The Forgotten Side Of God

      Many people view God’s wrath as portrayed in Scripture as something unseemly.  There is a tendency today to act as God’s editors rather than simply his messengers.  Just as it would be malpractice for a doctor to not tell a person that they have a deadly cancer, it is the Christian’s job to make sure those within their sphere of influence know that there is real danger when we ignore the wrath of God.  God’s character is complex and at times hard to understand, but if you want to know God it is imperative to acknowledge all sides of the Almighty.  God’s wrath is not a core attribute such as His love, holiness or justice.  God’s wrath is a response to human wickedness.  Theologian R.C. Sproul calls human sin “cosmic treason” against God.  When we rebel against God, His character reacts.  Just as a parent’s love transforms into hate against a drug that ruins their teen’s life, God’s love drives his strong response against the sin that destroys those He made in His image.  God is holy and cannot be in the presence of sin; it angers His perfect nature.   In addition, His justice must respond to our sin; there is no higher court to send our case to.  God’s wrath is the combined, appropriate, measured response to human sin.  Often God’s wrath is expressed in people’s lives through the principle of sowing and reaping (Galatians 6:7,8).  Sow lies, reap broken relationships.  Sow adultery, reap divorce.  At times God also sends special judgement.  One example, was the ten plagues He sent against the false gods of Egypt.  These plagues of judgment punished the oppressive Egyptians while eventually freeing the Jewish nation.  The final response of God’s wrath against sin is complete banishment to a place called hell. We can send ourselves away from God through a lifetime of sinful free will decisions.  C.S. Lewis says it best when he states, ““I willingly believe that the damned are, in one sense, successful rebels to the end; that the doors of hell are locked on the inside.” (The Quotable Lewis, Martindale and Root, 292)
       How should we respond to the wrath of God?   One, walk in the fear of the Lord.  The fear of the Lord is a deep reverence, awe and a bit of actual fear of God.  It is vital for us to remember that He is God and we are not.  His ways are different, His thinking is higher than ours.  King Solomon tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 10:9).      
      Second, we must repent (Acts 3:19) and respond to God’s offer of salvation.  Repentance is a turning away from sin and towards God.  Repentance is a changing of the mind and then the actions.  In essence, repentance is a spiritual U turn.  Through the voluntary death of Jesus on the cross and the resurrection, God made a way for sinful rebels to become beloved sons and daughters.
      God’s wrath is real and dangerous.  Yet if we will respond to His offer of salvation then grace has the last word.  The bottom line is that through Jesus we are saved from God’s wrath and saved for a new life of holiness, flourishing and joy.  Choices have consequences, avoid wrath, walk with Jesus and find a life of beautiful blessing.
Pastor Derek Dickinson
Journey Christian Church