Wrath or Respite

by Pastor Ricky Kurth

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When natural disasters such as hurricanes and tsunamis take their toll in death and destruction, many preachers insist these calamities are the result of the wrath of God on sin, pointing to such verses as Ephesians 5:6, where speaking of the sins of Verses 3-5, Paul says:

“…for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.”

Since the Greek word for “cometh” here is in the present tense, we believe Paul is saying that while God’s wrath is coming, it hasn’t yet arrived. Consider: after the Lord announced that His betrayer was “at hand,” we read that “immediately… cometh Judas” (Mark 14:42,43). However, we know that Judas had not yet arrived, for Verse 45 tells us what happened “as soon as he was come.” You see, the word “cometh” means that something is presently on its way, but the word must be in the past tense for us to understand that whatever is coming has arrived.

While many preachers declared that Hurricane Katrina was God’s wrath on New Orleans for the debauchery of Mardi Gras, others surmised the catastrophe was rather an example of God’s mercy, for thousands more would have died had the levies broken during the storm rather than after. Herein lies the problem in determining what God is doing or not doing by trying to interpret circumstances, which are always subjective and open to speculation.  The only sure way of knowing what God is doing is from the Word of God, and God’s Word tells us that even when God was judging men for their sins, the presence of even ten believers in Sodom would have prevented God from destroying it (Gen. 18:23-33).  Surely there were more than ten believers in New Orleans, so when catastrophe struck the city, I don’t know how we can conclude that it was the judgment of God, even if we apply the standard God used in Sodom, which God is not using today under grace.  And so while even insurance companies call tornadoes and earthquakes “acts of God,” the Bible asserts that we are living in the dispensation of grace (Eph. 3:2), an age in which God is dispensing grace, not wrath, an age in which mankind is experiencing a respite from His judgment.

But if the reader of this page is not saved, please don’t think you will get away with sin forever. Romans 2:5 describes you as one who “treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath.” You may not have an account with any bank, but you have a sin account with God. His wrath on your sin is not being revealed today, but the day of the “revelation of the righteous judgment of God” is coming. Why not “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

To the Reader:

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