Several months ago I saw a text image that was circulating on Facebook around the time California was proposing a bill to ban the sale of Bibles in it’s state. This text image was making a reference to the uncontrollable wildfires that were also happening at the same time in California and how the two circumstances were obviously connected. When I first saw it I knew that it wasn’t theologically right and wanted to dive into the topic of God’s wrath a little more.
A short time ago I also saw a video that peaked my interest about a mans rebuking our “soft” generations for preaching a Gospel where God doesn’t get angry and pour His wrath out on us. Something about this mans approach just didn’t sit well with me. I’m fully aware of the wrath that was poured out by our heavenly Father in the Old Testament but from spending time in His presence and understanding what took place on the cross, It’s hard for me to believe that He is an angry God. Especially towards His beloved children. So I began asking Him what He thought about the situation. Over the past several weeks I have been doing some studying on God’s anger. I knew that God wasn’t pouring His wrath out on California for attempting to ban the sale of Bibles. So I want to discuss what I believe scripture tells us about His anger and wrath. Of Course I lack all of the theological answers, but I’m going to do my very best to give some biblical support about God’s Wrath. Here are 3 points I thought were sufficient to make:
- God’s wrath is towards the unholy and unrighteous
One of the first examples that we see of God’s Wrath being poured out was when He flooded the Earth for 40 days and 40 nights. In Genesis 6:5-8 we see a description where The Lord noticed that there was wickedness on the Earth and continual intention of evil. It say’s that the Lord was sorry He ever created man and planned to wipe out their existence excluding one man named Noah, who had gained favor in His sight due to his righteousness and faith in the Lord.
The second instance is when He consumed the city of Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone due to their chronic sexual immorality. We see this story in chapter 19 of Genesis. Before the city was destroyed, God made provision for the righteous ones to escape so they would not be consumed with the wicked.
I also want to mention the 10 plagues that were set against Egypt. Israel had been slaves to Egypt for hundreds of years. When God sent Moses into Egypt to rescue His people, Pharoah rejected the Lord’s request numerous times leading up to the plagues that would eventually lead to the demise of the Egyptians.
You can feel free to read more into these stories if you are not familiar with them, but In all three God poured out his wrath on the wicked, unholy and those that rejected God. He always preserved those that were righteous and loyal to Him. Noah, Abraham, Abraham’s family, Moses and the Israelites were all preserved from the Wrath of God.
2. We walk in the Truth, not God’s wrath
Romans 1:8 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”
In this scripture we see that God reveal’s His wrath towards the ungodly and unrighteous as discovered in point 1. But we also see that the root of this is because the unrighteous suppress the truth. So we see that anything that opposes the truth of God’s nature and his word rightly inherits His wrath. I think the problem for most Christians who still believe that God becomes angry and pours out His wrath on His children is that they truly don’t understand what they walk in when they decide to follow God’s Son. In John 14:6 Jesus proclaims, “I am the way the TRUTH and the life. No one has access to the Father except through me.”
Romans 5:9 “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”
Because we have been justified by his blood and raised into new life by the resurrection of Jesus we begin to walk in the Truth that He proclaims that He is. We somehow have gotten it misconstrued that when we sin we provoke anger in God. In order for us to provoke that anger would mean that we no longer walk in the truth of Jesus… and that’s just not how it works. Our character and nature are rooted in the man of Jesus and we take on his righteous identity when we make Him the Lord of our lives. We are new creations whom God adores and longs to dwell with, even when we fall into temptation. Jesus has stamped our ticket of righteousness and truth that have saved us from the wrath of God.
But what about the ones who suppress the truth like the ones who are attempting to ban bibles or the ones who oppose the truth of God by denying His existence or choosing to worship the enemy instead. I believe Paul explains it well when he writes in Romans 2:5, “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.” The bottom line is that God isn’t judging anyone right now. If God were judging us now then none of us would have stood a chance before we were captivated by the love of Jesus. John 5:22 tells us that the Father no longer judges but passes the judgement on to His son. We are judged based off of our relationship with Jesus alone. The wrath of God will fall on those who oppose Him on the day of judgement. California isn’t being judged because of their recent actions. That’s just bad theology.
3. God’s discpline is not to be confused with His wrath
With all of this being said I don’t want us to be under the assumption that we can sin and fall into temptation and it be okay. That’s called cheap grace. God is still a God of discipline; simply because He loves us and He wants our hearts to be pure. Think about for a moment why you think God hates sin. Is it because it puts distance between Him and you? Do you think it’s because it goes against his commandments when we sin? The truth is He hates sin because of what it does to our souls and our hearts. Sin is corruptive and He hates it because He hates what it does to us. This truth allows me to see the compassion in God’s unreligious love towards me. It’s truly humbling
Some of us believe that when we are walking through a teaching moment that God is pouring out his anger on us. We think that because we had a moral failure that He is pulling us out of our ministry position because He is angry. Or we think that because we didn’t listen to his word to go into a different career field that he is punishing us by not allowing us to get the raise that we are due at our current job. These are just a couple of small examples and we have to understand that God disciplines us and teaches us in different ways. But he never disciplines out of anger by pouring His wrath out on us. He disciplines us out of compassion and love so we can understand His heart and hear His voice a little better.
Revelation 3:19 “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.”
To wrap up, so many times we neglect to approach the Father because we are afraid that He is angry with us. This is the problem that we saw in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve hid from the Lord when they realized they were naked. They felt shame and guilt and assumed that the Lord was angry with them. But even in that story we see that The Lord loved them so much that He made them clothes out of fig leaves to cover up their nakedness, their source of guilt and shame.
Through the blood that justifies us and the love of Jesus for us on the cross we continuously walk in the Truth that saves us from God’s wrath. He loves us, He fights really hard to keep our hearts pure and corrects us when we fall out of line. But I encourage you to begin seeking the Lord and focus on how the Gospel story collides with yours. It’s humbling to know that God loved us so much that he poured out His wrath on His son so He wouldn’t pour it out on you. Learn to walk in that truth and never believe the lie that God is angry with you. It’s simply a deception of the enemy and it cripples your walk with the Lord and our Identity when you buy into it. The Father sent His son to reconcile us back to Him. It’s an undermining of the power of the Gospel when we let the fear that God is angry with us prevent us from spending time in His presence, which in the end is all He really wanted to begin with.
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