Is There Place for Righteous Anger?
NCW 76, July-September 2002
Q. I was told by a Christian yesterday that all and any type of anger is sinful. But is this true? Doesn't God get angry? I was always taught we should never be angry with a person but always with sin? What is the truth of this matter?
A. Any doctrine of anger must always be addressed from the point of view of the Creator, Yahweh. We know beyond any shadow of a doubt that wrath is the permanent attitude of holy and just Deity when confronted by sin and evil. This is not simply a description of some inevitable process of cause and effect in a moral universe. Rather, this is an intensely personal quality of our Heavenly Father without which He would cease to be fully righteous and His love would degenerate into mere sentimentality. The wrath of Yahweh, even though it is like His love, has to be described in human language. It is not wayward, fitful, or spasmodic, as human anger inevitably is. It is as permanent and consistent an element in His nature as is His love.
Being as we are made morally and ethically in His image, it follows that just as we are called to love as He loves, that we are to hate even as He hates. That is a great and terrible responsibility and must be considered in the utmost sobriety and with the greatest of care. Yes, we are to love sinners but hate sin, and in similar magnitude to the degree we are supposed to love Yahweh. This means that when confronted with unrighteousness, sin, and evil, that a holy, controlled and measured rage should be provoked - a rage that does not blind us to the love of souls but which nevertheless nails our spiritual colours to the masts of our lives. There is nothing wrong or 'negative' about holy hatred - indeed its absence would suggest most forcibly an absence of an awareness of sin, and therefore a proportionate ignorance as to divine love, for it was Yahweh's love for mankind and His hatred of sin that caused Him to send down His Son to die for our us.
The scriptures make it very clear that the injustice and impiety of men, for which they have no excuse, must be followed by manifestations of the divine wrath in the lives of both individuals and nations (Rom.1:18-32); and the Old Testament contains numerous illustrations of this, such as the destruction of Sodom and Gomorra, and the downfall of Nineveh (see Dt.29:23; Na.1:2-6). But until the final "day of wrath", which is anticipated throughout the Bible and portrayed very vividly in the Book of Revelation, Yahweh's wrath is always tempered with mercy, particularly in His dealings with His chosen people (see Hos.11:8ff, for example). For a sinner, however, to 'trade' upon this mercy is to treasure "up unto (himself) wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgement of Êl (God)" (Rom.2:5). Paul is convinced that one of the main reasons why Israel failed to arrest the process of moral decay lay in their wrong reaction to the forbearance of Yahweh, who so often refrained from punishing them to the extent they deserved. They despised "the riches of His goodness and forbearance and long-suffering", and failed to see that it was intended to lead them to repentance (Rom.3:4).
In their unredeemed state men's rebellion against Yahweh is, in fact, so persistent that they are inevitably the objects of His wrath (Eph.2:3), and "vessels of wrath fitted to destruction" (Rom.9:22). Nor does the Mosaic Torah rescue them from this position, for, as the apostle states in Rom.4:15, "the law (Torah) worketh wrath" (KJV), or more accurately, "For the Torah (apart from trust) is a worker of wrath" (HRV - cp.v.16). Because Yahweh's Law requires perfect faith-obedience to its commands, the penalties exacted for disobedience render the offender more subject to the divine wrath, for by means of it he is taught the standards of holiness and love required of him. The love of Yahweh expressed for sinners in the life and death of Yah'shua (Jesus) is the dominant theme of the New Testament, and this love is shown not least because Yah'shua (Jesus) experienced on man's behalf and in his stead the misery, the afflictions, the punishment, and the death which are the lot of sinners subject to Yahweh's wrath. Consequently, Yah'shua (Jesus) can be described as "the deliverer of the wrath to come" (1 Thess.1:10); and Paul can write: "Being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him" (Rom.5:9, KJV). On the other hand, the wrath of Yahweh remains upon all who, seeking to thwart Yahweh's redemptive purpose, are disobedient to Yahweh's Son, through whom such justification is rendered possible.
Anger at sin is most certainly not politically or religiously correct these days, yet such an attitude betrays true love because of the lawlessness and carelessness that it invariably leads to. Discipline of any kind is most certainly not in vogue. Sin and guilt are considered to be psychological abnormalities or dysfunctions and are commonly associated with a mean-spirited an vengeful God. Needless to say the whole point of who Yahweh is, is missed in this fundamentally erroneous conclusion, for it is His hatred of sin that is actually the witness and revelation of His love for us, for love wishes to protect from the ruinous consequences of sin.
Since Torah (Law) defines Yahweh's view of sin, hatred of Torah constitutes not only a hatred of Yahweh but of true love itself. Any philosophy that presents itself as loving on the basis of hatred of Torah reveals itself to be counterfeit and satanic because its moving spirit is a concealed hatred of all that is holy and praiseworthy.
The true man or woman of God will have this mind:
"You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness more than Your companions"
I freely confess that I passionately hate all wickedness - all that is against Yahweh's Holy Torah. I hate with a passion all injustice and evil. My soul verily seethes with hatred when I think of such things. But I feel hatred for no man. I will love all unconditionally but I will not embrace any evil way nor even give a passing hint of agreement to it. Thus I can love an abortionist but tell him to his face that I destest with a fierce indignation what he stands for and does. I can tell a person who names the Name of Christ that I love Him as a person but detest His doctrine and His lifestyle when He calls Torah evil; and because he impugns the nature of the Most High God I must warn him that he is on the path to destruction and eternal wrath, that no grace will forever justify wilful ignorance or deliberate rebellion. Indeed, the decimation of our own Church was, in 1995/6, caused by an anti-Torah rebellion and the defection of many members. But we held our ground and have long since been justified. Those of the heretics have a radically different spirit to our own as would be expected of such a rejection of scripture, conveniently described by them as merely our "personal interpretation". Fortunately for us, Scripture interprets itself, and many times over. And it gives no licence for any liberal doctrine of sin wherein breach of Torah is of no consequence
Should you have hatred in your heart? Absolutely, if it is righteous and directed against evil acts of people and not against the people themselves. What about fellowship with such people? And do they truly have fellowship with Yahweh? "If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:6-7). If we declare Torah to be unholy, do we walk in the light? "The law (Torah) is holy" (Rom.7:12). "The law (Torah) is good if one uses it lawfully" (1 Tim.1:8). And what is that? It brings the knowledge of sin and makes sin exceedingly sinful, all with a view to bringing a man to Christ to have it cleansed and enable him to live Torah (Rom.7:7-25).
We may forgive a person but we cannot forgive sin. Only Yahweh can do that. And the only way such a person can receive forgiveness of sin, is to acknowledge the Torah which identifies the sin, express godly sorrow through such identification through confession and restitution, turn away from it, and come to Christ for forgiveness. The Torah expresses this perfectly: "You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbour, and not bear sin because of him" (Lev.19:17-18, NKJV).
This page was created on 16 June 2004
Last updated on 16 June 2004
Copyright © 1987-2008 NCCG - All Rights Reserved