Is it scripturally accurate to tell everyone, “God is not mad at you” ?
Certainly, God is not angry with his people who love him, nor is God angry with those who are in bondage to sin, but desire freedom from their sins. However, God does get angry with the ungodly who despise him and who love wickedness.
If no one is under the wrath of God, the words of John the Baptist would be untrue: He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. ~ John 3:16
The words of John the Baptist belong to the same context in which we find the words of Jesus: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. ~ John 3:16
When we consider the words of Jesus within of context of John 3, we learn that God’s love in the giving of his Son is his provision to save people from his judgment against ungodliness, which does indeed provoke his wrath.
Consider with me the following from verses 14-15:
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Now consider the Old Testament account from which Jesus references:
5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.
6 And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.
7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
8 And the Lord said unto Moses, make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. ~ Numbers 21:5-9
The serpent of brass which God commanded Moses to make was the atoning provision to save the people from the judgment which God had sent. Notice that the text says: And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. ~ v.6
According to Jesus, this was a type of how God would deliver us from our sins, and it was an Old Testament foreshadowing of how God would display his love for us in Jesus Christ.
Sinful man is under the judgment of God, but God sent his son to be the atoning sacrifice for the sins of all who will repent and turn to him, and this is how God so loved the world: He gave his only begotten Son so that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have eternal life. ~ John 3:16
Now consider verses 17 – 21:
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. ~ John 3:16 – 21
This is the context to which the words of John the Baptist in verse 36 belong: He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
God gave his Son to bestow his love on all who would humbly turn from their sins, with the condition, that the recipients of his love turn from their sins.
Those who refuse to turn from their sins by rejecting the precious gift of God, given through the offering of his Son, have consequently rejected the love of God. Therefore, they are condemned, and are under God’s wrath.
This will become clearer as we continue.
Whether we like it or not, there are people throughout the world who hate God because they love their sins. God’s love is extended to them, calling them to repentance. If they persist in their rebellion against God, refusing to humble themselves, they will be judged and damned in their sins. In this way, they are under the wrath of God.
The New Testament teaches that God has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man he has appointed: Jesus Christ. ~ Acts 17:31
God has given his Son as the witness of himself, and in the Son, God offers forgiveness, grace, and mercy, to all people. Those who believe God’s witness, in his Son, receive life everlasting.
9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.
10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. ~ 1 John 5:9-13
He who rejects the Son of God, rejects the love, mercy, and grace God has offered him, and as the apostle John says above, God hath made him a liar.
God is holy and just to be displeased and even angry with those who refuse to humble themselves before him so that they may receive mercy and grace.
On the day of judgement, those who reject God’s love will have no intercessor or advocate to defend them. They will stand before a holy and righteous God with all their sins exposed before him. They will be judged for their sins because of their defiance of his goodness, and their rejection of the love he offered them in Jesus.
For them, there will no forgiveness when they stand before God. They will be judged, not by God’s compassion, but by God’s wrath. Therefore Paul tells the Corinthians, Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:11
If no one were under the wrath of God, as some teach, Paul would have never told the Thessalonians that the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus, and who were hindering his ministry to the Gentiles, were under God’s wrath. ~ 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16
Think about it. Paul believed the hostile Jews who put Jesus to death and who continued in their hostility by opposing the gospel, were under the wrath of God. Paul says this in his first letter to the Thessalonians, in the New Testament, after the death and resurrection of Jesus. Yet there are modern day teachers who claim that no one is under God’s wrath because of their “theological” claims that God poured out his wrath on Jesus.
One well know minister has said the following: Jesus forever changed the way God relates to mankind. Sure, there are scriptural examples of God’s catastrophic judgment on sin. But God’s greatest act of judgment was when He placed all of His wrath for our sins upon Jesus. This forever satisfied God’s wrath. Since that time, God hasn’t been judging our sins.
If no one is under the wrath of God, Paul would have never said what he did to the Thessalonians (cited above), nor would he have instructed believers not to take vengeance because God says he will repay and vengeance belongs to the Lord. ~ Romans 12:19
If no one is under the wrath of God, as these teachers claim, Paul would not have taught that we who follow Jesus are not appointed to wrath at the coming of the Lord, but those who refuse to obey the gospel are under the wrath of God when Christ comes. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:8 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10
If no one is under the wrath of God, the author of Hebrews would never have said that those who turn away from the Lord have nothing to look forward to except for a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. ~ Hebrews 10:27, 30-31
When ministers teach, as a sweeping statement, God is not mad or angry with you, they are not handling the word of God correctly. The ideology that God is not angry with anyone is predicated on the belief that God poured out all his wrath on Jesus, and therefore he will no longer be angry with anyone, nor judge sin.
Yet the apostle Peter tells us God turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes and condemned them with an overthrow, making them an example unto those that after should live ungodly; and delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished, ~ 2 Peter 2:6-9
The apostle Peter also declared: For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? ~ 1 Peter 4:17
The teacher whose comment is referenced above has made a bold statement based on his theological assessment that God placed all his wrath on Jesus. The ideology that God placed all his wrath on Jesus is not Biblical doctrine.
According to the Bible, Jesus suffered under the wrath of men, who opposed God and Jesus. ~ Acts 4:25-27.
In Acts 7, Stephen asserted that Jesus had been murdered. Stephen declared this to those who were about to stone him, saying to them that they had been “the betrayers and murderers of Jesus.” ~ Acts 7:52
According to the prophet Isaiah, and Philip preaching to the Eunuch, Jesus was deprived of justice from the time of his arrest until his death on the cross. ~ Isaiah 53:8, Acts 8:33
In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. ~ Acts 8:33
Other translations say the following:
- He was humiliated and received no justice …(NLT)
- In his humiliation he was taken away by distressing and oppressive judgment and justice was denied him …(Amplified Bible)
- In his humiliation justice was denied him …(Holman Christian Standard Bible)
Acts 8:33 is a quote from Isaiah 53:8: He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
Other translations say the following:
- Unjustly condemned, he was led away… (New Living Translation).
- By oppression and judgment he was taken away… (Amplified Bible).
- He was condemned to death without a fair trial… (Contemporary English Version).
As Jesus prepared his disciples for the things he was to suffer in his death, he told his disciples that he would suffer at the hands of men. ~ Matthew 16:21; 17:9, 22-23; 20:17-19; 26:1-2, 24, 31, 45; 26:51-56; Mark 8:31; 9:9-11, 31-32, 10:32-34; 14:27, 43-50; 15:27-28; Luke 9:21-22, 44-45; 17:24-25; 18:31-34; 22:37; 24:1-8, 13-27, 44-48; John 18:31-32; 19:24, 28
In the book of Acts, the declaration of the gospel by the apostles and men like Stephen, was that Jesus had suffered an unjust death at the hands of sinful men. ~ Acts 2:22-24, 36; 3:13-18; 4:10-11, 20, 23- 28; 5:30-32; 7:52; 10:36-43
Neither Jesus, nor any of his followers in scripture ever preached that Jesus died under the wrath of God. They always attributed the death of Christ to the hands of sinful men, and they preached the resurrection as God’s righteous vindication of His Son, Jesus.
According to the apostle Peter, the sufferings Jesus endured serves as our example of how we are to respond when we suffer wrongfully.
19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow in his steps:
22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. ~ 1 Peter 2:19-25
Notice that in view of Jesus suffering for us, Peter says that Jesus committed himself to God who judges righteously, setting an example that we should follow when we suffer wrongfully. Peter would not have said this if Jesus had suffered under God’s righteous wrath.
According to the author of Hebrews, Jesus endured hostility from sinners when he died on the cross (Hebrews 12:2-3) and he endured such hostility by the grace of God. ~ Hebrews 2:9
Paul tells us in Romans, the reproaches of those who reproached (defamed) God fell upon Jesus. ~ Romans 15:3
Jesus was crucified by those who were in opposition to God. The condemnation Jesus endured from sinful men, was sinful man’s opposition against God. This is exactly why the disciples prayed in Acts 4 saying: The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and his Christ. ~ Acts 4:26
Within the context of Acts 4:26 (mentioned above) the disciples of the Lord made appeal to Psalm 2, which clearly reveals that Jesus was condemned, not by the wrath of God, but by the wrath of sinful men: why do THE HEATHEN RAGE and the people imagine vain thing.
Heathen raging, is an expression of the heathen’s wrath. Jesus died under the wrath of heathen, and not the wrath of a holy God. The hatred and opposition from sinful men, who condemned Jesus to death, was hatred and opposition against God who sent Jesus. This is what the four gospels and the book of Acts repeatedly give testimony concerning.
According to Jesus, God was with him when he gave his life (John 8:29; 16:28-32) and this is exactly what the prophet Isaiah said. ~ Isaiah 50:5-9
Jesus endure such opposition from sinful men in order that he might give his life as a sacrifice for our sins. Jesus is the gift of God to us, but he is also the gift to God on our behalf, for he gave himself to God as a holy sacrifice, as a sweet -savor offering (Ephesians 5:2), when he offered his holy life on the altar of the cross for us.
The one who desires to obey God is NOT under God’s wrath. The one who despises God and rejects his goodness is. Those who abduct children, rape children, murder innocent people, live in adultery, mock Jesus, etc., are absolutely under God’s wrath. Only by repenting and being saved through the cross, is the wrath of God turned away from such people.
God patiently gives them space to repent, but God is not, “not angry”, with them. He is angry with the wicked every day. ~ Psalm 7:11
But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh THE WRATH OF GOD upon the children of disobedience. ~ Ephesians 5:3-6