If I had to pick one, one book that I would declare as my favorite read of 2016, it would have to be this one. Hands down. The book I’m referring to is Dr. David Powlison’s Good & Angry.
In my previous post on this book I shared how the author had skillfully opened us up and found out why it is that we express anger the way we do.
This time, I’d like to share another eye-opening excerpt—not dealing with our anger, but rather God’s.
The character of God acts as an anchor to our wandering soul. When we think on theology (i.e, the doctrine of God) our hearts are no longer left to themselves.
If you spend any portion of your time in prayer and the reading of Scripture, then you understand this, yes? It is as much doctrinal as it is devotional.
Linger on His love, mediate on His mercy, and gaze upon His grace. It’s the difference between experiencing euphoria (true joy and delight) or a depressing dysphoria (anxiety, restlessness, and misery).
Are you in need of encouragement today? Keep reading. What I am about to share with you are four reasons that God’s anger nourishes our hearts from the pages of Powlison’s book. If you are a true follower of Christ, then these truths are your truths.1
4 REASONS TO BE ENCOURAGED BY GOD’S ANGER
1. God’s anger toward sin.
His holy hatred of sin was so strong that God refused to allow it to separate His sheep from Him. Instead, the Father cast that sin (yours and mine) upon His one and only Son.
When your heart becomes fearful, and you wonder how God could ever love you, remember. Jesus took your sins upon Himself. The innocent was slain in place of the guilty. When God considers your failings, He remembers His mercy.
John 10:11, “I am the Good Shepherd; the Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”
2. God’s anger toward the flesh.
He sees our flesh as a nuisance that must be overcome. It needs to yield to the Spirit of God. There is a constant battle between this flesh and Spirit. The mind, the affections, and the will are all in play. However, there is One Who guarantees our victory.
When you feel discouraged and weak, that you have no strength to fight all that is proud, unruly, and forgetful inside you, remember. The Holy Spirit hates evil, loves good, and He will not quit working on the inside. He will complete the good work He began in you.
Philippians 1:6 tells us as much, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
3. God’s anger toward evil.
The world hates Him, so it will hate you also. God not only knows this, but His anger—His wrath will master these menaces. They are all on His “most wanted” list and will ultimately pay the price. A price so high (due to the debt of sin against a holy and righteous God) that it will take all eternity to compensate for it.
When you feel overwhelmed by all the heartache, unfairness, disappointment, callousness, and betrayal that you experience, remember. The Lord will destroy every cause of pain, stumbling, and tears. Because God loves those He has befriended, He will defend them from every enemy: death, sin, Satan, and unfriendly people.
Romans 12:19 instructs us to “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord.”
4. God’s anger toward your disobedience.
He is providential in our pain; and it may be due to our disobedience. After all, sometimes we are wayward children. And so His anger will have a corrective and repairing purpose, because He refuses (like a parent) to watch us fall away.
When you are tempted to pack it in and give up, plunging back into the darkness, remember. The Lord is a holy fire, and He disciplines those He loves that we might share His holiness. “The righteous falls seven times and rises again” (Proverbs 24:16). He will not let you go fatally astray.
Proverbs 3:12, “For whom the LORD loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.”
In each of these instances the author describes God’s anger as “constrained by mercy to comfort a different aspect of our human struggle.” His love is as profound as His anger. Perhaps that is why we read the threefold declaration that God is “holy, holy, holy” (Isa 6:3; Rev 4:8). He is supreme in His love and anger.
God’s wrath is your hope. God’s wrath is my hope. We don’t often hear that, but it appears everywhere in the Bible. Wrath is our hope because love masters anger. God’s loving anger resolves the entire problem of evil in a way that brings Him inexpressible glory and brings us inexpressible blessing.
God is truly set apart; for there is no one like Him.