Jesus: Holy and Righteous God of Love and Wrath – Part 3

Posted on June 10, 2011

In that day the Lamb shall become a Lion.  A lion captures its prey by its mighty jaws, and once it is caught, he crushes his prey and conquers his prey and consumes his prey.  So it will be in this last day for the Lion of the tribe of Judah as He will capture and crush every unbeliever outside of Himself.  So terrifying… – Steven Lawson

In a day where most people believe that God has only three attributes – love, grace, and mercy – it is imperative that we effectively communicate all of God’s attributes, including His holiness, righteousness, justice, and wrath.  By excluding any of these attributes or denying them, one is preaching, teaching, or believing in a different god altogether – one that doesn’t exist.  God is all of these things, and most emphatically He is holy, holy, holy (Revelation 4:8).

Part 1 of this series briefly outlined from Scripture that Jesus is the God of the Old Testament, that He does not change, that He is the Alpha and Omega, and He is gracious, merciful, and loving. We’ll get into these latter three attributes later, but not without first discussing his other attributes.  Part 2 briefly outlined God’s holiness and righteousness, and this post will discuss the justice and wrath of God, who is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of lords and the King of kings.

I remind the reader that if you do not base your understanding of Jesus Christ on the Word of God, then you have no objective standard from which to base your opinion.  And that is all you have – opinion.  You have built your house on a bed of sand, and in the end it will fall.  You must trust in the Jesus of the Bible, the whole Jesus, lest you never receive His enduring love and face the fury of His wrath.

Let’s continue our understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ as found in Scripture.

Sin Is Lawlessness

Before we discuss the justice and wrath of God, we must first take a look at sin.  Sin is simply defined in 1 John 3:4 as

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.

Sin is breaking the law of God, and living a sinful lifestyle is living in lawlessness. It is rebelling against God’s commandments.  Because God is holy and righteous, rebellion against His wisdom provokes Him to wrath as we see in Deuteronomy 9:7:

Remember and do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness. From the day you came out of the land of Egypt until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the Lord.

The Law that He has given us to love is found in the 10 commandments (Exodus 20:1-21), yet we are a rebellious people and do not love the ways of the Lord as we ought.  Some of us hate the commandments, others dismiss them, while others try to live by them as if doing so will earn them a ticket to heaven by their own self-righteousness.  However, the Bible says it is impossible for unbelievers and religious hypocrites to submit to the Law of God:

For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. – Romans 8:7

We therefore stand as men and women condemned under the Law of God.  There is nothing that we need to do to be condemned nor is there anything that God must do to condemn us as we are condemned already (John 3:18).  We, by nature, are sinners, and as sinners we do what naturally comes to us – sin.  As such, God has appointed Himself through the Lord Jesus Christ as sovereign judge to carry out the sentence of condemned sinners.

God Is Just

God doesn’t do things because they are good, something is good because God does it.  Because He is a good judge, He will leave no crime against Him unpunished.  He must carry out justice for every sin that has ever been committed by every human that has ever walked the planet (Jeremiah 17:10; Matthew 16:27; 1 Corinthians 4:5).  Sin is a violation of God’s holiness, therefore His holiness must be vindicated by punishing every single sin that has violated His holiness. Every injustice will be brought into account.

Scripture often uses righteousness and justice as synonyms, so let’s look at a few more verses displaying this attribute:

God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day. – Psalm 7:11

Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” – Genesis 18:25

Does God pervert justice? Or does the Almighty pervert the right? – Job 8:3

Therefore, hear me, you men of understanding: far be it from God that he should do wickedness, and from the Almighty that he should do wrong. – Job 34:10

To declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him. – Psalm 92:15

But the Lord sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice, 8 and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness. – Psalm 9:7-8

What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! – Romans 9:14

And I heard the altar saying,  “Yes, Lord God the Almighty, true and just are your judgments!” – Revelation 16:7

Jesus Christ the Judge 

Because God is upright and good, He must punish wickedness as it is an affront to His holiness.  In order to carry out justice, there must be a judge.  The Lord Jesus Christ is that judge, and Scripture is clear that He will not allow the wicked and those who disobey Him to go unpunished.  This is what the Bible says:

The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; against them he will thunder in heaven. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king and exalt the power of his anointed. – 1 Samuel 2:10

The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. – John 5:22-23

And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. – Acts 10:42

The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead. – Acts 17:30-31

They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. – Romans 2:15-16

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: – 2 Timothy 4:1

The Wrath of Jesus

So how will Jesus carry out God’s justice in the future (as opposed to his present judgment per Romans 1:18-32, etc.)?  A survey of the Revelation of Jesus Christ reveals many judgments will come upon mankind through wars, plagues, famine, natural disasters, and other supernatural terror.  Angels and demons alike will carry out these judgments, and it will be known by mankind who is judging them.  On that day, the wicked will seek refuge, but there will be no escape from the wrath of Christ:

Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” – Revelation 6:15-17

In that day, we see how this Great King will come in glory:

…when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. – 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10

When Christ comes, the One who is called Faithful and True, He will come in righteousness to make war as He judges the wicked.  He will strike them down as the Lord treads the winepress of the fury of His wrath:

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

Jesus Christ is not coming as a gentle and meek Lamb, He is coming as the fierce Lion of the tribe of Judah to destroy the wicked and their works, and this includes everyone who disobeys the Gospel and rebels against His righteousness.  All sinners who remain on that day will be

…slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh. – Revelation 19:21

After Christ establishes His earthly Kingdom and reigns for 1,000 years, He will resurrect from the dead those who rebelled against Him.  This is what the Bible says is in store for the wicked as they face the final, righteous judgment of the Lord Jesus Christ:

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. – Revelation 20:11-15

Will that be you on that great and terrible day?  What Jesus do you profess to know today?  Is it a jesus you have crafted with your mind, who is corrupt by overlooking sin?  Is it a jesus who loves, loves, loves, yet is not holy, holy, holy?  Is your jesus more concerned with social justice and solving people’s problems than he is with the salvation of men’s souls?  I tell you, if your Jesus is none other than the Jesus that has been revealed in the Bible, then you are worshiping an idol and you will face the wrath of the Lamb of Almighty God.

This is no day to be playing with your eternity.  In Part 2 I posted a link to a message by Dr. Steven Lawson on the Great White Judgment, and I think it’s important enough to post it again here.  You can find the article at this link, or for convenience, you can view the video below.

There is still good news to be discussed, please continue to Part 4.