What are God’s attributes? Each Friday, we will look at an attribute of God. This week, the wrath of God.
“The Lord is a jealous God, filled with vengeance and rage. He takes revenge on all who oppose him and continues to rage against his enemies! The Lord is slow to get angry, but his power is great, and he never lets the guilty go unpunished. He displays his power in the whirlwind and the storm. The billowing clouds are the dust beneath his feet. At his command the oceans dry up…and the rivers disappear. In his presence the mountains quake, and the hills melt away; the earth trembles and its people are destroyed. Who can stand before his fierce anger? Who can survive his burning fury? His rage blazes forth like fire, and the mountains crumble to dust in his presence. The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him. But he will sweep away his enemies in an overwhelming flood. He will pursue his foes into the darkness of night.” – Nahum 1:2-8.
It is a little disquieting to hear about the wrath of God. The subject tends to make us uncomfortable. It is not something that you will listen to much on Sundays or in small groups. It is not something we dwell on in our devotions. Whenever someone brings it up in conversation, Christians often change the subject or prefer to talk about “happier” topics, such as God’s love.
Many Christians struggle with understanding God’s wrath because it seems like it’s opposed to God’s love. If you know wrathful as vengeful, it might be hard to reconcile these two attributes of God. But if the wrath of God is simply His righteous judgment against sinful humanity, then there is no conflict between the two. All of humanity is deserving of punishment. And a righteous God would correctly give us what we have earned. But God is also love. And He has provided a way of redemption; faith in the atoning blood of His Son.
The reality is that God’s wrath and love are interconnected. God loves us, and God hates sin. Because of God’s holiness, we cannot be in the presence of a holy God whenever we sin. God wants us to live in an intimate relationship with Him, but sin has created a gap between Himself and us. Fortunately, God bridged the gap. He unleashed his wrath, the outpouring of His righteous anger for the sin of man on Jesus. On the cross, Jesus chose to pay for our sins.
We should be in awe of the goodness of God. The greatest miracle in the world is God’s patience and bounty to an ungrateful world. God desires that all be saved: 2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”
God’s wrath would be truly terrifying if not satisfied in Christ. In saving us from His wrath, God has done what we could not do and what we didn’t deserve. It is the ultimate good news. 1 Timothy 1:15 says, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…” Romans 3:26 says, “for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time.”
Jesus can save you from the wrath and reconcile you to the Father. He has opened heaven’s door, and He can bring you in.
- Does the concept of God’s wrath concern you? Why?
- Should we fear and tremble before God? Why or why not?