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Bible Dictionaries

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary

Wrath

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God’s attitude of opposition to all that is evil is usually called his wrath, or anger. The wrath of human beings is inconsistent and, because of the effects of sin in their nature, may express itself in outbursts of bad temper (James 1:20; see ANGER). God’s wrath is consistent and pure. It is his holy, righteous and just reaction to sin – the only proper reaction for one who is himself holy, righteous and just (Exodus 32:9-10; Jeremiah 21:12; Nahum 1:2; Nahum 1:6; Mark 3:5; John 2:14-17; Romans 1:18; Hebrews 12:29). God, as the supreme judge, can neither take pleasure in sin nor ignore it. Therefore, all people, being sinners, are the objects of his wrath (Psalms 7:11; Ephesians 2:3; Colossians 3:5-6).

However, God takes no pleasure in punishing sin. He is longsuffering towards sinners, and gives them the opportunity to repent of their sin and ask his forgiveness (Ezekiel 33:11; Ezekiel 33:14-16; 2 Peter 3:9; see PATIENCE). Many mistakenly think that because God does not immediately act against them in judgment, they have escaped his judgment. They may even think that God is as carefree about sin as they are, and so they sin all the more. But they only guarantee for themselves a more severe judgment when God’s wrath finally falls upon them (2 Chronicles 36:16; Psalms 50:19-21; Psalms 78:37-40; Ecclesiastes 8:11; Romans 2:4-6).

The final great outpouring of God’s wrath will take place at the close of the age, when Jesus Christ returns in power and glory to execute judgment on the ungodly (Romans 2:5; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Revelation 6:17; Revelation 14:10; Revelation 14:19; Revelation 19:11-16). God’s people will not experience this wrath, for they have been saved from it through Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:9). Jesus, in bearing their sin, has borne God’s wrath on their behalf (Romans 5:9; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24). But those who refuse to trust in Jesus as their substitute must bear God’s wrath themselves (John 3:36). (For a fuller discussion on the relationship between God’s love and God’s wrath see PROPITIATION.)

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Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Wrath'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/bbd/w/wrath.html. 2004.

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