Christianity in Two Words (Part 2)

by Oct 29, 2009

(Continued from Part 1)

Children of Wrath

Not a pretty title, but Paul says it applies to us all. Here’s why:

We all lived in the passions of our flesh,
carrying out the desires of the body and the mind.

Life lived in the flesh means life lived without God in control of it. If God’s not in charge of your life, then your desires are in charge. Like your desires for comfort and pleasure and recognition and status. And when all of us live with our desires in charge, what we get is the world we’re living in now. Conflict. Crime. War. Genocide.

And the result of all that is God’s wrath:

We were by nature children of wrath,
like the rest of mankind.

Nobody wants to think about the wrath of God. Try bringing it up with the next person you meet at Starbucks. They’ll leave their Frappucino melting on the table as they escape.

It’s a lot easier for us to think about God’s love. Theologian D.A. Carson said that love is just about the only characteristic of God that everyone can agree on: “If you tell people that God loves them, they are unlikely to be surprised. Of course God loves me; he’s like that, isn’t he?”

So let’s try that angle. Let’s look at God’s wrath as an expression of his love.

Sound crazy? Think of it this way: if God could look at all the injustice in the world and not get angry — if he looked back over his shoulder at the genocide in Darfur and the government oppression in North Korea and he just said, “Oh, those kids, when will they ever learn?” — then what kind of God would he be?

An apathetic God. A remote and impersonal God. Like a dad who could just watch his kid get beat up by the kids down the street, without lifting a finger to stop it. That’s not the kind of dad I’d want anyone to have, and that’s not the kind of God I’d want to have in charge of the universe.

God’s wrath should give you reassurance that we don’t have some detached slacker of a God who watches the horrific events happening on earth from his 47,000-inch flat screen TV in heaven, then changes the channel to watch American Idol before he falls asleep on the couch. We have a God who cares. Who loves! And so he gets angry. And he unleashes his wrath.

More about that tomorrow.