God is not angry
February 17, 2023
In 1741, Jonathan Edwards preached an infamous sermon entitled “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”. Edwards was guilty of propagating a common falsehood: namely, that God is angry because of sin. This misrepresentation continues in our day. I remember watching the television coverage on 9/11. I saw two prominent ministers being interviewed and both agreed that 9/11 was God’s judgment upon America because of sin.
God is not judging America because of sin. Neither is he judging individuals because of sin. God is not angry about sin. In fact, God is not angry at all. The reason is simple: God has already done something about sin. As far as God is concerned, sin has already been judged and dealt with fully. This is why the writer to the Hebrews says that Jesus has “put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” Now God is interested in reconciliation rather than retribution.
In Ephesians 2, the Apostle Paul spends several verses describing the depravity of humanity. After this vivid description of sin, we might expect Paul to say next that God is really angry and just about to judge all of these terrible sinners. Instead, we read this, “But God, who is rich in mercy for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins ….” The message is clear: God has responded to sin, not with anger, but with love.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians that “God was personally present in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with himself, not counting up and holding against men their trespasses, but canceling them, and has committed to us the message of reconciliation, of the restoration to favor.”
The church world has done a great disservice to the world by presenting a false impression of God. In an effort to scare people into good behavior, the church has propagated a lie, suggesting that God is angry because of sin, meanwhile ignoring the message of the gospel, that God has already done something about sin, eliminating both its power and its penalty by the finished work of Christ on the cross. Today God is interested in reconciliation, not retribution.