God’s Wrath and Redemption
April 30, 2023
Unbelievers have many complaints against God. But I suspect that one of the main complaints against God is that He is wrathful — and particularly that He would judge sinners and condemn them to eternal Hell. You’ve heard the criticism: “How can God send anyone to Hell and still be loving?”
The skeptic Bertrand Russell said the primary reason he could never believe in Jesus was that Jesus “so clearly believed in the wrath of God.” He called it “the one profound defect in Jesus’ character.”
Even C.S. Lewis struggled with the truth of God’s wrath: “There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than [God’s wrath], if it lay in my power.”
But God is wrathful. If He was not wrathful, it would mean that He did not care about justice, unrighteousness, or sin. It would mean that He doesn’t care about people who suffer from sinners. It would mean that He was complacent about correcting wrongs. It would mean He was uncaring and unjust. And unbelievers know this (Rom. 1:18-19ff, 32). One of the reasons sinners object to the wrath of God is that they want to be able to continue in their sin without concern about God’s judgment.
Believers also struggle about the justice and the wrath of God — sometimes because it seems to come so slowly. And believers are tempted to wonder, “does God even care?” (Cf. Ps. 37:1ff). It is this theme that Zechariah addresses in his prophecy in 9:1-8 —
Be encouraged, because God’s wrath is God’s ultimate protection of His people.
It is tempting to think about God’s wrath and redemption as competing truths or even contradictory truths. But they are presented in this passage for what they are — complementary truths.
As we come to this passage let me also orient you to the flow of the book:
- Chapters 1-8 are focused on the issues of Zechariah’s day, relating to the rebuilding of the temple
- Chapters 9-14 are written later and concerned about the future (“that day” is used 19x)
- The “burden” of chs. 9-11 is the judgment of the Gentile world (and the first advent)
- The “burden” of “chs. 12-14” is concerns Israel (and the second advent)
- God Will be Righteous in His Wrath (vv. 1-6)
- God’s wrath against Syria
- God’s wrath against Phoenicia (vv. 2-4)
- God’s wrath against Philistia (vv. 5-6)
- God Will be Gracious in His Redemption (vv. 7-8)
- God’s grace to the nations (v. 7)
- God’s grace to Israel (v. 8)
Download the rest of this sermon on Zechariah 9:1-8.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.
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