Although there is nothing new under the sun, it appears that now more than any other time in history, people have problems with the righteous standards of God and the wrath of God. What I mean by this is the concept of a “God of Love” showing wrath and killing unrepentant sinners? This is exhibited by the modern revival of Marcionism, a second century heresy which essentially splits the God of the Old Testament from the God of the New Testament, they are in effect two different people. God’s nature changed in the New Testament. This problem with the wrath of God is also seen in the raging debate over the nature of hell and eternal punishment. Surely we must dispense with such medieval notions? This problem also finally exhibits itself in a denial of the propitiatory nature of the Cross. How could the wrath of God fall on gentle Jesus, meek and mild. One “Christian” writer has called this view of the cross as “Cosmic Child Abuse”.
The reason God punishes is precisely because he is a God of Love, his Love and his Justice are two sides of the same coin. In his love and in his justice he sets the wrong things right. If I stood idly by a playground and let a pedophile attack my children your view of the love I hold for my children would probably not be very high. It is amazing the outbursts of joy that greet the death of a murderer (think Hitler, Osama Bin Laden) with exclamations that they should “rot in hell”. And yet in all reality these men were simply weak and broken people albeit probably demonically inspired, but no worse than many in the world today, just as in need of a Saviour as any one else. But who determines who is deserving or undeserving of punishment in such cases – the news media? Or is there a higher standard of righteousness. The Bible talks about “the Wicked” over 200 times. Do we think about righteousness and wickedness as God thinks about it? Do we have God’s Law written on our hearts to discern wickedness from righteousness? God’s law and justice is perfect in every way and the wrath he pours out is also perfect in every way. Which is why when Jesus absorbed the sins of the world. He became a “Propitiation” for our sins if we should repent and believe in him for life. He absorbed the wrath of God for us. His death was therefore a substitionary, vicarious death for you and me. This was the plan of God, prophesied ahead of time. Jesus was the only man in all of history who chose to be born also chose to humble himself to die upon a cross. Without the choice of Triune God there would have been no redemption. Without the propitiation of Jesus we would have to bear the wrath of God eternally but Praise God we have a way of escape. The wrath of God is and will be continue to be the biggest controversy of the age, let us repent, align ourselves with God and accept the new life found in him.