“Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them” (Colossians 3:6-7).
Much like the gathering clouds that signal the approach of an oncoming storm, the ungodly behaviors referenced in the preceding verse of this chapter are certain to lead to a response from humanity’s Creator. We can look to a few Old Testament events from the past to illustrate the warning given to us here in Colossians 3:6.
For instance, Genesis chapter eighteen records a meeting between God and the Old Testament patriarch Abraham just prior to the destruction of the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Genesis 18:20-21 documents a portion of that conversation: “Then the LORD said, ‘The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know'” (NiV).
Genesis chapter nineteen then goes on to identify the immediate cause of Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction: an attempt by the citizens of that area to sexually assault God’s angelic representatives. However, the book of the Biblical prophet Ezekiel provides some additional information that helps explain why God took action against those cities: “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen” (Ezekiel 16:49-50).
Leviticus 18:26-28 provides us with another example. When God directed the Israelites to destroy the inhabitants of ancient Canaan, He did not instruct them to do so without cause…
“You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you (for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled), lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you.”
Genesis 15:13-16 indicates that the behaviors referenced here (including, but not limited to incest, bestiality, and child sacrifice) had been practiced for hundreds of years before the wrath of God caught up with the residents of that area. This was far from an impulsive act of vengeance undertaken by a capricious God. Instead, it represented a judicial response to those who engaged in acts that are still recognized as criminal behaviors.
In a similar manner, “It is because of these sins that God’s anger comes on those who refuse to obey him…” (GW).