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Thursday
Sep172009

Theological Term of the Week

wrath
God’s perfection of righteous anger against sin; his “eternal detestation of all unrighteousness.”1

  • From scripture:
    …because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. (Romans 2:5-8 ESV)
  • From The Attributes of God by A. W. Pink:

    Now the wrath of God is as much a Divine perfection as is His faithfulness, power, or mercy. It must be so, for there is no blemish whatever, not the slightest defect in the character of God; yet there would be if “wrath” were absent from Himl Indifference to sin is a moral blemish, and he who hates it not is a moral leper. How could He who is the Sum of all excellency look with equal satisfaction upon virtue and vice, wisdom and folly? How could He who is infinitely holy disregard sin and refuse to manifest His “severity” (Rom. 9:22) toward it? How could He, who delights only in that which is pure and lovely, not loathe and hate that which is impure and vile? The very nature of God makes Hell as real a necessity, as imperatively and eternally requisite, as Heaven is. Not only is there no imperfection in God, but there is no perfection in Him that is less perfect than another.

  • From Knowing God by J. I. Packer:
    No doubt it is true that the subject of divine wrath has in the past been handled speculatively, irreverently, even malevolently. No doubt there have been some who have preached of wrath and damnation with tearless eyes and no pain in their hearts. No doubt the sight of small sects cheerfully consigning the whole world, apart from themselves, to hell has disgusted many. Yet if we would know God, it is vital that we face the truth concerning his wrath, however unfashionable it may be, and however strong our initial prejudices against it. Otherwise we shall not understand the gospel of salvation from wrath, nor the propitiatory achievement of the cross, nor the wonder of the redeeming love of God. Nor shall we understand the hand of God in history and God’s present dealings with our own people; nor shall we be able to make head or tail of the book of Revelation; nor will our evangelism have the urgency enjoined by Jude—“save some, by snatching them out of the fire” (Jude 23 RSV). Neither our knowledge of God nor our service to him will be in accord with his Word.

Learn more: 

  1. Blue Letter Bible, Don Stewart: What Is the Wrath of God?
  2. Bob Deffinbaugh: The Wrath of God
  3. Sam Storms: Justice and Wrath
  4. From my attributes of God posts: God As Judge

Do you have a a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it.

I’m also interested in any suggestions you have for tweaking my definitions or for additional (or better) articles or sermons/lectures for linking. I’ll give you credit and a link back to your blog if I use your suggestion.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms organized in alphabetical order or by topic.

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Reader Comments (2)

Such an unpopular term these days...

I posted a series on God's wrath a year or so ago. The attribute is ascribed to God in Scripture at least as often as the attribute of love.

September 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

And unless we know of the wrath, how can we really know the love?

September 19, 2009 | Registered Commenterrebecca

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