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FAITH: Hope for Today- The wrath and love of God

Clint Decker

About Jesus it is written, “. . . whoever does not obey the Son [Jesus] shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36).  Wrath of God?  The phrase is uncomfortable.  Jesus was the most compassionate, kind and loving person the world has ever known.  Wrath?  It just does not fit the idea most people have of who Jesus was and is.  We talk about the love of Jesus and the love of God, but the wrath of God?

Sometimes we might think this idea was just in the Old Testament, that somehow when Jesus came it ended the era of the wrath of God.  Not true.  There are hundreds of verses from the Bible that speak about the wrath of God in both the Old and New Testaments, including after Jesus’ resurrection and the establishment of the church.

What is the wrath of God? Theological scholar, Dr. Leon Morris wrote about this, stating it is the “active opposition of God’s holy nature to everything that is evil.”

Mankind naturally goes against the ways of God.  To speak evil of others, engage sexually with others outside of marriage and put our interests above our neighbor is all very normal for us.  This is who we are as a human race.  We are inwardly corrupt, even the most religious and moral among us.  We all inherently walk in disobedience to God.

How does God respond to that?  By being just.  When man persists in going His own way, God must be impartial and act.  His wrath is an expression of that, where He comes against every thought, word or deed that violates His glory, honor and holiness.

How we feel about something is not as important as how God feels about it.  He is opposed to our blatant disobedience.  Therefore, when we understand this and His wrath, it ought to make us tremble in reverent fear before Him.  He is invisible, is everywhere, reads our thoughts, can control the weather, dispatches unseen forces, can alter the course of daily events and possess the power over life and death.  When we do not care what God says or foolishly presume things about His kindness, we are living dangerously.  Hear this Word from the writer of Hebrews in the Bible, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (10:31).

God’s wrath is certain and it will come against all who refuse to humble themselves and obey Him.  Hell will be their home for eternity, which is the unbridled, full manifestation of the wrath of God for forever.

What can save us from this definite and unbearable wrath?  The cross of Jesus.

Have you heard of the statement “Jesus saves”? What does He save from?  It is written in the Scriptures that we “shall be saved by him from the wrath of God” (Romans 5:9).  When Jesus hung on His cross, He bore upon Himself the sin of all humanity.  The very thing He hated; He chose to take.  And when He did, the wrath of His Father was poured out upon Him.  Jesus received our punishment.  Why?  Because of love.  He bore the wrath of God so we would not have to.  Only Jesus can save us from the wrath that is to come.

God is kind and patient with us.  He waits with arms stretched open wide as He sends messengers back and forth across the world, and directly to you, carrying His message of good news.  People, no matter who they are, can be saved from the wrath to come and find forgiveness and peace in Jesus today.

A prayer for you – “Lord God, I praise you for Your justice and mercy.  You are a God without partiality and a wise judge.  Help us to understand and not dismiss Your wrath.  Let us walk in reverent fear before you because of your mighty power.  May we call upon you to save us from our sins and spare us from Your wrath. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Clint Decker is President of Great Awakenings. Hope for Today is a nationally syndicated column. Please share your comment or question with Clint at cdecker@greatawakenings.org.