We always hear about the love of God being preached towards imperfect, sinful, and unrighteous people. But, seldom do we hear the preaching about God’s wrath towards those who aren’t saved. Perhaps, we all know about God’s wrath through bible stories. However, our understanding of God’s wrath is shallow and lacking. We try to avoid committing mistakes because we fear the Lord. Adults will tell children not to sin for God gets sad or angry when someone sins. Though this statement is true, it is not the entirety of God’s wrath. The wrath of God and the love of God can’t be preached separately. They are entwined together. Moreover, the key to understanding completely the love and the wrath of God is through the balance of it.
Both God’s wrath and love are real, true, and Biblical. When someone focuses on God’s wrath and forgets that He is the God of love, the tendency is to always do things our way. We do our best to do well and avoid sin so we can convince ourselves that God won’t be angry at us when we start doing what He wants. However, this is not at all what God wants. There is no way we can avoid His wrath by just doing our best to do good. On the other hand, it is impossible for a man to accept God’s love without first comprehending God’s wrath. In regards to understanding fully this wrath of a Holy God, here are some important points to take note of. It matters that we delve on what enrages God, the reason for it, and what the Bible tells us about it.
God’s Wrath Against Sin
The Lord doesn’t get angry for any random reason. He is angry when we sin. God’s wrath is just. It is not a random quality of God. Many people get confused about how God can be gracious and at the same time, be furious about sin. There are two things we need to consider to dispose of the confusion. First, the judgment of God. Second, the grace of God. Here, we’ll be focusing on the absolute justice of God— his judgment. The Lord is not angry about his creation of men, He loves us completely. Rather, He hates sin. God hates evil and any form of wickedness. Will we expect a holy, pure, and blameless God to tolerate evil? No, He cannot and will not tolerate it.
The Lord’s righteousness can never withstand iniquities. This is the reason why we get separated from God in the first place. Why do parents get angry when their children disobey them? Because as parents, they want the best for their children and disobedience often leads to jeopardy. This is almost similar to the wrath of God. God’s wrath is most common in the Old Testament. Oftentimes, the wrath of God is revealed due to the Israelites’ disobedience. The wrath of God is not merely an inert emotion. The Lord shows His wrath through punishments after His judgment.
It is God’s nature to be angry about sin. The truth is the Lord is a God of wrath. Now, let’s not misinterpret this. Our God is a righteous judge. He does not judge without reason. His judgment is absolute and worthy. Furthermore, here’s another truth, the Bible emphasizes this fact multiple times of how the Lord is slow to anger (Psalm 103:8; Exodus 34:6).
Why is God Angry About Sin?
There is one primary reason as to why God is so furious about sin aside from His righteousness. The Lord hates evil, for evil leads His children to destruction. This destruction brought by man’s disobedience and sinfulness is eternal damnation. Its consequence is being separated from God for eternity. This is the worst form of punishment under God’s judgment. No matter how hard we try to evade the reality of hell, it is real. The Lord’s judgment on mankind will be served according to His plans and nothing can ever change this. The unending lake of fire and sulfur is true (Revelations 20:10). God’s creations can suffer here and feel tormented day and night forever and ever. Pain and suffering in Hell are never-ending. The Lord hates being separated from us. He hates it with fervor; hates it with disgust.
God doesn’t want His creation to suffer. If He did, He wouldn’t have sent His Son to die for our sins. In other words, the Lord is angry about the destruction of mankind because of sin. The question most people want to know the answer is, why won’t God just allow everyone to be saved? The answer will take us back to the nature of God. He is a righteous Lord who doesn’t tolerate sin. He cannot let sin go unpunished. There is a need to pay the penalty for our sins. The Lord gave us a solution rather than discrediting the holiness of God.
God’s Wrath Of Abandonment
Aside from the eternal punishment on the Day of Judgment, the Lord also reveals His wrath by letting men indulge themselves in sin. The eternal wrath of God has something to do with the afterlife. We face a second death if they refuse to receive grace and will remain in God’s wrath. Yet, we can still experience the wrath of God even if we are still living here on earth. The Old Testament is full of stories where God showed His wrath towards His people. However, the greatest of these revelations of God’s wrath is when He allows them to continue sinning. The irony is, men, want to sin. We have this desire to always give in to our flesh and sinful nature. For God to allow us to indulge in sin more is quite a comfort for us but this comfort is dangerous.
When God abandons His people to sin, it is more miserable than being beaten by God for correction. The way God teaches is most of the time, painful. But we needed it so we could grow into His likeness. What does it mean when God gives us to our sinful passions? It means His presence is not anymore with us. What is life without God? Is there peace? Or happiness? Or even progress? There is none.
The Book of Proverbs tells us about this tragic rage of God. God’s wrath was so intense that He abandoned the Israelites because they worshipped other gods and disobeyed His laws. The Lord says “when anguish, distress, calamities, and other difficulties come to you, and you come to me, call to me, you will hear no answer” (v. 1:24-30). God has forsaken them. The presence of God cannot withstand evil.
Responding To God’s Wrath
Every human being deserves God’s wrath poured out on them. However, the mercy of God cannot allow it. God’s wrath is consistent and absolute from the beginning of the Old Testament until today. It has never changed. It is just the same as is His grace. The wrath of God finds its satisfaction in Jesus Christ who is the only One worthy to pay the penalty of man’s sins. The bad news is, God’s wrath is true and He has revealed it to us. There is no ignorance towards the nature, power, and existence of God (Romans 1:18-20). Scripture says, there is no excuse (Romans 1:20). Since the beginning of creation, men have known about God, His righteousness, and wrath.
People may reject over and over again the reality of God. But deep down our souls know that there is just one God who created us. This is something which the soul cannot deny because we belong to God and a portion of Him can be found in our souls. Upon knowing about God’s wrath, how then should we respond to it? What then should we do in response to the wrath of God towards wickedness, youthful desires, disobedience, and other forms of sin?
Why should we continue sinning if we know that this will lead us to eternal punishment? Knowing God’s wrath will lead us to understand His sacrificial love on the cross. We can never know love without recognizing first the hate of God. Our response to God’s wrath is the acceptance of His love. Only then, God can lead us to a life of holiness and purity— a life beyond God’s wrath.