A distorted image of God has evolved in the minds of modern Americans. It’s no longer acceptable to believe that God hates sin and that his justice demands sin be punished. We eagerly embrace a God who created heaven but we soundly reject a God who warns of impending hell for the disobedient and rebellious.
God is love. He is also a God of wrath. A.W. Pink addressed this issue: “The wrath of God is His eternal detestation of all unrighteousness. It is the displeasure and indignation of Divine equity against evil. It is the holiness of God stirred into activity against sin.” Put even more simply, Divine wrath is God’s righteous anger and punishment, provoked by sin.
God loves purity and hates sin. There is a marvelous balance between His mercy and His justice, His compassion and His wrath. “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations” – Exodus 34:6-7.
The wrath of God is measured in proportion to the sin that provokes it. The wrath of God is a demonstration of His holiness, His freedom from sin, His intense hatred for all things evil. We, too, should hate sin as God hates sin. As it is a stench in His nostrils, so should it be in ours. As it breaks His heart and stirs His anger, so should it also break our hearts and stir our anger.
In this post-modern age, it’s just not “cool” to speak of God’s wrath. It is the one attribute of God that we seem to be ashamed of. We cover our lips and whisper of his wrath as if it is a character flaw. We act like the children of a father with a gambling problem or a father who spends his weekends tipping the bottle and ignoring his family. The truth is that the wrath of God affirms His holiness. He would not be holy if He was incapable of love, nor would He be holy if He failed to demonstrate His hatred for all that is sinful and unholy.
He demonstrates His love for us by sending His only begotten Son to hang on the cross and become a target for the wrath of the Father. When John the Baptist saw Jesus approaching, he said to his disciples, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) While Jesus hung on the cross with the weight of the world’s sin on His shoulders, He was pummeled by the severe wrath of God. Christ, in his humanity, was feeling the weight of the Father’s wrath when He cried, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
God is merciful and loving, but even God’s rope has an end. It’s not as if He boils with anger until He finally has a temper tantrum and explodes like a volcano. God is never ‘out of control’ in His anger. The Psalmist spoke of the endurance of God’s mercy by indicating that it lasts all day long. But at the end of the day God must be true to His nature. He ceases to be God if He is all mercy and no justice or if He is all justice and no mercy. God’s children, who rejoice in His love, may also rejoice in His wrath because it has provided us with salvation and it promises to place us beyond the reach of sin in the eternity to come.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.