God is a perfect being of unlimited glory. There is not a single aspect of God’s being that is not perfectly glorious, and God has not made a single mistake. He is without error and incapable of it. Yet it is not simply that he is without fault, but that he is positively glorious in all he is and does. The words we tend to associate with God’s perfect glory are “holy, pure, righteous, and good.” It is equally important to associate some other words…..“angry, wrathful, and furious.”
Maybe you are comfortable associating the word “love” with God’s glory but not so much the word “anger.” This is because we often see anger as something that is wrong because we are most often sinfully angry. Our anger is regularly a response to not obtaining our own selfish desires. We get sinfully angry because we desire our own glory. God is righteously angry because he desires his own glory. The reason this is not a contradiction is because we are creatures and God is the Creator. Only God is God. All glory is God’s glory and all adoration and praise is attributable to him. For God to attribute even 1% of his glory to another is to admit that only most of the praise belongs to him. This cannot be. God is the self-existent, eternal source of being, wisdom and power. His excellences are unlimited, and his beauty is beyond grasping. He basks in the limitless explanations of the wonder of his glory. He is right to do so. It belongs to him alone. Any attempt to rob God of that which can only belong to him is not only doomed to failure but must be an offense of the highest magnitude.
This is why it is no surprise to read that which God spoke through the prophet Isaiah. “For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.” (Isaiah 48:11)
God’s anger is absolutely beautiful. He pours out his fury in the Divine protection of the greatest prize in the universe, his glory. It cannot be shared or divided or taken or stolen or diminished. Any attempt at grasping God’s glory for ourselves is an attempt at undermining the very definition of glory and placing its limitless definition in God to a finite definition in fallible, fallen creatures. HOW DARE WE! And…Why would we want to devalue a glory that we can bask in for all eternity and never reach the heights and depths of its wonder and riches? Shouldn’t we be just as angry at every attempt to diminish God’s glory to the futile accomplishments of fallible man? Shouldn’t we be just as angry when we acknowledge it in ourselves?
This is the anger that is beautiful. The anger that says God’s glory is my one great desire. I am jealous for the protection of my God’s glory. It is everything to me because it is my greatest enjoyment that is eternally satisfying and exponentially enriching.
We are all guilty of attempted theft of the most valuable treasure in all space and time and beyond. Our attempted theft of God’s glory amounts to the worst kind of treason. The fury of his wrath upon us for all eternity would be the beautiful outworking of his protected glory. But there is something that should amaze us even more. God’s eternal fury was poured out on himself that he might also display, to his glory, his unlimited mercy and grace. Oh, the wonder of God’s anger. It means so much in so many ways.
It means that we too can have a righteous anger. Through faith in Jesus Christ, God brings a regenerating work to the heart of traitors. We repent of glory theft and seek to delight in the bliss of God’s glory. We seek to worship God and not man. It also means that we hate the attempted theft of God’s glory in each and every sin in us and others.
But it also means that our fury acts in the same way as our Savior’s. God acted toward us by initiating and implementing the gospel. When we are sinned against or when we see sin in our life or in others, our anger should act in the same way. We respond with the words and actions that point to the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We don’t condemn, retaliate, punish or take revenge. It’s not our glory at stake. Our anger over sin must point to the only answer for it.
What would it be like if all Christians lived out this kind of anger?
If you just read this and realized you are falling way short, join the queue. It’s a long one. Even as we fail at righteous anger, the gospel is also for us in this very failing. Let us not forget that the power of the cross and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit also empowers us to be obedient in the right application of anger that pleases God. So, let’s get on our knees and then use our feet, mouths and actions to be angry in a way that loves our Savior the most. Let’s run to the saving fury of God poured out on Christ in atonement. Let’s marvel at mercy and grace. Let’s glory in his glory alone…. for all eternity.