The wrath of God
(Thomas Boston, "Human Nature in its Fourfold State")
"The wrath of God abides on him." John 3:36
1. The wrath of God is IRRESISTIBLE, there is no standing before it; "Who can stand in Your sight, when once You are angry?" Psalm 76:7. Can the worm or the moth defend itself against him who designs to crush it? Can the worm, man, stand before an angry God? Foolish men, indeed, bid a defiance against God; but the Lord often, even in this world, opens such sluices of wrath upon them, as all their might cannot stop—they are carried away thereby, as with a flood! How much more will it be so in hell!
2. The wrath of God is INSUPPORTABLE. What a man cannot resist, he will try to endure. But who shall dwell in devouring fire? Who shall dwell with everlasting burnings? God's wrath is a weight which will sink men into the lowest hell. It is a burden which no man can endure.
3. The wrath of God is UNAVOIDABLE to those who continue impenitently, and die in their sinful course. "He who, being often reproved, hardens his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed—and that without remedy!" Proverbs 29:1. We may now flee from it, indeed, by fleeing to Jesus Christ. But those who flee from Christ, will never be able to avoid it. Where can men flee from the avenging God? Where will they find a shelter? The hills will not bear them. The mountains will be deaf to their loudest supplications, when they cry to them to "hide them from the wrath of the Lamb."
4. The wrath of God is POWERFUL and FIERCE. "Who can comprehend the power of Your anger? Your wrath is as awesome as the fear You deserve." Psalm 90:11. We are apt to fear the wrath of man more than we ought; but no man can apprehend the wrath of God to be more dreadful than it really is. The power of God's wrath can never be known to the utmost; for it is infinite, and, properly speaking, has no utmost limit. However fierce it is, either on earth or in hell, God can still carry it farther. Everything in God is most perfect in its kind; and therefore no wrath is so fierce as His. O sinner! how will you be able to endure that wrath, which will tear you in pieces, Psalm 50:22, and grind you to powder! Luke 20:18.
5. The wrath of God is PENETRATING and PIERCING wrath. It is burning wrath, and fiery indignation. There is no pain more intense than that which is caused by fire; and no fire so piercing as the fire of God's indignation, which burns unto the lowest hell, Deut. 32:22. The arrows of men's wrath can pierce flesh, blood, and bones—but cannot reach the soul. But the wrath of God will sink into the soul, and so pierce a man in the most tender part.
6. The wrath of God is CONSTANT wrath, running parallel with the man's continuance in an unregenerate state; constantly attending him from the womb to the grave. There are few days so dark—but the sun sometimes looks out from under the clouds. But the wrath of God is an abiding cloud on the objects of it; John 3:36, "The wrath of God abides on him" who believes not.
7. The wrath of God is ETERNAL. O, miserable soul! if you flee not from this wrath unto Jesus Christ; though your misery had a beginning—yet it will never have an end! Should devouring death wholly swallow you up, and forever hold you fast in the grave—it would be kind. But your body must be reunited to your immortal soul, and live again, and never die; that you may be ever-dying, in the hands of the ever-living God. Death will quench the flame of man's wrath against us, if nothing else does. But God's wrath, when it has come on the sinner for millions of ages, will still be the wrath to come! Matt. 3:7; 1 Thess. 1:10. While God is, He will pursue the quarrel.
8. However dreadful it is, and though it is eternal—yet it is most JUST wrath! It is a clear fire, without the least smoke of injustice. The sea of wrath, raging with greatest fury against the sinner, is clear as crystal. The Judge of all the earth can do no wrong. "Is God unrighteous to inflict wrath? Absolutely not! Otherwise, how will God judge the world?" Romans 3:5, 6. The Judge being infinitely just—the sentence must be righteous. Therefore, stop your mouth, O proud sinner! Still your clamor against your righteous Judge!
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"Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath!"
1 Thessalonians 1:10
"For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to
receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ!"
1 Thessalonians 5:9