Should We Sing of God’s Wrath?
Til on that cross as Jesus died The wrath of God was satisfied For every sin on Him was laid Here in the death of Christ I live, I live
Our first parents, through the instigation of the Devil (Rev. 12:9), chose to rebel against our most holy God (Gen. 3:1-6). The result of this rebellion was the entrance of sin into the world (Rom. 5:12-14). The nakedness for which Adam and Eve were ashamed extended far beyond mere clothing—they and their progeny were now separated from God and in need of reconciliation (Rom. 5:12-21. Hence man stands condemned and justly subject to God’s wrath.
But God, for His own good pleasure, chooses to spare some—to show mercy. The appropriate response to this mercy, to us not getting the wrath we deserve, is for us to fall down before a gracious God and to sing His praises. But should this singing include God’s wrath?
Just like preaching the Gospel, the good news has no context without the bad. For grace to make sense, wrath must be acknowledged. But that side of the salvation coin is not something people want to talk about today, let alone sing about.
Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, discusses this issue in a piece for The Washington Post . . .
As an evangelical, I would argue that it’s necessary to sing about the wrath of God because we are singing not just from and to our minds, but to and from our consciences. There’s a reason why evangelical congregations reach a kind of crescendo when they sing out that line in the Gettys’ song. It’s not because, per the caricature, we see ourselves as a “moral majority” affirming our righteousness over and against the “sinners” on the other side of the culture war.
Instead, it’s just the reverse. When Christians sing about the wrath of God, we are singing about ourselves. Our consciences point us to the truth that, left to ourselves, we are undone. We’re not smarter or more moral than anyone else. And God would be just to turn us over to the path we would want to go—a path that leads to death. It is only because Jesus lived a life for us, and underwent the curse we deserve, that we stand before God. The grace of God we sing about is amazing precisely because God is just, and won’t, like a renegade judge, simply overlook evil.
You can read the entire article here.