Rom 1:18 (Wey) For God's anger is being revealed from Heaven against all impiety and against the iniquity of men who through iniquity suppress the truth. God is angry.
"Jesus Is Coming Back Soon, and Boy Is He Miffed!"
Or so goes the humorous T-shirt (the last word modified to protect the innocent). The "spirit of this world" revels in open wickedness and makes a joke of God's promised wrath. But the next time Jesus shows up on earth, the "party" will be over, and it's payment time...Rom 1:32 (NEB) They know well enough the just decree of God, that those who behave like this deserve to die, and yet they do it; not only so, they actually applaud such practices.
Because God is holding back now, many think they are "getting away with sin". Because of God's patient mercy now, this is an easy error to fall into. But every sin ever committed will be accounted for. No one is "getting away with" anything. C.S. Lewis: "God is the only comfort, He is also the supreme terror: the thing we most need and the thing we most want to hide from. He is our only possible ally, and we have made ourselves His enemies. Some talk as if meeting the gaze of absolute goodness would be fun. They need to think again. They are still only playing with religion. Goodness is either the great safety or the great danger--according the way you react to it. And we have reacted the wrong way."Gal 6:7 (Phi) Don't be under any illusion: you can not make a fool of God! A man's harvest in life will depend entirely on what he sows.
Repent Or Perish
Eze 18:21,30 (NIV) "Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?... Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall.
Zeph 2:3 (NIV) "Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord's anger."
Who Indeed, And How?
Luke 3:7 (NIV) John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?"
God's love has been revealed for all time and eternity. "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us" (1 Jn 3:16). While we may not yet have apprehended the depth of this revelation of God's love as we ought, it has been fully revealed in the Gospel and we will have eternity to plumb the depths of it. Before the first advent, there were strong hints and prophecies of God's love, but these were not complete or consummated until Messiah's death, burial, and resurrection. But God's wrath has yet to be revealed, although we have seen hints and prophecies concerning it. Just before the time of Christ's first coming, a wave of teaching became popular among the Jews which expected the wrath of God to be poured out on the "Kittim", or Romans. God's justice would finally be shown, the Jews would be vindicated, and the wicked would perish. Interesting isn't it, that unbalanced "wrath" teaching broke out just before God was about to reveal his tender-hearted love to the Jews, and even the Gentiles! And now, just before His second coming, spurious "love" teaching is breaking out everywhere. The severity of God's love as revealed in the Gospel has been reduced to mere sentimentality, and His justice and righteous anger cast aside as our ears itch to hear another bromide or homily from the pulpit. "Why, God was just kidding about that wrath stuff, he would never hurt a fly." "I don't like that hell fire and brimstone preaching," and so on. But if God's wrath is what is to be revealed next, we had better snap out of it. We need to "heed the word of the Lord" in preparation so that we can answer the question "who warned you" instead of giving a vapid stare. If we resist even the hints now, we are positioned to resonate with the blasphemies of the Beast--whom we are told will slander the Name of God when his wrath gears-up in successive stages in the days to come. Will we agree with the antichrist that God is unjust when his judgments begin to pour out on mankind? Or will we have "stood in the council of the Lord" so that we not fall away in the great apostasy to come?
Brewing In The Clouds
Zeph 1:14-15,18 (NIV) "The great day of the Lord is near--near and coming quickly. Listen! The cry on the day of the Lord will be bitter... That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish... In the fire of his jealousy the whole world will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live in the earth."
Rev 19:15 (Phi) Out of his mouth there comes a sharp sword with which to strike the nations... He will tread the winepress of the furious wrath of God the Almighty.
Isa 66:15-16 (NIV) "See, the Lord is coming with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind; he will bring down his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For with fire and with his sword the Lord will execute judgment upon all men, and many will be those slain by the Lord...
Heb 12:29 (Phi) For it is perfectly true that our God is a burning fire.
Luke 12:49 (RSV) [Jesus:] "I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!"
Ps 69:24 (NIV) Pour out your wrath on them, let your fierce anger overtake them.
Ps 76:10 (NIV) Surely your wrath against men brings you praise, and the survivors of your wrath are restrained.
The Purpose of God's Wrath Is Not Discipline
God's wrath, in this final sense, is not aimed to improve and make holy, but to destroy and eternally judge. God disciplines those He loves, for the good (1 Pet 4:17-19). True followers of Christ need have no fear of God's wrath. It is being "stored up", and is about to be directed toward those who reject God's revelation of Himself.2 Thes 1:8-9 (NIV) He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction...
Nahum 1:2 (Amp) The Lord is a jealous God and avenging, the Lord avenges and He is full of wrath; the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries and reserves wrath for his enemies.
1 Thes 5:3 (NIV) While people are saying, 'Peace and safety,' destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not living in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.
Christians need not fear the wrath of God. We have God's promise that we are His chosen. It is true that we should fear God, since He "bought us" and He has been known to put His servants through some pretty severe tests, but we have nothing to fear about God's wrath if we believe in and follow Christ. Wrath is not for the children of God. God may discipline, rebuke, or test us, but this is always constructive--for our good!
Object Of Wrath, Or Object Of Mercy And Glory?
John 3:36 (NIV) "Whoever puts his faith in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see that life, for God's wrath remains on him."
Rom 2:6-11 (Phi) He will "render to every man according to his works", and that means eternal life to those who, in patiently doing good, aim at the unseen glory and honor of the eternal world. It also means anger and wrath for those who rebel against God's plan of life, and refuse to obey his rules, and who, in so doing, make themselves the very servants of evil. Yes, it means bitter pain and agony for every human soul who works on the side of evil... But there is glory and honor and peace for every worker on the side of good...
Rom 9:22-24 (NIV) What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath--prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory--even us, whom he also called...
Rom 11:22 (NIV) Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.
1 Thes 5:9 (NIV) For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paid In Full For The Chosen Few
Luke 13:23 (NIV) Someone asked him, "Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?"
Mat 7:14 (NIV) "Enter in through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."
Some people have a problem with this. It doesn't seem fair that most people are "objects of wrath", headed for eternal punishment just because they don't "love the truth" and follow Christ. How can God be fair and condemn the majority of humanity to hell?
Is God's Wrath Fair?
Jer 21:14 (NIV) "I will punish you as your deeds deserve, declares the Lord."
Rom 3:5 (NIV) But if our unrighteousness brings out God's righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.)
The only really unfair thing is that any of us should be saved at all! How does God "get away with" singling a few of us out, paying for our sins, giving us His Holy Spirit, rescuing us from our evil "bent"? Now that's a mystery worth pondering!Lam 3:39 (NIV) Why should any living man complain when punished for his sins?
Is God's wrath fair? Yes: we, all of us, deserve it. Is salvation fair? No: none of us deserve it. It is God's free gift: unexplainable, unmerited, "unfair" if you like, that God should make any escape available to anyone.
A Temporary Stasis, An Incredible Opportunity To Repent
Rom 2:4-5 (Phi) Are you, perhaps, misinterpreting God's generosity and patient mercy towards you as weakness on his part? Don't you realize that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? Or are you by your obstinate refusal to repent simply storing up for yourself an experience of the wrath of God in the day of his anger when he shows his hand in righteous judgment?
Eph 2:1-5 (Phi) You were spiritually dead through your sins and failures, all the time you followed this world's ideas of living, and obeyed the evil ruler of the spiritual realm--who is indeed fully operative today in those who disobey God. We all lived like that in the past, and followed the desires and imaginings of our lower natures, being in fact under the wrath of God by nature, like everyone else. But even though we were dead in our sins God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, gave us life together with Christ--it is, remember, by grace that you are saved.
Rom 5:9 (Jer) Having died to make us righteous, is it likely that he would now fail to save us from God's anger?
Rom 6:23 (KJV) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
All of us have earned our "wages", but God has cleared the account for a few of us. It doesn't seem fair, but it is very "good news".Rom 11:22 (Phi) You must try to appreciate both the kindness and the strict justice of God. Those who fell experienced the justice, while you are experiencing his kindness, and will continue to do so as long as you do not abuse that kindness...
That we will escape is cause for great joy... and also for sober reflection when those who sin against us "get what they deserve". We should forgive and pray for those who sin against us while we can, and they may yet repent and escape the coming wrath if they see us standing in the "unfair" position of grace through faith.
Undeserved blessing is always welcome. But undeserved suffering? Yet think about the situation we are in: since we are "in Christ", we are free from God's eternal and consuming wrath. We are just as deserving as those who will receive it, but we will be treated differently. So we can afford to suffer a bit now, and share in "the life of Christ", because we know what will happen later.Rom 12:19 (NIV) Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath.
How does this knowledge make it easier to "turn the other cheek"? It is to realize that we do not have to get back at anybody. God's wrath is being "stored up", and His anger and fury are about to be revealed.2 Thes 1:5-8 (Phi) See how justly the judgment of God works out! He intends to use your suffering to prove you worthy of his kingdom. For God's justice will repay trouble to those who have troubled you, and give relief to all of us who, like you, have suffered. This judgment will issue in the final appearance of the Lord Jesus from heaven with the angels of his power. He will bring full justice in dazzling flame upon those who have refused to recognize God or to obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
Gen 6:3 (NAS) Then the Lord said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever."
Are You Ready For The Day Of God's Wrath?
2 Thes 1:9-11 (Phi) Their punishment will be eternal loss--exclusions from the radiance of the face of the Lord, and the glorious majesty of his power. But to those whom he has made holy, his coming will mean splendour unimaginable. It will be a breath-taking wonder to all who believe--including you, for you have believed the message that we have given you. In view of this, we pray for you constantly, that God will count you worthy of his calling, and by his power may fulfill all your good intentions and every effort of faith.
God can hardly be criticized for giving people what they deserve, especially after telling us in advance again and again and again what the finale of history will be. If God is "un-fair", it is to a small minority who are spared from what we deserve. This is all the more reason to join that select group by taking advantage of the opportunity to repent... today!2 Cor 13:5 (NIV) Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.
But I Said A Prayer!
James 2:14 (Phi) Now what use is it, my brothers, for a man to say he "has faith" if his actions do not correspond with it? Could that sort of faith save anyone's soul?
Eph 5:6 (Jer) Do not let anyone deceive you with empty arguments: it is for this loose living that God's wrath comes down on those who rebel against him. Make sure you are not included with them.
2 Thes 2:11-12 (Phi) God sends upon them, therefore, the full force of evil's delusion, so that they put their faith in an utter fraud and meet the inevitable judgment of all who have refused to believe the truth and who have made evil their pleasure.
Rev 22:12 (NAS) "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with me, to render to every man according to what he has done."
2 Pet 1:10 (Phi) Set your minds, then, on endorsing by your conduct the fact that God has called and chosen you.
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