This topic is adapted from the Scott Creps YouTube channel.
The topic of God’s wrath isn’t one of the most popular doctrines. For some, the idea of God’s wrath conjures up images of a vengeful God who loves to punish wrongdoers. Others think that God is just totally accepting, loving and would never get angry at anyone. As popular as this idea is, the Bible has a different view of God’s wrath.
Understanding God’s Wrath
The Bible shows that God loves all that is good and right and conforms to his moral character. Therefore, it makes sense that he would hate everything that’s opposed to his character. This is the essence of God’s wrath. Theologian Wayne Grudem offers a helpful definition: “God’s wrath means that he intensely hates all sin.” (This whole article is indebted to Grudem’s Systematic Theology). God’s wrath is focused on sin. In other words, God doesn’t hate people, but sin.
God’s Wrath Is in the Old and New Testaments
The wrath of God is found throughout the Bible. In the OT, we find numerous depictions of God’s wrath, particularly when his people sin greatly against him (see Exodus 32:9-10; Deuteronomy 9:7-8). But God’s wrath isn’t limited to the OT. In the book of Revelation, God tells us that he will pour out his wrath on unrepentant people. And the book of John makes it clear that wrath awaits those who reject Jesus.
John 3:36 (ESV) Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
God’s Wrath Is a Response
God’s wrath is different from his other attributes. For example, God is love (1 John 4:8). This is who he is. Love is central to his person. Before God created anything or anyone, God still loved through the loving relationships of the members of the Trinity. God’s wrath, however, is a reaction against human sinfulness. And it’s good that God hates sin. If God didn’t hate sin, then the only conclusion would be that God likes or at least tolerates sin. And God delays his wrath as long as he can. He is patient with us so that we don’t have to face his wrath (Romans 2:4).
You Don’t Have to Face God’s Wrath
The good news is that you don’t have to experience the wrath of God. The Bible makes it clear that faith in Jesus means you will no longer receive God’s wrath.
Romans 5:9 (ESV) Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
Jesus keeps you from experiencing God’s wrath. But the Bible’s clear teaching on the wrath of God means that we should be ready to share with others the good news of Jesus so that they can avoid judgment.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Why is it important to understand what the Bible says about the wrath of God?
- How should we respond to doctrines that make us feel uncomfortable?
- Why is wrath an appropriate response from God to sin?
- Read John 3:36. According to this verse, what do you have to do to receive God’s wrath?
- Read Romans 5:9. How does Jesus save us from God’s wrath?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.