I know I said that the Supremacy of God was up next, but I will have to renege on that promise. It is a tough subject to approach, not that any other attribute of God is easy to understand. But much more thought needs to be placed into it. So instead, we look at the wrath of God, something I have thought about for quite a bit.
Here’s a question: Does the church in general today ignore this attribute of God?
There is much talk of love, but there is more talk of wrath than love in the Bible. Arthur Pink, in his book, The Attributes of God (a recommended read I would say), brings up this point, stating that a careful search of the concordance shows us that the Bible speaks more of the wrath, anger and fury of God than His love or tenderness.
The subject of wrath has become taboo in some Christian circles. Man cannot reconcile an angry God with a loving God. And they would rather have a loving God than an angry God.Therefore the God of love, the God who IS love, can’t possible be the God of wrath.
The problem with this seeming contradiction lies in a deficient misunderstanding of the holiness and goodness of God and the depravity of man. God is morally perfect. He is good. And as such He cannot, nor will He tolerate evil. Evil must be dealt with. And the ‘dealing with’ is the manifestation of the wrath of God.
But then man surely is not subject to the wrath of God. After all, we’re not all evil. There are some good people. Yet again, the Bible states otherwise – “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” We are evil creatures. We have rejected the source of all life, our Creator and Sustainer. That is evil. We may beg to differ – after all we do not go around committing what we consider evil acts, such as killing or raping. But we have committed the ONE supremely evil act of rebellion against God. And it is from this act that all lesser evils against our fellow Man flows forth.
So we have a good, holy and loving God, who will not allow evil to persist forever. He will bring down His fist and crush evil forever. There is joy in this fact, that evil will not go unpunished. That there is justice. The God of wrath is the God of justice.
Taking this down to a personal level, this is somewhat coloured by the reality which we find ourselves living in. We want a God of justice, but we don’t want to let judgment fall on us. Yet we can’t have one without the other. All will be judged. And we will be found wanting. The God of wrath, the God of justice is a terrifying prospect in this light.
But the God of wrath is the God of love. He has provided a means of escape. He has provided a Redeemer. Jesus Christ is the propitiation for our sin, if we put our faith in Him and follow Him. Propitiation is a word that supposes wrath. It means the appeasement of wrath. And I believe it also signifies the restoration of joy. The God of wrath is a reality worth rejoicing in yet again, because we know history will terminate in judgment, that there will be moral retribution. Good is repaid with good. Evil is repaid with evil. We no longer need to be terrified, having escaped from the consuming fire of the wrath of our God, and we know that our good works are not in vain.
The unchanging God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Revealing Himself to Moses, He proclaimed His name as such – “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.”
He is the God of love. And He is the God of wrath. But note one more thing – He is a patient God. He is slow to anger. That’s for the next post.
A few other questions for you to ponder:
- Why is the wrath of God such a taboo subject? Would you bring it up as you tell the gospel to your friends?
- What sort of balance should we aim for in a gospel presentation? Yes, God is a God of love and grace. But He is also a God of wrath. And we cannot understand grace and love in their proper context without first comprehending the reality of God’s wrath. How do we incorporate both elements?
- The wrath of God is surely one of God’s many perfect attributes. Yet we may not perceive it as such. Why? What should our attitudes be towards the wrath of God? What are our attitudes like?