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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
Series Introduction| Knowing God | The Revelatory God | Goodness of God | Holiness of God | Power of God | Omnipresent God | Exalted God | Faithfuness of God | Wisdom of God | Mercy of God |Wrath of God | Love of God | Sovereignty of God | Providence of God
Purpose: Let's first understand what happens with God's judgment upon believers and then positively what God is accomplishing when He responds to us believers in His anger. in this case God is more like a father than a judge.
In summary, let me differentiate how those that are saved and those that are not differently bear God's anger. Unbelievers will suffer greatly from God's stored-up wrath that is just waiting to be unleashed. He is said to be patient, waiting for all to find grace. But after that, His mighty wrath, will perfectly execute His severe eternal judgment upon those who do not repent.
God's judgment upon God's people greatly differs. For God's people, His great wrath has been taken upon by Christ, the perfect sacrifice. The righteous for the unrighteous. God's anger upon His people are a more temporal chastising of God's people that they might better reflect His glory and gain reward through holy living.
Hebrews 12 states the principle. God does judge His people, but His judgment upon His people focuses on present training rather than completing justice. That is already accomplished through Christ. His judgment now serves training and preserving purposes.
"For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom he receives. It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons" (Hebrews 12:6-8).
"For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner?" (1 Peter 4:17-18).
God regularly gets angry at His people's sins and expects the church to keep holy or His anger falls on them.
"For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world" (1 Corinthians 11:29-32 NASB).
God's people are to rightly keep the church pure and protected, effective for service. As believers we are to carry out discipline so that God does not need to judge us with sickness, trouble and death.
"For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves" (1 Corinthians 5:12, 13 NASB).
God's anger against His people, and especially their leaders, is more particular than against unbelievers. God's anger is chiefly seen in the way that He withdraws His protection and allows the evil one to cause further trouble.
"Now again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and it incited David against them to say, "Go, number Israel and Judah." The king said to Joab the commander of the army who was with him, "Go about now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and register the people, that I may know the number of the people"" (2 Samuel 24:1, 2 NASB).
The same was true with David when he counted the men. God's anger was released upon the land. "Joab the son of Zeruiah had begun to count them, but did not finish; and because of this (i.e. counting), wrath came upon Israel, and the number was not included in the account of the chronicles of King David" (1Ch 27:24).
What is the difference between just and unjust anger? Most of man's anger is sinful. Anger as emotion is not right or wrong. Man can be angry without sin. Man, like God, has an ability to get very intense and fixed on straightening out injustice.
The problem is that man most often, due to his sin nature, focuses on protecting His interests rather than caring for the trodden down. Man does such a poor job that Paul just blankly says, Paul says put away all anger, (Ephesians 5: ). When we get mad, we do all sorts of wrong. God is not that way.
While God's wrath makes sure vengeance is made, His justice makes sure exact judgment is carried out upon every act or thought of disobedience. God's justice determines the furry of His wrath, His plan and speed carrying it out. This requires perfect knowledge, power and determination.
"The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. In whirlwind and storm is His way, And clouds are the dust beneath His feet" (Nahum 1:3).
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Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted:
(C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988