Earlier this year the Christian band Pocket Full Of Rocks released the hit song “Come As You Are,” and has ranked fairly high on Billboard.com’s Christian chart ever since. I know nothing about the theological convictions of the band, but have found the opening two lines of “Come As You Are” concerning. They read, “He’s not mad at you. He’s not disappointed.” God is surely a loving God, but telling an unsaved person that God has no wrath towards him does not line up with the Bible.
The wrath of God is not popular today. It’s a topic that many Christians are eager to sweep under the rug. I venture that it is an effort to clean up the Gospel—or maybe even the reputation of God Himself!—in an attempt to make the Gospel more appealing. This is a fatal mistake; it undermines and destroys the Gospel itself.
No doctrine stands or falls alone. The doctrines of the Bible form a web in which each doctrine both supports, and is supported by other doctrines. It frightens me to see Christians pick away at doctrines which (maybe to their ignorance) are vital to the Gospel of Christ. Remove the wrath of God, and you lose the holiness and justice of God, or the sinfulness of man, and ultimately the substitutionary atonement—in essence, you lose the Gospel.
The wrath of God is necessary because of who He is (holy and just), and because of what we are (common sinners). To eliminate the wrath of God, you will either have to dethrone God, or elevate man. The Scriptures don’t allow for either.
In John 3:36 (just a few verses past the oft-quoted 3:16) John writes, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
Paul writes, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18).
Christ came to absorb the wrath of God for us! Propitiation (Rom 3:25). That is the Gospel! To remove the wrath of God (as “Come as You Are” seems to do) yet still profess the Gospel, creates a huge problem. “Jesus died for your sins” means nothing outside an understanding of God’s holiness and wrath.
Michael Horton is dead-on, when he writes,
“Where God’s wrath is no longer a problem, Christ’s cross is no longer the solution” (The Gospel-Driven Life, 52).
Let’s not try to restructure God’s PR, but let Him speak for Himself. If you have not placed your faith in Jesus Christ then God is “mad at you” (so-to-speak), but in His great love has also provided the sacrifice to make Himself favorable toward you through faith (“propitiation”)! Praise God for His grace!