As we’ve been studying through Romans, the topic of God’s wrath has come up time and again. According to Paul, everyone (both Jew and Gentile) was under God’s wrath because they had in their own way discounted his glory. This coming Sunday, I’ll share from chapter 3:21-31 about how the death of Jesus atoned for human ungodliness .
To our “enlightened” modern minds, the idea of a wrathful God that needs to be appeased through blood sacrifice sounds pretty archaic doesn’t it? And yet, what is the alternative? Let me share a scenario:
If God isn’t wrathful, then maybe my disregard of him isn’t such a big deal. If my disregard of him isn’t such a big deal, maybe he isn’t ultimate, transcendent, glorious, the ground of all being. If he’s not those things, maybe he’s just a celestial warlord. If he’s just a celestial warlord, maybe I can avoid him, argue with him or bargain with him to avoid his judgment or gain his favor. If I can do any of that, he’s corrupt and I’m a pagan.
Any God who presides over a sinful world is either righteously wrathful or complicit in sin.
But God is wrathful – so wrathful that only the brutal, bloody death of Christ on the cross could quench his burning anger. And yet it wasn’t just Christ who rescued us from the wrath of God. It was that same wrathful God that graciously offered up his beloved and faithful Son for our sakes.
The cross of Christ serves as Exhibit A against humanity’s disdain for their creator and as a monument to his persistent love for them. Only at the cross can we receive absolution from the absolutely righteous God of the universe.
Anyone offering forgiveness another way is peddling lesser gods.