“Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
Romans 5:9-11 NIVUK
God can be angry. And the one thing that makes Him angry the most is sin. Your sin and my sin. The sin of all those around us. Earlier in Romans 3:23 we read, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. But why should sin make God angry? We know that God cannot commit a sin Himself, so the anger He portrays must be non-sinning anger, a righteous anger. The trouble with us humans is that we see anger in an emotional way. We see a person losing control and exploding with aggression. We talk about “road-rage”, anger caused by a dispute over the way someone is driving, and spilling over into a violent confrontation. But God, quite rightly, gets angry with sin because it is a violation of His purity and holiness. And God’s anger will be expressed finally when, one day, we stand before Him. Those who have not taken the opportunity to believe in Him and what He did for us through His Son, Jesus, will feel the weight of His anger, His wrath.
Jesus Himself got angry, of course. We read in Mark 3:4-5, “Then he turned to his critics and asked, “Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” But they wouldn’t answer him. He looked around at them angrily and was deeply saddened by their hard hearts. Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored!” Jesus’ anger was a righteous anger, and it expressed itself in sadness. So why did Jesus get angry? Again, it was because of the way sinful man violated God’s standard of purity and holiness. Instead of believing in Him, they chose to follow their own evil thoughts and ways.
Do we pilgrims get angry? I think we do. We are humans with human emotions. And anger is one of them. Paul wrote to the Ephesian Christians, quoting Psalm 4:4, the following, “And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27). There is nothing more spiritually debilitating than allowing anger to burn within us. We can become bitter and end up making all sorts of wrong and even life changing decisions, just out of an emotional reaction. So we pilgrims bring the situation that causes anger within us to God. We allow Him to deal with the issues and in the process, we feel His peace wafting over us. If there is anger burning within us today, let’s just relax and confess it to God. And in the process, the “things of the world will grow strangely dim”. We emerge from the experience of being in God’s presence with a new perspective. Touched by His love and grace.
Dear Father God. The very thought of You getting angry with us affects us deeply. Once again we choose to keep short accounts with You, and we confess our sins right now, bringing them under the cleansing supply of Jesus’ blood. Thank You. Amen.