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by Gregory John Monroe
7/17/2012 / Christian Apologetics
The wrath of God isn't like the wrath of a human. It is not about revenge, as we know it.
I say this knowing full well that God says in Romans 12: 19 that "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay." It seems to me, though, that in scripture, His way of vengeance is totally different than our way.
For instance, there's Hosea 11: 8, 9, in which God responds to His people turning from Him"How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I surrender you, O Israel?...My heart is turned over within Me, all my compassions are kindled. I will not execute My fierce angerFor I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath."
As seen in this passage, the wrath of God does contain anger, but there are other emotions at play too. This passage is not about being delighted at the prospect of getting even.
Then there's Romans 1:18-23. It enlightens us as to what brings about God's wrath. It begins by telling us that God's wrath is revealed from heaven against those who refuse the truth by their unrighteousness. The scripture tells us His wrath is also ignited by denial of His existence, when He is obviously evident. The verses continue. They explain that foolish speculation about other origins of life, and the worship of the created rather than the Creator, become a match that lights God's wrath.
Verse 24 then helps us understand the manifestation of God's wrath. In essence we learn that God's wrath is the act of giving up sinners; turning them over to their desires. It appears that his Spirit has been withdrawn; no longer attempting to woo those who are persistently determined to ignore Him.
That brings me to Romans 2: 5. It says that the unrepentant ones are actually storing up wrath within themselves. They make their choice and God will respect that choice now and in His day of righteous judgment to come.
And there it is--Righteousness; the character, the fabric of his wrath. Rev. 16: 7 says that God's judgments are true and righteous. It is right that the unrepentant wicked should receive justice. It is a justice fiery, eternal death that has been fairly foretold. It has long been trumpeted, this second death, as the inevitable point at which the earth is cleansed of sin.
Is this a matter of God in His wrath getting even, satisfied that the wicked are getting what they deserve? No! That's our way of wrath. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33: 11).
In fact, His wrath, in terms of feelings, even the anger, seems to be turmoil within Himself. He is torn up inside. Look back at Hosea 11: 8, 9.
In His wrath, giving sinners over to their lusts and depraved minds, God agonizes over those sinners. He loves them. He loves the whole world and wants none to be lost.
God's wrath a mix of emotions struggles with giving up any. Personally, I believe He doesn't want to do it, but his righteous and just character would have him do nothing else.
After all is said and done, the wrath of God the act of giving up unrepentant sinners to the consequences of their sins is to be applauded and praised for its righteousness in honoring the choices that we make.
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