Never Diminish God’s Wrath. Instead, Try Tears
In an essay titled “The Wrath of God,” penned for Bruce McCormack’s Engaging the Doctrine of God: Contemporary Protestant Perspectives, D. A. Carson argues,
Try tears. In his contribution to this volume, Pierre Berthoud reminds us that Moses interceded for the covenant community with such self-identification with them that he could pray, “But now, please, forgive their sin–but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written” (Exodus 32:32). Paul could wish himself accursed for those of his own race (Rom. 9:3). To speak faithfully of the wrath of God, very often what we most urgently need are tears.
A few years ago on a radio talk show with a large audience in Chicago, the host asked several guests to discuss whether anyone could be saved apart from Jesus. Three pooh-poohed the idea in graphic terms. The fourth was a Jewish-Christian believer on the faculty of Moody Bible Institute. His ethnic background was known by everyone there, so when it was his turn to speak, the host baited him by asking him if he thought his fellow Jews could be saved apart from Christ. This Christian brother began to weep, and then to sob quietly, uncontrollably. After a minute or two, the host said that he had never heard a more compelling reason to become a Christian.
So we teach the wrath of God, for faithfulness to Scripture demands it; and we follow Jesus and learn to weep over the city [Luke 19:41-44].
We should never soften the doctrine of God’s wrath or forsake teaching it. Instead, we should believe exactly all the Bible says about God’s righteous justice coming for unrepentant sinners. This belief, coupled with loving God and our neighbors, should encourage us to weep for their souls. Our unrepentant loved ones, friends, and neighbors are headed to Hell, and they’re rejecting the only One who can save them! Oh, how horrible it will be to endure God’s righteous justice in torment in a sinner’s Hell forevermore! They will not be saved apart from Christ. May we never give up on them as we take the gospel to them again, and again, even unto the ends of the Earth. May we pray for them continuously until they know the love and grace of Christ that we do.
Try tears friends, try tears . . .