As we continue to look at our awesome God and His perfect and amazing attributes, we will consider today another of the "less talked about" attributes, that of God's wrath.
I realize many of us when we hear this will shut down, turn away, even possibly stop reading, thinking this has no real help for the present. But this is to our own hurt that we misunderstand and even deny this attribute of our God.
Undoubtedly this is at least partly due to how poorly people have dealt with this subject in the past, but it cannot prevent us from pursuing truth in the now. For sure, it stems at least in part from our thinking which relates God to closely to ourselves, that the gap between us and God is not as great as it really is.
For when we think about wrath, even that of God, we tend to think of a loss of control, seeing red, rage, wounded pride, self-indulgent, morally ignoble, sinful jealousy, Yet this is totally unlike the wrath of God. For God's wrath is a right and necessary response to moral evil. God's anger is only where anger is rightly called for. We might call it "righteous indignation". In God's wrath, he is rightly responding to evil. God's wrath is always totally justified. Deserved.
The reality is that if we do not rightly grasp this subject, our understanding of the gospel is skewed, as it is the very wrath of God due our sin from which we are saved, see Romans 5:9. If we don't understand the bad news rightly, we will never rightly appreciate the GOOD NEWS. Nor will we rightly grasp the propitiatory achievement of the cross, that God's wrath was satisfied in the cross, debt cancelled, thus God can rightly forgive sinners due to Christ's satisfactory payment, satisfying God's wrath due our sin by taking it for us as our substitute, thus God can be just and the justifier of those who have faith in Christ, see Romans 3:21-26.
If we don't rightly grasp the wrath of God, redemption itself is less wonderful, God's grace is less amazing, His love for us is less foreign and instead more common and akin to our love for others. Nor will our understanding of God and His righteous dealings with history be adequate without the right understanding of the wrath of God due sin, even God and His current dealings with His creation. Even our sense of urgency in evangelism will fall short without a right grasp and understanding of the wrath of God, as we will never feel the sense of urgency we see in Jude 23, where it states "save some, by snatching them out of the fire."
AW Pink wrote the following regarding the wrath of God, and I want to challenge us this morning with this thought, so that we can walk away on a path to rightly grasping and rightly worshipping God in all of His perfections, even His wrath due sin, and that our worship of Him will be as He has revealed Himself to be thru the Word, versus simply worshipping a version of God based upon how we like to think about Him being.
Pink said this regarding the wrath of God: "The wrath of God is a perfection of the Divine character on which we need to mediate frequently. FIRST, that our hearts may be duly impressed by God's detestation of sin. We are ever prone to regard sin lightly, to gloss over its hideousness, to make excuses for sin. But the more we study and ponder God's abhorrence of sin and His frightful vengeance upon it, the more likely we are to realize its heinousness.
SECOND, to beget a true fear in our souls for God. Hebrews 12:28-29 says "Let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire". We cannot serve Him "acceptably" unless there is due "reverence" for His amazing Majesty and "godly fear" of His righteous anger ...
THIRD, to draw out our soul in reverent praise to Jesus Christ for having delivered us from "the wrath to come" (1 Thess. 1:10). Our readiness or our reluctancy to meditate upon the wrath of God becomes a sure test of how our hearts really stand affected towards Him."
If we are to truly know and worship God, then we must learn to rightly reckon with the wrath of God like every other aspect of God's perfections. May we be that people. May we not shrink back from any of the perfections of God. And may God's grace even in His wrath "teach us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds", as Titus 2:11-15 declares.