Do Believers Experience The Wrath Of God? -- By: René A. López

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 15:2 (Autumn 2002)
Article: Do Believers Experience The Wrath Of God?
Author: René A. López

Do Believers Experience
The Wrath Of God?

René A. López

Dallas, Texas

I. Introduction

All who teach the grace message know the importance of defining concepts and words in order to interpret the Bible correctly. For this reason, grace advocates are serious when it comes to clarifying God’s message of grace. Yet, how serious and clear are we when it comes to understanding God’s message of wrath? Unfortunately, many Christians assume that whenever the expression “God’s wrath” appears in the Bible it usually means eternal judgment that falls only upon the unregenerate (Rom 1:18–3:20).1 This common interpretation surfaces two questions that will be answered in this article: “Do the Scriptures reveal the subject of God’s wrath to be temporal in nature2 and does God’s wrath fall

equally on sinning believers as well as unbelievers?” The Greek word for “wrath” (orgē), with God as its executor, appears in Romans far more than any other NT book. Because Romans is written to Christians (1:7, 15), it will be vital to examine each passage where wrath appears in the epistle in order to meet this article’s objective. But first, it will be necessary to survey the OT and NT occurrences (outside of Romans) in order to see whether God’s wrath is temporal in nature and whether it falls equally upon sinning believers as well as unbelievers.

II. God’s Wrath in the Old Testament

The Septuagint translates the Hebrew words ʾap, ʿeb̮ra, qeṣep, and ḥārôn3 with the Greek words orgē and thymos. Sometimes a combination of both is used (Deut 9:19). Although there are four Hebrew words translated as “wrath” and/or “anger” in the English translations, ʾap is the most common.4

In the OT, God’s wrath is poured out against sinning nations and even His own people, Israel. First, the unbelieving nations and their kings are objects of God’s temporal wrath. This is a concept that permeates the OT (Isa 13:9,

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