This week’s title slide is ominous. The words The Wrath of God are floating between storm clouds. There are even lighting strikes that seem to be landing on parts of the lettering. If you saw this slide, you might expect to see a red-faced preacher banging on a pulpit. Have you ever experienced a preacher like this? We form this idea of God waiting to strike us down the next time we mess up.
Reacting against such behavior, others have portrayed God as a loving grandparent. Love, forgiveness, grace and mercy overshadow any inclinations of judgment and wrath. This sort of God winks at sin and seems to be happy, as long as we visit Him every week. So which one is it? What kind of God do we serve? A God of wrath or forgiveness?
We find both images of God in Scripture. God is loving, forgiving. In fact, he loves us so much that he gave His only Son for us (John 3:16). We don’t want to lose sight of this. At the same time, we find passages describing God’s wrath falling on those who reject His commands. But when we talk about God’s judgment or wrath, we get uncomfortable. We live in a non-judgmental world in which we are taught to tolerate. God’s wrath does not fit our worldview.
In this week’s passage, we read,
(Ephesians 5:5–7 NIV) For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person — such a man is an idolater — has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.
Paul is confident that those who live in old clothes (to borrow from our Ephesians series image) will not be a part of the Kingdom of God. In fact, he is sure that they will experience the wrath of God. What does this mean? How do we reconcile this statement with our understanding of a loving God? Join us on Sunday as we explore Ephesians 5:5-7.