A few days ago, I read some posts that mentioned the wrath of God, and I have been thinking about them ever since. In one post, a person stated that they didn’t want to speak about God’s wrath or think about people suffering His wrath. In another post, someone stated that as Christians, we do not need to talk about God’s wrath but instead, should talk about His love.
Nearly three hundred years ago, this same debate raged in the American colonies. Jonathan Edwards, American preacher, delivered one of the most powerful messages ever to be preached on this continent. The name of his sermon was, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” But, if you read the sermon, it is much about God’s love. Both love and anger are part of God. When we speak of only one of His attributes, we are not speaking of God as a whole. What if we spoke only of the calm in the eye of a hurricane? Even if we did it because we didn’t like talking about the forces at play outside the eye, or the thought of people and property being exposed to those forces? Would we be doing the people in the path of the hurricane a favor? No. We sound the alarm. We tell them a storm is coming. Even if in the eye of the storm there is tranquility, that is only part of the truth. The second point that emphasizes what I am saying concerns bears. If you have ever lived in bear country, you go by certain rules. Those rules are posted frequently by the forest rangers/forest service as constant reminders to anyone traveling in the bear’s habitat. Why are these rules posted? To avoid the wrath of an angry bear. Or, perhaps better said, to avoid being a hiker in the paws of an angry bear.
We speak often of how to avoid the wrath of a hurricane or a bear. We take certain steps and precautions. When one is headed our way, we take protective actions. Interestingly enough, both the bear and the hurricane only affect our temporal, earthly life. God’s wrath deals with the immortal soul—eternity. We are taught to respect and fear the bear and the hurricane. But by failing to mention God’s wrath and anger, He is no longer to be feared—at least in the minds of those who would rather operate in denial. What does the Bible say is the beginning of wisdom? It is the fear of the Lord God Almighty. By speaking of only part of Him, this is lost. We are doing no one a favor by not speaking of God’s anger. Would you send children into the woods and not teach them about the wrath of a bear? Would you not warn a neighbor of a hurricane if you knew it was coming? The reality in this world is, If you die without being redeemed by the blood of Christ Jesus, Who is God incarnate, you are facing eternity and damnation. I will agree, that does not sound pleasant. And I wouldn’t wish it on anyone—even my worst enemy. The thought of hell in actuality is more than the human mind can comprehend. My refusing to think about it or speak of it does not make it go away.
I once made a similar statement to the one above regarding the redemptive power of Christ. It offended one of my friends who stated something like, “You must not care about me. You say there is a God, and I say there is no god. So, I must be wrong. How can you think you’re right and everybody else is wrong?” I replied to him, “No, I speak of this to you because I do care about you. You are my friend. I truly believe this. What kind of friend would I be if I did not warn you of what is true? If I knew of a danger that was present, of course I would warn you.” He stated, “I’ve never looked at it like that. So, my friends who tell me that God is real are doing it because they care about me. I always just thought that they were picking on me or being pushy with their religion.”
Again, we are doing no one a favor by not mentioning the wrath of God. Not only has the one sided view of God (only His love) become a personal favorite of individuals, but it is also a corporate ideal as well, perpetuated in and by many churches and Christian leaders—God’s love sells better than God’s anger. Christian entities and individuals need to quit trying to sell God and speak of Him in His entirety. We might be surprised at the results in our communities and country.