This week we will continue our series on the study of the “works of the flesh” in Galatians 5:19-21 with “wrath” and see just how destructive it is.
Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
The Greek word for “wrath” in this verse is thumos (Strong’s #2372) and means: fierceness, indignation, wrath, an outburst of passion, wrath. From thuo; passion (as if breathing hard) — fierceness, indignation, wrath. Compare psuche. (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance).
Sinful wrath is a sudden uncontrolled violent thoughtless outburst of fury very often from selfish motivations; godly wrath is a carefully thought out response to wickedness for the express purpose of correcting and thereby saving the wicked from the path to misery, decay and death which they have embarked upon.
This kind of wrath which is another word for uncontrolled anger or rage is everywhere. We see it every day in varying degrees; outbursts of anger; people becoming easily offended at the slightest provocation, frustration at simple inconveniences in life; violence directed at those that don’t do what they want them to do; tempers flare at those they perceive as hurting them and they want to get even; and sometimes anger can even lead to murder in a fit of rage. The headlines it seems, daily now, report the news of people who go on a shooting or stabbing rampage and murder innocent people who were in the wrong place when this person decided to take out his frustrations.
In these modern times it seems that we are exposed to anger and rage more and more; in our homes, our workplaces, our schools, in shopping malls. [Just look at what happens on “Black Friday”!]. Crime statistics keep climbing in the area of domestic violence, child abuse, riots, road rage, street fights and racial tensions.
All of us struggle with anger at times and it is something that begins from infancy. Those who have children or those who care for children know that even babies can get “mad” at times. And they don’t even seem to need be taught how to have temper tantrums; it just comes naturally.
Like many we too have our struggles against the “works of the flesh” and we usually know (painfully) very well what our weaknesses are, and perhaps those closest to us may have come to know our failings even better than we do.
But God had many such things recorded for all the world to read about in the Bible as an example for our instruction. The Lord inspired the writers of Scripture to record some men’s weak moments so that we could read about them and learn from them, but also to be encouraged by how they overcame their weaknesses.
The accounts are there in the Bible as lessons for those who would come after to show us that these great men are just like we are. Why? Because everyone has certain weaknesses; just like the great men and women of the Bible had their own weaknesses. God has also recorded how they dealt with and overcame their problems and He lets us know in another place in the Bible (Hebrews 11) that these same men and women who did repent and did overcome will be in God’s Kingdom.
God gives us these examples in Scripture to show us the consequences of such behavior and that we are not to replicate their mistakes. On the other hand God gives us assurance that even though all have weaknesses and we struggle in areas where each of us need to overcome; we can be encouraged by their examples to never give up when we make mistakes. Like these great men of the Bible, we must keep fighting our battles that we have of the flesh; learning to look to God to help us in all of our spiritual battles and to seek His forgiveness when we do fail.
If these great men (like Moses and David) who did wonderful exploits for God, had times of weaknesses (or anger or lust issues) and could overcome them with God’s help, then all of God’s called-out ones can follow their examples of determination to overcome their weaknesses. We too can have hope that it is possible to have victory over anger, and the rest of the “works of the flesh” that are listed in Galatians 5. With men this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)
But when we neglect to control our emotions and give in to moments of uncontrolled wrath and frustration, we can in a matter of seconds or minutes, bring about negative consequences to our lives, just as Moses’ sudden angry outburst in striking the rock did.
How we handle those emotions can make a big difference to the outcome of whatever it is that we are facing. The way we handle a certain frustration or problem which comes up in our lives can either “make us or break us”; it can help take our character to a higher level if we handle it right; or if we let anger take over, it could bring disastrous consequences such as ruining a cherished relationship.
Be Angry and Sin Not
As we saw earlier, the dictionary defines wrath a and can manifest itself as anything from a sarcastic or rude remark all the way to a passionate outburst or violent fit of rage. God tells us through the apostle Paul that this behavior is unacceptable to Him and He wants us to put uncontrolled fury away from us.
Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Ephesians 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: [your exasperation, your fury or indignation] 4:27 Neither give place to the devil.
Leave no opening for the devil to gain a foothold on us; give no opportunity to him.
This verse shows that it is natural to get angry at times, just like it is natural to have other human emotions and it is not necessarily wrong to have those emotions. But it’s what we do with those emotions, including anger, that counts!
Paul exhorts us to get control of it quickly ( i.e. “let not the sun go down upon your wrath”). The next verse tells us what happens if we don’t get control of it quickly; we open a door of opportunity for Satan to do a work in our life as a result of not controlling our angry feelings and then venting them in negative and explosive ways; just as Satan would like us to do.
Uncontrolled anger causes very troubling spiritual problems. For one thing, a person that is angry will lack inner peace and joy. The working of God’s Holy Spirit in us is impeded when we let uncontrolled anger [wrath, fury] rule in our hearts.
Hidden anger can be just as devastating as explosive violent anger, as it will manifest itself in passive aggressive ways or eventually implode by bringing severe psychosomatic health problems. Both types of wrath are destructive and are devastating “works of the flesh.”
And if we hold pent up anger continually over the years trying to just stuff it and deceive ourselves and others that we are not angry, it can become a walking time bomb that can go off in ways that we cannot foresee or even imagine. We see evidence of this in the daily news where someone who was thought of as meek and mild, one day shoots up his work place or his school. Wrath is an emotion that we must not dismiss as something minor that does not need to be seriously addressed, especially for those who profess to be followers of Christ.
Genesis 4:5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, [angry and indignant] and his countenance fell [looked sad and depressed]. 4:6 And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 4:7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. [sin crouches at your door: its desire is for you, but you must master it]
Cain actually had the privilege of having Elohim, who later became Jesus Christ, speak to him personally on this matter, and even then, he refused to listen to His advice and went ahead and let his fury rule his actions. He killed Abel, rather than humbling himself and admitting that he was wrong.
There are many verses in the Bible that have to do with uncontrolled anger and the importance of keeping it in check. Some very good ones to study and meditate on and then apply to ourselves are found in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.
Sinful Anger Versus Righteous Anger
Just like grief, joy, sadness, fear, desire; anger too is a basic human emotion. If not controlled properly or kept in balance; any one of these emotions can be sinful and destructive. But if properly channeled with the help of God’s Holy Spirit, they can be used for godly purposes. We all get angry from time to time, and we can either use our anger to motivate ourselves to try to rectify the problem in a positive way; or we can allow anger to control our words and actions causing damage and harm to ourselves and others.
How can anger be used in a positive way? Jesus on many occasions displayed anger but it was a righteous anger and it was used to bring about good or to rebuke evil.
John 2:14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:2:15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; 2:16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.2:17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up. (See also Matthew 21:12-13 where He did this on another occasion)
Isaiah 56:7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.
From his quote as written in John 2:14 we can see that Jesus was thinking of this verse from Isaiah and it angered Him that these greedy merchants were making a mockery of what His Father’s house was supposed to represent. They had brought dishonor and blasphemy with their corruption by taking advantage of the people who had come to genuinely worship God and offer up their sacrifices. It was because of His hatred of evil and the blasphemy against His Father that Jesus became justifiably angry.
He then made a scourge of small cords and cleansed the temple by literally driving the moneychangers out. He was directing His anger toward the people’s sin and it was a demonstration of His intolerance to it. He controlled Himself at all times by the power and the fruit of God’s Holy Spirit.
By Christ’s example of righteous indignation expressed in a controlled manner; if he had been out of control he could have completely destroyed them, He implies that we too should hate evil enough to become angry when we see sin running rampant and we have the opportunity to speak out against it.
Using Our Anger to Motivate Us to Do Good
This is a lesson for us that we should have righteous anger when it comes to sin and evil. Paul in Ephesians 4 says “be angry” [be righteously indignant at injustice and sin] with the caveat that we are to use it to do good in the world against the forces of darkness.
David also says in one of his psalms: “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.” (Psalm 97:10)
And another place David says that God is angry with the wicked every day.
Psalm 7:11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.
If we love God and love everything that He is about, than we too will hate evil and be angry with the wicked. We watch what is happening in the world, the horrible, wicked things that people do to each other and especially to the innocent little children and it can make us very angry. One thing we can do is to pray passionately for God’s Kingdom to come soon. Throughout the ages God’s people have witnessed the evil in the world and God commends those who cry and sigh for the abominations that are done against humanity.
In fact it is our duty to be angry in a controlled manner at the injustices we see; but we must never be angry in a sinful manner, never let anger grow into bitterness or allow anger to get out of control.
As far as men making merchandise of God’s people, this too is still happening in our modern day Ekklesia, which is the spiritual temple of God. There are those who are making a mockery of what God’s purpose is for the church and are taking advantage of the people’s sincere desire to follow and worship God. These leaders do this by teaching them traditions of men and there are a few that actually demand that church members send them huge offerings, get second mortgages on their homes, sell their personal belongings and send it to their headquarters. Some leaders teach non-Biblical things about extra tithes and offerings that are not even commanded by God in either the Old or the New Testament.
When we read about some of these organizations and their leaders that are misleading their members with their false doctrine and telling them that they must do whatever they say to be one of the first fruits and to be part of the resurrection of the just; so we too can feel godly righteous indignation like Jesus did and want to “chase them out” and then direct the people to God, and let them know that it is Him only that we are to obey and to only follow men as they follow Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1).
And we can only know if men are truly following Christ by doing our own study and researching of what the Bible teaches, proving what traditions are true from the Bible and what are from man’s own imaginations. (Revelation 2:2)
No, we cannot chase men out with whips in our day and age but we are to lift up our voices like a trumpet and show all the people their sin of following and supporting these false leaders and refusing to check up on the false doctrine that they propagate. God commands us to use our emotions, including anger in this way as a form of righteous anger or zeal to turn the people back to Him.
Isaiah 58:1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. 58:2 Yet they seek me daily, [earnestly] and delight to know my ways, [as if they were in reality] as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God [with appearances and lip service only, but not with a whole heart].
In Isaiah’s day, the nation of Israel was insincerely worshiping God and it was necessary for God to send Isaiah to wake them up to the fact that they were only going through the motions and that their hearts were not sincere in their obedience to God. They were not wholeheartedly obeying all of His commandments, statutes and ordinances. They were keeping these things in name only, making an appearance that they were righteous by outward religious activity; but they were not really keeping God’s commandments in their day to day activities and in how they treated each other.
This is exactly what has been happening and is still happening in the spiritual nation of Israel (the Israel of God – Galatians 6:16) in these last days. Some of God’s faithful people are sincere and are coming out from this kind of worship and there is a growing movement of a few who are seeking God with all of their hearts and gladly accepting correct understanding after proving certain things from their study of the Scripture for themselves.
Jesus’ Anger for the Pharisee’s Lack of Compassion
Another example of righteous anger that Jesus exhibited for us was when He entered the synagogue and saw a man with a withered hand and then witnessed the hard hardheartedness of the religious rulers.
Mark 3:1 And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. 3:2 And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him. 3:3 And he saith unto the ma n which had the withered hand, Stand forth. 3:4 And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. 3:5 And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
The religious leaders and the Pharisees were watching Jesus to see if He would heal this man on the Sabbath day, just so they could accuse Him if He did. And Jesus asked them “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil?” and they would not answer him but kept quiet. He went ahead and healed the man’s withered had and made it completely whole again.
Jesus could see through their hard hardheartedness and their hatred for this man and it ANGERED Him. It grieved Him to think that these men who claimed to be the epitome of righteousness as the religious leaders of the people, would be so cold and lacking in love, compassion, and mercy, by trying to deny this man a healing of a debilitating disability. They had their man-made rules of what they believed constituted the keeping of the Sabbath day and did not want Jesus to heal this man. They were spiritually blind to the concepts of mercy and compassion of God for this disabled man.
But Jesus cared nothing about what they would think but healed the man anyway and showing these self-righteous Pharisees that they were wrong. He demonstrated a righteous anger and it spurred Him to put these hypocritical leaders in their place with His question to them (a type of rebuke) and then going ahead and healing this man in spite what these leaders were thinking of in their hearts.
Anger that is sin is called wrath and is uncontrolled fury and is usually selfish; it is a work of the flesh, and occurs when we feel we have been slighted, neglected of our needs and desires, or our demands are not being met, or when some one gets in our way (think road rage).
It is rooted in pride, for we think we are deserving of respect, preferential treatment or privileges and when some one steps on our toes, we tend to think “how dare he (or she).” We then feel a need to give a peace of our mind to that person as to how they should be properly treating us. Or what they should be doing to make things easier for us; we want to punish those that offend us by retaliating, wanting to make them feel the same kind of pain that we have “suffered”.
Anger that is sin concentrates on satisfying the self and its desires and preferences; or it’s getting perturbed when we don’t get our own way. Sometimes anger comes as a result of ego because the person who is angry is all about himself and his own “self-importance”.
When we do not control our selfish anger, it leads to sin, causing us to do things that we may regret after we do them. On the other hand righteous anger is restrained and it is directed at sin and injustices, not necessarily people.
The Anger of Righteous Indignation at Evil
As we saw earlier, Jesus was angry at the merchants because they were using the necessity of the people to exchange their money or to buy animals for proper sacrifice, in order to take advantage of them to make a profit and line their own pockets. In Mark 3, we read that Jesus was angry at the religious leaders for their lack of compassion for the man with a withered hand.
We can also read the whole chapter of Matthew 23 of how Jesus showed anger for many other things that the Scribes and Pharisees were doing and for their hypocritical attitudes.
Righteous anger seeks to rectify real wrongs and to stop wickedness; it contains no malice or hostility, it doesn’t seek to retaliate or to hurt people and it does not grow into bitterness against others but only wants to see them repent for their own good and for the good of others.
Righteous anger comes from the sound mind that God has given to us when we are imbued with His Holy Spirit. We are to let His Spirit guide us rather than the spirit of Satan that influences us toward becoming emotionally charged and then taking things into our own hands. By using God’s Spirit, which is the spirit of a sound mind, we can grow into spiritual emotional maturity, by bringing into alignment our feelings and passions with the mind of Christ and having our mind always on God’s laws, principles, and precepts and meditating on them day and night rather than focusing on past hurts and grievances.
As Paul told Timothy, and he is also saying to us, stir up the gift of God, filling ourselves up with the oil of His Holy Spirit that we received at baptism and laying on of hands and exercise the mind of God which is a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
God wants us to remain calm and to use wisdom, to use our minds to intelligently reason out what the best course of action should be in any given situation; to seek Him in prayer and to seek His wisdom by going directly to His Word to see what He has to say about a particular situation in the Bible that may be similar to what we are going through.
We can pray for discernment of the truth and the proper handling of a situation. Perhaps the injustices are against us personally and to take things into our own hands would be an ungodly thing to do.
We may need to seek to have humility, knowing that all we can really do is suffer for righteousness sake and let God take care of the situation in His own way. Our spiritual battles belong to the Lord and He will fight them in His way and in His perfect timing.
1 Corinthians 6:1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 6:3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? 6:4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. 6:5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? 6:6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. 6:7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? 6:8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.
Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 12:20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 12:21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
Discerning between the two kinds of anger can be tricky, for we can deceive ourselves into thinking that our anger is righteous when in fact we may be angry for selfish reasons. This is an area where all of us will be tested from time to time, but with God’s help we can grow to be able to tell the difference as we spiritually mature and seek to overcome any anger problem we may have.
James 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:1:20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
Steps We Can Take to Overcome Wrath [Uncontrolled and Sinful Anger]
So what steps can we take to help us to overcome this work of the flesh that God calls “wrath” in Galatians 5?
When we see sinful anger working in our flesh we must recognize it and acknowledge that we do have a anger problem to ourselves and to God. We must go to those we may have hurt with our anger and ask them for forgiveness, but our real sin is toward God. (Psalm 51:4) In fact reading the whole chapter of Psalm 51 is a good place to start. We then can read the following verses that are very helpful in reminding ourselves that God is merciful, He understands and He will provide us with the help we need if we genuinely repent and then earnestly seek His spiritual help.
1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Then we must search our hearts to determine what is causing our anger. If Cain would have done this, he would have seen that it was his jealousy of Abel that was causing him to be angry.
Wrath or anger is really a symptom of what is going on in our heart. It could be fear, because sometimes we fear losing something that we already have, so we get angry when someone threatens to take away something that we don’t want to lose.
We may be too exacting in our expectations of others and get angry when they “don’t measure” up to our idea of perfectionism. We mentioned earlier, pride and selfishness; there are many underlying reasons for people to harbor anger.
This article only touches the surface of the subject of anger, for there are many verses in the Bible that address anger and its causes. There are many examples of anger and what it has done throughout history in many of the books of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. If you do a word search on anger, wrath, strife, you will see that this subject is vast but is very much worth the time to do an in-depth Bible Study on it.
After determining what is really causing our anger we can seek to replace the anger with the fruits of God’s Spirit. If we seek to have the fruit which is love, peace, joy, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith (that all things will work together for the good if we love God) meekness (humility), and temperance (self-control). Each and every one of these fruits of the Spirit will serve to counteract uncontrolled wrath, (and all the other works of the flesh as well).
We can overcome anger if we forgive those who hurt us even before they ask us for forgiveness, (and they may never ask us for forgiveness) and by not holding grudges or bitterness against anyone, including our own selves. Patience and forgiveness are two very powerful tools in combating anger. If we stubbornly refuse to forgive others it will turn into anger that becomes toxic and then turns into bitterness. The secret to getting rid of anger is to be able to forgive. But if a person can’t forgive, if he can not release his anger, then it is a sinful anger and he will begin to think of ways to do harm. This is what Paul calls “malice”; the end result of sinful anger is malice means that you really desire to harm in some way to get even.
Therefore we must control our anger, by controlling our thoughts and what comes out of our mouths. We must show empathy and compassion for one another, being sensitive to each others needs, and be forgiving to others when they offend us just as God forgave us. Often we just need to exercise patience, knowing that usually people just don’t know any better when they annoy us or say evil things against us; realizing that God in His patience and perseverance may be working in ways with them that we just cannot see yet.
Paul’s following advice to the Ephesians is timeless in combating anger, and if we could only follow it and apply it we would avoid many misunderstandings, hurt feelings, severed relationships, congregations splitting from each other, and on and on.
The more we become grounded and settled in our own relationship with God, having faith in His Providence and Sovereignty over all things, the more equipped we will be in our fight against this destructive force (work of the flesh) we call “wrath”.
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
If God is calling us and has given us His Spirit, then we can overcome the ways of the world (including the way it expresses anger) and God will give us the victory over this work of the flesh. We need to be in God’s Word daily and in this way we take on His very own divine nature.
1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5:5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
Galatians 2:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. 20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
We need to engrave this verse into our hearts, for it is only by Christ living in us, empowering us if we have believed the Gospel, repented of our sins and have applied Christ’s atoning sacrifice to all our sins and then resolve to go and sin no more. Only then can we triumph in our Christian walk and have any victory over all the works of the flesh, including any anger problem we may have.
Moses Overcame His Wrath Problem and So Should We
What finally happened to Moses after he sinned by striking the rock in his anger? In chapter 32 of Deuteronomy we read that he was not allowed to go into the Promised Land with the children of Israel.
Deuteronomy 32:48 And the Lord spake unto Moses that selfsame day, saying, 32:49 Get thee up into this mountain Abarim, unto mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and behold the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel for a possession: 32:50 And die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people: 32:51 Because ye trespassed against me among the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; because ye sanctified me not in the midst of the children of Israel. 32:52 Yet thou shalt see the land before thee; but thou shalt not go thither unto the land which I give the children of Israel.
But not to worry; for Moses is listed in the faith chapter (Hebrews 11:23-29) as one that was faithful and will be in God’s kingdom. Moses just like Abraham (and as we are to do), “looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (Hebrews 11:10)
Moses appeared in the transfiguration vision along with Elijah (Matthew 17:1-4) and God would not have featured Moses in this way to the disciples if Moses had disqualified himself because of his outburst of anger.
Moses was already 120 years old when they reached the Promised Land. When he brought the children of Israel right up to the edge of the land, his job was finished, and it was now up to Joshua to take up the mantle of leadership and take them in to the land to conquer their possession.
God perhaps used the consequence of not being able to enter the land to show Moses (and those learning from this Biblical example) the seriousness of uncontrolled wrath; but Moses repented and was forgiven and will be there in the coming spiritual Promised Land.
Hebrews 11:13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.
Hebrews 11:16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.
Along with Peter, perhaps Moses could say to us as well:
1 Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, [including anger] which war against the soul;
Moses was one of the greatest men to have lived on earth and he did overcome his anger problem and he will be a king and priest in God’s Kingdom.
If we remain faithful, endure to the end, and overcome our sins, including any anger problem that we may have, we too will be with him along with all the rest of God’s faithful people.
Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
But now ye also put off all these;
anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy,
filthy communication out of your mouth
Romans 1:18-20 Commentary
The Wrath of God
Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
If wrath is such a negative emotion and can wreak such devastation in our lives, then what is the “wrath of God” all about? If wrath is one of the works of the flesh, how can it be a useful tool in the hands of a loving and just God?
This subject can be difficult to understand because the world and it’s religions for the most part teach a misconstrued idea of the love of God and of His grace; they advocate that because of His love for us He tolerates people’s sin.
Most of us were taught before we were called by God that “Christ died for us and therefore the law is done away because He kept the law for us.” Or that “God’s laws were nailed to the cross”. The doctrine of “eternal security” teaches that those who just profess “Christ as personal Savior” are saved and can never lose their salvation no matter how they live: “once saved, always saved.”
There are many books, sermons, articles that focus on the more seemingly positive aspects of God; like “God loves everybody and there are many paths to God; we can pick and choose the path we want to take to finally meet up with Him someday.” These kinds of teachings permeate our modern day culture and sometimes even show up in movies and television shows. Even if we see the lack of logic of such thinking we can still be influenced into not taking seriously the side of God that says that He is an angry God and that He is angry at the sinner every day.
Psalm 7:11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.
Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 10:27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
Hebrews 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
People misinterpret God’s blessings as rewards for being pretty good people and don’t like the thought of being recipients of His wrath. Today the Israelite nations have been under God’s blessings. We have lived in a “land flowing with milk and honey” because of the promises made to our forefathers and we have enjoyed an affluence unprecedented in all of history. The people living in such affluence begin to believe it is because they are entitled or have somehow earned the protection and prosperity that they have enjoyed. Therefore they think nothing “bad” can happen to them.
The baby boomer generation and those born after, have lived in the most prosperous time in all of history, so when someone brings up the subject of God’s wrath, that person is usually looked upon as judgmental and negative because the majority believes that national catastrophe will never happen in their counry. Most of us would rather hear about love, peace, grace, and how to prosper rather than hear about how God is angry with us.
We very much live in an ungodly politically correct world today. This “political correctness” is becoming more and more pervasive making its way into becoming the law of the land with its proponents persecuting and punishing those who do not agree with their “progressiveness”, just as it was in Isaiah’s day.
God says in Isaiah 30:9-10, “That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: 30:10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: 30:11 Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us..”
In ancient Israel when the people departed from their covenant promises and instead embraced the idolatry of the surrounding nations, the people did not want to hear about God’s truth and about His laws. It is the same today in modern day Israel; they do not want to hear the truth, especially about God’s wrath.
This has occurred in our nations and has also occurred and continues to happen in the church of God to this day. There are those who are tickling people’s ears with their teaching and preaching the traditions of men (fables) as they seek to entertain the people rather than teach them sound doctrine.
Jesus said about the people in His day and foretells of what it would be like thereafter.
Matthew 13:15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Romans 1:18-20 says if people do not hear and follow God’s Word, if they reject God as their Creator, and replace the worship of Him with the worship of created things, they will come under God’s wrath.
Many in the Ekklesia do not want to hear what the Bible says about drunkenness, adultery, fornication, lying, unequally yoked marriages, divorce and remarriage, not polluting the Sabbath or any of the other sinful activities that cause people to incur God’s wrath .
People do not want to give up their sinful behavior and for this reason many elders in the church are not preaching and teaching the whole counsel of God. People complain if sermons are too “negative” and in essence want their teachers to “speak to us smooth things”. For the most part many elders are preaching and teaching only what the people want to hear and what will bring in new “converts”. And now in some segments of the church many of the sermons and articles that are being presented in the church would be readily acceptable in any mainstream Protestant church.
The reason for this neglect to teach about God’s wrath becomes apparent when we understand what is going on. Most people want to hear “smooth things” and the topic concerning the “wrath of God” is hard for people to think about or accept. So it is easier for the elders to just overlook this subject and instead talk about the more positive aspects of God’s love; for many in the world and even now in the Ekklesia think that God’s wrath is inconsistent with His love.
In our modern day society the subject of divine wrath has become taboo and people just don’t want to hear about it. Yet, the Bible has much to say about the wrath of God . If you were to do a word search on “God’s anger”, “wrath of God”, “God’s indignation” or “God’s vengeance” you would be amazed at how many times God brings up the subject. The Bible is filled with warnings about God’s wrath and about His condemnation against rebellion and wickedness. God speaks plainly about this subject and for good reason, so it is in our best interest to learn about the “wrath of God” and do all in our power to come out from being the objects of His wrath.
The study of God’s wrath in the Bible is vast and would take quite a number of articles to explain the various aspects, the prophecies and all the ramifications of what the wrath of God entails. For this short commentary we just want to touch upon the subject briefly as per the definition of God’s wrath compared to what it means to manifest man’s wrath by the works of the flesh; and also some of the things that Paul had to say about it in his epistles, most specifically in Romans 1:18-32.
The Real Meaning of God’s Wrath
There is quite a difference in the definition of wrath as one of God’s attributes compared to the definition of wrath that is a work of the flesh. It is important to get a proper definition because when we use the word “wrath” we tend to think of uncontrolled anger, losing one’s temper, or holding a grudge.
A more decriptive definition comes from the HELPS Word-studies which has this to say about the kind of wrath that God has:
God’s wrath is God’s “settled hostility” [or opposition] against unrepented sin in all its various manifestations. The words “settled hostility” means that God’s holiness cannot and will not coexist with sin in any form whatsoever; Godly wrath is God’s righteous indignation at everything that is wicked and evil.
God’s wrath is His holy righteous hatred of all that is unholy and leads to misery, decay and death; and comes out of God’s passionate love for truth and for his creation.
God’s righteous wrath corrects the sinner so that he will sincerely repent and will be saved from the path to destruction to receive the gift of eternal life in peace and prosperity.
Which means that God’s wrath is not the same thing as the wrath that we observe in man when men are manifesting the works of the flesh. God’s wrath is not uncontrollable rage, an outburst of passion or vindictive bitterness, and God does not lose His temper.
God is pure holiness and when He sees the wicked deeds of men it causes Him to become righteously angry. The same when He deals with rebellion, He does not overlook it and because God is just, He will bring about justice through His wrath.
Because God is righteous, holy, good, just, pure and loves His creation He will not tolerate sin and will not sit idly by while mankind destroys himself, others and the earth. He is not going to tolerate mankind denying His existence and His holy commandments. Wrath is in essence an aspect of God’s love for humans.
*Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
These verses say that God pronounces His judgment on all sinning mankind because they reject the knowledge of God and refuse to acknowledge Him as the Creator of all living things and all that is in heaven and earth.
God is righteously angry with men and women for they are without excuse.
Because mankind is in rebellion to the only way to life, God has to respond and He does it by pouring out His wrath on wickedness until the wicked are humbled and sincerely repent. Paul continues in Romans 1:21-32 with the reasons for which God is going to exercise His wrath from heaven.
Romans 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 1:23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 1:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 1:31 Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
God is fair and will judge according to how much of the truth a nation or a person has and even if they are not called to understand the whole plan of God, He will judge them on the fact that they denied Him and sinned in ways that all people should know are wrong.
God does not unfairly accuse anyone and when He pronounces the Gentiles as guilty, He does it on grounds that they can see that the creation itself provides ample evidence that there is an all-powerful awesome God who has created the heaven and the earth, the creatures and mankind as well. They should see that there is order and beauty in the things that God has created and that there are some things that totally go up against a loving and good Creator, like murder, abusing others, stealing, improper marriage and family life, and not providing for and caring for their young. All people should know better than to commit these kinds of sins whether they are being called or not.
Yet God’s wrath is not anger at being disobeyed, but correction out of love in an effort to save the disobedient from the misery, decay and death that their own ways bring upon them.
David too had this to say about the evidence shown in the heavens that should be enough to make thinking men and women conclude that a marvelous God exists who has made all things.
Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.19:2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. 19:3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. 19:4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun.
It is God who says they are without excuse if they refuse to admit the obvious truth about who God is and how He loves His Creation.
In the Book of Acts, Paul appealed to the crowd in Lystra for the acknowledging of the existence of God by telling them that God has not left himself without a witness by doing good and providing good things for all the nations. If men were to look at the obvious evidence and be convicted of their deliberate ignorance of Him, they would worship God in awe instead of worshiping the creatures that God created.
Acts 14:15 And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: 14:16 Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. 14:17 Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.
Romans 1:21-32 shows a progression from denying God’s existence, to suppressing the truth about God which excuses them to ignore His laws; the lawlessness progresses to wickedness and the wickedness spirals ever downward to outright perversion.
What is Paul saying in this passage? That wicked behavior comes from a refusal to believe in God and to take His Word seriously. When men mislead themselves and others by denying the truth about God, they head toward apostasy and then perversion. It begins with believing that it is alright to reject God and to deny His existence, and if they do not believe in Him, they feel there will be no retribution for the things that they want to do.
According to what one believes is how one will tend to live; and if one believes it is okay to sin and there will be no consequence, then his sin will increase and he begins to degenerate to the most degrading and perverse sin imaginable.
The bottom line is that without God, man becomes wicked and totally depraved. Men’s moral standards become more perverse and perverted as time goes on. This has been going on since Adam and Eve rebelled in the Garden. Every baby that comes into the world starts out innocent but quickly takes on carnal human nature and as the child grows, that human nature, or spirit of rebellion grows in enmity against God. This enmity tends cause men to suppresses the truth about God and gives them license (in their own minds) to sin against God and some go on to do the most horrendous and despicable acts as we read about every day in the News.
This has been going on in every generation and every culture not just in the nations of Israel. And the truth is that this includes every individual on earth. Satan has deceived the whole world and all have suppressed the truth about God to some degree or another. Without God taking the veil from our eyes and without being called by Him to understand spiritual things, we all turn to wickedness.
These verses in Romans 1 about God’s wrath involve all people. That is what Paul is trying to teach us and that unless we believe in Jesus, repent and continue to grow in righteousness, that we too will be kept under the wrath of God.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
God does not wink at sin but he delays punishment sometimes, to work out His great plan that will benefit most individuals eventually. We, sometimes like Asaph, wonder why wicked men seem to get away with unrighteousness and good men suffer in this life, but God allows certain things to go on to test all men and He sometimes uses the wicked as His instruments in molding and to fashioning those He has called to become His sons and daughters. But as Asaph had to learn, God has appointed a day of wrath for those who persecute and hate the righteous.
Psalm 73:16 When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; 73:17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. 73:18 Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. 73:19 How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. (All of Psalm 73 makes a good study on this subject)
Ecclesiastes 8:11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.
John 3:36 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.
As Christians we Must Love the Truth, Live it, and Teach It to Others
Those who do not love God’s truth and refuse to teach and preach the whole Word of God; God says they will be held accountable for what they have done or have failed to do. Those who God has called to be leaders in the church are ultimately responsible, for God says:
Ezekiel 3:18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
The apostle Paul fulfilled the responsibility that God called him to, and he seems to be implying this principle from Ezekiel 3 in his farewell message to the elders in Asia, that we become guilty when we refuse to teach and preach the truth of God’s Word when he said:
Acts 20:26 Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 20:27 For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.
If we refuse to teach and preach “the whole counsel of God” or when the elders and leaders in the Ekklesia fail to see that it is taught, we will cause the people to stumble and fall into the correction that is coming, and we too will suffer the same consequences and will come under God’s wrath. We must live and teach all of the Lord’s will so we can be counted worthy to escape the wrath that is to come.
Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. 21:35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
The day of God’s vengeance is coming but in His patience He has delayed His ultimate wrath these 6000 years of Satan’s rule, allowing time for mankind to learn their lessons that unrighteousness and refusing to acknowledge Him only brings misery and every evil thing.
It is sometimes hard for us to understand the wrath of God and the mercy He shows at the same time. It is different for each individual according to what God deems best. God in His wisdom uses His wrath to motivate men to come to repentance and it is according to His merciful timing as to when and how He does this, either by the trials and discipline we go through in our lives or by the coming correction that will be accomplished by going through the tribulation.
God’s wrath is a part of the incredible love that He has for humanity and God corrects the wicked because he wants every person to be ultimately saved from total destruction. His wrath may hurt us for a season but the goal is for all of us to repent of our evil and go on to perfection so that we can become a part of the Family of God some day.
Just like a good parent who learns of his son’s wrongdoing and has to discipline, the parent knows he has to mete out punishment in order to teach his child that certain acts are wrong and to see that sin does not profit. It is not a pleasant thing for a parent to have to discipline but the long term goal is to impart responsibility for one’s actions in the child; and hopefully that child will grow up to be a god-fearing mature adult as a result of his father’s discipline.
Likewise it is God’s desire that each individual come to a sincere repentance if at all possible in this present lifetime, in the Millennium or in the time of the Great Fall Harvest.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Proverbs 3:11 My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction:3:12 For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. The prophet Jonah eloquently expressed God’s mercy and His willingness to turn from His wrath when men and women repent and turn from their evil.
Jonah 3:8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. 3:9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? 3:10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
In these last two verses we see the the loving attributes of God the Father and God the Son; first Jonah says that God is a gracious God. The word “gracious” means: (scripturally); merciful, compassionate, kind, forgiving.
In addition, God is slow to anger, is merciful, of great kindness will turn back from bringing calamity if a people or nation repents. All of these virtues combined together with patience, allow God to work with people so they can have time to learn their lessons and perhaps turn from evil. He allows them to sometimes remain alive so that they may come to see the futility of wickedness and will eventually transform into the kind of persons God wants them to become, sons and daughters conformed to His image.
Jonah displayed the typical human type of anger and was displeased because God did not annihilate the wicked in Nineveh. But because God is GRACIOUS He was not willing to strike out at them immediately but allowed them time to show forth the fruits of repentance and when they did, God relented of the punishment that He had originally intended. If God struck down people instantly in livid impatience over their sins (like humans frequently do) no one would be able to remain alive for very long.
Paul understood this aspect of God’s wrath and correction when Paul commanded the church in Corinth to disfellowship a man that was sinning and who at that time was unwilling to repent. Later the man came to his senses and did repent due to the fact that the congregation was willing to do the hard thing and hold him accountable for what he was doing. The actions of these leaders saved the man from perishing eternally even though he may have suffered the shame of being shunned by his friends.
1 Corinthians 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Going From Being the Children of Wrath to the Children of God
Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation [conduct] in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
God opens our mind to the truth and if we respond positively we then have the opportunity to repent and become one of His sons in lieu of remaining a child of wrath. Paul continues this line of thinking by then saying:
Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
We cannot be in the kingdom and under the wrath of God at the same time; something has to change us and that change is possible by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ who saves us from the wrath to come.
Some of the same kind of sins that were mentioned in Romans 1:18-32 that bring on God’s wrath are listed here to the Corinthians who used to do these things. But in these verses God tells them that they have been washed, they are now sanctified by Christ’s sacrificial death applied to all their past sins.
1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Ephesians 4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 4:18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 4:19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 4:20 But ye have not so learned Christ;
These verses teach that if we are faithful to live by every Word of God and are ransomed by the atoning sacrifice of the Lamb of God: we are delivered from being under the wrath of God which is the lake of fire.
It is what Christ has done for us if we sincerely repent, accept Christ’s sacrifice and are forgiven. This is not just for those who God is calling now but this deliverance will be extended to all humanity at some point in each person’s life. For all those who sincerely come to repentance and want to become a child of God, they too will have the opportunity to be a part of God’s family where they will no longer be under His wrath.
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 5:11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
If we are called to believe in God, repent and become baptized, and commit to go and sin no more and remain faithful; we have nothing to fear from the “Wrath of God” for the heavenly Father has called us to be delivered from His wrath and attain salvation though the means that He has provided by His Son.
1 Thessalonians 1:9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
1 Thessalonians 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
It is because God loves us enough to use His wrath to correct us when we sin and if we respond to that discipline, we then become delivered from the final wrath that is reserved for those who stubbornly refuse to repent.
When it is the work of the flesh: “wrath” can bring us to destruction and ruin if it is not repented of; but the wrath of God brings about spiritual health and eternal life if we humbly acknowledge God’s rule in our lives and respond with sincere repentance and in obedience when He disciplines us.
1 Corinthians 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.