John Piper – The Wrath of God Against Ungodliness … usness.mp3

John Piper – Gods Wrath, Vengeance Is Mine, I Will Repay, Says the Lord … 20Lord.mp3

This is not a popular doctrine, nor has it ever been. To even consider the possibility of anyone we know, or myself, or you even, experiencing anything like Dante’s Inferno, it should cause us to tremble in terror at the eternal weight of our sin and it’s deserved punishment. And yet how much worse is hell than the description given in Dante’s Inferno?! Fire, worms, brimstone, gnashing of teeth, eternal darkness, etc, these are all images of how terrible it will be. But how often do any of us use imagery to describe something that we have a hard time describing in words? Don’t all of us use imagery to describe things that are utterly amazing, beyond words, or utterly awful, beyond words? For instance, when trying to describe the beauty of my wife (I’m borrowing this illustration from Piper :), she is as beautiful as a diamond. I’m trying to convey to you in an image something that cannot be conveyed in words. She is so beautiful that I cannot describe it you, except in imagery. That’s the best I can do. If I were to say she’s as beautiful as a piece of rotten wood, how many people would be utterly shocked and probably appauled? And yet in the description Scripture gives us of the pains of hell, it uses imagery.

And yet how often do so many people say, “Oh it’s not that bad is it, it’s just imagery, right?” Exactly! It’s so much more worse than this imagery! The words of Jesus, Paul, John, Isaiah, and many others are simply trying to convey something so terrible, so awful, that a lake of fire, gnashing of teeth, brimstone, worms that do not die, is the best they can do. Many ask, how could a perfect and holy, loving God punish people with eternal torment, where “their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched”? Because God is just, and to be just means He must punish sinners. He is the eternal God, the offense against Him is eternal, and so is the punishment against us, that is those of us without a shield, without Christ. Scripture is clear on this point of wrath and yet I hear this doctrine being taught less and less these days in this alleged Christian land. There are those who seem to only preach this point without any of the grace of Christ, but I’m talking about mainstream Christianity, mega-churches, etc, that talk about God only in terms of love. How can you understand His love without the back-drop of what you’re being saved from? What does salvation even mean if there is no wrath to be saved from?

Why do any of us who believe in Christ need to return to studying hell, judgment, and wrath? Because we are so prone to forget what we have been saved from. And we are so prone to think we are in God’s favor by our merits, sinfully. In studying wrath, you see that God did not have to have mercy on you. He did not have to change the desires of your heart to love Him and give rise to your faith in the all-satisfying Savior. He did not have to save you. He could have let you go into the depths of eternal torment, into the lake of fire, deservingly, and yet in Christ, that torment was taken from you and put upon Him on the cross. At the cross, Jesus bore the debt of sinners who believe in Him, and that debt is hell, torment, eternal pain and shame forever. The worst part of the cross was what Jesus had to experience from the hand of His Father: wrath that was our due. How incredible and glorious is this work of Christ on the cross!?