Strange title, huh? The perfect wrath of God? For most of us, we wouldn’t mention perfect and wrath in the same sentence. Yet in God’s character, He can perfectly hold and exercise His great love and His great wrath. A couple of years ago I was at a prayer retreat reading, meditating, and praying through Colossians 1 where Paul contrasts the kingdom of darkness with the kingdom of light.
The kingdom of darkness, the kingdom controlled by Satan, who is the great enemy of God and the people of God and who longs to steal God’s glory. Therefore, Satan’s kingdom is a counterfeit kingdom. His mode of operation is the great lie and the great deception. And people buy into the lie… they believe that life can be found outside of who God really is, what He has given, and what He has done for us. Jesus has come to rescue us from the lie, deception, and counterfeit kingdom. And through His great work on the cross where He absorbed and exhausted the wrath due us, we’ve been brought back to God in the kingdom of life and light. In contrasting these two kingdoms, God’s perfect wrath began to make sense. Here’s what I wrote in my journal on that day:
Perhaps the wrath of God is passive and active. God’s wrath is passive in that He allows us and even turns us over to our desire to believe the lie. This is what Paul says in Romans 1. And God’s wrath is also active. God will actively judge and destroy those who actively propagate the lie, the great deception, the great counterfeit… not only because of God’s rightful kingship and “glory,” but because His glory is His presence. And His presence is our greatest good, our greatest joy, and our greatest gift of life. Anything that robs God’s created humanity from living in His presence and experiencing the gift of Himself will be crushed and destroyed in His perfect wrath… not because He is a “narcissist” for Himself, but because He knows that our greatest hope is found in His presence, His light, His love, and His kingdom.
I know that’s intense and a bit wordy (welcome to my brain). But God’s perfect wrath is part of His perfect character because He will remove anything that stands in the way and robs us of our opportunity to see and experience Him for who He fully is… because God and His glory is our greatest good and our everlasting joy.
Think for a moment about your perception and view of God. Does it include the perfect love of God and the perfect wrath of God? Even if we can’t figure out how love and wrath work in concert with each other, in God’s great wisdom and perfection, somehow they do. Remember, your thoughts on God (i.e., your theology) are your most important thoughts because they determine everything else in your life.