Saturday, 11 December 2010

Build your own god?

I was speaking to a lady about the Gospel and I quoted a verse that speaks about the wrath of God (John 3 v 36).  She said, "Oh, my God's not a God of wrath.  My God is a God of love."

I tried to point out that it didn't really matter what "her God" or "my God" is like, all that matters is what God is like, and God has revealed Himself as, among other things, a God of wrath.  But I also wanted to point out that God being a God of wrath doesn't mean He's not a God of love - love and wrath aren't opposites!

The wrath of God is His righteous anger expressed against us because of our sins.  At present His wrath is restrained, but not removed.  It is said to be abiding over the person who has not put his trust in the Lord Jesus to rescue them (John 3 v 36).  It is being stored up to be released on those who have not repented (Romans 2 v 5).

So what would be the opposite to the wrath of God?  It's not the love of God!  The opposite to the wrath of God would be the indifference of God.

Suppose you were watching the news with your friend and there was a report about a horrendous crime that had been committed.  It angered and disgusted you, and you turned to your friend and said, "Isn't that outrageous?"  And your friend looked at you and said, "What are you getting so angry about?  Calm down, don't worry."  Would you think such an attitude in your friend was a virtue or a vice?  Do you think it's a commendable thing to look on evil without it bothering you?  So do you really think that an infinitely holy, absolutely righteous, intrinsically good God can look on evil without it bothering Him?  Do you think He can look on evil without anger?

Whatever anger we feel against evil can be multiplied as many times as you like and you would not reach the anger God feels over the least of our sins.  Every sin is an outrage to His holiness, an offence against His righteousness, an insult to His goodness.  And God isn't passively disappointed, He is actively angry and is going to ensure that all sin meets with His displeasure.

But as I said, God being a God of wrath doesn't mean He's not a God of love.  Because He is a God of wrath He demands that the penalty for sin be paid.  Because He is a God of love He sent His Son to pay it (John 3 v 16).  The Son of God experienced the wrath of God at Calvary (Isaiah 53 v 5-6), and all who trust in Christ, sheltering in the value of Christ's death and resurrection have the value of it credited to their account, and they are saved, "For God the Just is satisfied to look on Him, and pardon me".