Posted in theology

Contending for souls: The Wrath and a Confession

By Elizabeth Prata

I wrote a few days ago in my essay The Forgotten God: His Wrath, that preaching and teaching on God’s wrath is an essential part of the Gospel. Yet in our day there has been such a dampening of this important attribute of God that we have marginalized it in Gospel proclamations.

I’d said I love God’s wrath because it is one of His attributes and I love everything about God. It is also part of His justice and how He will right all the wrongs in the world. I do mourn those who live under God’s wrath (Romans 1:18) and those who have already passed and will eternally be enduring God’s wrath (John 3:36). But God IS angry with sin. He WILL punish sinners.

Then after I posted my The Forgotten God essay I came across this tweet thread by D. Michael Clary. It touched me greatly. His humility, clarity, and emphasis on the wrath prompted me to ask if I may repost his thread. He said yes.

Please take a quick read of his confession. Wherever and whenever I can promote the balanced Gospel, one that includes all the elements such as law, grace, justice, wrath etc, I will. What follows is from Mr. Clary.

Michael Clary Profile picture

Michael Clary @dmichaelclary

Tweet Thread

I learned an important ministry lesson years ago from an unbeliever I was trying to evangelize.

I was on staff with CRU & he was a brilliant & thoughtful student. Over the next few years, I shared the gospel with him many times, answering objections & using all the tools. 1/10 

To answer his more complicated moral, philosophical, and theological objections, I took him to meet one of my theology profs at SBTS. Despite all this, he could never commit to Christ. He was a classic “always learning but never arriving at the church” kind of guy. 2/10 

Eventually, I moved away to plant a church, and I continued to pray that someday he would come to faith.

Fast forward a few years, he calls me out of nowhere to tell me he’d become a Christian. I also spoke to his new wife, who was also a solid believer. 3/10 

Not only that, but he had begun taking seminary courses to explore church planting.

I was floored. What finally broke through? What book, apologist, or intellectual finally convinced him? So I asked him. 4/10 

Someone invited him to a church service and the preacher preached about hell and eternal judgment. It scared the crap out of him and he surrendered to Christ at that moment.

Like, he legit got saved. Radical, immediate conversion. 5/10 

Looking back, I’d spent the better part of four years appealing to his intellect, talking philosophy & theology. I wanted to prove to him how intellectually satisfying & philosophically robust Xnty is. All that is well & good, but I missed the one thing he needed most. 6/10 

He needed to know what many Christians want to avoid talking about with unbelievers. He needed what I was too afraid to mention bc I was embarrassed. He needed to know about judgment & hell, the unpleasant doctrines that demonstrate, by contrast, the beauty of the cross. 7/10 

God gave me a huge part to play in his conversion, for which I’m grateful, but the honor of seeing him cross the finish line went to another man who was faithful in an area where I’d failed. 8/10 

I’d spent years showing him a “respectable” Christianity, which kept him comfortable in his unbelief. In scripture, however, we learn that “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Co 1:18). 9/10 

One plain spoken sermon, that clearly laid out God’s wrath against sin and the grace of the cross, had more power than my years of trying to reach him by the human means of appealing to his intellect.

In other words, the foolishness of God is wiser than men.

–end D. Michael Clary’s words.

That was the content I come for! May God bless pastors such as Pastor Clary and all who unashamedly proclaim the balanced Gospel in love and truth.

Further Reading

Desiring Truth: Five Truths about the Wrath of God

God’s Wrath: Resources from Ligonier

The Wrath of God- sermon from John MacArthur


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.

2 thoughts on “Contending for souls: The Wrath and a Confession

  1. So very true! People need to be LOVINGLY warned about the absolute reality of that horrible place called hell – and inevitably the lake of Lake 🔥fire!
    I think of the many people that I have warned that have already breathed out their last breath, their 💕 hearts pumping out the final drop of blood. How very disturbing it can be when I think about some of these from time to time and wondering on what they are experiencing.

    Thanks be the our Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross ✝️ that a few did repent and mourn over their wretched condition and casting themselves on the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ!

    How we (the visible Church) can be so unconcerned about the lost souls of men,woman, boys and girls is a sad contradiction to the authority of the Word of God.

    May the Holy Spirit move on the hearts and minds of the redeemed to go fourth with the gospel of Jesus Christ, warning people of the reality of hell. Surely we are in a very late prophetic hour and most are still not saved. Those that do end up in the Lake of fire 🔥 will be without excuse, no one to blame but themselves…

    Good essay sister!
    Thank you!

    Brother Rick 🥸
    Peachtree City, GA

    Liked by 2 people

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