Wednesday, March 16, 2011

In The Bible God Is Praised For His Wrath

God has revealed himself to us in his word, the Bible. To know what God is like, we must read his word and believe it. We get into trouble when we rely on personal experience or our own ideas apart from Scripture. The deceitful heart of man (Jeremiah 17:9) will lead us to attempt to create a god in our own image - what WE think God should be like, rather than what God in his word has already told us he is like. Ever heard anyone say things like, "The God I worship would never (fill in the blank)"?

In the Bible God has revealed to us that he has many attributes, or characteristics. If we don't study God's attributes in the word, we will not know the true God. This will leave us prone to deception about the character of God. Many times people will choose one or two attributes (such as love or mercy)that they personally like or agree with, and construct their entire view of God around those attributes. Then, when someone else speaks of another biblical attribute of God, it doesn't fit their idea of God. This can cause someone to outright deny Scripture, because they cannot conceive of God being that way. In those cases, we have put ourselves above Scripture, and thus above God's own self-revelation. We have become idol makers and idol worshipers. How arrogant to think we, in our fallen state, know God better than God knows God!

God has shown us many attributes of his character in Scripture, and God desires and deserves glory in each of those attributes. For some of those traits we readily and more easily praise him. But some traits we find more difficult to praise. God's wrath is probably the most difficult for many people to give God praise and glory. But the wrath of God is clearly taught in Scripture, from cover to cover. It is not a childish, emotional outburst by a God with no self-control, but a conscious, deliberate and personal display of God's justice and holiness in reaction to sin.

In the Bible God is praised for his wrath. Shouldn't this teach us volumes? In our day God is put on trial during natural disasters and doctrinal discussions; as if God owes us an explanation! But the potter still reserves the right over the clay to do with it as he wills. It is not God who is on trial, but us. God is, and will be forever, praised - both for his amazing mercy, grace and love, and for his awesome holiness, justice and wrath. Heaven will forever exist as a monument to his indescribable love. Hell will forever exist as a solemn hymn to the one who is holy and will never tolerate sin.

This is a very difficult and mysterious thing. But it is clearly revealed in God's word. And as Paul said, "Who are you, O man, to answer back to God?" (Romans 9:20) Should not our attitude be the attitude of Scripture - humbling ourselves before a mighty and good God, who is above our understanding but has revealed himself to us for his glory and our good - instead of an attitude of rebellion, pride and arrogance, refusing to accept God's clear self-revelation?

In the Bible God is praised for his wrath. Rather than seeking for Scripture to change and bend itself in submission to our ideas and concept of God, let us repent and humbly line our view of God up with Scripture. Then, in faith, and with great humility and mystery, let us praise God for his wrath, and all his good attributes.
After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.” Once more they cried out, “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” Revelation 19:1-4

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