Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
“People don’t want to hear about the wrath of God. They want to hear positive things, not negative talk.” I’ve heard things like this coming from the mouths of well-meaning folks who think they have good advice for church growth. In fact, their advice might not be pragmatically bad. Certainly, focusing only on the positive will likely draw a crowd to a church building, as people are always eager to hear what their itching ears want to hear.
The sad thing is, we miss, in our neglect of the wrath of God, the beauty of his grace. When we do not know how we are saved or from what consequences we are saved, we will not grasp the true beauty of what it means to be saved.
In many circles, Christianity is presented as simply the best life to live. People tout the faith as a way to live happy, fulfilled, and prosperous lives. Some focus on following Jesus as a way to have stronger marriages and better ethics which will lead to more satisfying lives in many regards. In truth, all of these things can be a part of Christianity; however, none of them are the central focus of the Scripture.
When we see the word of God talking to us about what it means to live as the followers of God, we see it focus us on the glory of God and on the joy that glory brings. We see our part in doing that which will ultimately fulfill us, namely honoring our Lord. And we see, without any blushing whatsoever, our glorious salvation from utter destruction.
Looking at the verse above, notice from what we are saved. We are not saved from Satan. We are not saved from “sin” as if sin had in itself the power to punish us. We are not saved from an unfulfilled life. We do not see the thought that hell is living on earth in sin. No, we see that if we are saved, we are saved from the wrath of God.
Get this glorious truth. We are not only saved by God, and for God, and to the glory of God, we are also saved from God. God is the one offended by our sin. God is the one who rightly must punish our sin in order to continue to be perfectly just. So, what did God do? God chose to allow his Son to bear the punishment for our sins so that he could both punish our sins and rescue us from his own wrath.
You know, when you get how horrifying is the wrath of God, you will begin to embrace your salvation. Sure, it is all well and good to be thankful to God for a happy life, a sweet family, and meaningful existence. But, it is also an amazing thing to remember that this God who gives us all this joy is the very God who was wrathful enough against us to send
us to hell forever for what we had done against him.
Christians can benefit greatly from remembering the wrath of God. It is the wrath of God that reminds us of how great a Savior we have. It is the wrath of God that reminds us that our sin was indeed a big deal, not shrugged off by our Lord. It is the wrath of God toward our sins, our specific sins, that Jesus bore on the tree. It was the wrath of God that has now been satisfied in the blood of Jesus the removal of which enables us to live forever in the glorious, soul-satisfying presence of God.
If you want to see the beauty of a diamond or pearl, you set it against a backdrop that will contrast with the jewel. This is why you often see these treasures placed against black velvet in a jewelry store. Think of the wrath of God as the black background that brings out the shimmering brilliance of the amazing grace of Jesus. No, you would not want a faith that is all black all the time. But do not lose the darkness of wrath, or you will miss the brilliance of grace.