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Introduction & video on God's wrath | Definition & description wrath | Wrath & mercy | Anger against unbelievers | God's great patience | Common misunderstandings | Reflections on God's wrath | Anger against believers | God's anger is different for His people | Summary and Study questions
Handout | Video | mp3
Purpose: God's anger has an origin. This chart explains how God's wrath coexists, and in fact harmoniously works together with the Lord's mercy.
Anger arises due to God's moral creatures resistant to carry out God's judgments, whether known through natural revelation or found in His Word.
"Go, inquire of the LORD for me and for those who are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book which has been found; for great is the wrath of the LORD which is poured out on us because our fathers have not observed the word of the LORD, to do according to all that is written in this book" (2 Chronicles 34:21).
God's personal standard of righteousness is innately the world's standard because of God's wrath. God's anger makes sure everything in the end conforms to His holy standard. There are no exceptions. Because of this reason, each of us should carefully comply to all of God's expectations.
The attribute of God's wrath perfectly blends with His other characteristics like mercy. God's wrath starts when His righteousness judgments have been infringed upon. His wrath consists of that personal drive to pursue all offenders until full vengeance is paid out. (See left side of chart.)
His wrath, at times, is put off (stored up) for a later and greater unleashing, or it can be otherwise perfectly satisfied through some atonement (i.e. appeasement), but satisfied it must be. God’s wrath never gets out of control like man’s.
God is perfectly completely His carefully calculated judgment. His wrath might at times seem brutal but this is exactly what is necessary to revenge that person or society’s rebellious deeds.
God's mercy never discharges God's righteous anger but only diverts it. His wrath must always be satisfied. Like some raging river, it must go somewhere. So in the chart above, justice is being fulfilled as the mercy of God swallows up His wrath through Christ's death on the cross.
Jesus suffered the full propitiation for our sins (1 John 2:1-2). "My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world" (1 John 2:1-2).
This explains why Jesus had to die and not just be a good teacher or just empathize with mankind.
Although God's wrath might not be a commonly considered attribute of God, it does describe how He ultimately protects His holy Name. Through His intense, severe, unbiased, just and ongoing wrath, the righteousness of God is clearly revealed.
God's wrath parallels His love in its persevering nature to complete its mission. His wrath goes forth until satisfied by justice while His love extends itself until the ultimate display of kindness is brought forth.
God's wrath is an outpouring of vengeance upon offenses against God's judgments. It is His personal pursuit to right wrong things. It is His personal pursuit to right wrong things. "Man's anger, as a whole, does not accomplish the righteousness of God" (James 4:6) due to his sinful nature.
Next page => God's anger against unbelievers
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Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted:
(C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988