When you spend something, you exhaust that thing. Say you have lots of energy, and you go for a run. That run would spend or exhaust your energy. Another example is a battery that still has charge, but if you spend its power, you will no longer have it. In both cases the energy or power has been exhausted on something. It doesn’t simply vanish!
This is immediately relevant to us. We are building up something that is for us fearful, each day. When we sin, we store up wrath for ourselves. Wrath in this case means righteous anger that will be frightening on judgement day. The longer we go on, the more wrath is stored up that one day must be spent! and since it must be spent on us, we’re in trouble. Because God is just, he will expend that wrath. But there’s good news!
The wrath of God against sin, which all mankind had earned, was utterly depleted, spent and exhausted on almighty Jesus! Someone strong enough to enter human flesh and receive the complete wrath of God, was found in Jesus! He did just that. If we trust in Jesus’ finished work, then we can receive this forgiveness. At the cross the wrath of God was spent or exhausted on Jesus, “for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1John 2:2) Spent means both fulfilled and completed. That it is completed means that God’s just wrath does not need to be against you, and fulfilled means that it was without any miscarriage of justice. Exhausted means used up, depleted, no more wrath against those who trust in Jesus.
More fully, not only did God spend and exhaust the payment due to us (of wrath), Jesus gave to God, the Father, the obedience due from us, and the life we owed for using our God supplied lives for selfish pursuits.
Therefore, whoever repents and believes in Jesus “will have eternal life.” Let go of the sins that sink you down into the dark place of death. Cling to Jesus, whose loving arms can draw you out of the darkness and into the light of life.
But there is a warning:
“how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?…”
“Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.”
Yet there is a promise:
“But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.””
The Lord Jesus Christ has brought us salvation by absorbing the righteous and just wrath of God to give us forgiveness. What a wonderful promise!