The biblical basis for God’s wrath

Sunday LeftoversThere are several common objections to the wrath of God:

  • The wrath of God is inconsistent with God’s love
  • The wrath of God is inconsistent with God’s forgiveness
  • The wrath of God is unfair/unjust
  • The wrath of God isn’t taught in the New Testament

Yet Scripture consistently affirms that both the Old Testament and the New Testament teach that God is justly wrathful (angry) against sin.

The Old Testament affirms the wrath of God from the Pentateuch through the prophets (the references that follow are a very small sampling of the total testimony of Scripture):

  • Genesis 3:24 is the culmination of God’s curse on Satan, Adam, and Eve for the sin in the Garden of Eden. He cursed them as an expression of His anger against the sin.
  • Genesis 6:5-7 culminates in God’s judgment of the flood (Gen. 7:21-22).
  • Deuteronomy 32:39-41 is a reminder to the Israelites as they prepare to enter the land (after an entire generation died because of the sin of rebellion and unbelief) that God will judge sin.
  • The Psalmists spoke of God’s wrath (Ps. 2:5, 12; 76:6-7); the Egyptians died when Israel fled after the plagues because of God’s wrath (Ps. 78:49-51). Cf. also Moses, Ps. 90:7-9.
  • The prophets warned of God’s wrath (Is. 9:19; Jer. 7:20; Ezk. 7:19; Jonah 1:2; Amos 1:2; Nahum 1:2-3).

And likewise, the New Testament attests to the wrath of God from the Gospels through Revelation:

  • The most well-known verse in the Bible is John 3:16; most people forget John 3:36.
  • John the Baptist preached about the wrath of God (Mt. 3:7, 12); and the writer to the Hebrews warned his readers about the wrath of God (3:11; 4:3).
  • Paul writes elsewhere about God’s wrath — Eph. 5:5-6 (also 2:3); Col. 3:5-6; 2 Thess. 1:7-10.
  • Paul will also write of this again in Romans (2:5, 8; 5:9; 9:22).
  • A large portion of the final book of the Bible is related to the wrath of God (chs. 6-20). Cf. 6:2; 11:16-19; 14:9-11; 16:1ff; 19:1-3; 20:10-15.

In conclusion, the consistent affirmation of Scripture is that God is justly angry against sin and He is resolute in punishing it.

[Download a document with the above verses quoted.]

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