According to Meriam Webster’s dictionary, wrath can be defined as strong revengeful anger. It is human nature to experience anger. However, the book of Ephesians 4:26-27 ‘Be angry and do no sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.’ Christian theology teaches that dwelling in one’s anger and taking revenge is a sin. Although there are multiple mentions of God’s wrath in the Bible, the holy book discourages human wrath. Since anger is a normal human emotion, Christians can’t help but wonder, is wrath a sin?
Wrath is a sin. While anger in itself is not a sin, there is a line. Put simply, wrath is the final level of anger. One might get angry for a justified reason. Still, clinging to this anger for too long can conjure up vile feelings toward other people. This level of anger quickly turns into wrath, which often seeks vengeance. In the book of Romans 12: 19-21, the Bible urges Christians to avoid seeking revenge. Instead, they should leave room for God’s wrath. It also urges believers to overcome evil by doing good. This and many other scriptures indicate that wrath is a deadly sin.
So, what does the Bible say about wrath? What makes wrath a deadly sin, and are Christians allowed to be angry? If wrath is a sin, why does God have wrath? Read on to understand the Christian perspective on anger and wrath.
What does the Bible say about wrath?
The Bible is very clear about human wrath. In the old testament, the Bible details human anger and subsequent wrath. According to Proverbs 16:32, ‘Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city .’The Bible copiously reminds Christians that anger causes more problems for the persons involved. In Proverbs 15:18, it is written that ‘A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but one who is patient calms a quarrel.’
It is possible to control one’s anger. The Bible strongly urges believers to make a conscious effort to eliminate negative feelings. This will improve the quality of their lives. Human beings can achieve this by practicing self-control, patience, and love. This is clearly illustrated in Ephesians 4:31, where the Bible tells the church to ‘get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every malice.
There are numerous incidents in the old testament where the wrath of God is well-documented. That being said, at being said, it is essential to point out that God’s wrath is NOT viewed as angry retribution. God’s wrath is triggered by evildoers, on whom He passes judgment and punishment. A classic example of God’s wrath is in Deuteronomy 9:8, which says, ‘At Horeb, you aroused the Lord’s wrath so that He was angry enough to destroy you .’Here is apparent that God’s wrath is synonymous with human disobedience.
What makes wrath a deadly sin?
According to Thomas Aquinas, wrath is one of the seven deadliest sins. Aquinas was one of the most influential Christian theologians during the 13th century. He wrote a document named Summa Theological, in which de went into detail about what was labeled as “capital vices .”The Bible in Proverbs 15:1 says that a gentle answer evades wrath while harsh words ignite danger.
Often wrath drives people, even Christians, to do despicable things to get justice. Wrath has been known to inspire people to commit murder, adultery, and a myriad of other deadly sins. This is highlighted in Psalms 37:8, which states, ‘refrain from anger and turn from wrath, do not fret; it leads to evil.’
Are Christians allowed to be angry?
While Christians are allowed to be angry, they are strongly encouraged to control their anger and avoid it if possible. In Ephesians 4:31, Christians are given a list of things to avoid at all costs. The list includes anger, rage, slander, brawls, and all types of malice. Since it is human nature to sin and lose one’s temper, Christians are allowed to get angry, but they are not allowed to stay angry.
If wrath is a sin, why does God have wrath?
Wrath is unique from the seven deadliest sins since it is the only deadly sin attributed to God. Many have trouble reconciling their thoughts with the wrath of God. Still, the Bible shows many instances where God punished people in His anger. Essentially, wrath is a sin when it inhabits a human being. Nonetheless, God’s wrath is different in that it is always justified, unlike human wrath.
God’s anger is always triggered by human wickedness or disobedience. Dr. C.H. Dodd, a professor of divinity, suggests that God’s wrath is a matter of cause and effect. He adds that God’s wrath is an attitude towards sin, not the sinner. In the book of Ezekiel 25:17, the Lord says, ‘I will execute great vengeance on them with wrathful rebukes. Then they will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon them. These words were directed to the people of Ammon, who, according to the Bible, celebrated the downfall of the Israelites and were delighted when the Temple of God was desecrated.
What is God’s punishment for wrath?
God punishes wrath in different ways. When Moses broke the ten commandments in his rage, God punished him by not allowing him to enter the promised land. That being said, God forgave Moses and gave him a second chance to correct his mistakes. This story is found in the book of Exodus 31:18.
In some cases, extreme anger is forgiven based on the circumstances. A great example is the book of Matthew 26:52, where one of Jesus’ followers cut off the ear of one of the people going to arrest Jesus. Instead of punishing the offender, Jesus gave him a word of advice. His exact words were, ‘put your sword back in its place, for those who live by the sword will die by the sword.’
How can Christians differentiate between anger and wrath?
Anger is one of the most prevalent human emotions. Although getting angry can sometimes be inevitable, staying angry is a choice. Numerous things beyond human control can get one upset. Being upset often triggers anger which usually cools down under the right circumstances. If an angry person cannot calm down, that anger becomes wrath.
Wrath can simply be defined as extreme and unreasonable anger. A person full of wrath is likely to make rash decisions that cause harm to themselves and others. 1st Thessalonians 5:9 says, ‘For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.’
How can Christians overcome the sin of wrath?
No matter how righteous the cause, the sin of wrath can be defeated. Christians can win the battle against wrath by using the fruits of the holy spirit. One of these fruits is self-control. The Bible clearly states that a person with no control over their anger is like a city without walls. This scripture is found in Proverb 25:28.
The fruit of love can also help Christians quickly overcome anger and evade the scourge that comes from wrath. According to the ten commandments, love is the greatest commandment of all. Romans 12:21, the Bible says that people can only overcome evil with good. Therefore, Christians can avoid the sin of wrath by praying and living according to the guidelines found in the word of God.
Bible verses about wrath and anger
Below are several verses discussing the topics of anger and wrath.
- James 1:20– ‘For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.’
This verse touches on the difference between human anger and God’s anger. It insists that human anger does not represent the character of God.
- Romans 13:4– ‘For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.’
According to this scripture, there are times when God uses someone to implement punishment on evildoers. It states that God does not speak in vain. However, it reminds Christians that God has good intentions for their lives.
- Romans 1:18- ‘For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.’
The Bible clearly shows God’s feelings toward people who overturn the truth. It promises the wrath of God upon those who lead unholy lifestyles that go against the word of God.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.