“We Should Be Wrathful as God is Wrathful” – D.A. Carson

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In an essay titled “The Wrath of God,” penned for Bruce McCormack’s Engaging the Doctrine of God: Contemporary Protestant Perspectives, D. A. Carson argues,

. . . there must be some sense in which we should be wrathful as God is wrathful. Andrew Lester is not overly forceful when he insists that “not being angry at evil in all its manifestations is sinful.” This is rarely an easy thing to get right, for human wrath easily degenerates into bitterness, one-upmanship, and condescending arrogance. Still, parents are often afforded small glimpses as to how wrath and compassion are not necessarily mutually antithetical. We catch other glimpses in some of the psalms of imprecation and in the Pastoral Epistles, where, on the one hand, readers are advised to avoid wrangling, to respond to people gently, and to cast a godly example and, on the other, they are informed that Paul has handed Hymenaeus and Alexander over to Satan that they might be taught not to blaspheme.

I see this reality displayed throughout the Scriptures: God’s people should view the world in the same manner God views the world. God loves the world. He gave His Son for the world (John 3:16); yet, He calls all men, women, and children everywhere to repent and believe on Christ (John 14:6). Evil is evil, and should be met with wrath at every corner of the Christian life. We must agree with God. We must put our sin to death (Rom. 8:13; Col. 3:5). Righteous judgment is the only holy response to sin (Just look at the cross). May we never condone our sin or the sins of others. Instead, may we run to Christ and send others running to the resurrected Savior for forgiveness and joy! Remember that those who refuse to run to the Lamb today will one day face the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Phil. 2:5-11; Rev. 5:5), and He will crush them in His teeth.

*You can find a summary of Carson’s essay here.

This article was originally posted at my site. Only some of my articles are posted on SBC Voices. If you would like access to all of my articles, you can follow my feed here. You can also connect with me on TwitterFacebook, and Google+.

Comments

  1. Randall Cofield says

    Jared,

    Spot on, in my humble estimation.

    But I think you (and D. A.) will draw some fire on this one.

  2. Greg Harvey says

    I think we as human beings are best suited to depicting ourselves as once having been aligned with other sinners as the targets of God’s wrath as per Jonathan Edwards’ famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”.

    I’m lest convinced that standing on the symbolic other side of the Jordan River and casting prophecies of doom across it is particularly helpful. I also believe that God might very well allow the continuation of falling into temptation and continuing sin in part because he needs a humbled people that falls before him and therefore sees itself as on the same level as those who have not yet crossed the line of faith.

    I’m not sure if that is the point Carson is making or not, but in my humble understanding of the topic, that’s kind of how I see it. I also personally note that apparently Edwards read his sermons with minimal emotional emphasis from a handwritten sheet of paper, so we could add to what I said that I’m not convinced an emotional appeal is particularly appropriate in a presentation of the Gospel. Instead, I point to Peter’s sermon on Pentecost and Paul’s sermon at Mars Hill as two well-known sermons based strongly on reason even in the presence of both miraculous events (in the first case) and mythical/arguably false beliefs (in the second case). Both situations were put to work explaining the Gospel and neither in and of itself required an appeal to emotion.

  3. Christiane says

    The great warrior against evil IS Christ.

    But how he conquers is different from how men would do it . . .
    a hatred for evil, injustice and cruelty;
    aligned beautifully with a compassion for those who were
    ‘lost and without a shepherd’.

    If we want to know of God’s wrath . . . look to Christ the King.
    In Him, we have the clearest and best revelation of how God deals with evil.

    The people of the Old Testament longed for the coming of the Messiah, who would help them in battle against what oppressed them. Isaiah expressed their hope this way:
    “The Lord has bared His holy arm in the sight of all the nations;
    All the ends of the earth will behold the salvation of our God” (Isaiah 52:10).
    The uncovering of the Arm of the Lord means the full display of His conquering power. A clear teaching of the Gospels is that Jesus was this divine Fighter, but what a strange and surprising Warrior He was.

    Look to Christ and see in Him the conquering wrath of God against satan, his minions, evil, sin, and death.

    Look to Christ and see in Him the mighty Salvation of Our God.