God’s Jealousy & Wrath: Defined


Exodus 20:5, in the middle of the 3rd commandment God says ‘…for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God.’ Exodus 34:14, ‘For you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.’ In this verse we see God’s passion to be the supreme object of affection in the hearts of His people, indeed He is jealous for this. This is why we so often see passages of Scripture like Isaiah 40-48 where God goes on a war against all idols and those who worship them, why does He do this? Isaiah 48:9-11, ‘My glory I will not give to another.’ This is reflected in Paul’s love for the Corinthians in 2 Cor. 11:2 when he says, ‘I feel a divine jealousy for you.’ So as God is deeply committed to His honor and glory, Paul is deeply committed to the welfare of the Corinthians.

Many people today take issue and even take offense that God would be ‘jealous’ because they think of God’s jealousy in the same manner as our own jealousy. And most sensible people recognize that our jealousy is sinful and misguided 99% of the time. What we need to remember is that God is not like us in this respect. He is jealous, and His jealousy is always perfect, never sinful, and is even good because God is jealous over the right things, while we are so often jealous over wrong things. It isn’t wrong for God to be jealous for His own honor, glory, and fame – He deserves it completely. It is wrong for you and I to jealous for our own honor, glory, and fame – it is the one thing we do not deserve.

As for God’s wrath, you probably are aware that it as well is a doctrine that finds rejection around every corner in our day. But it always surprises many to see how often the Bible speaks of God’s wrath. It is such a common subject because if God loves and is jealous for what is good, true, and beautiful – anytime when those things are opposed or scorned God becomes wrathful. Exodus 32:9-10 after Aaron made the people the golden calf God tells Moses, ‘I have seen this people…let me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them.’ This is a repetitive theme throughout the entire Old Testament as God, through His prophets, calls the people back to repentance again and again. Where people go wrong is when they think the doctrine of God’s wrath is only an Old Testament doctrine while also believing the God of the New Testament to be a loving God.

Jesus in John 3:36 said, ‘He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.’ Romans 1:18, ‘The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men.’ Romans 9:22, ‘What if God, desiring to show His wrath and to make known His power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction…’ After listing a large group of sins in Colossians 3:5 Paul says in 3:6, ‘On account of these the wrath of God is coming.’ 1 Thess. 1:10, ‘Jesus delivered us from the wrath to come.’ 1 Thess 5:9, ‘For God has not destined His elect for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ…’ Speaking of Israel’s refusal to trust God as they camped on the border of the promise land God said, ‘As I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My rest.’ And Revelation 6:16-17 speaks of the great and dreadful ‘wrath of the Lamb.’

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