The Wrath of God
By Arthur W. Pink
This article is from the February 1917 "Our Hope" magazine.
"Because there is wrath, beware lest He take thee away with His stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee" (Job. 36:18)
This is one of the danger-signals which God has placed across the sinner's pathway to Hell. At every turn of the Broad Road there are notice boards giving warning of the Destruction which lies ahead. The Sunday School teacher, the prayers of godly parents, the sermons of faithful preachers, the little Gospel tract, the warnings of conscience, the innate fear of death, the declarations of Holy 'Writ, are so many obstacles which God places in the way of the sinner-so many barriers to the Lake of Fire.
One chief reason why God wrote the Bible was to warn the sinner of the awful consequences of sin, and to bid him flee from the wrath to come. Our text is one of these warnings. There are many such scattered throughout the Bible. We mention one or two at random. "Be sure your sin will find you out" (Num. 32:23). "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Heb.9:27). "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:5). "How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" (Heb. 2:3).
Our opening text naturally divides itself under three heads:
I. A Terrible Fact
"Because there is wrath."
The reference here is to God's Wrath. In regard to the wrath of God let us now contemplate four things:
1. The Fact of God's Wrath
Men try to forget that there is such a thing as Divine wrath. The realization of it makes them uneasy, so they endeavor to banish all thought of it. At times they are terrified at the bare mention of God's wrath, hence their anxiety to dismiss the subject from their minds. Others try to believe there is no such thing. They argue that God is loving and merciful, and therefore God's Anger is merely a bogey with which to frighten naughty children. But how do we know that God is Loving and Merciful? The heathen do not believe that He is. Nor does Nature clearly and uniformly reveal the fact. The answer is, we know God to be such, because His Word so affirms. Yes, and the same Bible which tells of God's Mercy speaks of His Wrath, and as a matter of fact, refers more frequently (much more so) to His anger than it does to His love.
The fact of God's Wrath is clearly revealed in the Scriptures. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; but he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:36). "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men" (Rom. 1:18). "Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience" (Eph. 5:6). In these, and in other passages too numerous to mention, the fact of the Divine wrath is affirmed. And now let us consider:
2. The Necessity for God's Wrath
Wrath is one of the Divine perfections. If God did not punish evildoers He would be a party to evil doing, He would compromise with wickedness, He would condone sin. Of necessity God is a God of Wrath. Consider an argument from the less to the greater. In the human sphere he who loves purity and chastity and has no wrath against impurity and unchastity is a moral leper. He who pities the poor and defenseless and has no wrath against the oppressor who crushes the weak and slays the defenseless, but loves them too, is a fiend. Divine wrath is Divine Holiness in activity. Because God is holy He hates sin, and because He hates sin His anger burns against the sinner. As it is written, "Thou hatest all workers of iniquity" (Psalm 5:5). And again, "God is angry with the. wicked every day" (Psalm 7:11). And now-
3. The Manifestation of God's Wrath
God's wrath is not an abstract quality. God's wrath is not some thing that is inactive and inoperative. During Old Testament times God's wrath was openly displayed against evil-doers, notably at the Flood; in the destruction of Sodom and Gormorrah with fire and brimstone from heaven; on the Egyptians and their haughty king, when He visited their land with plagues, slew their first born and destroyed their armies at the Red Sea; and in His dealings with the Nation of Israel, in selling them into the hands of their enemies, sending them into captivity and destroying their beloved city. God's wrath against sin was publicly manifested at the Cross, when all His billows and waves passed over the head of the blessed Sin-Bearer, "I am afflicted and ready to die from My youth up: while I suffer Thy terrors I am distracted. Thy fierce wrath goeth over Me: Thy terrors have cut Me off" (Psalm 138:15, 16) was His solemn cry. And now:
4. The Greatness of God's Wrath
Human wrath is oftentimes an awful thing. Scripture likens the wrath of a king to the roaring of a lion. When a man's anger gets the better of him and he allows his fury to burst all restraints; it is a fearful thing to behold. Scripture also speaks of the Devil having "great wrath because he knoweth that he hath but a short time" (Rev. 12:12). But what shall be said of the Wrath of God? To what shall we liken it? How indescribably awful must be the unrestrained and unmixed wrath of such a Being! With what shall we compare the wrath of Him who made the heavens and the earth by the word of His power, who spake and it was done, who commanded and it stood fast! What must the wrath of Him be like who shaketh the earth out of its place and maketh the pillars thereof to tremble! What must the wrath of Him be like who rebuketh the sea and maketh it dry, who removeth the mountains out of their places and overturneth them in His anger! What must the wrath of Him be like whose majesty is so terrible that no fallen man can live in the sight of it, and in whose presence the very seraphim veil their faces!
Scripture speaks of God's wrath "waxing hot" (Exod. 23:14). It declares "Great is the wrath of the Lord" (2 Kings 22:13). It makes mention of "The fierceness and wrath of Almighty God" (Rev. 19:15). It refers to God's wrath coming upon sinners "to the uttermost" (I Thess. 2:16). Everything about God is unique. His power is omnipotent. His wisdom is a great deep. His love is unsearchable. His grace is unfathomable. His holiness is unapproachable. And like all His other perfections and attributes God's wrath is incomparable, incomprehensible, infinite. It will be the Wrath of the Almighty! And what will the wrath of the Almighty be like when it comes upon sinners "to the uttermost"? And what power of resistance will poor, frail creatures of the dust have for enduring the full weight of it? None. None whatever. It will overwhelm them. It will utterly consume them. It will crush them more easily than we can a worm beneath our feet. It will sink them into the lowest depths of hopeless despair. It will be intolerable and unbearable. And yet it will have to be endured - consciously endured - endured day and night for ever and ever! May these unspeakably solemn thoughts prepare the unsaved reader for the next division of our text.