Do You Love The Wrath of God?

Nature’s Wrath

The title of this post certainly wouldn’t get me on Oprah. Why? Because it’s not tolerant and sensitive to talk about the wrath of God these days. We don’t want a wrathful God, we want a purely loving God who will come and tuck us in at night and give us a glass of warm milk. We don’t like wrath. The very concept makes us feel like primitive cavemen (or cavewomen) who eat their meat raw and carry large wooden clubs.

But recently I’ve come to see that there’s something very good and right about the wrath of God. Listen to this quote by J.I. Packer from the book In My Place Condemned He Stood:

And this [the wrath of God] is righteous anger – the right reaction of moral perfection in the Creator toward moral perversity in the creature. So far from the manifestation of God’s wrath in punishing sin being morally doubtful, the thing that would be morally doubtful would be for him not to show his wrath in this way. God is not just – that is he does not act in the way that is right, he does not do what is proper to a judge – unless he inflicts upon all sin and wrongdoing the penalty it deserves.

That, ladies and gentleman, is a deep quote. Let me encourage you to read it again. And maybe a third time. Now for a few thoughts.

Think for a moment about all the perverse, evil deeds committed by men and women. These wicked acts are against each other. Rape, murder, slander, selfishness, racism. They are committed in the privacy of our own hearts. Lust, arrogance, self-sufficiency, grumbling. But ultimately, all these wicked deeds are committed against the Creator himself. Every wicked act I’ve ever done, every perverse thought that has crossed my mind is ultimately rebellion against the very God who made me.

Isn’t it good and right that God punishes sin? How could we love a God who simply overlooked murder? How could we worship a God who didn’t care when we grumbled against him? The wrath of God is the only right response to our wickedness. I couldn’t follow a God who didn’t bring justice upon wickedness.

And all this makes the cross so sweet. I’m wicked and perverted. My thoughts are evil. Without a doubt I deserve wrath. But God’s mercy has made a way for God’s justice to be satisfied and for me to be forgiven. That’s the gospel. The cross makes it possible for me to love the wrath of God.

Originally published April, 2008

  • http://www.georgeslarabie.blogspot.com The Thirsty Frenchman

    Thanks for those thoughts. I was reminded of this again this morning as I read Hosea 8 and 9.

  • Stephen Altrogge

    George – You’re welcome. It’s amazing to see how the themes of the salvation and the wrath of God run through all of scripture…

  • http://www.frafferz.com Geoff Youngs

    Next up… “The Glorious Doctrine of Eternal Damnation”?

    It would actually be a great topic for an article. An ever timely reminder that sin will not ever be ok with God. That there are no circumstances under which it will be overlooked, brushed under the carpet or marginalised. And an opportunity to reflect on God’s grace in warning us.

  • Stephen Altrogge

    Geoff – As frightening as your title may sound, you’re right, it really would be a good subject. Even in damning the wicked God is glorified. God’s justice is just as much a part of his glory as his mercy.

  • http://www.jenniferpartin.blogspot.com Jennifer Partin

    I directed my friend to read your post today! She was just pondering this very thing.

    You can’t have justice without love and you can’t have love without justice. I am amazed at God and His wisdom and the brilliance and beauty of the Gospel.

    Thanks Stephen for the reminder—-and no problem for the new album—-God’s Sovereign, just goes to prove how I need to get on the information highway bandwagon! :)

  • Stephen Altrogge

    Jennifer – The gospel really is amazing isn’t it? Mercy and justice meet in a beautiful collision, as David Crowder might say…

  • http://www.servingHimathome.blogspot.com Elaine

    Powerful post. Thanks!

  • http://www.djcimino.blogspot.com DJ Cimino

    Great post. The startling words of Romans 9:22-23 should produce both fear and joy! Fear because we get a small glimpse of the Holy God we serve. Joy because the cross of Christ removes us from verse 22 and places us safely into verse 23. Praise the Lord!

    Rom 9:22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—

  • Hannah

    I love this. Thank you.

  • Joshua

    I’m glad that others have this same feeling. I actually like the fact that God has wrath and is zealous over His name and will punish evildoers. Call my crazy for wanting evildoers to be punished! =)

  • Steven

    Most of the people in this world deserve gods wrath with no mercy, they should be condemned to the suffering agony of it. For far too long have people been ok with letting the disgusting and immoral things go on in the name of money and power. People no longer fear god as they should he is a creator and yet he will ultimately be our destroyer as well. This planet is plagued by the self righteous people that can not be touched by our menial law system due to their influence and standing. These people will be the first to realize the pain and depth of gods fury as the true justice bears its will upon them.

  • n`beth

    My friend, do you have any idea what’s the meaning of the above photo? Any idea where it was taken? … I bet you have no idea..cz I was there…and that’s not a rain cloud…that’s an alien ship under cover, and below the mother ship is another small one….visible somehow. I have the whole story…care for more detailes…?