The Wrath of God is real and powerful. The Hebrew writer tells us that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:31) Many in the denominational world seek to minimize or even eliminate the Wrath of God from the nature of God. I have often seen and heard comments about “the God of the Old Testament” being much different than the God of the New Testament. But this is something that is simply not supported in scripture. James 1:17 tells us clearly that He is without variation or shadow due to change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. In fact the wrath of God is as much a part of the nature of God as His Love, Mercy, or Grace. God would not be God without the wrath of God.
The Wrath of God is an attribute of God.
The scriptures reveal to us that our Lord is wrathful with good reason. In the book of Nahum chapter one verses one through six. Nahum tells us that our God is wrathful.
An oracle concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum of Elkosh. The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD is avenging and wrathful; the LORD takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies. The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty. His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebukes the sea and makes it dry; he dries up all the rivers; Bashan and Carmel wither; the bloom of Lebanon withers. The mountains quake before him; the hills melt; the earth heaves before him, the world and all who dwell in it. Who can stand before his indignation? Who can endure the heat of his anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken into pieces by him. Nahum 1:1-6
The Lord’s wrath is not like our wrath. Here the Lord tells us that he is wrathful against his enemies. In Deuteronomy chapter 32 we are told that the Lord takes vengeance upon his adversaries, and repays those who hate him. Paul reinforces this telling us that, “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” (Romans 1:18) The Lord is not filled with anger as we are. Rather our Lord is filled with righteous indignation against all who oppose him.
The Wrath of God is the perfect and justified response to sin.
Psalm 5:5 tells us that, “The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.” Psalm 7:11 tells us that “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.” Our God is fill with righteous indignation. Our God is angry against sin!
Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. Romans 2:4-8
If God did not react in this manner towards sin. He would not be God. God would not be Holy if the evil deeds did not move him in righteous indignation to wrath.
The perfect Love of the God is meaningless without Wrath
I John 4:9-10 tells us that Christ’s sacrifice is the perfect expression of God’s Love. Paul in Romans 5 helps us understand the full impact of the sacrifice of Christ. He tells us that we were the enemies of God without the sacrifice of Christ. “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:10) The passages in Deuteronomy and Nahum should make it quite evident of the consequences of being the enemy of God. But, that is the point! Without any consequences, the sacrifice of Christ is meaningless. In fact could it be called a sacrifice if it purchased nothing? Christ’s sacrifice carries the weight it does because it saves us from God’s wrath!
For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10
The Wrath of God is without a doubt a aspect of the nature of God. It is his ultimate expression against all unrighteousness. Yet, he has given us a way of escape through his son, if we will but take it.