Bethlehem College & Seminary Chancellor and Desiring God founder John Piper recently gave a message about what he called “six truths” regarding the nature of God’s wrath.
Piper opened his remarks at a conference on Wednesday by declaring that the “greatest peril facing every person” was “the righteous wrath of God against guilty sinners, leading to everlasting suffering.”
“Poverty, hunger, disease, war, crime, climate change, addictions, homelessness, ignorance, sex trafficking: these bring great global suffering — and they pale in comparison to the peril of being under the wrath of God,” stated Piper.
“They are all tragic, but they are all temporary. They may last a lifetime, but the wrath of God lasts forever.”
From there, Piper laid out the six truths: the wrath of God is “righteous,” “terrible and eternal,” “coming in final judgment,” “owing to our sin,” “God’s prerogative” instead of “ours,” and “has already begun.”
“In America today, it would not be wrong to say that we are collapsing morally at every level of society and ripening for judgment. That would be a true statement, I believe; it’s just misleading because the collapse itself is judgment,” said Piper.
“And if you want to read how that works, just look at the rest of Romans 1, and you will see what Paul means by the present activity of the wrath of God giving men over to their sin.”
While stating that he believes America is currently undergoing judgment from God, Piper also stressed that Christians should still “pray for revival” and “pray for awakening.”
Regarding that the wrath of God is “God’s prerogative, not ours,” Piper spoke about how believers should not “take God’s prerogative and become the mediators of wrath.”
“We die for our enemies; we don’t kill them. We don’t pronounce damnation on infidels; we evangelize them. We plead with them. We love them. We call them. We go to them,” continued Piper.
“We’re not those who go out looking to show wrath to our adversaries. That belongs to God, and he assigns us to love our enemies.”
The topic of the wrath of God can be a contentious one. In 2013, for example, Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Songs for the Presbyterian Church (USA) decided to not include the song "In Christ Alone" in their hymnal because of the lyrics “on that cross as Jesus died / the wrath of God was satisfied.”
Brandon W. Peach of Lightworkers wrote a column published by The Christian Post earlier this week about the topic of God’s anger, listing three biblical truths about the subject for believers.
These included “God’s memory of sin” being “mercifully brief,” how people should not “confuse natural consequences with God’s anger,” and that God is “never angry with you.”
“Romans 1:18 makes it clear that God’s wrath is reserved for sin itself, revealed ‘against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.’ He detests sin, but he does not detest sinners,” wrote Peach.
“This is a critical distinction to make, because if God’s anger was toward us as individuals, we would be powerless to overcome it.”
Peach added that “God’s gift to fallible humans comes to us through the redeeming work of Christ on the cross.”
“When God became human in the form of His son, He emptied Himself of anger. In other words, there’s no anger left somewhere on reserve for Him to take out on us when we disobey,” Peach continued.