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The Wrath Of God
By Malcolm B Heap, Midnight Ministries
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You don’t hear much preached today about the wrath of God. It’s out of vogue with most modern preachers. The popular gospel is one of grace, with little mention of its opposite. Yet that was not what the first apostles preached. Theirs was a much more hard-hitting message, which was far from sugary like today’s trend.
Peter rebuked the crowd listening on Pentecost bluntly telling them that THEY had crucified Jesus, the Messiah! (Acts 2:36.) Not surprisingly they were “cut to the heart” (2:37).
And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse [crooked] generation.” (2:40.)
Peter’s emphasis is at variance with the modern gospel emphasis. Billy Graham came on the scene, appealing to the masses, presenting a Christ who has died for the sins of the world. “Just come and accept Him into your heart, confess Him as Lord, and you can be saved.” Perhaps that set the tone of what has followed in most Gospel crusade appeals.
It’s an unbalanced and misleading emphasis when it leaves out the fury of God against sin. The horrendous price Jesus paid in suffering on the cross is a reflection of the horror with which God views sin. Humans don’t view it like He does -- usually the opposite!
Why did Peter implore people to be saved from that wicked generation (that very evil environment where sin was rife)? It is very much connected with God’s unmitigated fury against sinfulness. He cannot tolerate it, and if you are party to sin then you become a target of God’s wrath against it. God doesn’t want to blot you out, but He will if you don’t turn away from sin.
God Would Erase The Entire World
The last prophecy in the OT warns that if it were not for the coming of ‘Elijah’ and the restoration of pure truth concerning righteousness, God would “come and strike the earth with a curse” (Mal 4:6). God would “smite the earth to its doom” (Concordant). He would utterly destroy it all! That tells you something about how fearsome the wrath of God is!
A Flavour Of God’s Severity
It’s a long time since Jonathan Edwards’ epic Sinners In The Hands of An Angry God, but the Bible still contains the warnings we must all heed. God doesn’t tolerate sloppy Christianity. He doesn’t tolerate compromise with Truth. He won’t put up with hypocrisy and people who deliberately violate His sacred Word (Rom 11:22). His anger is unleashed against ALL ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Rom 1:18).
To get a flavour of how vehement He is against sin, read Joshua 7. What happened to that family is an example of the uncompromising justice of God. Modernists would call it harsh, and disapprove of it. But the righteous judgement of God (Rom 2:5) is the complete extermination of all who choose to sin (Rev 21:8; Ps 145:20). One extreme effect of His wrath is the earth being dislodged from orbit! (Is 13:13.)
Ephesians 5:6 warns believers not to let false ministers deceive you with empty words. Many gloss over the wrath of God that WILL come upon sinners. Look at the serious warnings in Revelation 14:9-12, in 14:19-20, in Revelation 16, and in Isaiah 5:14-25.
Because they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel (Is 5:24),
God will reject them. Their names will be expunged from the Book of Life (Ex 32:33; Rev 22:19).
How God’s Wrath Is Satisfied
God’s anger is partially ‘satisfied’ by the 7 last plagues (Rev 16:6) commanded by Jesus (14:14-16). He “committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth” (1 Pet 2:22) “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins (notice that: grace does not give licence for sin!) might live for righteousness, by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Pet 2:24). “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the right- eousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21).
Even Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come (1 Thes 1:10).
Malcolm B Heap, June 2018
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