Do We Have An Angry God?

Text: John 19:1-42

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

It isn’t very popular to say, but nonetheless, it is true: we have an angry God.  Yes, you heard that correctly: we have an angry God. 

Some may push back against this and say, 

“No, God is love; in God, there is no hate or anger.  We certainly do not have an angry God!” 

This begs the question, then, did God giggle with glee when Adam and Eve first sinned?  When God looks down upon His creation and sees pride, envy, wrath, greed, gluttony, lust, and sloth, does He say, 

“Those rascally humans are at it again.  Oh, well, kids will be kids.”

Dear friends, this Good Friday evening, we must be perfectly clear. Every departure from the holy will of God is a sin. Sin is the refusal to recognize our obligation toward God. Sin is the evil thoughts, desires, and actions that we think, say, and do that are contrary to the holy will of God.  Sin is lawlessness; it is a transgression against the will of God Almighty.  Sin is us twisting God’s desires for our selfish gains.  Sin is us perverting God’s holy will so that we can prop ourselves up.  Sin is us crossing God’s lines because we want what we want, and we want it right now.  

And so, because of sin, there are consequences – punishments for sin from God Himself.  In other words, because of sin, we experience a threefold punishment: spiritual death, temporal death, and eternal death.  Indeed, there is a punishment from God for the guilt of sin.

Perhaps you are still protesting at the thought of God being angry.  If so, listen to Psalm 90.  Let it sink in.  

"For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath [O God], we are dismayed. You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence. For all our days pass away under your wrath [O God]; we bring our years to an end like a sigh. The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Return, O LORD! How long? Have pity on your servants!"

As you have just heard, God is not some pushover boss or a burnout teacher who turns a blind eye to mischievous employees and students.  God is not a flower child kind of God who says, 

“Spread love, not hate: let kindness bloom!”

Dear friends, God will not be mocked.  He will not tolerate evil; He will not celebrate wickedness with a parade float.  He will not applaud our fallen nature.  God is not the author of sin, but instead, He hates sin, condemns sin, and has anger against sin.  God’s wrath and His punishments rest upon guilty mankind.  

And so, those who deny God’s anger and wrath, well… they are drunk on their devised cocktails of squishy-tolerances-laced with perverted love.  They are so drunk on their imaginary versions of god that they fail to realize that we have offended God with our sins and that He would be completely fair in giving us temporal and eternal punishments.  Indeed, if God were to smite all of mankind to hell, He would be morally just in doing so, for it is what we deserve.     

Now, some will still protest and say, 

“But we are trying to make God not so angry.  We are doing the best we can by trying to make up for things by being good and doing good.”

Ah, but we must understand that all our righteous deeds – the best that we can conjure up – are nothing more than filthy rags before God.  That is to say; they are like used menstrual rags.  We cannot buy God off.  Our puny good works cannot tame this angry God.  

And so, tonight, we are clearly at an impasse.  God angers at sin, and we cannot do anything about it.

* * *

Dear friends, please let all of this sink in.  If it makes you uncomfortable – good.  If this makes you unsettled – good.  If you don’t like to hear about God’s anger – good.  If this sounds politically incorrect – good.  Tonight, hearing about God’s anger should have the effect of causing you discomfort.  If it does not cause you discomfort, then what I am about to tell you will not make any sense.  If you do not comprehend the anger of God, you will not be able to appreciate and rejoice in the cross of Christ.  

Baptized Saints, straighten your backs. Lean forward in that pew. Open your ears. Chins up! … Because of God’s anger over sin, Christ had to die for you. Yes, hear that again. To appease God's wrath, your Jesus was made to be sin for you so that He could appease God’s anger so that God’s wrath would no longer rest on you but on Jesus.  

But you may protest again, 

“Are we saying that God was so angry over sin that Christ had to die for sinful mankind?”

Yes, that is exactly what we are saying.  Listen to a paraphrase of Isaiah 53, 

“It would be easy to look at Jesus and think that He was being punished by God for His misdoings; however, the fact is that it was our pains that Jesus carried – it was all that was wrong with us that brought God’s punishment upon Jesus.  It was our sins that did that to him on the cross; it was our sins that ripped and tore and crushed Jesus – our sins did that to Him.  He took the punishment for us.  God piled all our sins, everything that we have done wrong, on Christ so that Jesus could be beaten, tortured, and slaughtered in silence for you and me. Through His bruises, we get healed. . . .  This is what God had in mind all along – to crush Jesus with pain.  The plan was that Jesus would give Himself as an offering for our sin.”

Indeed, your Jesus was made to be sin on that cross so that the wrath, anger, and vengeance of God could be unleashed on Him, as He bled and suffered on that cross for you and for me.  

Is this cruel?  You bet!  Is sin that serious?  Absolutely! 

Dear friends, this is how serious God’s anger and sin really are.  Sin is not a laughing matter; God’s anger cannot be satisfied with a chill pill.  Only the death of the Son of God could atone for sin and satisfy the wrath of God.  

And so, while we look at the cross tonight on Good Friday, we can surely see the full visible picture of God’s wrath on display against sinful mankind.  And yet, at the same time, we can see the full visible picture of God’s Love on display for sinful mankind.  

Baptized Saints, the cross of Christ is a divine collision of God’s wrath against sin and God’s love for mankind.  You see, if there were no anger for sin, there would be no cross of Christ.  And if there were no love for mankind, there would be no cross of Christ.  But there is a cross, and thereupon that cross is a bleeding Savior – for you and me.  

And so, it gives me great joy to say to you this Good Friday evening that God is no longer angry with sinners and no longer condemns you for your sins, for His wrath and anger were fully satisfied in the death of Jesus.  Yes, hear the good news again.  Because Jesus was without sin and because He bore your sin and my sin as His own on that cross, and because He was made a victim for you and for me on that cross, and because He received the full punishment of sin for you and for me on that cross… there is no longer any condemnation for you and me.  In Christ, God cannot be angry with you, for His wrath against sin was satisfied with Christ’s suffering and death in your stead.  

And so, hear this right now!  God looks upon you through the blood of Christ and says, 

“Well done, faithful servants.  You are my children.  I am well pleased with you.”

Yes, you have heard this correctly. Because of Jesus’ accomplished work and because you are buried with Christ and raised with Christ in holy baptism, there is no left-over wrath of God resting upon you. Jesus satisfied this wrath for you completely and fully.  Your sins were crucified with Christ that day on Mt. Calvary.  God’s wrath was satisfied with Christ that day on Mt. Calvary. Forgiveness was accomplished that day on Mt. Calvary – all for you.  

* * *

Tonight, as we gaze upon the cross, we see two things: we see the anger of God against sin and we see God’s atonement for sin.  In the crucified, we see hope, love, and assurance.    

The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Amen.