Stephen Altrogge: You Should Seriously Love the Wrath of God

Do you love the wrath of God?

That sounds like a somewhat deranged question, right? I mean, when was the last time you had a conversation about how beautiful the wrath of God is? I don’t think I’ve ever had that conversation.

Or when was the last time you sang a worship song that focused on the wrath of God? It’s not quite as catchy to sing about the furious wrath of God as it is to sing about the reckless love of God.

Have you ever read a book extolling the glorious virtues of the wrath of God? Survey says, “Probably not.” I certainly haven’t.

The simple truth is that we (myself included) don’t really like to talk about God’s wrath. It makes us moderately uncomfortable. It doesn’t jive well with our modern sensibilities. We prefer to talk about how God is loving, kind and merciful, all of which are gloriously true.

If you talk about God’s wrath on a regular basis, people start avoiding you at parties and giving you the distant side eye—the look that says, “Stay far away from this strange person.”

But it’s equally true that God is wrathful, and the wrath of God is just as glorious as his love and mercy.

Wait, what? The wrath of God is just as glorious and beautiful as God’s love?

Yes, it is. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but we should prize and treasure the wrath of God just as much as any other part of God’s character.

Here are three reasons why.

What Is the Wrath of God?

First, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page regarding the wrath of God. Depending on your background, you may have all kinds of unhelpful preconceived notions that keep you from truly treasuring God’s wrath.

So what is God’s wrath?

The wrath of God is God’s holy, righteous, absolutely morally pure opposition to and punishment of unrighteousness. 

God is not like a semi-unhinged guy with a hair-trigger temper. He doesn’t randomly lash out when something happens that he doesn’t like.

No, God is gloriously holy and righteous. His wrath flows out of his holiness, obliterating all wickedness and leaving righteousness and justice in its wake. The wrath of God is just as steadfast as the love of God.

God’s overwhelming, glorious love for his people never changes, and his wrath against sin never changes as well. Both love and wrath are part of God’s immutable character.

1. The Wrath of God Means Justice Will Be Done

In its current state, the world is horribly, staggeringly, incredibly unjust. Every day, injustices occur by the millions. People sin against each other in horrific ways with seemingly little or no consequences.

Women and children are victimized by powerful men. Spiritual abusers take advantage of innocent, naive Christians. Young men and women die of drug overdoses while drug dealers keep getting richer. Doctors perform abortions by the thousands. Parents mistreat and even abuse their kids. Elderly individuals die of neglect.

Injustice. Is. Everywhere.

Heartbreak is rife.

Evil presses in all around us.

And if we didn’t know any better, we wouldn’t have any reason to believe that justice would ever be done.

This is exactly what Asaph experienced in Psalm 73. When he saw the prosperity of the wicked, he despaired.

Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches. All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence (Psalm 73:12-13)

When Asaph surveyed the state of affairs, it seemed to him that the wicked always prospered, often at the expense of the righteous. However, when Asaph considered the end of the wicked, his perspective shifted. He knew that the wrath of God would soon fall upon the wicked. He knew that justice would be done and that righteousness would carry the day.

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Source: Church Leaders