What does wrath and conflict and anger and war and all that kind of thing really mean?
When we look at some biblical ideas, we see such things as “The Spirit and the flesh are opposed”, or such like. Paul found that “he could not do what he wanted.” Galatians talks about “You cannot do what you want”.
Conflict is where there are two opposing “forces”. There are two groups of some kind, that want different things, or want different outcomes from the same set of conditions or criteria.
Basically we can confine most of this initially to the inside of our minds. This is where the action is, this is where we are who we are or who we are not, (or who we think we are) according to the established inner thought patterns of our minds.
Paul found that his mind wanted one thing (the thing the law described), but his flesh, as an opposing force, wanted something different. Here it was an unwinnable confliction of desires, because Paul had no resources with which to “fight” the “battle”. He was a dead man before he began, and he had to wear the reality of his weakness firmly entrenched in his consciousness. He felt “wretchedness”.
Galatians is not about Paul’s mind versus his flesh, but is conflict between Law (flesh) and Spirit, being the supposed conflict of a believer, whereas Paul and his mind did not have the Spirit on his side. (In Romans 7 he was under law). Galatians puts the case of not being under law as the means of victory, and the way of not being under law was to be led by the Spirit. (Which is where Paul got to in Romans 8). The Spirit is victory over the flesh by eliminating law (death) from the picture. [now it is the Spirit of life]
Conflict has a reaction within us as pain. If our conscience has been destroyed by drugs or brainwashing or cultish indoctrination, we may not sense that inner pain.
The condition called “hell” may or not be sensed in this life, depending on how sensitive our conscience is. The thing about hell, is that it will be an uncluttered, clear state of consciousness that will be presented with the knowledge of the pure love of God, along with clear knowledge of what we have done or not done in our lives. [how we have betrayed love].
In this sense, the very presence of love before us, may be distressing to the point of extreme anguish. As Jesus said also, it may be the knowledge of the missing out on love (the kingdom of love) that gives rise to this anguish, described as weeping and gnashing of teeth.
This confliction of the opposing entities of what we are, compared to what He is, is what is called the wrath of God. It causes distress, it was what Paul in Romans 7 was experiencing. The love that we all so much want to experience, if not satisfied within, if not fulfilled during our lifetime, will be the stressor that causes us such grief when we meet up with that love we denied ourselves. The gap between the love we could have had and the love we do not contain.
The imbalance of substances causes a reaction like a chemical reaction. Fire and paper are not reconcilable, burning must result. Believers are those who have been saturated in fire retardant, who are immune to flame, and are only affected by it inasmuch as bits of them missed out on the retardant, in which case those bits burn but they themselves emerge alive.
The reality of it is the difference between righteousness and unrighteousness, or love and non-love, since both of these are the nature of God himself. We might also include lie and truth. The difference in the two states sets up stress between them that has to be resolved. God is not going to change, so the other thing WILL. In biblical terms, the gap between Him and unbelievers, from a righteousness point of view, is so great as to cause the destruction of the person. (Leaving them neither root nor branch).
We see this “great gulf/gap” in the parable about the rich man in hell, who is experiencing anguish from flame. The flame doesn’t have to be literal, but the effect of it does. “If the righteous are scarcely saved, where will the sinner stand?” This represents the described gap. Also the effect or not of having been transferred into the kingdom.
The gift of the Spirit to believers, beyond initial salvation, presents to them the ongoing conflicting differences between themselves and God, and provides an environment in which those differences can be altered so as to allow conformity to the Spirit. [ Initially “The law brings wrath” but believers move from this wrath into forgiveness].
The reality of all of this was met by Jesus on the cross, where He allowed himself to be subject to all the conflicting forces of sin that are inherent in man’s inner nature. The anguish of his pure Spirit in meeting with the inner corruption of the flesh, righteousness meeting unrighteousness, was a tremendous conflict from which He emerged victorious, and which resulted in the defeat of death both on our behalf but also in his body. Though death resulted (He willingly gave up His spirit) it could not hold him. He had been given authority to take take up his life again. Resurrection, immortality results.
He gives us permission, NO, commands us to believe that he has dealt with and removed the penalty of all sin, forever, It is no longer an issue, but unless you so believe, you will remain in death, dead. So it is by acceptance of his word that we are saved, by the reception of the Spirit of life, his very self, who returns to be with us “forever”.
He has brought forward OUR ultimate conflict so as to present to us its overcoming. The battle is over, the war has been won. It is by the strength of our faith in this [Him] that we also will overcome our doubts and unbelief and so participate in the divine nature. The pretender to the throne has been thrown down, has lost his seat of power. We are to see the war as won, and doubting, as temptation that comes from a stricken enemy, desperate to make us believe his wounds are not fatal. Resist him.