This is another one of those topics most of us would rather not be bothered with—to our own peril. We want God to be just and fair but we often fail to understand that His fairness is effectual because of what lies underneath it—His wrath. How can anger have anything to do with fairness? Well, let someone try and grab your daughter and abuse her and you’ll have a good idea. Watch someone blatantly run a red light and see if your blood begins to boil. The Bible teaches us that “God is a righteous judge and a God who shows His wrath every day” (Psalm 7:11).
We should not think that wrath is an unusual quirk in God’s personality. It is an emotion consistently triggered by His rebellious children. There are at least fifteen Hebrew words and four Greek words used in the Bible to depict God’s wrath. Four hundred and ninety-three times the Bible refers to His wrath, anger or fury. Considering that there are 629 total usages of these words a full 78% of the time the Bible mentions them it is referring to God. While we love to hear about His love and His mercy, when was the last time you heard someone talk about His wrath?
Ephesians 2:3--We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also.
With a sin nature and a world oversaturated with evil it is easy over time to become numb to the fact that God hates sin. Why doesn’t He just relax and cut us slack knowing we are imperfect? Why does God need to get angry? Maybe it’s because:
1. If He compromises by giving in to our sin then He compromises His holiness and therefore forfeits justice. The reason God cannot let a good person into heaven is that there is no way to determine “good.” Either we are perfect or we are imperfect. Pollution warrants wrath! Only through the sacrificial death of a pure Savior could grace enter the picture and could anger be appeased for those willing to believe in Jesus. “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
2. Our sin nature literally pulls us away from God hampering our ability to fellowship with Him—the very reason for which He created us.
3. Wrongdoing hurts us, hurts others and ultimately hurts the One who made us and wants what is best for us.
4. If God didn’t get angry about sin He couldn’t really love us and that would be an eternally frightful proposition.
Wrath is the dark line in God’s face and is expressive of His hatred of sin.—Oswald Chambers in Conformed to His Image
189 x wrath refers to God (31 in NT) 8x wrath refers to man
291 x anger for God 99 x for man or other
13 x fury for God 29 x for man or other
Total: 493—78% 136 15 Hebrew words for wrath/anger 4 Greek words
©2004 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)