We hear a lot about the wrath of God. How He is so angry with sin that He is pouring out judgement even now on the sons of disobedience. Remember how he opened up the ground and swallowed those people? Didn’t He swear in His anger that His children would never enter His rest? What about wiping out entire people groups who were breaking His laws? And don’t forget Ananias and Sapphira. God is angry! Right? I mean doesn’t John 3:16 state: “For God was so angry with the world . . .”
Wonder if we’ve failed to understand the concept of God’s wrath? Wonder if we’ve mis-defined His wrath through the feebleness of our human languages? Wonder if His wrath is only the removal of His sovereign hand over our lives? Wonder if the moment He removes His hand of protection the enemy has access to do what he loves best – “to steal, kill, and destroy?”
This looks pretty apparent in His wrath and judgement on His own people in the Old Covenant. Whenever they broke the covenant, He removed His blessing. His blessing could be defined as His protection, His provision, and His presence. Whenever His people turned their back on Him, He judged them with military takeovers, famine, and disease. Wonder if this was simply the removal of His hand over their lives, and the enemy came in like a flood bringing all sorts of evil with Him? Wonder if the Lord in His sovereignty hired the enemy to attack His people, or if they simply worked as a team? Or maybe God simply let them to their own devices and the natural laws of sowing and reaping overtook them?
What about His wrath against other people? The law states that without the shedding of blood their is no forgiveness of sins. The law doesn’t state that repentance is required. The only element required for covering sins is the shedding of blood. Wonder if there was some sort of redemption in the heart of God when He was judging a people in the old covenant? When He required that all of the blood be shed – from the oldest to the youngest – male and female – even the livestock? Wonder if the livestock were required in some instances because the sins of the people were so grievous or great that more blood was necessary of the sin covering? Wonder if this is what Peter was speaking of when he said that Jesus went into hell and preached to those who were held captive?
And in the New Covenant we have the strange story of Ananias and Sapphira? The language could be interpreted like the Holy Spirit was sent to attack them. That He was set loose on them like some kind of wild angry animal. Or maybe, God removed His hand of protection over their lives, and the enemy so anxious in his attempt to stop the redemption of men raged in a murdered them? The enemy is so desperate to stop the work of God that he thought killing people following the Good News would benefit him when he got the chance. The funny thing is that this is the only incident we have of this kind of behavior in the New Covenant. And the Word says that the result was that the Fear of the Lord spread throughout the whole Church. Wonder if the enemy’s plan backfired and produced the opposite result then what he was hoping for? Wonder if he was anticipating many turning away from God because He was wrathful or a hard master? Wonder if the opposite happened and God worked all things together for the good of those who love God and who are called according to His purposes?
God’s wrath is against sin. Not sinners. John 3:16 says that “God so loved the (fallen, sinful) world that He gave . . .” Gave what? Judgment? Wrath? No that “He gave His only Son. That whosoever might believe in Him should never perish, but have everlasting life.”
Jesus said in John 5:22:
“For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son.”
Then again He says in John 8:15:
“You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.”
And then back to John 5:23:30
23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. 24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. 25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, 27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. 30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
Jesus is saying that the Father is judging no one. That the Father has given all judgment into the hands of the Son. And the Son says He is not judging either. That men are already judged because of their unbelief. They do not enter into the New Covenant because they don’t believe on the one the Father sent. So they are already judged. But there is a day of judgment coming when the Son will judge men as the father directs Him, but that day is not yet.
The Holy Spirit is come to convict the world as seen in John 16:
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
But notice that He convicts the world of sin – and their sin is unbelief. He convicts His sons of being righteous. And He convicts the ruler of this world as judged already – he is defeated.
Maybe God’s wrath is not being poured out on our country as we have heard so many prophets speaking of? God has rested from all of His works according to Hebrews 2, and He has dealt with sin once and for all on the cross. The work of God is finished. Wonder if the wrath we speak of is only the law of sowing and reaping, and we blame God, because like Adam, men do not like to shoulder the responsibility for their own actions.
“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
-1 John 4:8