Is God Angry?

Title: Is God Angry?

Text: Romans 1:18, 2:5, 8: 5:9

Time: July 23rd, 2006

I was reading the local Jamestown Post-Journal newspaper one day and saw an advertisement for a local church, with the pastor’s picture and a little inspirational message next to it. The next day I was listening to the radio and I heard this same minister in a 30 second church advertisement. At the very end of his ad he made this statement: “Do we have to be fearful of God? No. God’s not mad at you, He loves you.” Now it sounded nice, pleasant, positive, the kind of thing of course you’d want to say to anyone just to be nice, but there was something about what he said that bothered me. He said, “We don’t have to fear God, God’s not mad at you, He loves you.” I went back to my Bible and sure enough, I know what it was that bothered me. The minister was half right and half wrong. In other words, in his zeal to make a positive impression on his listeners, in hopes that they might find him inviting enough to visit his church, he actually gave them wrong information, actually incorrect theology about God. What he said was true to some extent, but false to another extent. He spoke a half-truth, and therefore a half untruth. What did he say that was true? He said that God loves you, which is true of all people, believers and non-believers, obedient and disobedient. So the statement, “God loves you,” is true. He also said, “Do we have to be fearful of God? No.” Now that might be true or it might be false, depending on who you are. If you are a true believer in the saving Christ and his atoning work on the cross for you sins, if you’ve repented of your sins and trusted Christ, no, you don’t have to fear the judgment of God upon your life at Judgment Day. But the minister didn’t know to whom he was speaking on the radio. There were people who hadn’t trusted Jesus for salvation, and to tell them that they don’t have to fear God is outright false; they do have to fear God and His judgments. That’s the major motivation for salvation, to be saved from the judgments of God. So to tell a general radio or newspaper audience that they do not have to fear God is wrong, it’s not true. Many people should fear God and should fear him mightily until they come to him for salvation. Finally, the last thing the minister said that isn’t correct is “God’s not mad at you.” Again, because of the general audience on the radio and in the newspaper, it is irresponsible to say that God is not mad at you. Yes, it’s assuring for people to hear that God is not mad at them for anything, but it’s not true. Yes, it sounds nice and comforts us to hear it, but it’s a false comfort, because it’s not necessarily true. For unbelievers without the saving work of Christ, it’s false. God actually is mad at sin, and if a person hasn’t accepted Christ as Savior, hasn’t been washed spiritually by the blood of Christ, then God is mad at the sin and the person who is possessed of sin. In addition to that, God can even be upset or mad at His own saved children if they are living in disobedience to Him, even while he also loves them. So the minister has very confused theology, but it’s a common theology today, because people haven’t read carefully the Book of Romans, and studied carefully the teachings of the New Testament. I’d like to take a little time today and answer the question: is God mad? Is God still mad? Is God mad at you or me? I want to leave us with comfort, but comfort based on the truth. Let me say three things about this topic.

First, through Jesus Christ believers are saved from God’s judgmental anger. Romans 5:9, “Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him?” We aren’t yet to the fifth chapter of Romans but I’ll skip ahead to there because we find there the word “wrath” or “anger” of God which is our topic today. Paul uses the word “wrath” or “anger” three or four times in the first few chapters of the Book of Romans, but you don’t hear much about the wrath of God today in churches. There is a reason for that: it’s not a nice subject to talk about. It’s not even a polite subject to talk about; it’s almost like cursing or swearing at someone to talk to them about the wrath of God, almost like saying, “The curse of God upon you!” Now some people don’t take offense at talk about the wrath or anger of God, but many do. And many will simply not listen to talk about the wrath or anger of God. Shortly after the turn of last century, the 20th century, after the first few decades of the last century there began to rise in the churches of America what is called Liberalism. Liberalism was an attempt to make the church modern, up-to-date, for the modern times. And one of the things that churches did in order to try to be modern was to eliminate all talk about the wrath of God. It didn’t appeal to the modern mind, to modern thinking. God getting mad, God getting angry? We think of when humans get mad or angry and it’s usually because they lose their temper, and it’s usually not very pretty, it’s usually pretty ugly. Have you ever lost your temper? Have you ever gotten mad and done something that you regretted? Sometimes men lose their temper and hit or beat their wives. That’s bad. Sometimes women get mad and throw a pot or pan and hit their husband. I remember the old country and western star Willie Nelson telling about his first wife sowing the blanket on the bed over his head so he couldn’t get out of bed, and then beating him with a bat because she was so mad at him. That’s human anger, and it’s ugly, it’s awful really. But anger isn’t always bad. I’m glad there were soldiers who got mad enough at Hitler, who signed up to go fight the Nazis. That’s righteous anger, that’s good anger. It helped us win the war. Or for example, when Jesus entered the Temple way back in the 1st century and got mad and drove out the merchants, the moneychangers, and said, “This is my Father’s house, but you have made it into a den of thieves.” That was righteous anger, and that’s what God the Father has against sin and sinners. But as believers we don’t have to ever fear experiencing God’s righteous anger at Judgment Day, when the souls of all men will be judged, because we are covered by the blood of Jesus, his atoning sacrifice on the Christ for our sins, his death in our place. That’s what Romans 5:9 says, “Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him?” We are saved from wrath on Judgment Day by Christ Jesus. That’s also what the song “Rock of Ages” means when it says, “Saved from wrath and makes me pure.” So for us believers in Jesus, we’ll never have to fear God’s ultimate wrath at Judgment Day. Praise the Lord! But there’s something else we need to know.

Second, just because some are saved from God’s wrath doesn’t mean everyone is. Romans 2:5 says, “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.” Again, this is talking about Judgment Day, that big day when everyone’s sins will be examined and judged – that is everyone except those who have been washed clean of their sins by Jesus’ atoning blood. That’s why the minister on the radio and in the newspaper had better be careful whom he is giving assurance and comfort to by saying that nobody has to ever fear God. It’s in fact the opposite. A lot of people better fear God because they have something to fear – Judgment Day. Romans 2:8 says, “But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.” Now in light of what the Apostle Paul is teaching about God’s wrath and anger here in the Book of Romans, why would anyone say to a general audience that God is not angry at any of them? That is totally irresponsible. In fact, it would be better to say to a general audience, “God is yet angry, yet mad at many of you because when he sees you he still sees all your sins. If you haven’t embraced Jesus as your atoning sacrifice on the cross, if you haven’t trusted him as your Savior, when the Father sees you all He sees is raw sin. You had better fear God’s wrath. Fear it enough to come humbly to Christ and ask for His cleansing blood for your sins and as Savior of your life.” Now I know this pastor was trying to nice and kind to the listening audience on the radio. I know he was trying to make a nice impression on the folks listening, trying to bond with them, trying to be friendly. But there are other ways of doing it without teaching false doctrine and giving people false assurances. If God isn’t angry at anyone, if God’s wrath is all gone, if God isn’t mad at sin and sinners, then what’s there to be saved from? If our sins won’t get us into trouble with God on Judgment Day what do we need a Savior for to save us from judgment of sin? If there will be no wrath of God on Judgment Day, why do we need to invite people to trust the Savior Jesus Christ? No. quite opposite what that minister was saying on the radio, we do need to fear God’s righteous anger, that’s why we all need to trust Jesus as Savior. If we haven’t, we need to. If we don’t, we’d better be shaking in our boots because we’ll meet an angry God in the Day of Judgment. I’d rather run the risk of upsetting people now, then giving them false assurances, which won’t help them when they meet God on Judgment Day. The message should be: fear God’s wrath, and come to Jesus now. But that’s not all.

Third, there’s another form of God’s wrath that even believer’s should fear. Romans 1:18, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness.” The Judgment Day wrath of God is God’s active wrath, but here we see another kind of wrath, God’s passive wrath present in our world today. What is God’s passive wrath present in the world today? It’s when God lets bad things happen and doesn’t step in and stop them. For example, if you are sexually active and you aren’t married, that’s a sin called fornication. You don’t hear much about that either today mainly because like the wrath of God it isn’t a very popular subject of conversation. In fact, some people are offended by any kind of objections to what they do in their own private lives. They don’t like it if they hear any reference to anything they might be doing in their own private lives; they are offended by anyone communicating that there is anything wrong with immoral living. But let’s say that you are sexually active and you aren’t married and you pick up a sexually transmitted disease along the way. Now you were doing something that is wrong, that’s a sin, and you get a sexually transmitted disease, maybe even AIDS. That is the passive judgment of God — that is the passive wrath of God. God let you get that deadly disease. He didn’t step in and stop it. You may die, like millions of people who get AIDS. Or in another case, our nation is corporately as a group committing sins that are offending God. He may passively let judgments come upon our nation in different ways. For example, there may be terrorists who blow up another building, this time, maybe a whole city, which God might have stopped before, but because we as a nation don’t seem to want to follow his moral laws, He might just let His passive wrath happen. It’s not His active wrath, like what happens at Judgment Day, or like what happened at Sodom and Gomorrah, it’s His passive wrath, like what probably happened at 9/11. Now as believer’s we know that all the unsaved will experience God’s wrath on Judgment Day, and we know that they are probably experiencing some of God’s passive wrath as they engage in sins even today, but what we don’t always think of is when we as believers participate in the same sins as the unsaved today, we can even experience a little of God’s passive wrath, and for this we must be careful that we don’t join in with the sins of the unsaved today. I remember that while I was pastoring a church in the city of Chicago, it was election time for the mayoral position in Chicago, and it turned out that the two main candidates, Republican and Democrat, were both pro-abortion. In other words, if you voted for either of the two leading candidates, you were voting to keep abortion happening, to keep desperate women killing their own babies, safe and legally. I vowed to God that I would never, ever vote for any abortion candidate, I don’t care if he’s running for dog catcher, if he’s pro-abortion I won’t vote for him. It’s wrong, and I’ll not be party to evil by voting to keep it legal. So I voted for some unknown that year. Some people said, “You’re wasting your vote.” Well, if the parties want my vote, let them send me a pro-life candidate, or I, along with others, will waste our vote. But if you vote for abortion candidates, you are tempting the passive wrath or judgment of God to fall on you as well. Now it won’t be the Judgment Day judgment, but you might experience a little of God’s wrath for your foolishness. It should make us think twice before joining in with the rest of the unbelieving world, following their ways. The passive judgment of God might touch us at that point.

I’d like to close by returning to the verse that I mentioned at first: “Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him?” There is great comfort in knowing that we will never face an angry God. Isn’t that just about the greatest news that we can hear? When we die, we won’t face an angry God. The late great early American preacher Jonathan Edwards preached a famous sermon called “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” He’s referring to Judgment Day and he’s 100% correct. If we face God without the spiritually cleansing blood of Jesus washing away all our sins, we will face an anger God. God will be furious at our sin and with us. Now there are two kinds of words used by the Apostle Paul to describe God’s wrath mentioned in Romans 2:5, God’s steady anger, and God’s outburst of anger. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to experience any kind of God’s anger, do you? I like to think of God’s wrath a little like the sun in outer space. The sun is a burning ball of fire, a very dangerous thing. You don’t just casually approach the sun or it will burn you up. The sun is always hot, always burning, always potentially fatal if you get too close. That’s like God’s steady anger towards all sin and sinners. But sometimes the sun flairs up, it sends out fire flames in eruptions. Even if you aren’t too close to the sun, a solar flair could damage you. That’s like God’s outburst of anger. That’s what happened at Sodom and Gomorrah. But as believers — and here is the really good news — we don’t ever have to fear meeting any of these wraths! Through the forgiveness of Christ, we don’t have the steady anger of God towards us; in fact, it’s just the opposite. We have the steady blessing of God because we are part of Christ, and Christ’s perfect life earned us favor with God the Father. But also, we won’t have to face the outburst anger of God because as we live out our lives in Christ we walk in his ways, we avoid those sins that might provoke God’s wrath. So you see there is really no reason for us ever meeting an angry God the Father. In fact, the only kind of God we’ll ever meet is a kind God, a loving God, a friendly God. That shouldn’t make us get lazy in respect to sin. We shouldn’t find ourselves caught up in the sins of the world or the flesh, because if we are caught up in those sins, we just might feel the hand of God chastising us for it. But if we follow Christ each and every day we won’t ever even experience that passive judgment in this life. So we are guaranteed never facing God’s wrath on Judgment Day, and we don’t ever have to experience any other kind of wrath from God as we walk in obedience to His will in this life. That’s a great deal.


5 Responses to “Is God Angry?”

  1. Zeger Says:

    I think that no men has to be afraid of god, unless he sined against his creation (not to god!). How you beleave in god cannot be the issue.
    God loves his whole creation and will judge all on what we have done with what he gave us to work with.
    Not on how you beleaved in him, just beleave in anyway and do what your hart says is good.

    The bible is his book but also a written book. And all men, thus including those who wrote his book, make mistakes. Either translating, interpreting, etc. So to take the bible (in english??) litarary instead as guidelines is naive.

  2. jeffshort Says:

    the bible should be read, interpreted, and believed the way it was meant to be read, interpreted and believed. and when we take the bible as it is, we’ll find it invites us to trust it as it presents itself. when we take the bible seriously we find that God is angry at some things, especially sin and rebellion. to ignore God’s displeasure would be foolish. simply read the bible, take it seriously, live accordingly. it’s really not hard to understand.

  3. Zeger Says:

    “It’s when God lets bad things happen and doesn’t step in and stop them”
    God does not let bad things happen! We people do bad things to other people and will have to answere for it when we die and are judged. Luckely men also do good things.

    And on the topic off judgement day and why people have to be fear it.

    Judgement day is only fearfull for the living at the time of judgement day, all the dead are already judged.
    And judgement day is not the point, its just a stage ( a speed bumb) before the real biggy: the coming of heaven on earth.

  4. Zeger Says:

    Nice blog though!

  5. jeffshort Says:

    the bible describes a God of love and justice. God’s anger is revealed when His creation doesn’t follow his created order. he has a right to make and then expect his creation to follow the order they were designed for. when someone or something doesn’t follow God’s divine order, it’s called sin. God gets very angry at sin. Christ is our only escape from the wrath and anger of God to come at judgment day. outside of Christ there will be great judgment to come upon a sinful world and a world of sinners. is God angry? Sure, but he’s also loving. that is our only hope.

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