Our limited, sinful humanity misuses anger.  We exercise anger as an excuse for revenge or unjustified hatred.  We let anger drive us to sinful acts.  The recent riots are an example of the fruit of human anger.  Uncontrolled rage resulted in massive criminal behavior for a cause.  We speak of “crimes of passion” or “blowing up” or “losing it,” leading us to conclude that anger produces unwanted extremes of uncontrolled behavior.  This makes it difficult for us to understand what it means to say that God is Angry.  Some may even deny that God has anger, preferring to stress God’s grace, love, and mercy instead.

The title of this devotion could be offensive to some.  I was tempted to change it to “God has anger,” but that would not really define the attribute.  It would make it appear that the attribute of anger is something apart from God, something that He possessed; or worse, that possessed Him.  No, the anger of God is the tangible display of His perfect holiness.  It focuses on His zeal for His own righteous person.  The anger of God is closely connected to His holiness and justice.  God’s anger proves that He is truly holy and that unholiness is not tolerated.  His anger demonstrates how much God values His own holiness.  It is not an impulsive, blind rage against opponents, but the appropriate stance against sin.

If God loves righteousness and hates evil, He is not neutral about anything.  Everything in the universe that follows God’s truth is blessed.  Everything that rebels is cursed.  Even though we would say God is not emotional, He delights in righteousness.  He abhors evil.  Wrath, anger, and judgment are the appropriate actions towards evil by a perfectly holy and loving God.  Just as God is passionate about His people, He is also angry toward His enemies.  God is not blasé.  Jesus’ quote when He cleansed the temple, “Zeal for Your house has consumed me,” shows us God’s passion against evil and for righteousness.

There are many displays of God’s anger in the Bible.  The ultimate is at the cross.  Paul uses the word propitiation to describe the act of atonement in Romans 3:25.  The word stresses the satisfaction of divine wrath against sin.  The Gospel writers record that when Christ died, darkness and earthquake enveloped Him as He suffered the final Day of the Lord judgment.  Christ endured the anger and wrath of God for us, so that we could be made the people of God in Him.

The writer of Hebrews warns us that God’s anger has not disappeared.  We are to be a people who turn away from evil and cling to Christ alone.  We have a sure salvation in Christ and we live before an awesome, holy God.  Hebrews 12:28-29: “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”