Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Wrath of God

Today’s Bible Reading:  1 Kings 7; 2 Chronicles 4; Psalm 98; Romans 2

Journal Entry on a passage from today’s reading:
Topic: God’s Wrath

SCRIPTURE:  Romans 2:5-8

5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God "will give to each person according to what he has done."  7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. (Rom 2:5-8 NIV)


The word wrath is used three times in this passage—twice in verse 5 and again in verse 8. Paul makes it clear that God is opposed to evil in no uncertain terms. The Greek word translated as wrath in these instances is orge. This word in other passages is also translated as anger, indignation and vengeance. However, it seems Paul presents God’s wrath more as a process of fact rather than a flare up of emotional anger against sinful men and women. God’s wrath has more to do with His natural disposition against evil. In the same way that certain magnetic polarities are naturally repulsed, God in His perfect holiness and goodness is naturally repulsed by sin and evil. Therefore God’s wrath is not borne from any arbitrary decision on His part to lash out in anger, but may be seen more as the result of the clashing of His nature with wickedness. Or, to put it more precisely, when evil is exposed to the presence of God, there will be a violent reaction. It is like exposing matter to anti-matter; they cannot co-exist. The “day of wrath” or the final judgment may very well be seen as an explosive reaction where God’s person and presence completely overpowers and vanquishes darkness and evil.          


As a Christian presenting the gospel to those who have not yet believed, I would be remiss to ignore the fact of God’s wrath. Yes, God is a God of love and grace, but He is also a God of judgment and wrath. These are not contradictory or opposing aspects of His nature. God’s grace and wrath are in perfect balance. He loves every individual without question. His will is that all will come to repentance and salvation (2 Pe 3:9). His wrath is not an eruption of anger against sinners. He loves sinners, but wrath is the natural collision of His goodness with sin and evil. People do not have to be destroyed by that collision. If they will accept God’s Son they will be covered and shielded from the cataclysm of Light utterly and violently destroying and displacing darkness.     


Lord, may I help lost people realize that God is not out to punish them. He isn’t angry with them because they are sinners; He doesn’t hate them—He hates the sin that wants to destroy them, and He has provided a way for them to avoid the natural destructive consequence of His perfect goodness repulsing all evil. God help me to help people realize that loving gospel message. Through Christ. Amen.  –AP

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