What Provokes God’s Wrath?

Angry-GodAs we saw in our last post, the wrath of God is a reaction to something – but what? In the old covenant, God reacted to sin. He had to. God cannot be God and let sin go unchecked.

But Hebrews 9:26 tells us the sacrifice of Jesus is the once and final solution to sin. As the hymn says, “On the cross where Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.” That’s a reference to God’s wrath against sin (see Rom 8:3).

Because of Jesus, God will never be angry with your sin again. Isn’t that a stunning thought? I’m not saying God has made friends with sin or that sin doesn’t grieve him. I’m saying a just God cannot condemn sin in you when he has already condemned sin in Jesus.

Now that’s what I call the neglected doctrine of wrath!

What triggers the wrath of God?

So in light of the finished work of the cross, what provokes God’s wrath? Paul gives us the answer:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men… (Rom 1:18, NKJV)

Remember, wrath is a reaction. So what does God react to? Anything that is un-godly. His wrath is a reaction to those things which are opposed to him. God has to react or he wouldn’t be God. Light cannot coexist with darkness. It is the nature of light to repel darkness. Similarly, it is the nature of God to react to ungodliness.

What is ungodliness? This may surprise you but ungodliness is not sinning per se. The Greek word for ungodliness (asebia) is the opposite of the word for revere or adore. Just as antinomianism is disregard for God’s laws, asebia is disregard for God’s person.

Ungodliness is not bad behavior. Ungodliness is unbelief in the grace of a good God. It’s saying, “God, who needs you? I’m fine without you. I am all the god I need.”

It’s a mistake to tell the sinner that God’s wrath is for them. God’s grace is for them (Rom 5:8). God’s wrath is for those things that would hinder them from receiving grace. God is not opposed to sinners. He is for sinners. Jesus said God loves the whole world. But those things which oppose him he must confront. It’s inevitable. This universe simply isn’t big enough for God and ungodliness to coexist.

In any contest between light and dark, light always wins. Do you see? It has to or else it’s not light. Similarly, in the contest between God and ungodliness, God always wins. He has to or he’s not God.

What is our part in this?

Our part is to abandon the darkness of independent living and come into the light of his glorious love. Our part is to receive from the One who desires to give himself to us. Our part is to open the door, like Zacchaeus, and say, “Come in, Jesus!”

I hope you can see now that the wrath of God has nothing to do with your behavior – good or bad – and everything to do with your God.

If your God is God then God is forever with you and never against you. But if your god is you or some other substitute – if you have kept God at arm’s length – then God is not with you and his wrath abides on you (John 3:36). It’s not that God hates you – he loves you – but if you choose to live with your eyes shut you can’t blame God for the darkness.

Again, for emphasis, when I say “ungodly” I am not referring to generic sinners. I am not talking about those who failed to raise their hand or respond to an altar call. Nor am I talking about those who have run from dead religion. The Father doesn’t hate the prodigal. The Good Shepherd isn’t gunning for the lost sheep.

Ungodly means opposed to God. There’s an action implied. I’m thinking of those who have tasted the goodness of God and spewed it out. Faith is a rest, but unbelief is work. It’s resisting and denying the very life we need to live. It’s a hostile mindset revealed in those who simply cannot stand to be around Jesus – guys like Judas and the religious Pharisees along with self-saviors like the Judaizers. God loves these haters and shows them great kindness. But Paul says those who harden their hearts are heading for trouble. They are storing up wrath against themselves (Rom 2:5). They are the ones doing it; not God.

The ungodly don’t want to be around God and one day God will say, “Okay, have it your way.” Wrath is not God’s choice but their’s.

The two gifts

We who preach grace like to quote Romans 1:16 and 17 but we rarely mention Romans 1:18 and 19. We like the bit about the gospel but we don’t like the bit about wrath. Yet Paul mentions both:

Good news for those who want it… Bad news for those who don’t…
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Rom 1:16-17) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. (Rom 1:18-19)

Everyone will ultimately receive something from God. They will either receive, by faith the free gift of his righteousness (Rom 1:17), or they will receive, through hard-nosed and stubborn unbelief, the unwanted gift of his wrath (Rom 1:18).

Do you see? We all receive either grace or wrath and the choice is ours.

So what do we do with this?

The most important thing is to give the sinner grace and not wrath. Today is not the day of wrath but the day of grace. As I have said elsewhere, it’s a mistake to use hell as an incentive to evangelize. It is the love of God that draws men. We are ambassadors of grace not wrath. Ours is a ministry of reconciliation not condemnation.

People are hurting and needy. The good news declares that God promises to meet all our needs in Christ Jesus (Php 4:19). We need to stop telling sinners God is angry with them and instead proclaim the good news.

But – and I know this is hard to believe – there are some who look at Jesus and say, “Who needs you?” Giving grace to such people is pointless. They won’t receive it. They’ve tasted it and rejected it.

Who are these people? James gives us some examples when he wrote about powerful men who “slander the noble name” of Jesus (Jas 2:7). He was referring to proud, rich folk who come to church for no reason other than to make themselves look good. James has nothing positive to say about these self-righteous phonies. Instead he says, “God gives grace to the humble but opposes the proud” (Jas 4:6).

God wants to give grace to everyone but the proud are incapable of receiving it. What will they receive if not grace? Maybe they will listen to warnings such as those James provides (see Jas 5:1).

Those who preach grace don’t talk about wrath but one day all the lights will turned on and all those ungodly and unrighteous things which are presently hidden will be seen for what they are.

We who know the love of God have nothing to fear from that day. Let us live so that none might fear.


Related posts:
– What about God’s wrath?
– The fear of the Lord
– Are you religious?

57 Comments on What Provokes God’s Wrath?

  1. Been waiting for this everyday. Excellent post Paul. I thank God for you!

  2. According to this post, I’ve concluded that’s it’s too bad you can’t resurrect John the Baptist and correct him, due to the fact his entire ministry was all about “Repent …..”. In other words, “Or else….” is a fair assessment. I don’t at all disagree with the fact we need to spread the word in love. But on many occasions, the word specifically tells us to “warn them”. You have chosen to WEAKEN the truth by removing a PORTION of the truth. Jesus himself talked MORE about Hell than he did Heaven, in the parables, etc etc…. Common sense alone ought to dictate the conclusion of what needs to be “talked about. There is only one thing more damaging to the gospel than Satanism-and that is “CALVINISM”. That is what this column sounds like it originates from, has roots in it. There is much more to this that “God is Sovereign” and the Book of Romans- but you can never tell a Calvinist that, not since they are convinced God is responsible for sin- INDEED that is what it means/says- that’s its PURPOSE, the devil did a great job with that doctrine, his best work to date. It will send many to eternal damnation …… wake up people

    • Jesus was never hard on the sinners. the prostitutes, tax collectors … he calls them with endearing words.

      on the other hand, Jesus was HARD and would use STRONG words against the pharisees, teachers of the Law …. those who presume to be righteous in their own eyes. YOU BROOD OF VIPERS! YOUR FATHER IS THE DEVIL!

      I do agree with you. let us preach in Love, but then I would preach love to Sinners who are desperate for a savior.

      but for those who are opposed to the gospel, those who contradict, distort the gospel, lets us WARN THEM.

      thoughts?

      • “Saved by grace”…. you are exactly right. MANY will say, “Jesus is Lord”… on that day, and he will say to them, “depart from me, ye workers of iniquity”, etc etc… We know this. So then, we must conclude that faith without works is DEAD/irrelevant. In short, that’s what I’m saying. No, you can’t work your way into Heaven, but your actions justify your words-or nullify them. Just remember, the rich man in Hell was referred to as “Son”….. Jesus also said this: “Take the BELIEVER and appoint him his portion with the UNBELIEVERS, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (HELL, inarguably). So then, yes, he gave MANY references to Hell, many warnings. I DO understand that in LOVE we need to minister, but there is also a time when the OTHER HALF of the Gospel NEEDS to be spoken. As I said, John the Baptist was the GREATEST man born of women, and this is what HE DID- and HOW he did it. If he were alive today, the church of “Hunky-dory” would run him out! How dare he “offend” anyone with the mention of Hell and/or repentance!!!! O my …..

      • No one here is against repentance, but repentance doesn’t happen by preaching repentance or by preaching hell. The goodness of God draws men to repentance. That’s why Paul’s (Ellis) writings try to focus on God’s goodness.

      • very good point LJP.

      • victor,
        I might argue regarding a believer in hell, maybe i just didn’t get your point.
        – the wrath of Jesus was more directed to the Pharisees, Teachers of the Law and the likes.
        Jesus was always soft on sinners. as Jesus said “you see me, you see the father”
        – Paul Ellis made a good point about the wrath of God. its not about sin, just as Jesus wrath was not about sin.
        – now, on the repentance part.
        – John was proclaiming. “Repent of your sins” or change your mind about sin.
        – “look! the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”
        – I think, new testament repentance, especially after the resurrection of Jesus is more on
        “repent! change your mind! all your sins has been forgiven. receive it. believe it”

    • Hello Victor,

      All that Paul wrote he did correctly and systematically interpreting scripture in the right context. Before you jump to conclusion(that’s if your mind wasn’t already made up before you commented) try and read the previous post and this one. It’s not an issue of amernian or calvinist, it’s a matter of the truth.

      • Caleb- yes, I don’t disagree that “it’s the truth”… but it’s only a PART of the Gospel/Truth. As far as “context” is concerned, seems as if maybe YOU are the one who has a predetermined mindset/arrogance like many others who, when someone remotely disagrees with you, you feel the need to accuse them, or make sure we all know your knowledge is “superior”, as you only can keep things in “context”. Start a discussion, then accuse a person of “arguing”. How pathetic- A sure sign of self-righteousness, you ought to seek the Lord about that. All calvanists think the same- they understand NOTHING about the Baptism of the Holy ghost (because they don’t have it), and they keep God in a “Once-saved, always saved” box. After all, Hell and all the needed warnings of it aren’t needed, because God’s already determined it beforehand (misinterpretations of Romans/”Predestined”). Yes, the #1 “Watered-down” version of “How to preach in Love”….. that my friend, is what I’m saying. You’re not “wrong”- only half “right”….. Now get off your intellectual horse before you fall hard, and stop accusing people who disagree with you. That’s not “love” my friend. Hope this helps…..

    • We need to WARN people that trusting totally in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection is the only way of salvation. Hebrew 2:3 says “how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?”Unfortunately, this is not being taught in many circles…it is usually Jesus plus something just like in Galatians.
      Great post as usual……

      • Lets warn Christians who who’s works are wood, hay, and stubble and lets warn unbelievers who think they can work their way into heaven and let God handle “the increase.”

    • John the Baptist didn’t preach the Gospel. When John the Baptist came, it was to “prepare the way of the Lord”. The Gospel was not yet implemented. You throw the word repent around like it is a byword for judgment and wrath. Repent simply means to change your mind and turn. The Jewish culture at that time thought that they were in good with God based on their performance and dead works. John the Baptist was challenging them with heart change, not with cleaning themselves up. Romans 2:4 tells us that it is God’s kindness that leads to repentance. Talking about Hell does not mean that it is used as a threat. It is simply speaking the truth about consequences for rejecting God. Paul Ellis believes in Hell and agrees it is a very real place for those who do not receive salvation. We do not produce the works that are evidence of our faith. According to Philippians, they are prepared in advance by God for us to complete. When we have genuine faith, works are a natural result of our faith because of the Holy Spirit at work within us. However, that does not mean that we never commit an act of sin again, and it does not mean that if we do commit an act of sin that we have to get resaved. It simply means we’ve stumbled and need to let God pick us back up again and help us move forward. The Lord’s discipline is loving training, not punishment. Anyone who claims to be a believer but struggles habitually with sin is either struggling with grasping their identity and needs to be educated by the Holy Spirit about their inheritance with Christ, or they are not genuine in their profession of faith. The Holy Spirit doesn’t whip us with threats of Hell, He reminds us of who we are meant to be in Christ and that we need to reflect our true identity.

  3. Paul,
    I am really appreciative of your heart and the way God speaks through you. He has been wooing me into a deeper intimacy with Him and part of that is through your writing. Thanks so much for sharing. The more I am purge from dead religion, the more I am amazed at the influence it had in me and what I was missing. It is still a new surprise everyday as Daddy keeps revealing His love for me in new ways. I can remember when I would think that talking about the love of God was so superficial, just tell me what to do. Oh my, how I no longer want to remotely come close to thinking that way again.
    Blessings to you and your family.

      • Roshan Easo // October 24, 2013 at 2:15 am //

        I appreciate that I was freed from dead religion like Thomas (who I am thankful for), but I find myself wondering if I’ve drifted back because of the confusion I feel going into a work scenerio. Faith is rest, but then perversely maybe I ask, what is work? I’m just so confused about this one point. I don’t want to walk independent of God, but how can we make ANY analysis or decision as humans? I feel like the works you present here cover ANY type of work? But receiving like good sheep (no offense intended) is not fruitful – it’s scary.

      • Roshan,
        I am not if you were asking me or not but I can share this with you. I find no value in anything I do when it comes to righteousness. I totally find 100% of my righteousness as gift because Jesus is righteous and I am one with Him. I love this oneness Jesus spoke about it in John 17. So does this mean that I do no good works. Absolutely not. Just has Jesus did not do anything to make himself righteous before the Father but He did what the Father would, so do I try to allow myself to be led by His Spirit and do the things that glorify the Father. The test for me was if I did something did I think God was more pleased with me. I can honestly say now that anything I do does not change how I perceive the Father’s value for me to be. I no longer experience the roller coaster emotions associated with ones value like I used to. For me the other wonderful aspect to this is my environment, such as the people I know, has very little influence on my perceived value. This has also allowed me to better appreciate the value for everyone that Papa has for them, regardless of the circumstances. I am still learning to rest totally in God, just as one who was drowning slowly gets tired and eventually just starts floating instead of fighting. Also we do have the mind of Christ, in reference to decisions, so we are quite capable of participating in what God is doing as well as just making good decisions. The more I learn to trust God and not second guess myself, the more I learn to just relax and enjoy. I still make mistakes and Papa still lovingly picks me up and encourages me try again. I hope something here encourages you. Blessings.

      • Roshan Easo // April 5, 2014 at 4:28 pm //

        ❤❤❤ Thank you Thomas Myers.

  4. Brian Midmore // October 23, 2013 at 8:27 pm // Reply

    You say: ‘I hope you can see now that the wrath of God has nothing to do with your behavior – good or bad – and everything to do with your God. If your God is God then God is forever with you and never against you. But if your god is you or some other substitute – if you have kept God at arm’s length – then God is not with you and his wrath abides on you (John 3:36).’

    But if we serve other gods we break the first commandment, so isn’t this bad behaviour? Is’nt the issue what we understand to be bad behaviour. We might see bad behaviour as primarily as a series of peccadillos but God sees bad behaviour as serving our own interests and not him.

  5. Marc Abraham // October 24, 2013 at 2:55 am // Reply

    For an additional bit of insight, if you read James 2:2 in interlinear or Young’s Literal, the setting here is specifically a synagogue (“for if there may come into your synagogue a man with gold ring, in gay raiment, and there may come in also a poor man in vile raiment”).

  6. Well, in all due respect, I’ve given my “take” on all this, but it’s headed towards an unproductive result. SO you won’t hear anything else from me. In closing, I only know that again- I agree with evangelizing in love, and also with the whole truth. Everyone is different and the same methods from the same Gospel (all parts included) do not work for everyone across the board. Some need a “John the Baptist” (Hell-fire and brimstone), some need a Joel Osteen. Same message/word. Just do not ever take it upon yourself to condemn others for getting the Gospel out in the “method” they are capable and prepared by God to do so, in that manner. There is absolutely nothing “out of context” in that regard. If I’m out of line because of my earlier comments, I sincerely apologize, being “right” is ok, but being “one” is God’s will….. Like I always say, “Jesus didn’t die for me because I’m so wonderful”…. have a Blessed day

    • I agree with the spirit of your argument. I know a literal hell isn’t popular these days. But I believe it’s a real place and that I wouldn’t want my worst enemy to go there. While a “grace” message that downplays the wrath of God can potentially lead to unbiblical ideas like universalism, I have to admit that it brings a lot of people to Jesus who haven’t responded to other approaches. And whether one literally has the hell scared out of him or is brought to repentance through hearing of God’s grace, the result is what matters most to me. If Heaven is more crowded due to different styles of presenting the Gospel, all of God’s people should rejoice.

      • ddrem- Indeed…. you can go onto youtube and watch the testimonies of those who have literally been “saved by fear”. The sad fact is, the “Fear” of God has left the building along with Elvis, and, as some have explained it away, “Its now a type of respectful fear”…. The WOG says clearly, that we are to “Fear the one who can cast both body and soul into Hell” ! Let’s be honest, you can’t interpret that for anything other than face-value. That message from the Lord is a PART OF THE GOSPEL. And if I do fear God, it does not somehow “diminish” my relationship with the Father. It actually MOTIVATES me to want to keep others from ending up there. If I take instructions from some of my brothers and sisters on this page, it would a “mistake” to include that- this is where I vehemently disagree. We do not reserve the right to pick and choose or “explain away”….. Does anyone here remember Paul talking about how he “turned them over to satan?” For good reason. WHY didn’t he then, just “Love them”??????????????? What about Ananias and Sapphira? These were people IN THE CHURCH. Read Hebrews 6:4-6: ….made PARTAKERS of the Holy Ghost” read about their ending-not good,. not at all….. Here’s a fact: NONE of these people had the right kind of the “fear of God” within them. Each one had a “watered-down” version of the Gospel. And to this very day, people who think with this mentality BEHAVE the same way. Yes, we win more flies with honey than vinegar, but “too much honey will make you vomit” (Proverbs)…..

    • lifewithporpoise // November 29, 2015 at 12:12 am // Reply

      Victor,
      I used to be like you. You have been in company with the Pharisees. I can tell by your tone and the buzz words. Repent! Faith without works is dead! etc.
      Victor. The Good News is not “Hey, I’m giving you a chance to try to keep the Law better because the Jews failed at it”. The Good News is not, “Stop sinning, or try to stop sinning. By the way, God loves you and Jesus died for you”. The Good News is that God loves us so much and He demonstrated this love through Jesus’ death, burial and RESURRECTION at Calvary. God wants us to believe. We are saved 100% by grace. It is God’s gift. Not through any effort of our own. Jesus was faithful. We believe the Good News.

      Your Lordship ‘Salvation’ is not Good News Victor. It is the flesh trying to outwardly conform by attempting to Law keep to justify yourselves before men. God won’t have a bar of it. James 2: faith without works is not non-existent faith. It is inactive (dead). It isn’t working. It is asleep. It needs to arise from slumber.

      Repent means change of mind. It does not mean turn from sin. The object of Repentance entirely depends upon the context. I encourage you to look up all references of Repent/Repented/Repentance (greek: Metanoia) through Blue Letter Bible KJV online. Look at the context. It means change of mind. More often than not the object of repentance is JESUS. In love.

  7. Hey Paul, I got a question. See, reading this article put me on edge (rocked my assurance that i’m saved), and this is what I can’t get over. Could you please help me out? To summarize it, when I supposedly got saved, I had cried out “Lord, please save me!” but see, I wasn’t thinking of anyone specific, a.k.a Jesus, and i’m scared that I could have been thinking more of the father in genereal instead of Jesus, cause I didn’t really think on who to call, I just cried out “Lord, please save me!”. And i’m scared that there’s a chance i’m not saved because I wasn’t thinking of Jesus when I cried out Lord-which would mean I didn’t get save Jesus, if you know what i’m getting at. I just said Lord because it was in the sinners prayer at the end of a gospel track I read. Does it really matter? Please help!

    • Jason, don’t let such thoughts quibbling over exact words bother you. You saw and received the gospel when you read it and then responded by calling out to God. Its a heart response, not a head response that counts and our heart (spirit) doesn’t always communicate in words or ways we understand. The very fact that whether or not you’re right with God even causes you concern is the very proof that your spirit was reborn- those who are still unregenerated wouldn’t care about it!

    • Hi Jason,

      Connie gave you some great words of wisdom. You could also put this thing to rest right here by calling on the name of Jesus right now.🙂

      • No need, because if Connie is right, then all is well!😀

      • I’m not sure where you are coming from with that comment, Jason. I’m in a relationship with Jesus and I call on His name every day. Not out of obligation, but because I want that relationship to be as alive as possible. Jesus wants us to have a peace about our salvation and He wants to have a growing relationship with us. I hope you experience both.

        Blessings 

  8. Paul, thank you for this word. Its been on my heart for some time that we need to not avoid NT Scriptures that speak of wrath and other things you don’t normally hear in modern grace preaching.

    I think a lie that is still lurking in the church is that some people need grace while some need the wrath of the law preached to them (as if we can selectively choose who gets the gospel and who does not). Let me clarify: if we were OT preachers, we would preach judgement and wrath against those who were lawbreakers. But we are living in grace now so the warnings are against those who reject grace. Grace is not a select message that we give to those WE deem worthy, but the premise of the gospel.

    Anyway, preaching topics like this through the lens of the cross will help clear up the confusion surrounding these topics as they are presented in the NT.

    • John Long: The “wrath of the Law” is something totally different than “The fear of the Lord”…. The WOG INSTRUCTS us in that regard. The fear of the Lord is also the beginning of wisdom/knowledge, we know. It’s not the “respect” of God. That puts us on an equal/mutual “respect” level with him- I don’t think so. You are correct- it’s also correct that “not everyone who says, Lord Lord”…. will make it into Heaven. Faith WITHOUT works is DEAD my friend, like it or not

      • Victor, Victor you are troubled about many things.😉 Jesus interpreted fear of the Lord as worship (Matthew 4:10). In the New Covenant we are not given a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). 

        Blessings

      • victor, I don’t think you fully understand the meaning of fear as it is used in the Bible. When you look at definitions and root words, Fear of the Lord refers to a deep trembling reverence, but it is NOT something that is meant to evoke being “scared” straight. Faith without works is indeed dead, but that doesn’t mean works are what get us into Heaven or that our value in God’s eyes is based on our works. Works come from a place of gratitude for what God has done for us, and they increase as we grow in intimacy with the Lord. Try reading 1 John 4. “There is no fear in love.” For the believer, we have nothing to be afraid of. Certainly Hell is a terrifying place and will be the fate of the unbeliever, but that isn’t the focus that will encourage genuine conversions of faith. Those converted by fear of Hell have taken the grace of God in vain and their works are as filthy rags.

    • Brian Midmore // October 25, 2013 at 8:00 pm // Reply

      ‘The warnings of wrath are against those who reject grace’. So part of the message should be about rejecting grace. Christians can reject grace too. When we fail to forgive our brothers we reject grace. This what the parable of the unforgiving servant is about Matt 18. 22-35.

      • It seems that we are talking about two different topics. Not forgiving a brother is a bad idea, no doubt. But if you read Galatians chapter 5, it clearly defines what it looks like for a believer to “fall from grace”. The way we do this is by trying to be justified by works.

        Not forgiving is definitely sin, but that is not the same as rejecting grace. If this were to be considered rejecting grace, then would we not have to consider all sin as rejecting grace? Grace reaches us in the midst of our sin and loves us out of it. But grace is not based on our works; law is (see Galatians 3).

  9. Thanks for sharing this truth. I like the way you wrote about it. Just as John Long said in his comments…….” Through the lens of the cross will help clear up the confusion surrounding these topics as they are presented in the NT.”

  10. Thank you, Paul Ellis, for your stalwart position on grace. As a recovering Catholic, I had the hell and wrath of God pushed on me thru eight years of Catholic school by well meaning nuns and priests. It didn’t work. As an adult, I spent twenty-plus years self medicating because my imposter was in charge and my self esteem was in the pit. Got clean and sober in my forties, and came to understand that God was NOT angry with me like I had been taught. And not only that, but God loved me and was proud of me! I found grace and was set free from my alcohol/drug addiction in the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. I looked to the church, but did not find the love and grace there that thrived in the group of drunks at my local AA meeting. Grace teachings like yours kept me loved, clean, and sober after I graduated from AA. Thankfully, I have found a grace church that accepts me and loves me almost as much as God does! Thanks, again, Paul for your teaching to the remnant. Grace and peace.

  11. I really like this post. For me personally, I can best understand “how it works” by comparing the similarities in our earthly relationships to our relationship with God. Like the example you gave about a parent’s heart toward their child and how they relate to that child and how God relates to us. I get a lot out of the bridal relationship comparisons too.

  12. Mat 11:11 Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. (Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.)
    I feel so blessed that a lot of Christians who understands The Grace of God, shares their wisdom so that others maybe enlightened as well.

  13. This is totally beautiful. I love you sir. God Bless
    FF

  14. terry bennett // October 29, 2013 at 2:51 am // Reply

    Paul, As usual a terrific post. Hope those who are having trouble understanding and accepting this post will take the time to pray and re-read it several times. Paul is not ingoring teachings about God’s wrath but clarifying what evokes it and who it is directed towards.

  15. Strong disagreements with your views on Hebrews 6 and 10.

  16. So Paul, in Revelation is God’s wrath poured out on sin, sinners? I’m confused about that book as it seems like Jesus is coming back to punish sin but how can he punish sin again? Or is it just his wrath (reaction)?

    • Romans 4:23+24. All of Romans 1 and 2 are a long writing to Paul’s argument to this point, Then the last two verses in Romans 4. What happened to Jesus on the cross, happened to all of us. No one excluded, this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. ONE NEW MAN IN CHRIST. (Jesus also died for the unbeliever).: The wrath of God came 100% on His son .. once and for all. Study Rom 5:12-21. Efes 2:1-10 Good news is only good news .. when it’s good news!

  17. Paul, Maybe this has already been dealt with & I missed it. But is it not true that the wrath of God against ungodliness & unrighteousness (of men) in Rom 1:18 refers to the wrath of God poured out upon Jesus at the cross? It seems to me that the wrath was poured out on the ungodliness & unrighteousness — not on the men. I am thankful it was not poured out unto me although I deserved it.

    • I don’t believe so. Paul writes about the coming wrath and Jesus who saves us from the wrath that is coming upon the sons of disobedience. All this was written after the cross. On the cross, God’s wrath was poured out on sin. Sin is no longer the problem. But the universe is still a mess. Little girls are still being sold into slavery. Cancer is still killing millions. Wars devastate families. At some point God must say “Enough!” That, I believe, is the coming wrath of which Jesus and Paul both spoke.

      Think of it like this. On the cross, God dealt with Satan, but he has not yet dealt with Adam. By “Adam” I refer to the Adamic habit of calling God an untrustworthy liar and generally poisoning the village well with their foulness. Or think of if like this, at the Red Sea, God dealt with Pharaoh and the children of Israel were well and truly freed from Egypt’s grip. Pharaoh would never torment them again. But from among their own number new Pharaohs would arise, “godless men who suppress the truth by their wickedness.” God is not willing that any man – godless or not – should perish, so he waits. He gives men time to repent. But eventually he will turn on all the lights, dry every eye, and heal every hurt. When that happens it will be a very good day for those of us who are grieved to live in a world where children are molested and trafficked.

  18. Hi Paul. Great post. In Romans 1:18 the wrath of God is poured out on 2 things: 1) ungodliness, which you have dealth with and 2) unrighteousness which you haven’t addressed in this post. Does ‘unrighteousness’ not include sin?

    • Not directly. Verse 18 needs to be read in conjunction with verse 17 which says righteousness is a gift; so unrighteousness is rejecting that which God offers. God’s wrath doesn’t fall on sin, per se, but on those who reject Him and His good gifts. Jesus gives life. If you reject Jesus and His life, what are you left with?

      • Paul, great teaching, thanks. One question- you are saying unrightouness is not sin per se but 1 John 5:17 says all unrighteousness is sin. Any thoughts?

      • I am reminded of the unforgiveable sin which is refusing to heed what the Holy Spirit says about Jesus. Again, this has little to do our behavior and everything to do with Jesus. Will you trust him or scorn him? Righteousness is a gift and it is ours in Jesus. To refuse the gift is to refuse Jesus and his righteousness – it’s to remain hardened in unrighteousness.

  19. Jon Hollinger // September 29, 2014 at 6:47 pm // Reply

    I’m not so sure about this. Doesn’t God’s wrath still remain for unrepented and unconfessed sin? As a non-Calvinist, I reject Limited Atonement, so I DO believe that Jesus paid the price for EVERY sin. But I view it like this: Jesus made the payment and distributed a payment “sum” to every sinner as a free gift. Some people believe in Jesus and “hand in” their sin payment (the blood of Jesus) to God (by faith), and thus they are redeemed. Faith is required to be saved because it BY FAITH that you activate the free gift of Atonement from Christ. Those who reject Christ have essentially thrown their free gift into the trash can, and so even though Jesus MADE the payment for them, they shamefully and foolishly wasted it (Heb. 10:26-29). Therefore I believe the wrath for unrepentant sinners remains. If God viewed everyone’s sin as already paid for, then wouldn’t that mean everyone goes to Heaven? It seems to me that the fact of people going to hell is evidence of God’s continued wrath toward those who never repent and turn to Christ.

    • Romans 8:3 tells us that God condemned sin on the cross. Hebrews 9:26 tells us that Christ’s death was the once and final solution for all sin. The Lamb of God bore the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). Sin is no longer part of the equation.

      Does this mean everyone is saved and heaven-bound? Not at all. The gift of grace and forgiveness has been given, but not all receive it.

  20. Funny that you’re using an image stolen from the cover art of the Judas Priest album “Ram It Down” in a religious article.

  21. ‘For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men… (Rom 1:18, NKJV)’

    Note that it says ungodliness AND unrighteousness. What is unrighteousness, if not sin?

    • If ungodliness is being opposed to God’s person, unrighteousness is being opposed to God’s ways or righteousness. As Paul explains in the second part of this verse it is suppressing the truth.

      For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Rom 1:18)

      Unrighteousness (being opposed to God’s ways) leads to sin (missing the mark) which is why John says unrighteousness is sin (1 John 5:17). God has dealt with the consequences of our unrighteousness (our sin) in order that we might be slaves to it no longer. This is why I say sin is no longer the problem. God is not holding your sins against you. So stop suppressing the truth of his good character, stop resisting him, and be reconciled to your Father who loves you.

  22. I used to wonder. Does God need me to prove to him by my works that I have faith? Do I need to prove to God that am his son? Do I need to prove to God that am righteous? This God who is he? Is he really all-knowing? Is this God the one who says he knoweth them that are his? Are we saying that God doesnt kno that I have faith until I prove it to him? Which means I can actually decieve God by doing some good works (eye service) to gain his approval. If Truely that God is all knowing and sees both in secret and in open, and knoweth the intent of the heart, then I dont have to prove my faith to him by my works. He already knows. But my God tells me he has given to me the measure of faith. My God tells me am his righteousness in Christ. My God tells me he has bestowed great love on me that I should be called his son. He tells me am an holy nation. Well, as far,as am concern I have chosen to believe the God’s report. I Expected that Jesus should have proven to the Devil that he was a son of God by turning stones to bread. I wonder why he refused, afterall faith without works is dead.

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