THE WRATH OF GOD IS AN UNPLEASANT SUBJECT. Nevertheless, we need to very clearly face it, head on. Despite the fact that there are hundreds of references to it in the Old and New Testament, (and about fifty in the New Testament), many Christians refuse to acknowledge that God gets angry. Others accept the reality of God’s anger but respond by putting their head in the proverbial sand. They don’t talk about it. They don’t think about it. They don’t share it. They don’t preach about it. This blog is an antidote. It is about one of the most important, but least understood, expressions of God’s wrath.
When we think of the wrath of God, violence (i.e.wind, fire, flood, earthquake, war, etc.) is usually the first thing that comes to mind. Although the wrath of God does appear in those ways, there is one expression that is more subtle and therefore often overlooked: God just gives us up to the foolishness we really want to believe. Whole cultures become irrational.
Paul describes it in the first chapter of Romans. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18). Notice, they are suppressing the truth, and the truth that they are suppressing is the evidence of God’s existence that creation makes clear. Where there should be nothing there is something, and that “something” points very clearly to the existence of a Creator. (Humm…evolution anybody?).
Then three times (in vs. 24, 26, 28) Paul announces that God’s wrath manifested itself in the first century by God giving them up to believe what they wanted to believe. In other words, God empowers them to believe the lie that they desperately want to believe, but that all the evidence denies. Verse 28 is the climax. “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” (Romans 1:28). Here are four contemporary examples of God doing the same today.
First, despite mounds of solid research to the opposite and the simple observations of billions of rational human beings for thousands of years, feminism stridently teaches that there are no physical, emotional, or mental differences between men and women, and we have believed it! How is this possible unless God had given us up to a delusion?
Second, we legalized abortion, even late-term abortion, despite our ability to watch the babies inter-womb movements via ultrasound. The result? Amazing hypocrisy. At one end of the hospital we abort 40-week old fetuses while at the other end we spend hundreds of thousands saving premies born at or after 24 weeks. The only difference is the wim of the mother. How is this possible unless God has given us up to a delusion?
Third, we have legalized same-sex marriage. No culture in history has ever tried to legalize same-sex marriage. The very expression is an oxymoron. It makes no sense. Other cultures have accepted the reality of homosexuality. The Greeks and Romans are a good example. But they never attempted to legitimize same-sex marriage. They would have considered this irrational. How is our current position even possible unless God had first given us up to a delusion? Rational people don’t think like this.
Last, came the transgendered movement. Gender is not binary. It is a fluid construct. Your gender is not biological. It is whatever you think it is. It is irrelevant that every cell in man’s body has an XY chromosome, and every female and XX. Our sexuality is irrevocable binary at the most basic level.
Martina Navratilova, a female tennis star, complained that it would be unfair for a trans female to compete in professional tennis. The Guardian responded. “Martina Navratilova’s recent comments on trans athletes are transphobic, based on a false understanding of science and data, and perpetuate dangerous myths that lead to the ongoing targeting of trans people through discriminatory laws, hateful stereotypes and disproportionate violence.”
Science and data? The science and data clearly support Martina, but what do facts have to do with it?
God must have given us up. There is no other rational explanation.
If idolatry, leading to the wrath of God, expressing itself as moral and spiritual insanity is the problem, then repentance is the only way back, and this is Good News because God to whom we go in repentance is more than wrath. “God is [also] love” (1 John 4:16), love so immense that God poured out the greatest expression of wrath on his own son at the cross. Jesus took the wrath that we deserve. Here is love that “surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:19), and we see it through the lens of the wrath that we deserve. God did this to make his enemies his friends.
When we turn from sin, this amazing God opens his arms, adopts us into his family, and promises us eternal life. The new Believer now begins the journey back to sanity. So, let us pray. Let us also confess our national and cultural sins to the God who is rich in mercy. Let us pray for revival. And, in the meantime, let’s share the gospel with our unbelieving friends. Here is a sample prayer.
Father in heaven, we have sinned against you. We have rejected the obvious conclusion that a perfect and wise God created all that exists. We have denied your existence because we don’t want you telling us what to do. We confess that we deserve your judgments. But we also confess that you are rich in mercy and kindness. In mercy, revive your church. Send your Holy Spirit to your people. Do this for the sake of your name and your glory. Amen!
As always, your comments are appreciated.