Is God Mad at Me?
While studying about wrath, I came across a question:
What does it mean when God has “wrath” towards them (John 3:36)? Basically, is God mad at me?
I believe (as in Romans 1) that God’s wrath is against the actions (ungodliness). However, there are many verses like John 3:36 that talk about God’s anger towards/on someone. So what do they mean?
Many people might fear God’s wrath and ask “is God mad at me” due to the frequent use in the Bible of wrath and similar words. Here is the verse you questioned:
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath <orge, Strong’s G3709> of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36)
Compare this verse:
“And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode <orge> upon <epi, Strong’s G1909> him.” (John 1:32)
“Abode” is translated from the Greek word “meno” (Strong’s G3306) which is translated, in the KJV as: abide 61, remain 16, dwell 15, continue 11, tarry 9, endure 3, misc 5; total 120 times.
John 1:32 describes the Spirit abiding (or remaining, as it is often translated) upon or with Jesus – the Spirit was present. He, Jesus, was in the presence of the Spirit.
You Need the Biblical Definition of the Word
We have to correctly understand what the wrath of God is. See the detailed definition of wrath in The Character of God and the Gospel Glossary. It can be understood as the absence of God or God leaving (in respect of a free will choice such as to not believe as in John 3:36) resulting in His absence. So, in John 3:36, the wrath of God is His absence. The unbeliever abides/remains in the absence of God.
Here is one Bible version emphasizing God’s wrath as a respect of free will:
“Whoever trusts in God’s Son, Jesus, is recreated within and has eternal life, but whoever rejects God’s Son will not see life because they reject the only Remedy for their otherwise terminal condition, and God; sadly, grants them their free choice.” (John 3:36, The Remedy NT)
Their free choice is to not believe in Him.
This passage emphasizes that it is all about having the presence of the Son:
“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 5:10-13)
If a person does not believe, they do not have the Son; they do not have His presence which means He is absent, He has left them (honoring their choice to not have His presence) which is the Biblical meaning of wrath. It is not a question of “is God mad at me?” so much as it is a question of whether or not we welcome His presence. Correctly understanding His character makes us much more open to having Him abide with us.