But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. Romans 2:5-8
Full context here
The great day of the Lord is near,
near and hastening fast;
the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter;
the mighty man cries aloud there.
A day of wrath is that day,
a day of distress and anguish,
a day of ruin and devastation,
a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness,
a day of trumpet blast and battle cry
against the fortified cities
and against the lofty battlements.
I will bring distress on mankind,
so that they shall walk like the blind,
because they have sinned against the Lord;
their blood shall be poured out like dust,
and their flesh like dung.
Neither their silver nor their gold
shall be able to deliver them
on the day of the wrath of the Lord.
In the fire of his jealousy,
all the earth shall be consumed;
for a full and sudden end
he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth. Zephaniah 1:14-18
Full Context here
The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD is avenging and wrathful Nahum 1:2
I did a quick word search at bible.cc on the word wrath. The ones I reference here are just a few examples of what that search turns up. These are not supplied with their full context, but the full text has been linked so you may read it if you wish.
I’m not trying to do an exegesis on the meanings of these passages. My simple point is this: We want to look to God and Jesus and get a warm fuzzy feeling that He is in fact a God of love. He loves all mankind and wants us all to come to repentance and knowledge of Him. We want to turn a blind eye to the fact that we are indeed objects of His wrath until such time as we come to believe just the right thing and more than that behave just the right way. We say that this is because God wants us to choose Him, and because He won’t interfere with our free will. How much choice or free will is there when the results of not choosing the right way will send you to an eternal Hell of torment, burning sulfur, weeping and gnashing of teeth, loneliness, isolation, and pain. Doesn’t seem like much of a choice.
Many a Sunday School lesson I’ve partaken in has been on the subject of God’s unconditional love, agape love. The question remains in my mind, however, how unconditional is this love if we have to meet certain conditions in order to obtain it? It is clear from many Bible passages that not only is God a God of grace and mercy, but He is also a God of judgment and wrath.
It has been suggested that these verses pertaining to all of this wrath are fallible man’s attempt to understand God, but have in the process completely misunderstood His nature. I’m not sure I can buy into that view. Either these were prophets of God, or they weren’t. Many of these verses in their full context reveal that this was God’s pronouncement Himself, “this is what the LORD your God says”.
These are difficult passages to reconcile in my mind. It seems to suggest that there are certain people that God made to be objects of His wrath. There are passages that say that God Himself has blinded people to the truth, that He has hardened their hearts to Him. It is a frightening prospect to me. What if I’m one of them? It simply seems to me that maybe Hell is there purely for God’s entertainment value, as if it’s all a big game and we are just pawns in it.
When I step back and look at these passages with no presuppositions, not trying to find ways to rationalize them so that I can hold on to my faith, they simply make no sense to me. I can’t continue to find ways to soften and dismiss them. I find it difficult to take a liberal approach to scripture. It is too difficult for me to know which passages I should take with a big ol’ boulder of salt and which ones to take seriously. Am I missing something here? I’m getting to the point that I question whether I can continue to believe.