What is the wrath of God? What is the biblical meaning of the wrath of God?

Wrath is often translated as "fierce anger," "indignation," "vengeance," or "punishment." A longer definition of the word wrath is "the emotional response to perceived wrong and injustice." Although both humans and God have the capability of expressing wrath, there are many differences between the wrath of God and the wrath of man. God's wrath is displayed in both the Old and New Testaments and is always holy and justified. Man's wrath, however, is rarely justified and never holy.

God's plan for mankind is perfect and holy. When mankind sinned against God's holy plans in the Old Testament, God expressed His wrath towards them (Deuteronomy 1:26–46; Joshua 7:1; Psalm 2:1–6). This was most often a result of man turning towards idols for deliverance and comfort (Psalm 78:56–66). God's perfect plan for man is hinged on man's dependence and trust in God. When mankind did not follow this plan of dependence and disobeyed God, they deserved God's wrath, and His wrath was holy and justified. God gave man a way to gain divine favor, which was through repentance. Repentance turned God's wrath away from the sinner, because He is also a merciful God.

In the New Testament God also expressed His wrath to justify sin. The New Testament provides several stories of God's wrath being shown to those who reject Him. John 3:36 explains that whoever rejects the Son of God will be under God's wrath. But this verse also explains that whoever believes and follows the Son will have eternal life and experience God's grace. Luke 16:19–31 is a perfect example of how a person who does not follow God's commands and rejects His message will experience the Lord's wrath. A person will not suffer from God's wrath if he believes in the message of Christ taking our place on the cross (Romans 5:6–11). Romans 2:5–6 says that those who do not receive Christ as their Savior store up wrath for themselves on the day of God's judgment.

Man's wrath is quite dissimilar to God's wrath. While God's wrath is holy and justified, man's wrath is warned against in the Bible. Ephesians 4:26–27 says, "Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil." Man is told to leave vengeance to the wrath of God (Romans 12:19), and to put away all "anger, wrath, malice, [and] slander" (see Colossians 3:8–10). Because God is the only being with perfect judgment, only He can express wrath without sin. Wrath is not akin to our new spiritual selves, which we inherit from our salvation (2 Corinthians 5:17). The Holy Spirit was given to us to cleanse our hearts, so now we can experience freedom from the domination of wrath (Romans 8:1–39). The mind controlled by the Spirit is not controlled by anger or wrath, but by peace (Philippians 4:4–9).

Romans 5:9 says, "Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God." We can experience comfort instead of fear in regards to God's wrath, because when we are saved, we are free from His judgment. Only those who put their faith in Christ and trust His death on the cross as atonement for sin and believe in His resurrection are saved from the wrath of God.

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