Let us remember that the wrath of God and his just judgments provide hope for mankind. We simply wouldn’t want it any other way. Therefore, let us praise him for his wrath against sin and for his great mercy to spare those who repent and believe in Christ.
Last year, a video went viral that rightly sparked outrage. A man brutally attacked a 65-year-old woman in Manhattan in broad daylight while the attacker shouted out racial insults. The video shows three men watching from the nearby lobby, one of them the building’s security guard. None of the three men did anything to help the victim even when the attacker left and the victim lay helplessly on the sidewalk. With chilling apathy, they simply shut the door and tuned out her screams.
People were outraged by the cruelty of the attack itself, but also by the inexplicable lack of intervention by the bystanders. How can someone show such indifference in the face of evil? How can someone not intervene to stop such brutal suffering?
The sight of suffering and evil should provoke a wrath in us that seeks to alleviate those hurting by whatever means necessary. We bear the image of the God who is never indifferent toward sin and rightly responds with wrath at injustice. Indifference toward sin might sound like a sinner’s paradise, but the results would actually be terrifying! Evil would run rampant and there’d be no one to intervene. We’d lay helplessly on the sidewalk while God shuts the doors and tunes out our cries for help.
Even though we do not typically think of God’s wrath as something to celebrate, thankfully every act of evil incites the wrath of God, and this truth should stir our hearts to praise him.
Praising God for His Wrath
When we think of wrath, we typically think of a bad human example. We picture someone losing their temper and “flying off the handle.” We pour out our wrath upon others unjustly; the punishment we administer often doesn’t fit the crime committed. We often lash out in anger and vengeance not thinking of the good of others, but only about our (unholy) will that has been violated.
Conversely, there are times when we aren’t angry when we should be. We react with apathy when there should be righteous indignation. When we are not personally affected, we typically respond with indifference at the sufferings of others.
God’s wrath is pure and always directed against evil. He hates every act of injustice. He’s never indifferent or apathetic when wrongs have been committed. However, he never overreacts or responds in an inappropriate way. Revelation 19 provides a heavenly picture of a great multitude praising God, 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 (Rev. 19:1–2).
They praise God for his salvation, glory, and power, which makes sense. But notice they also praise him for pouring out his wrath in judgment. If we’ll praise God for his wrath and judgment in heaven, why do we often shriek at the thought of these ideas now?