Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Message In Wrath

We don't hear much about the wrath of God anymore. I wonder if we're missing something important in ignoring and/or undercutting its message. There is certainly no absence of "discussion" about the subject in the Bible: do we need to be "discussing" it more?

Romans 1 tells us the wrath of God is in the process of being revealed from heaven. Obviously, the subject is important enough for God to include it in his self-revelation in nature. In other words, this is something we should know about him, he wants us to understand this. Life as we know it screams at us in no uncertain terms that God is upset, and he wants us to get the message. The repercussions of it echo incessantly rattling everything this time and plane.

Prophets, one after the other, tried to establish God's wrath as a stimulant to reasonable thinking on our part. Not that we live in fear of punishment, that is the Devil's ploy, but we should live in sober judgment discerning the nature of "how things work." When sky walking on a steel girder stories above the security of earth, that sinking feeling that discerns gravity is a boon to clear thinking and careful stepping. Surely wisdom owes a debt of gratitude to the wrath of God!

The death and burial of Jesus Christ reveal the true extent of God's wrath. The witness of life (see Romans 1 above), and the deadness of our souls invoke a certain trembling in us, perchance even the whisper of God's voice reaches us.
We hide, trembling in the bushes, knowing we are sinners and children of wrath by nature. We fear the face of him who sits on the throne. Nothing could coax us out of our hiding places but the sure knowledge that our sins were fully expiated through Christ's sacrifice and we were thereby reconciled to God. The outrageousness and brutality of Christ's passion impeccably scribe the fearful breadth of God's wrath against sin.

Do we even have a real purpose for ministry and evangelism without paying due deference to the wrath of God? Ours is a
ministry of reconciliation. The quality and depth of God' grace and forgiveness cannot be seen in proper relief apart from the backdrop of his animus against sin. He who is perfect in grace is also perfect in wrath. Have we truly delivered any message at all if we haven't revealed the message in his wrath?