Monthly Archives: February 2014
THE MENTIONING Of God’s wrath is extremely distasteful amidst popular evangelicalism today. How anyone can call themselves evangelical when they believe and deliberately proclaim only half of God’s truth is a wonder in and of itself.
The love and wrath of God go hand in hand; one cannot be realised without the other; take away one and you lose the profundity of the other. “The background of God’s love is holiness” (Oswald Chambers) and because of God’s love, He will obliterate sin out of us, but in our day and culture, many emphatically declare God’s love at the expense of His holiness (in direct contradistinction to all that sin is) and all His other attributes (to include His wrath) that are perfectly equal in measure; to think and state otherwise (to what Scripture reveals) is to declare that God is less than Who He is.
The Apostle Paul, in the first three chapters of Romans, builds up an irrefutable argument that reveals the whole world lies guilty and accountable to God; there is no one who does good; there is no one righteous (Romans 3:9-20) – according to our standard there may be, but in God’s eyes, unless our purity far outweighs that of the most respectable religious leaders in Jesus’ day, we are in serious trouble. Of course, that leads us to despair of ourselves, for who can surpass the greatest moralist that doesn’t impress God? The Law of God condemns everyone outside of Christ; it holds all of us accountable; it exposes our sinfulness. It has to, for if it doesn’t, we will never feel the desperate need for Christ; we will never see Him as our Redeemer – we may see Him as One Who delivers us from our troubles, but never the One Who came to deliver us from the captivity of sin (the greatest problem of humanity) and never as the One by Whose righteousness we are clothed with that makes us acceptable to God.
What is Paul speaking of in Roman 5:1-2 when he refers to believers having peace with God? It isn’t just some warm or tingling sensation that the cults are renowned for imparting; it is coming to the knowledge (not just intellectually) that we, who have been justified (acquitted) by God Himself because Christ became the propitiation (expiated, appeased – satisfied the wrath of God) for our sins, now stand reconciled to God.
Christ agonisingly bore the full wrath of God we deserved. That is the essence of the cross; God meted out all his hatred upon His own very Son Who became sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). That should have been your hell and mine. If we cannot perceive, or worse – refuse to see this, then we do not understand the Gospel and where there is no such comprehension, there can be no salvation. Right was H. Richard Niebuhr when he said, “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgement through the ministrations of Christ without a cross.”
We cannot rightly understand the love of God if we disregard the wrath of God as an archaic system of belief that ‘no longer’ applies to our era, or any age for that matter. Never will we begin to fathom the depths of God’s love if we do not first see that we are deserving of His wrath. That is what we have been delivered from as new creations in Christ, not in order to live a life that serves our own ends and pleasures, but rather, that we will serve in newness of life to please God.
Just a few Scriptural references are sufficient to show the errors in much of modern evangelicalism that denounces the attribute of God’s wrath:
- The wrath of God is being reserved toward those who are unrepentant (Romans 2:4-5).
- The wrath of God will come upon those who are sons of disobedience (Ephesians 5:6).
- We were by nature (unregenerate) children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3).
- We, who are redeemed, have been delivered from the coming wrath of God (Romans 5:9).
- There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ; those who are outside of Christ remain subject to the wrath of God (Romans 8:1).
We dare not overlook, ignore and disagree with any passage in God’s infallible Word, despite our own bias and subjective orientation. God’s objective Truth must always govern our perception of Him; the whole counsel of God must be embraced and proclaimed, otherwise we are fabricating a god of our own minds and propagating a lie that leads, not only ourselves, but many on the broad way – a way that feels right, a way that is comfortable, a way that is easy and agreeable to a mind that is still at enmity with God.