“Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” (Heb. 1:3)
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;” (Romans 1:18)
I want to help you to understand the word grace, and these two verses may help to do that. I do not recall the Lord Jesus Christ killing hundreds of thousands of people for the nation Israel, He did not do what many of them expected Him to do, destroy completely the Roman army who had placed them under bondage. Do not mistake my intent here, but the Old Testament is filled with accounts of God killing people, destroying entire nations, even the chosen of Him, the Israelites were not safe from His wrath when they transgressed against His will.
Obey or feel the wrath of God, usually after an extremely extended period of grace.
“O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” (Psalm 136:1)
The Old Testament is also filled with His mercy, but for the church, those who are hid in Christ there is no wrath as Israel felt at times, in fact there are no accounts in the Scriptures of Jesus killing anyone. We are not told as Joshua was to go and rid the land of evil doers, we are told to suffer under them, we are not told that if we do not serve the Lord Jesus Christ that we will be punished with wrath, but that forgiveness awaits if we but repent.
Grace holds back the wrath of God, and in the sense that the Almighty acted throughout the Old Testament against those that disobeyed Him, these days of grace are silent in this respect. The Lord has not called the Christians to go and destroy entire nations that have rejected Him, and so in that sense Ecclesiastes 8:11 is being fulfilled, “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.”
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.” (Matt. 5:43) David prayed for his enemies, so, not to seem disrespectful here, the Lord Jesus Christ was not saying anything new, what He was saying was that in the age of grace that would begin after He was risen from the dead, the wrath of God was no longer going to be exhibited as it was for centuries, in this respect, God would remain silent, and has for 2,000 years now, grace, God’s grace is in full effect today.
“But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;” (Romans 2:5)
We cannot begin to imagine even with what is told us of the Tribulation period the wrath that will be revealed from the Almighty during those days, it will be incomparable to all of the history of mankind. Angry does not begin to describe the word wrath well enough. Born-again believers are in a sense like a powerful army told to stand down, we can move mountains, but we are told to love our enemies. “Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” (Luke 6:28)
Grace my friends is the ultimate action of love, it is mercy beyond what we can imagine. It does not mean that we are not to hate evil, for we are told to do so, but it means that we are to love in the face of it, to act in a manner that realizes that those who do not accept the Lord Jesus Christ in this life will face His wrath for all eternity.
Until you can see them burning forever, screaming in hopeless anguish throughout all of time with the full knowledge that there will be no reprieve, you can never love them, you will never be able to show them grace.
There is still righteous indignation against those who despise our Savior, “Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.” (Psalm 139:21-22) but there is the knowledge of the eternal damnation that awaits them if they do not repent that causes us to act in love towards them.
We have all been called to be vessels of grace, not wrath, but we are to warn them of the wrath that awaits them for all eternity if they do not repent. The greatest power of God that rests within you is the power to offer grace to those who hate you because of Christ.