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The Remainder of Wrath

A very understandable attitude is developing in our time and that is that things are out of control.

The nation has come through a well-known set of unusual difficulties including floods, drought, fires, landslides, earthquakes, record freezing temperatures, hurricanes and many other things. These “natural catastrophes” are compounded by forms of human criminality that were rare in days gone by.

The result is that many are beginning to say, “It is getting to be too much! We are put upon by problems which are beyond our capacity. Could it be that even God has forgotten us?”

There is a pointed answer to that question to which the world of our time should pay very close attention. The Psalmist has said, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise You: the remainder of wrath shall You restrain” (Psa. 76:10).

We note that we have two wonderful promises given to us, therefore, from the Word of God. To understand both of these promises is to move into hope and confidence, no matter what may be our external circumstances.

The first promise of this verse is that nothing in all of life will ever come upon us which cannot be used to the glory of God and our personal good. The time is upon us when we will need to believe this promise as never before. Foolish promoters of many evils are bringing upon this world a set of circumstances that can certainly be called “the wrath of man.”

Despite all of the conferences, all of the peace movements, and all of the solemn promises, the world of our day is being torn by ferocious, angry disputes of every kind. In several dozen places across the world, these disputes take the form of bloody warfare, bringing to us daily reports of death and destruction that are heartrending indeed.

In addition, the personal life of every individual in the world, even those reading these pages, is beset by many incomprehensible difficulties. Even to the believer the Bible says, “In the world you shall have tribulation” (John 16:33).

All of these things, however, are no cause for despair!

Again and again the Bible tells us that the circumstances of life for all of us are carefully controlled by the Lord. In the midst of life, therefore, God promises to us again and again that nothing will take place for us that is beyond our capability to handle and that is devoid of some saving grace. We are all familiar with the great promise, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

Even in the midst of the deepest problems of life, we note that the Scripture promises, “There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not permit you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it” (I Cor. 10:13).

“The wrath of God has not yet been revealed from heaven because you are here and I am here.”

This promise is given particularly to believers, and in this we should rejoice. The promise, however, is almost the same for the whole world, that the wrath of man will yet praise the Lord.

Serious thought therefore should be given on a daily basis by each of us about our circumstances in life. We need to ask about even the worst things, “How can this be used to the glory of God?”

We will soon discover that the genius of Christianity is not that we are in the midst of a different set of circumstances from the world. No, indeed, the rain falls on the just and the unjust! Rather, the believer has a point of view, the divine viewpoint, that views everything differently from the world’s vantage point.

We must therefore put it down and never forget it, that all of life, without exception, can be used for the glory of God. We are well commissioned by the Lord to remind the world of this fact as well.

We have a second promise given to us in this verse. It is that God will restrain “the remainder of wrath.” That simply means that any event or set of circumstances that are more than can glorify God, the Lord Himself will restrain.

We can be very sure, therefore, that there is somewhere a repository of awful things that would come under the title of “the remainder of wrath.” These things are even now being contained, restrained, held back, and put into a “bank of wrath.”

We cannot therefore help but be reminded of the prophetic Word of God. The Bible teaches that there is coming a day when the restrainer of iniquity will be in fact taken out of the way. The Apostle Paul declares, “You know what restrains that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity does already work: only He who now restrains will continue to restrain until He be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked one be revealed” (II Thes. 2:6-8).

What then will be the condition of our world? What will happen when the Restrainer is withdrawn?

In a word—devastation!

The Scripture teaches that this matter of divine indignation, the wrath of God, is being withheld until that given moment of the revelation of wrath. The Scripture, describing man’s activity today says, “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds” (Rom. 2:5).

Out of this, we can take great confidence, remembering that this is not the day of the wrath of God. This is the day of grace! It is the day of the Church! It is the era in which the grace of God is to be preached to all of the world announcing that “God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17).

During this day of grace, God continues His careful protection of that marvelous organism, the Body of Christ. The wrath of God has not yet been revealed from heaven because you are here and I am here. We, as believers in the Gospel of Christ, are insurance for the world against divine judgment. He will not withdraw His restraining hand and pour out His wrath until we are taken from this world of ever-rising iniquity.

We Christians, therefore, need to picture ourselves as laboring in the city of man which is located at the foot of a large dam. One day that dam of restraining grace will be taken away. At that day, the overwhelming floodwaters of divine judgment will break upon the world in a fashion that is not to be compared with even the worst activities of man today.

Yes, the world will be swept by a tidal wave of uninhibited iniquity which will threaten the very survival of humanity. About that time Christ spoke saying, “Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved” (Matt. 24:22).

This is still a gracious day of opportunity, but at the same time, the mounting waters of divine judgment are building pressure and more pressure on the dam that protects us. Then the inundating of iniquity will be unimaginably great. Perhaps the floods and hurricanes of this last year were but a small illustration from God as to what is soon to come in our world.

In the meantime, we Christians walk in total confidence that God knows, He understands; He works with efficiency and power every day in order to guide the affairs of earth that all things may work out to His glory. Walking in this confidence that we are protected, guided, and helped by God, we say again, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).

From the writings of Dave Breese

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