Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Wrath of God

If you were asked to describe the attributes of God, you might begin by stating “God is love.” You might even speak of His goodness, His mercy, His grace, or maybe even His justice. But rarely would does anyone think of His wrath. J.I. Packer states, “The modern habit throughout the Christian church is to play this subject down.” He goes on to say that the subject has become taboo in modern society and Christians have accept this taboo and never bring the subject up.[1]

John MacArthur states that any idea of a wrathful God is contrary to the wishful thinking of fallen humanity and can be a stumbling block to many Christians. Evangelism today focuses primarily on the abundant life in Christ, emphasizes the joy and blessings of salvation, and focuses on the peace with God that faith in Christ brings. These are certainly benefits of salvation, but the truth of God’s judgment against sin and the participants in sin must also be heard.[2]

One might even be surprised to discover how often the Bible speaks about the wrath of God. A. W. Pink writes that if one were to study a concordance, one would see that there are “more references to the anger, fury, and wrath of God, than there are to His love and tenderness.”[3] It should not be surprising that God would hate all that is opposed to His moral character, because He loves all that is right and good and conforms to his moral character. His wrath directed toward sin is in close relation to His holiness and justice.[4] C. F. Henry notes that the concept of divine wrath is offensive to modern man but to negate or erase that concept is to violate the teaching of Scripture and ignore the moral nature of God.[5] The question one might ask is how the wrath of God would be important to the plan of salvation.

[1] J. I. Packer Knowing God. Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 1973. 134.

[2] MacArthur, John F., Jr. Romans. MacArthur New Testament Commentary. Chicago: Moody Press, 1991. 59

[3] A. W. Pink The Attributes of God. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2006. 75.

[4] Grudem, Wayne A. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004. 205-206.

[5] Henry, Carl F. H. God, Revelation, and Authority. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1999. V2, 39.