Summary: God’s wrath is difficult both to understand and to believe.
Most Christians find the wrath of God difficult to understand and believe. The idea of a wrathful God has been for some Christians a roadblock to faith. There are Christians who have experienced the transforming grace and love of the Lord in their lives who believe
the idea of God’s wrath seems to be a contradiction of their experience with God. Is it possible that the God whose unconditional love is revealed in Paul’s state- ment “that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” and at the same time be a God of wrath?
The Bible speaks about God’s nature, work, and purposes in terms we understand and have experienced. While this is necessary, we need to remember the human mind can never fully comprehend the absolute nature of God. The knowledge and power that are part of human experience God possesses these in an absolute sense. We see God as One who is or possesses truth, grace, beauty, love, righteousness, and faithfulness in their most complete or absolute forms. We do not see this in humans. While we see forms of these in humans, we also see hate, anger, a vindictive spirit, ugliness and wrath.
What we see in God we perceive to be positive and we long to possess these attributes. What we see in ourselves and others we perceive to be negative and our desire is to rid ourselves of this negative aspects of our nation.
The reason we find it very difficult to apply negative human aspects to God is an idealistic, romantic idea of God that has its foundation in philosophical speculation. This is not the biblical idea of God. In the Bible both God and the world is viewed more seriously than abstract philosophical speculation.
We are told in the Bible God enters into a relation- ship with His creation in Jesus of Nazareth, in whom “all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Colossians 1:19), who at the same is “in all respects like us” (Hebrews 2:17). The bible also takes the relationship between Creator and creature more seriously than we do.
Because the creation is God’s, it is responsible to God. Here is where we have a difficult time accepting. We want to do our own thing and when our own thing brings us down we want to play the blame game although the Bible clearly teaches, we reap what we sow.
The foundation of Paul’s doctrine on the wrath of God is found in Genesis chapter three, especially verses 21-22. In the Genesis account of creation the refusal of mankind to live as creature in the Creator/creature relationship is summed up in Romans 1:25.
Paul’s speaks of the wrath of God in two ways; a future event in which God’s judgments will be executed on the world’s sinfulness (Romans 2:5). Where he tells the Romans, and all who read his letter to the Romans, “because of you stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” Paul sees God’s wrath and judgment as an activity of God, His decided action against sin, but not against the sinner. The sinner becomes involved in the wrath of God and the righteous judgment of God because he is involved in sin. Paul is telling the Romans God’s personal response to sin is not like the response of their various gods. His response is never characterized by or given to willful and often unwise or irrational choices and demands, vindictiveness or malice.
Paul also tells his readers, “God’s wrath is being revealed from heaven now.” God’s wrath is not only a response to man’s unfaithfulness in the future judg-ment; it is already present. We see it everyday. It is reported in news broadcasts. In our newspapers. And we ask ourselves what is happening. God is sending us wake-up calls and we are shutting off the alarm.
The human condition Paul describes in Romans 1:18-32, is not something caused by God,
but the sinfulness of mankind and its results when God’s will is violated. God’s wrath is
revealed in the fact that mankind has rejected God’s truth, the truth about God’s nature and will. When the truth about God’s nature and His will is rejected the result is futile thinking, idolatry, perversion of God-intended sexuality, and relational-moral brokeness.
The condition our land is in today.
The idea that sinful perversion of human existence that is the result of human decisions is to be understood as God’s punishment which we bring upon ourselves. It is our will in conflict with God’s will.
The idea God punishes or blesses in direct proportion to our sinful or good deeds cannot be Biblical supported. God’s unconditional love has been demonstrated in that, while we were sinners, Christ died for us. His love is everlasting. The rejection of that love separates us from its life-giving power.