you can more easily direct your attention outward. ~~ Robert Greene, The Laws of Human Nature, page 50.