Week Thirteen-Day Four: Wrathful
Today’s meditation may fall under the category of beating a dead horse, but bear with me. The awful truth of God’s wrath is as important as it is awful. I’m not saying this is easy; just saying it’s critical for us to grasp. On the website desiringgod.org, John Piper delivers a powerful sermon about the wrath of God. He makes four critical points about it. Piper says God’s wrath is …
His wrath, once ignited, is not quenched.
43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. 45 And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, 48 where “‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.’
- What dramatic step does Jesus call for so that God’s wrath might be averted?What does this imply?
- What indicators does Jesus give us of the eternality of God’s wrath?
- What horrible images are used to describe God’s wrath?
We could simply refer to the passage you just read to speak about the terrible nature of God’s wrath, but let’s look at one more reference. Look at Revelation 14.
Don’t get the heebeejeebees. Obviously, Revelation is a little hard to understand and full of dramatic, strange images. It is, in my opinion, the book that needs the most explanation of all books in the Bible. It would take too long to explain all that’s going on in this passage and what the images all mean – plus, I’m not sure I’d get it right. But I want you to focus on the terrible nature of God’s wrath. That part is plain enough.
9 A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, 10 they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.” 12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.
God’s wrath is deserved. We made this same point yesterday when we said it is chosen. We do not stumble into God’s wrath. It is not arbitrary. It is deserved.
Now, if you’re anything like me you have to have asked at some point, “Why so dramatic, God? I mean, I can understand you being a little angry, but why so terrible and why so long? Do our sins really deserve that?”
But we easily forget who we are offending. We have to remember, not just the offense, but who is the offended. Let me offer a crude illustration. It is a small thing to kill a fly. I doubt there is anyone who would even notice, much less put up a fuss. In fact, almost everyone would applaud you. But if you kill a dog – that is a different matter. Someone will surely bring some kind of charges against you. You will be universally denounced as cruel. (And you’ll never get a job at a reputable kennel.)
But if you were to kill a person … a human being … This is a completely different thing, isn’t it? And why is this the case? All three involve killing! But the object of your killing is very, very different.
When I sin against someone I don’t know and will never see again, I’m very sorry. But I have to admit I’m capable of getting over it pretty quickly. When I sin against my wife Diane, it is very painful to me and to her and I don’t lose sight of it very easily. It always does damage to her and to me – because of the importance of my relationship to her. But when I sin against God, the perfectly holy, altogether righteous God, the damage is infinite. Infinite! And wrath is deserved!
Finally, God’s wrath is escapable. This is why the first biographers of Jesus called his story “good news”. This is why theologians have spoken of Jesus as a divine substitute! Paul said it like this: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” In other words, Jesus became our sin, took the wrath that we deserved and suffered the consequences. As a result, we have a clean slate if we place our lives under the security of his sacrifice.
BEFORE YOU START YOUR DAY
- Review again Ephesians 2:8-10.
- Thank God, this morning, for Jesus – who satisfied the wrath of God by becoming the sin that you and I have committed and taking the punishment that you and I deserved.
 http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/gods-wrath-vengeance-is-mine-i-will-repay-says-the-lord It is not for the faint of heart.
 2 Corinthians 5:21
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