Soft People and Silence about the Wrath of God

‘For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.’

On these verses, John Piper writes:

“If the real world that God has created includes the reality of divine judgment and vengeance and the terrifying, furious fire of God’s wrath, then honesty and love and wisdom will all include warnings of danger, not just promises of blessing. We live in a strange time. On the one hand, it’s a time that is shot through with agony and catastrophe and tragedy and violence and suffering of every kind. We see it day in and day out in the papers and on the TV news. And those who are thoughtful and large-minded know that we are seeing the barest tip of an iceberg of hate and greed and injustice and brutality around the world, not to mention the millions upon millions of starving and utterly destitute poor in the world and the agonizing situations of tens of thousands of refugees.

“But on the other hand, we do not want to hear about it. We are soft people. While most of the world watches death every day without morphine or any medical help, and deals with deep gashes and amputations with no antiseptics or stitches, we gag at the sight of a dead dog and grumble when 911 takes five minutes to respond instead of three. We are soft and we are presumptuous. And, what’s most appalling — though very few regard it as most appalling — is that when it comes to God, all we want to hear is the sweet side, the tender side, the warm side.

“We believe that the only good motivation comes from hearing about grace, not judgment. And little by little we let that motivational conviction (as unbiblical as it is) creep into our view of God himself, until we have no categories anymore to understand, let alone love, a God whose wrath is a fury of fire against sinners. But the writer of this book of Hebrews will not be silent about the wrath of God.”

 

 

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