He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.
In Romans 1, Paul talked about the reality of God’s wrath: “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them” (1:18-19). A person’s greatest need is not something to fill up his life; a person’s greatest need is for a right relationship with God. The problem is not that we need God but that God is angry with us. That is why Paul started his gospel presentation by talking about the wrath of God.
People do not want to talk about God’s wrath today. How many messages have you heard lately about the wrath of God? Most people’s attitude about God’s wrath today is one of three responses. Some people say it is uneducated to talk about the wrath of God. Only ignorant Christians would ever talk about the wrath of God in today’s intellectual culture. Other people think that it is unimportant. They concede, “Yes, the Bible does speak about God’s wrath, but we should not talk about that because it is a real turnoff to people.” Some people do not talk about the wrath of God because they say it is undeserved. This is perhaps the most lethal attitude of all about the wrath of God. These people say, “I do not deserve God’s wrath. I am not perfect, but I live the best I can. I try to keep the golden rule, so surely I do not deserve the wrath of God.”
But the Word of God dispels all our arguments against talking about God’s wrath. Did you know there are more references in the Bible to God’s anger than to His love? For example, Psalm 2 says, “Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury. . . . Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” (2:5, 12). And Psalm 78:49-50 says, “He sent upon them His burning anger, fury and indignation and trouble, a band of destroying angels. He leveled a path for His anger; He did not spare their soul from death, but gave over their life to the plague.” Do not fall into the trap of thinking that the Old Testament talks about God’s anger but the New Testament talks about God’s love. That is not true. There are many New Testament references to the wrath of God. For example, we all know John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” But we stop too short. If you keep reading Jesus’ words to Nicodemus, you get to John 3:36: “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” When is the last time you saw John 3:36 on a banner at a football game? Or Ephesians 5:6, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience”? Make no mistake about it: the Bible teaches the wrath of God.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “No Excuse” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.