What is the wrath of God? Why do we struggle to grasp this concept? Can a God of love also be the God of wrath? Let’s take a journey with God as Rev Tan brings this subject to us.
I am the Lord God Almighty. The whole universe was created by Me. The earth is Mine and its fullness thereof. But man is My greatest creation, for I have made them in My own image. I have given them so much. They were meant to be special, unique. They were to partake of My glory and fellowship with Me for all eternity.
The greatest aspect of My creation has also turned out to be My greatest pain. You see, I have given man the freedom of choice. For I have realized that true worship is not that which is forced, but given. True relationship cannot be experienced in the absence of choice! So I have taken the greatest risk—to give man that ability to choose; creation to freely choose to worship their creator. Unfortunately, Lucifer, the fallen angel and his horde of demons have strongly influenced man to walk in disobedience.
The result has not only been the curse of sin upon man, but the destructive power of sin unleashed upon the earth. The nations rage in war. Sicknesses abound. Violence continues to ravage the earth. Natural calamities have brought so much pain into this world! The world has given in to its sinful cravings over and over, and humanity has lost all of its initial beauty and innocence.
What can I say of this world, of my creation? They have sinned against me. They have turned their hearts away from me and set their paths in wickedness. They have chosen to align with the enemy of their souls.
How can My holiness be mocked?
How can My righteousness be scorned?
How can My love be so utterly rejected?
I am a Holy God. And surely My wrath has been incurred. Sin cannot go unpunished, My law cannot be trespassed. Yet mankind has no regard for me. In ages past, I have wiped out the earth. I have destroyed My very creation. I have judged so severely, but it seems that they are unable to truly learn.
Maybe the key is in their Salvation. So I sent My Son to make atonement for their sins. To break the power of their disobedience and set them free. It was surely the darkest moment of My heart when I had to turn My face from My beloved Son as He hung on the cross. Yet they have not learnt!
How can My sacrifice be so despised?
How can My grace be so abused?
Is humanity truly unable to learn and come back to Me? Does My wrath have to be poured out in full measure? Shall I contend with My creation forever? No! The time is coming when the fullness of My wrath will be poured out. Make no mistake of it.
But know this: My wrath is not a curse, except for the devil and those who choose his way. The devil and his minions have an eternal lake of fire awaiting them. It is their just destiny.
If people persist in their evil without repentance, know that there is no escape. They cannot hide behind their masks, or ‘godly routines’. I see their hearts. I see their motivations.
But understand this, without wrath, My love and grace would not be fully comprehended. There is a price to pay, and I have paid it.
As much as there is wrath, My love is unrelenting, My grace unyielding.
The Antinomy of Wrath
The wrath of God is an important doctrine that has, perhaps, never been fully understood by Christians or sufficiently addressed in the body of Christ. In light of God’s love and grace, His wrath would be nothing short of an antinomy.
Here are some important principles we must understand about God’s wrath.
1. God’s wrath is just
God is just, and His wrath is justified. His wrath is not a reaction of anger, or an egotistical response to an unsubmissive subject. Instead, His wrath is the only right and holy response to a world of sin and immorality.
“God’s wrath in the Bible is never the capricious, self-indulgent, irritable, morally ignoble thing that human anger so often is. It is, instead, a right and necessary reaction to objective moral evil.”–J I Packer, Knowing God
It is also because of the wrath of God that we will truly see justice upon the earth. God WILL have the last say.
2. Through God’s wrath, we see His love
God’s wrath does not leave mankind with a cruel God whose anger needs to be continually appeased by sacrifice and atonement. His wrath unleashes punishment that is deserving, but that is not the end. In the Old Testament, it was never how much sacrifice was made, but the need for atonement so that man could come back into a right relationship with Him. In the New Testament, the fullness of God’s salvation manifested when Jesus came to Earth to die on the cross for our sins. The perfect lamb became the ultimate sacrifice and atonement that we may fully embrace God’s love and be restored in our relationship.
3. Without wrath, God’s grace would be cheap
Grace is the undeserving goodness of God poured out immeasurably and uncontainably to all His children. But without the context of His wrath, grace becomes merely the dishing out of goodwill and blessings. This makes God someone whom we try to win favor from and turn to whenever we need something. Yet, when we fully grasp the wrath of God, then we begin to see how awesome His grace is, how magnificent His heart for us, His children, truly is.
Let us understand the power of His wrath. Fearing God is not fearing His wrath. Knowing God requires us to know that our God is a jealous God, that His wrath is upon humanity, and as in the words of Jonathan Edwards, we are merely, “Sinners in the hand of an angry God”. Only in this perspective can we truly reflect on the state of our relationship with Him, as well as to fully comprehend His love and grace.
“Unless we grasp God’s holiness, we will no longer be “amazed” at His amazing grace.”–C S Lewis.
About Rev Gerald Tan
Rev Gerald Tan is the Senior Pastor of Calvary Assembly of God (Singapore), and an executive committee member of The Assemblies of God of Singapore. A passionate preacher with an apostolic-prophetic anointing, he has a heartfelt desire to raise and release people to fulfill their God-given destinies. He actively ministers locally and globally, speaking into churches and leaders. Rev Gerald is married to Audrey, and they have two children, Davian and Evanny