God’s Wrath

Our God is a very loving God.  1 John 4:8  “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”  Ephesians 2:4-7  “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”  What wonderful love He has shown and continues to demonstrate to us!

However, you need to also appreciate that God is also a God of vengeance and wrath.  He has already demonstrated this wrath multiple times in the past.  He destroyed the ancient world in the time of Noah.  Genesis 6:5-8 “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.  So the LORD said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.’  But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”  God totally destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of the wickedness there.  The Israelites utterly destroyed many of the Canaanite peoples when they entered the Promised Land.  King Saul was told to utterly destroy the Amalekites.  1 Samuel 15:3 “Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them.  But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.”  You may wonder how God could cause the destruction of whole peoples to include “innocent” babies.  But God is just and is filled with wrath for those who reject Him, for those who worship other gods, and for those whose lives are filled with wickedness and violence.  He even destroys their children.

Consider the following scriptures about God’s wrath.  Romans 1:18-19 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.”  Romans 2:4-9 “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?  But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who ‘will render to each one according to his deeds’:  eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness – indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek.”

God has two sides to His nature.  He is a God of love and He is a God of wrath and vengeance.  If you trust God and seek to do His will, you are in His love.  He is your loving Father who leads you in the paths of righteousness, who forgives you sins, and who wants to bless you in this life and in the life to come.  But He is a God of wrath to those who reject Jesus and His way of righteousness and are self-seeking and do not obey the truth.

As a true Christian, you are not in God’s wrath.  1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.  Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”  We can comfort each other because as true Christians we do not have to worry about God’s wrath.

Given the love and wrath of God, I have several encouragements.  First, I encourage you to rejoice that you do not need to fear the wrath of God because of your faith and obedience to Christ.  Second, I encourage you to make your call and election sure and remain in God’s love.  2 Peter 1:10-11 “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  And what are the things you are to do so that you do not stumble?  You are told in the previous verses 5-8. “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.  For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Finally, I encourage you to persuade others to follow Jesus and avoid God’s wrath.  2 Corinthians 5:11a “Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.”

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