Like many Christians, I’ve historically shied away from the reality of God’s wrath. Yes, I’ve read about it and intellectually included it in my doctrine, but the perfectionist in me has always been a bit scared to confront it. It’s not easy to face the truth that we are imperfect and our holy God demands perfection.
Yet, I’ve come to learn something incredible in the past few months: God’s wrath doesn’t contradict His love. It informs it.
By that, I mean that if we truly understood what He demands and what wrath are liberated from as children of God, we would be in greater awe of His love.
Recently, I was listening to a sermon by Tim Keller that illustrated this point well. Keller explained that after one service, he was speaking with a woman who had serious hangups about God’s wrath. Her mind couldn’t reconcile God’s love with His wrath. She said she believed in a loving God, not a God who sends people to hell.
“Let me ask you this: if you have a God of love who doesn’t get angry at people, what did it cost your God to love you?“
She said, “Well, it didn’t get cost my god anything.” To that, Keller responded: “That’s not love. That’s sentiment.”
That sermon example is one of the best I have heard because I think it gets at the complexity of God that we can’t quite grasp and thus, often discard. He demands justice and He is loving. How is that possible? It’s possible because He sent His own Son to take the fullness of His wrath on sin.
Our Savior tells us, “Come and fall into my arms. I will perfectly love and protect you.”
But we cannot understand God’s love if we don’t also accept God’s perfect demand for justice. If He had let sin have it’s way, then how could we call Him sovereign? How could we call Him good?
Yes, God is perfect because He required a penalty for sin; and He is loving because He paid that penalty Himself.
When I think of how quick I am to turn my back and my heart toward this world and away from my King, I hate the sin that lives in me. And, more importantly, I fall more deeply in love with the heavenly Father who perfectly loves me.
As I pray for more of that awareness in my heart, I pray it for you as well. There is a bold confidence that exudes from a heart that knows the depths of God’s love, for perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).
In all things, we can remind our fearful and forgetful hearts that our God is just and our God is good. Fear has no place in us. We are His.
One thought on “What to Think of God’s Wrath”
Good handling of this topic. One of the biggest lies of the devil people believe is How can a loving God send anyone to hell? The true answer to that is God doesn’t send ANYONE to hell; we make the choice ourselves. God made hell for the devil and fallen angels; He NEVER meant humans to go there; that’s why Jesus finished the race and completed the sacrifice to totally erase all our sins and iniquities for all time; we just need to ACCEPT that and quit bringing up our past. If you’ve repented and He’s forgiven, He’s also forgotten (see 1 Corinthians 13) Love keeps NO record of wrongs!