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God's Wrath, What Is It?
Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; (KJV)
Is God's wrath, like ours, anger out of control? Is God right and just to harbor wrath, rage, fury? How can a loving God also be a God of wrath? These are just a few questions people ask. Most people do NOT understand God's wrath.
God's wrath is absolutely NOT anger out of control. Many people, including some professing 'Christians', have the idea that anger is basically wrong and sinful, and so much anger (wrath) is really wrong.
That is not taught in the Bible. The Bible teaches otherwise. Ephesians 4:27 Neither give place to the devil. (KJV) . . . Anger is not always irrational.
Jesus was angry because of hard hearts. Mark 3:5 And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. (KJV)
And Jesus was angry because of the wrong done in His Father's House. John 2:13-16 And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, 14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; 16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise. (KJV)
Just as Jesus was NOT wrong to be angry in either of these occasions, so too, there are times when we, as imitators of Him, have the right to be angry IF there is a just cause. It is when we are angry without a cause that we are in trouble. Matthew 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. (KJV)
As you can see, we are permitted to be angry IF we have a just cause. And, my friend, that also means that God has the perfect right to be angry because He certainly does have a just cause to be angry at sin.
Sin evokes (brings on) His wrath!
When people get angry with God because of His wrath, it is a dead end street! If they are going to get angry with someone, it should be the devil . . . OR self . . . for being taken in by him! John 3:19-20 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. (KJV) . . . Every form of darkness (SIN) whether it be external or internal, whether it be thought, word or deed, shall be met with the righteous wrath of God . . . and if not corrected, shall lead to condemnation (judgment to Hell).
There are many terrible sins as is found in the following Passage, and even Christians are guilty of some at some time in their lives.
Galatians 5:13-21 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (KJV)
ALL sins, no matter what or when or how, are hated by God: (Deut.25:16; 2 Sam.11:27; Ps.5:4; 11:5; 36:2; 53:5; 78:59; Pro.6:16; 15:9,26; Isa. 1:14; 43:24; 61:8; Eze.13:20; Hab.1:13; Zec.8:17; 11:8; Luke 16:15; Rev.2:6,15; 18:4).
So, let's talk about God's wrath. It is a subject rarely discussed and more rare yet, to hear a sermon on it. How can we explain God's wrath? How does it work? Why is it such a neglected part of God's character? WHY is it being revealed against all unrighteousness of men? Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; (KJV)
There is much difference in human anger and divine wrath. People picture God's wrath as like that of man's wrath. They say: "God gets angry just like we do." People get angry because their egos have been hurt, and because they did not get their own way. Human anger most often reveals itself in ways that are hurt other. God's anger does no such thing! God's anger is not because His ego failed to gratify Him. God's wrath is His righteous anger which is directed at evil people who refuse to love and obey Him. He is angered by the stupid decisions of people, who in their disobedience, condemn themselves to Hell. It seems to me that God's wrath is shown NOT to hurt sinful man, but instead, bring him to his senses so that he will return to the Living God and be saved.
God's wrath does NOT go against the preaching of the Gospel in any way. Romans 1:16-18 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; (KJV) . . . Do you see what Paul says here? We can have complete confidence in the Gospel, because that Gospel is God's power to save everyone who believes! In the Gospel is revealed the righteousness of God! BUT . . . in verse 18, Paul brings up the wrath of God. Why does he do this right after the beautiful and comforting words of salvation? Because the Truth is, Paul does not see God's wrath as being incompatible with the Gospel's message.
Many people want to separate God's amazing grace from the certain judgment that is to come. The cross of Christ CANNOT be separated from Hell. And friend, God's love CANNOT be separated from God's wrath. There is not one God of love, and another of wrath. There is ONE God and He has BOTH characteristics: love and wrath!
But, you say, isn't the Gospel the Good News of eternal salvation? Yes! Absolutely! BUT . . . it is only Good News for those who BELIEVE God (1 John 5:10-13) and ACCEPT it (John 3:15-16; 5:24). Anyone who is foolish enough to reject the Gospel, and disregard its saving power are doomed to experience and know God's wrath and judgment directed toward all sin.
Romans 1:21-32 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (KJV) . . . Emphasis mine.
The Bible reveals sins, evil attitudes and wicked behaviors. It is sad indeed that in today's 'modern' churches, it is extremely rare to ever hear a "fire and brimstone" sermon. This kind of preaching is considered old-fashioned. I ask only two questions here: Has God changed over the years? If you are a TRUE Christian, you know that He does NOT change ever! SO . . . WHY has the preaching and teaching changed?
Old timey preachers were known for sermons that held their flock over the very fires of Hell, while the vast majority of today's preachers distance themselves completely from any/all sermons of Hell, sin and repentance, judgment, eternal condemnation, etc.
Jesus NEVER hesitated to discuss Hell in very clear and precise details. Why then should His followers hesitate even for a moment to tell the Truth as Jesus did? Yes, talking about Hell is a scary and hated thing, but, it IS necessary! God's wrath should NOT be changed to man's thinking, man's rules (Mat.15:9) or eliminated altogether when bringing the Gospel to people, for it it is the TRUE Gospel is the only thing that can save the souls of mankind. People NEED to know that ALL will one day be resurrected. Daniel 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (KJV) . . . People will account for their deeds some day, and many (Mat.7:13-14) will be lost. Everyone needs to carefully contemplate the ONLY two possible choices of eternity: Heaven and Hell. Everyone must make the right choice, or they shall be condemned to Hell (John 3:15-18,36; 8:24).
Preachers, teachers, Bible classes and private meditation should be full of thoughts of the joy and bliss of Heaven . . . BUT . . . God's righteous wrath MUST be considered as well! WHY? Hebrews 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (KJV) . . . God's wrath will condemn unbelieving sinners to the Lake of Fire (Rev.20:15).
Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; (KJV) . . . Is revealed . . . means NOW! How is God's wrath being revealed even now? In verses 24, 26 and 28, we are told that God gave them up . . . to the lusts of their hearts (v. 24), (sinful people who refused to obey and acknowledge Him as God) degrading passions (v. 26), and gave the over to a depraved mind (v.28). To give them up or give them over referring to what is done with a convicted criminal . . . they are given over to be punished. So, it seems that sinners are presently being punished right now by God . . . BUT . . . please do NOT think that punishment in this life will be the end of an unbeliever's punishment (Rev.20:15). Their punishment will continue for eternity unless the person repents and believes God (1 John 5:10-12).
WHAT is the crime that so angers Almighty God? People are guilty of rejecting the ever-present knowledge of God that is everywhere (v. 21) and the punishment God gives is them is simply allowing them to do as they wish. "How can that be punishment?" you ask. What about sexual diseases associated with homosexuality, adultery and fornication? Do you not think that AIDS is a punishment from God? I certainly do. What about the results of adultery and fornication? "No results" you say! I beg to differ with you. These sins ALWAYS hurt someone! ALWAYS!!! It tears up marriages, it separates children from their parents causing devastation in their lives. What about drug addicts or alcoholics? I am so familiar with this. I get thousands of letters each year, and the majority are from addicts. I see what it does to families. It truly saddens me. YES! There are results from sin, and NONE of them are good.
God will NOT force anyone to turn to Him or obey Him. He has given us all a free will to do as we please. He allows us to make our own decisions, or own choices. Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (KJV) . . . Nature cries out to us that it is God who created all things, and IF we want to, we can clearly SEE God and His eternal power in ALL nature around us. There is absolutely NO excuse for anyone to not believe God and accept His Love and salvation that He offers. But, when a person's heart becomes as hard as stone, and he/she decides they will do their own thing and do it their way, God simply allows them to do so, at their own destruction. God gives them multiple opportunities, and the Holy Spirit tries time and time again to reveal the Truth to them, but they remain obstinate and unmovable.
It will seem that the punishment God gives these sinners in these instances, is entirely enjoyable. What would you think if God told you: "Since you disobeyed, I'm going to allow you to do whatever you want to do." Well, speaking for myself, I would seriously consider the end results and consequences. Temporary pleasure can in NO way be a benefit in any way when it is compared to eternal punishment for something that God says is sin. Would the punishment teach us self-control, discipline or endurance that is necessary to be productive and useful in this life? Or would we simply end up in a mass of wicked passions, completely dominated by our selfishness?
Paul gives a long list of sins: Romans 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (KJV) . . . How does this list end? People KNOW the judgment of God, and KNOW that when they which commit such things are worthy of (eternal) death, not only do these things, but have pleasure in them that do them. Each person decides on their own, that he/she does NOT want to know about God OR serve Him . . . so God will allow these stubborn and foolish people to do as they please . . . and they push God far, far away from their thoughts and live exactly as they want to. The end result is that they are completely trapped in their own evil deeds.
Can God's wrath could be described in a different way? Could He strike everyone dead who did the terrible sins Paul lists? Yes, He could. But . . . would that bring anyone to repentance? I think a good example of what I am trying to say is, what about the Prodigal Son living in the pig pen knowing that only if he learned the misery of sin could he truly come home. In this same way, God "gives people over" to the horrors of sin in hope that they will see their sad condition and repent. When we understand this, we realize that God's giving people up to such a life is an expression of His wrath . . . but . . . it also reveals His ever present and continual compassion, concern and love for their souls.
Only when we have faith in the God, can we see the uselessness of this life without Him. We must believe that God's wrath and judgment are used for a good purpose, because God is GOOD and He wants only the best for us. If you are experiencing God's wrath, it is YOUR doing, not God's. Turn away from whatever it is that has brought down that wrath on you. Only when you trust God's merciful love can you ever see that He is trying to bring you to repentance by showing you the vanity of sin.
God's wrath is never a pleasant topic to discuss. It should be enough to "Scare Hell out of us," as one old preacher said. But, it doesn't, and today's modern churches are much to blame for this because of their distressing omission of it. God's wrath is part of His Holy character and we should really try to understand this, and live righteously because of it. The following verse should remain in our memory! Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; (KJV) . . . God does NOT try to hide the Truth from us. WHY can't people realize this?
Revelation 14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: (KJV)
Hell, Degrees of Punishment in Hell?
Hell, God's Wrath, What Is It?
Hell, Judgments Come From His Holy Character
Hell, Judgments Come From Nature
Hell, Promises Fulfilled
Hell, Promises of Pestilence