Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God… Romans 12:19
The wrath of God is, according to John Stott, “His steady, unrelenting, unremitting, uncompromising antagonism to evil in all its forms and manifestations.”
1. God’s anger is not like our anger
Remember, the wrath of God is the wrath of God. So everything that we know about God—his justice, love, and goodness—needs to be poured into our understanding of his wrath. The words anger and wrath make us think about our own experience of anger, which is often petty and unpredictable, but these things are not true of the anger of God. God’s wrath is the just and measured response of his holiness toward evil.
2. God’s wrath is provoked
“Do not forget how you provoked the LORD your God to wrath…” (Dt. 9:7). The anger of God is a response to evil. It is provoked. This is very different from God’s love. The Bible says, “God is love.” That is his nature. God does not love us because he sees some wisdom, beauty, or goodness in us. The reason that God loves us lies in his nature, not ours.
But God’s wrath is different. God’s wrath is his holy response to the intrusion of evil into his world. If there was no sin in the world, there would be no wrath in God. It is often said that the opposite of love is not hate—it is indifference. What hope would we have in a world stalked by terror if God merely looked on with a weak smile? Hope for our world lies in a God who is relentlessly opposed to all evil, and who has the power, the capacity, and the will to destroy it.
Which of these do you find most helpful/encouraging? Why?