The Reality of the Wrath of God

He who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.
–John 3:36

Because every one of us is guilty before God, every one of us is deserving of the wrath of God. That is the starting place for answering the question: “What about people who have never heard the gospel?” The starting point is to realize they’re guilty. Every person is guilty before God, and therefore they are deserving of the wrath of the punishment of God.

Today, it’s very unpopular to talk about the wrath of God. People will applaud you if you talk about the love of God or even the justice of God, but nobody wants to hear about the wrath of God. It’s politically incorrect to talk about the wrath, the punishment of God. That sounds like something from the Victorian era or the Puritan era. It just doesn’t seem relevant today.

A few years ago, the Presbyterian Church (USA) decided to drop from its hymnal a very popular song, “In Christ Alone” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. And they were upset because the lyrics said, “On that cross, as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.” The denomination thought, “That’s too severe. We don’t want to talk about the wrath of God being satisfied by the blood of Jesus Christ.” So they told the songwriters to replace the lyrics with these words: “On that cross, as Jesus died, the love of God was magnified.” Not that the wrath of God was satisfied, but that the love of God was magnified. Fortunately, the songwriters were more interested in theological correctness than political correctness, and they refused that request.

People don’t want to hear about it, yet the wrath of God is a reality. If you do a study in the concordance, you will find that the wrath of God or the anger of God is mentioned far more than the love of God. Both are true about God, but you can’t strip one attribute away from God just because you don’t like it. Throughout Scripture, you see the Bible talking about the wrath, the anger of God. For example, in John 3:16, Jesus uttered what became the most popular verse of the New Testament: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.” But did you know in that very same chapter Jesus also said, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (v. 36)? Or Romans 1:18: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” Or Romans 3:5: “But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He?” Or Ephesians 5:6: “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”

***

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “What about Those Who Have Never Heard about Jesus?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.

Bob Smietana, “‘In Christ Alone’ Dropped from Presbyterian Church Hymnal over Lyric Dispute and Scriptural Debate,” USA Today, August 7, 2013, reprinted in Huffington Post, August 17, 2013.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

 

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