God's Wrath

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!
Romans 5:8-9
I have kids. I know wrath. It’s interesting what trips my anger. Sometimes my anger is justified. For instance, when my boys continue to pester their sister after receiving multiple warnings, that is worthy of anger. Sometimes my anger is not justified, like when my kids are just being annoying and I just lose it and yell at them; that is not justified anger.
God is always just. He created us. He gave us life, yet we rebelled. Now I know you might say, ‘But, I didn’t rebel against God, Adam and Eve did.’ That may be true, but sin as a category in the Scriptures is corporate to all of humanity. Therefore, since Adam and Eve sinned and they represent all of humanity, not only as figureheads but as our genetic parents, they passed down their sin in our DNA. So, not only is our immaterial nature tainted by sin, our very bodies are tainted by sin in the genetic code that we pass down. We as Christians believe that we are sinful from birth. We are not born with a clean slate, and we are not the sum of our experiences and actions, good or bad. We are tainted beings to our very souls. So much so, that we earned the wrath of God. We can’t go to God on our own. It was going to have to be God who came to us, and he did!
God’s perfect nature makes it so that he can’t let sin go; sin has to be punished or God wouldn't be just or righteous. See how his attributes work together? Like in our verse above, we didn’t have to clean ourselves up and come to God, because while we were still sinners, Christ, who is God, came to us. He died a death that we deserved and took God’s wrath and our sin upon himself. He bore all of that on the cross so that we could be justified. Justification in the Scriptures is a legal term. It means to be declared right before God, and not only declared right, but to be free from all consequences of our actions. This happens when we trust the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Unlike our wrath, God’s wrath is always perfect and always directed at the correct object: sin. While we can reflect God’s wrath in our actions, ours isn’t always perfect. Sometimes we direct our wrath at things that are not worthy of our wrath. Wrath isn’t a sin, it’s a deep emotion that is given to us to reflect the image of God. Paul said in Ephesians 4:26, ‘Be angry, but do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your wrath…’ So being angry is okay, but this passage gives us a clear command to make sure our anger is righteous anger, not based on selfish desires or unrealized expectations. Keep short accounts and communicate early so that anger doesn’t grow toward bitterness.
Questions for reflection:

  1.  What are some things that deserve your anger?
  2. What are things you tend to get angry at that aren’t worthy of wrath?
  3. What are ways we can make sure we do not move toward anger that is unrighteous?
David Flug | Community Life Pastor 

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