I’ve been teaching in youth ministry for over a year now, and one thing that has stuck out to me is some of the students told me they appreciate being taught about the whole character of God; not just his love and grace but also his wrath and judgment. After a lesson I gave on God’s grace and wrath recently a student told me that in previous youth ministries he’s been a part of they never talked about Hell or God’s judgment. He said he really wanted to, but knew the youth leader wouldn’t discuss these things with him. That’s a red flag if I ever saw one. Teaching the things we like about God and shying away from the harder truths that can make people upset is teaching people a false version of God. It’s God as that person wants him to be, not as he actually is. I really think there needs to be a resurgence of Bible teachers who ask the question, “How do I make sure I’m teaching people the holistic truth of who God is?” The judgment and wrath of God is real and it’s unloving and irresponsible as a Bible teacher to shy away from teaching these truths. A doctor is a bad doctor if you have cancer but he keeps that from you. A Bible teacher who doesn’t share all the truth is worse. Every soul needs to know of the sickness before it cares for the cure. Towards the end of Isaiah these truths are very prominent:
“For behold, the LORD will come by fire, and his chariot like the whirlwind, to render his anger in fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire will the LORD enter into judgment, and by his sword, with all flesh; and those slain by the LORD shall be many.”
There’s a lot of people who say they’re Christians but they wouldn’t accept the real Jesus, the Jesus who is going to come back and kill tons of people, and condemn them to everlasting conscious punishment in Hell where a lifetime will go by and it will be square one again, where time is non existent and it’s total and complete despair and pain forever.
There’s amazing truth for the believer in Isaiah, and it’s glorious and I love teaching on those things, but the condemnation of the unbeliever is breezed over by too many churches and we need to share those things with just as much detail and conviction and love for God as we share the truths of God’s grace and forgiveness. Perhaps if we shared more about God’s wrath and judgment the Holy Spirit would move in a greater way to help people see how badly they need the gospel and they would be saved from God’s wrath and judgment. We wonder why there’s a lack of urgency, a lack of people caring about Jesus and his precious gospel. Maybe it’s because they don’t feel like they need it because Hell is something absent from their theology. We want revival but are afraid to teach the truths that will bring about revival.
I’ll close with this: Think about God looking at you and asking you if you can submit to that Scripture in Isaiah I shared above. What’s your answer? Do you say, “Oh, I love Jesus but I don’t think he’ll do that.” No, you love your version of Jesus. That’s heresy. Jesus will come back and slay many people – so do you want the real Jesus or your fake version? I want the real Jesus. God deserves to be glorified for who he is, not just for certain attributes. If you’re not willing to submit to not just that passage but all of the passages like that, and the Bible as a whole for that matter, then I would be very concerned if I were you… Paul tells us to test ourselves to see if our faith is genuine. Not accepting God for who he actually is reveals a false type of faith. How is faith in a false version of God real faith? It’s not. Real faith will submit to who God truly is and seek to understand. It doesn’t mean we will completely understand immediately and we may still have “why questions.” But real faith asks them with a heart of trust, an openness to be corrected by Jesus and submission to all the Scriptures. It’s the faith that kneels before King Jesus and trusts in him and accepts him as he is. If that’s your faith, that’s real faith.