Facets of the Gospel (2): Wrath

Came across this quote in my study this week on Romans 1:16-32, and thought it particularly helpful in thinking about God’s wrath as it relates to the gospel and “all ungodliness and unrighteousness”.

Picture taken from NCPR website. Click picture to go to news source link.

Pippert here is extremely helpful in seeing how we have no problem with the concept of “wrath” when it comes to “unrighteousness” – predominately effecting life in the “horizontal” dimension (e.g. injustice, wrongdoing; against “neighbor”). But if we live in a world created by a “higher power”/Supreme Being/Creator, should we then not be surprised that there is a wrath provoked by our genuine neglect or lack of regard for said Creator (i.e. “ungodliness”; ingratitude, unresponsiveness, arrogance toward, etc)?

Here’s the quote and the question to ponder is:

“Why would we have a problem with God’s wrath against all sin and it’s effects, if we have any problem with sin’s effects in the form of cruelty, wrongdoing and injustice throughout the world?

“We tend to be taken aback by the thought that God could be angry. how can a deity who is perfect and loving ever be angry?…We take pride in our tolerance of the excesses of others. So what is God’s problem?… But love detests what destroys the beloved. Real love stands against the deception, the lie, the sin that destroys. Nearly a century ago the theologian E.H. Glifford wrote: ‘Human love here offers a true analogy: the more a father loves his son, the more he hates in him the drunkard, the liar, the traitor.’… 

“The fact is that anger and love are inseparably bound in human experience. And if I, a flawed and sinful woman, can feel this much pain and anger over someone’s condition, how much more a morally perfect God who made them? If God were not angry over how we are destroying ourselves, then he wouldn’t be good and he certainly wouldn’t be loving. Anger isn’t the opposite of love. Hate is, and the final form of hate is indifference…. How can a good God forgive bad people without compromising himself? Does he just play fast and loose with the facts? ‘Oh, never mind…boys will be boys’. Try telling that to a survivor of ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia or to someone who lost an entire family in Rwanda…No. To be truly good one has to be outraged by evil and implacably hostile to injustice.”

– Rebecca Pippert, Hope Has It’s Reasons (100-01)

In Honor of Martin Luther King Day

Martin Luther King, Jr

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.” 

– Martin Luther King Jr.

The Passion Facade at Gaudi's Sagrada Familia

UPDATE: If you would like to expand your horizons on the subject of race relations and how the gospel effects us in the area of our biases, let me recommend the following books:

Keep Your Head Up: America’s New Black Christian Leaders, Social Consciousness, and the Cosby Conversation  edited by Anthony Bradley

Exclusion & Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness and Reconciliation by Miroslav Volf

Bloodlines: Race, Cross and the Christian by John Piper