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We talk a lot about God’s love and grace, but what about his wrath and anger?
The idea of God’s wrath and anger are terrifying to most of us. God has killed people and sent bad storms and floods that have wiped out thousands. So, who is this God that so loved that he gave his Son to die for our sins. What do love and wrath have in common?
Dr. Sinclair Ferguson, a Scottish theologian, says, “Strictly speaking, wrath is not an attribute of God. It would be more appropriate to say that the wrath of God is the manifestation of the holiness of God in the context of the sinfulness of man. I believe Scripture tells us that God has only one unchanging attitude toward humanity. That one attitude is love. To know God is to know love. All of his other attributes flow from love.”
We need to understand that God never changes. There is no variation or shadow of turning with him. Therefore, God cannot change from being loving and caring and joyful. Such a belief is theologically heretical. We don’t change God; He changes us. Therefore God’s wrath is always right and justified and in keeping with his love, justice and holiness. Man’s wrath, on the other hand, is often unholy and rarely justified
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
Malachi 3:6 says, “I am the Lord and I change not.” In the Old Testament, God’s wrath is always a response to human sin and disobedience. Anything that would come between Him and Israel was idolatry and He hated it.
Deuteronomy 1:26-27 “Yet you would not go up, but rebelled against the command of the Lord your God. And you murmured in your tents and said, ‘Because the Lord hated us he has brought us out of the land of Egypt, to give us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.’”
Joshua 7:1 “But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things…And the anger of the Lord burned against the people of Israel.”
Was God justified in His wrath? Yes, His wrath was against sin and disobedience. His plan is for us to be holy and in perfect community with God, as God is Holy and just and perfect. If man would repent showing love for Him, God would have turned his wrath away from those who sinned. Rejecting God’s plan for our lives, and His love and grace will incur His righteous wrath.
Many believe that the wrath of God is only in the Old Testament. The New Testament also testifies to God’s wrath.
John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
The wrath of God is a fearsome and terrifying thing. The Christian who is walking with God has been covered by the blood of Christ that He shed for us on the cross and can be assured that God’s wrath will never fall on them.
Romans 5:9–11 “ Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”