This is a topic we always tiptoe around, people often distinguish from the Old Testament God who is vengeful and angry compared to the loving, forgiving representation of Christ in the New Testament however they are one in the same. Ancient Christian sects had many reason to explain this, some believed there were actually two seperate gods and they were battling. Others believed that God had put all his goodness and gentleness in the embodiment of Christ like multiple personality disorder. What many of us do not understand is that God’s wrath is aroused from a lack of holiness and an abundance of disobedience. Christ was not sent to be the velvet glove over the iron fist, He was sent to be the one to take that wrath. But what we now forget often is that God’s wrath is still there. We may accept Christ as our Lord and Saviour but if we continue to sin that wrath is still there. When we accept Christ we need to move our way from our old lives and that is the very definition of repentence. To not repent means that mark of wrath is still there. But in this blog/sermon we will look at the nature of God’s wrath and the conditions of that and forgiveness.
The Characterisitics of God’s Wrath
1. Godly wrath is vastly different from the wrath of man.
James 1:20: “because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
2. The wrath of God is always in accordance with the standards set down in Scripture for humanities conduct and the warnings God has given for disobedience
Deuteronomy 29:26-28; 30:15-20; 2 Samuel 12:9-10; 2 Kings 22:10-13; 24:2; 2 Chronicles 19:8-10; 34:18-28; 36:15-16; Jeremiah 22:11-12; 44:2-6
3. The wrath of God is in accordance with the deeds of humanity. God’s wrath is always in direct proportion to human being’s sin.
Psalm 28:4; Isaiah 59:18; Jeremiah 17:10; 21:14; 25:14; Ezekiel 20:44; 24:14; 36:19
4. God’s wrath is slow and controlled, not sudden and explosive
Exodus 34:6; Numbers 14:18
5. God’s wrath comes after warning of judgment.
See, for example, the warnings given to men in the days of Noah (Genesis 6-9), of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19), and throughout the Old Testament by the prophets.
6. God’s wrath is always provoked by man’s sin.
Deuteronomy 4:25; 9:18; Jeremiah 25:6-7; 32:32
7. God wrath is not exercised in sin but in righteousness.
Romans 2:5; James 1:19-20
With these characterisitics in mind lets delve deeper into the Word and meditate on the mind of God. Wrath meant very different things in the Old Testament. It was not only anger but could also be the description of trials God would send the righteous.
In the New Testament there are over 20 references to wrath in the Bible which are more so warnings of the future and not immediate examples. The following are some NT verses about wrath:
In almost all these verses they give a very clear method to extinguish that wrath. Acceptance of Christ as our saviour and repentence of our old sinful lives. We must die to ourselves daily. When we truly accept Christ the Spirit changes us from the inside out, if the acceptence is sincere then we naturally begin to change but we must always fight against our carnal nature. As we fight against this nature we realise that we do not want to disappoint the Father so we actively do our best to please God which is and should be the goal of every Christian.
In this day and age it is tough to witness to people because the image of the angry God puts people off. But in the OT it says to fear the Lord your God as it does in the NT. That means the type of fear one would have of say the sun. But the examples of wrath in the OT should serve as a warning, they are very real events and real images set in our minds of how actions have consequences. But thank God that we as Christians do not have to worry about. Through the Lord Jesus Christ our sins are not only forgiven, but forgotten, “punged to the sea of forgetfulness…our transgressions are covered…blotted out” and as such so is God’s wrath-thank God!