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“God don’t never change,” sang Blind Willie Johnson in a song recorded a little over ninety years ago, in 1929. Was Blind Willie’s theology on track? Yes, it was. The Lord said the same thing about Himself.

“For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed” (Malachi 3:6). 1

Some Christians think that the Lord God Almighty changed between the Old and New Testaments. He was the punishing God of wrath in the Old Testament. He drowned every living thing in the world when He flooded the earth. “Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark” (Genesis 7:23). He obliterated Sodom and Gomorrah with fire. He called for Israel to completely destroy several people groups: the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. (Deuteronomy 20:16–18). He was cruel and merciless. It’s embarrassing, they think, that the Christian God is like this. The God of the New Testament does not behave this way. He is loving, forgiving, and merciful.

However, many of the same Christians, if one of their loved ones was murdered, would be calling for the killer to face the death penalty. They would probably agree that it would have been a good and just thing if Hitler or Stalin would have been killed in infancy. We can judge others worthy of death, apparently, but the Lord cannot.

So, they believe things have changed since the beginning of the New Testament era and the birth of Jesus, our loving Savior. God is a God of love and is not “cruel.” Somehow, they ignore the word “wrath,” both in Jesus’ teaching and Paul’s. The citations are too numerous to list here, but here two good examples, the first from Jesus, the second from Paul:

“Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people” (Luke 21:23).

In this passage, Jesus is referring to His own people, the Jews.

“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming” (Colossians 3:5–6).  

God’s wrath is coming against those whose sins have not been washed away in the blood of Jesus.

However, perhaps the most stunning truth concerns the actions of Jesus, whom many consider only gentle and kind. He is a lamb, after all.

“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, 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, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?’” (Revelation 6:15–17).

The wrath of the Lamb?

If you read last week’s article, you may remember that we considered the seemingly contrasting truths of Jesus being the least as well as the greatest, the vulnerable Lamb as well as the Almighty God. Now, we are being asked to wrap our heads around the truth that Jesus is the Lamb who is wrathful and destructive.

God don’t never change. He was wrathful and destructive in the Old Testament. He remains so in the New Testament era. He has always judged as righteous those who believe in Him, all the way back to Noah. Thanks be to the God of love and justice who has rescued us from the wrath to come. What an amazing God.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Bing images.

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