Knowing God: The Wrath of God!

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” (Romans 1:18).

Thus far in our study of Knowing God, we have stipulated that to know God is to know His attributes, which are His personal characteristics. These are those qualities which make God, God. Some of God’s attributes He has chosen to share with His creation. Some of His attributes, He alone possesses.

We have seen that God is self-existent, He makes decisions, He is glorious, omniscient, omnipresent, sovereign and holy. However, of all of God’s attributes the one which often solicits the most controversy and debate is God’s wrath.

Dr. James Montgomery Boice comments that, “Today’s preaching is deficient at many points. But there is no point at which it is more evidently inadequate and even explicitly contrary to the teachings of the New Testament than in its neglect of “the wrath of God.” God’s wrath is a dominant Bible teaching and the point in Romans at which Paul begins his formal exposition of the gospel. Yet, to judge from most contemporary forms of Christianity, the wrath of God is either an unimportant doctrine, which is an embarrassment, or an entirely wrong notion, which any enlightened Christian should abandon.”

In the Old Testament, there are more than twenty words used to refer to God’s wrath.  There are close to six hundred important passages on the subject. These passages are not isolated or unrelated to each other but present a consistent understanding that wrath is part of God’s character. God wrath is one of the most important themes and events of Scripture.

  1. I. Packer says, “One of the most striking things about the Bible is the vigor with which both Testaments emphasize the reality and terror of God’s wrath.”

 

Arthur W. Pink wrote, “A study through a concordance will show that there are more references in Scripture to the anger, fury, and wrath of God than there are to His love and tenderness.”

 

Wrath is God’s holy displeasure and righteous vengeance against sin. There are two main words for wrath in the New Testament. One is thymos, from a root that means “to rush along fiercely,” “to be in a heat of violence,” or “to breathe violently.” The other biblical word for wrath is the Greek word orge meaning divine punishment based upon God’s angry judgment against someone. Orge means “to grow ripe for something.” It portrays wrath as something that builds up over a long period of time, like water collecting behind a great dam or a ripening peach which is ready to burst forth with flavor and juice.

Please notice the two preceding adjectives describing God’s displeasure and vengeance against sin in Romans 1:18 are the words holy and righteous. God’s wrath is never, ever sinful. His wrath is a holy wrath, a righteous wrath. It is a wrath which is in keeping with the sinlessness of His character.

Additionally, God’s wrath should never be likened to a person “blowing their top,” “being out of control,” or “losing one’s cool.” Rather, God’s wrath is a settled opposition against the sinner because of their sin. Along with this settled opposition comes the solemn promise of judgment.

Dr. John MacArthur writes that God’s wrath, “is not an impulsive outburst of anger aimed capriciously at people whom God does not like. It is the settled, determined response of a righteous God against sin (cf. Psalm 2:5, 12; 45:7; 75:8; 76:6–7; 78:49–51; 90:7–9Isaiah 51:17Jeremiah 25:15–16John 3:36Romans 9:22Ephesians 5:6Colossians 3:5–6).”

Theologian John Murray says in his exposition of Romans 1:18 that “wrath is the holy revulsion of God’s being against that which is the contradiction of his holiness. Before all else, as Christians, we confess that we ourselves justly deserve the wrath of God save for Christ’s mercy alone.”

Pastor and author D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says, “Grace is favor shown to people who do not deserve any favor at all… We deserve nothing but hell. If you think you deserve heaven, take it from me, you are not a Christian.”

Take time today to thank God for sending Jesus Christ to take your place and receive on your behalf the wrath of God. If you have not repented of your sin and trusted Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior, do so immediately in order to no longer face the wrath of God.

More to come!

Soli deo Gloria!

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