About a year ago, an acquaintance and I were having a discussion regarding the upcoming U.S. Presidential election. We both lamented the uninspiring candidate prospects, and I remarked that perhaps we were seeing God’s judgement on our nation. The lady replied that she “did not subscribe to that idea of God.” That comment astounded me, and I have mulled it over in my mind often. I wonder but what the root of it is feeling uncomfortable with the notion of God’s wrath. In our politically correct culture, God’s wrath is not considered to be nice.
God’s wrath should make us uncomfortable in that it reminds us of our sinfulness and His holiness. Without the recognition of God’s wrath, how is the Gospel good news? Wrath is a necessary, if terrifying thing. But God’s wrath is also something that inspires us to glorify Him. Did that raise your eyebrows a little? Let’s look at Romans 1:18-32, where the wrath of abandonment is in view:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
This passage describes our world today, does it not? People everywhere are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness, evil is everywhere, and homosexuality is not only commonly accepted but it is being celebrated on a world-wide, governmental scale. When a society, or the whole world in our case today, begins to see these things come to pass in their culture, they can be sure that they are being given over to their sin. That is the wrath of abandonment, on full display. Is our nation being judged? Yes. It has been going on for some time now, and we are simply seeing its natural escalation. God does still pour out judgments on nations, as we are seeing through His wrath of abandonment right now. He will do so even more in the future when he pours out His eschatological wrath during the tribulation. To say that one does not subscribe to the notion of God judging nations in our day and age is woeful ignorance at best, and unbelief in the One True God at worst.
Divine wrath is not to be taken lightly. It grieves a believers heart because we know that sin is an offence to our Holy God. We grieve for those who are in unbelief, and headed to an eternal hell. Yet, we can also rejoice and give glory to God when we see evidence of His divine wrath. Why? Because, it is affirmation that God’s Word is true and can be trusted. When God does what He says He will do,we cannot help but praise Him! He is all powerful and majestic. He is the beginning and the end. His attributes, even His wrath, are to be praised because they are perfect and demonstrate His Holy nature.
The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and faithful in all he does.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
Further reading and study:
Is America Under Judgement? by Elizabeth Prata
When God Abandons A Nation sermon by John MacArthur
The Reality of God’s Wrath sermon by John MacArthur
We Will Not Bow sermon by John MacArthur