Summary: We enjoy focusing on God's love, but God also gets angry-sin makes Him mad.
Grace and God’s Anger
We love to focus on God’s love. God’s wrath or anger is also a part of his nature that must be examined.
God’s gets angry over sin. Imagine a cab company employed to deliver messages to wives during the Vietnam War. When entering the agreement, the owner tells the War Department that he will only deliver happy messages bearing good news from the soldiers themselves. He will not deliver telegrams that tell of death, injury or that a loved one is missing in action. It is doubtful that the armed forces would enter into a contract under these stipulations. All messages must be delivered.
So it is with the wrath of God. We enjoy hearing of the love of God-many sermons and lessons are taught on it, but the subject of God’s wrath is disturbing. We love to tell people how to get to heaven, but we often avoid the subject of hell. Believing in the wrath of God and the love of God is necessary for both characteristics of his nature are taught throughout Scripture.
God’s wrath or anger is not like ours. Anger in itself is not a sin, but the Bible warns against this emotion simply because it is very dangerous and often leads to actions that are sinful and damaging to our person. Cain’s anger at his brother because God accepted Abel’s offering and rejected his led to murder. (Genesis 4:5) James warns us to be slow to speak and slow to get angry. (James 1:19) And Paul cautions against letting the sun go down on our anger. (Ephesians 4:26) Not going to bed while angry with a spouse or child (or anyone for that matter) is a good practice.
God’s wrath or anger is not against people as ours often is. Rather, his anger is against sinful people and situations. Sin is the root cause of his anger. It is perfectly acceptable for us to be angry over sinful situations as well as the sinful acts that we see others involved in. Sin, in all its forms, destroys. It also prevents people from realizing God’s purpose and plan for them.
Thus, anger over sin is acceptable for this moves us to action. However our movements against sin must be tempered by obedience to God. It is not permissible to steal an item and give it to a person who has had that same item stolen. Paul’s announcement concerning the good news of the gospel is over. He will now begin building his case that all people are responsible to God for their sin. He will begin building a doctrine of sin which is very vital for the believer to understand so we can preach and teach the whole counsel of God, not just what appears preferable to us.
God’s wrath is revealed against ungodliness and unrighteousness as it is practiced by sinful people who suppress the truth.
Paul is building a case to prosecute people, thereby helping them to understand that we are all responsible to God-Jew and Gentile alike.
Why must sin be punished? Why can’t God just let people do as they want without consequence?
We are responsible to God; he is holy and just and will not tolerate sin. While he allows it to run rampant at present, a day of reckoning will come, and none will be able to excuse themselves from their accountability to God. Sin destroys emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically. Sin holds no benefits for us. It was not baiting by God when he gave Adam and Eve the choice to obey or disobey. Rather, the choice made them human rather than robots of God.
This sin nature that Paul will deal with in depth later puts every human on a collision course with God’s will. Instead of accepting God’s truth, we search for truth according to our own definitions. We attempt to stifle the truth God reveals in nature and other means.
God does not enjoy punishing the sinner, and he does not gain any unusual pleasure when the wicked perish. (Ezekiel 18:32) God’s nature, however, is one of moral perfection. Though he allows sin to exist now, there will come the time when it will be banned forever from his presence and the presence of all the saints. Habakkuk reminds us about God’s nature when he writes; “Thou are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity.” (1:13)
God does not want to remove sinners from his presence but rather restore them to a right relationship with him. Those who persist in their rebellion against God must endure his punishment. Just as an attorney will present a case to a jury and judge before conviction is determined and sentence passed, so Paul will do the same so that we can see the justice of God in his sentence against those who refuse him.