The Passive and Active Wrath of God


Bible history teaches us that the wrath of God is often preceded by a lull. Before Noah’s ark was filled and sealed, the people on earth were consumed with the everyday activities of life- marriage, work, entertainment etc. Then the flood came.

Before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the people were in deep self indulgence and consumed with their own priorities. Then the sulfur rained.

Before the Promised Land was invaded by the Israelites, the Canaanites had a 400 year lull. It was all peace and quiet before the wrath of God through the Israelites invaded their territories.

Before the Israelites were carried off into Babylon, they experienced a lull of apparent peace. When the prophets of their time spoke of an impending judgement, they killed these prophets and called them ministers of doom. Micah 2:6 “Don’t say such things,” the people respond. “Don’t prophesy like that. Such disasters will never come our way!”(NLT). Then Nebuchadnezzar happened. Then the Medes, then the Persians, then Alexander the Great, and then the Romans.

History offers lessons concerning the working of God. Pastor Mark Driscoll calls the lull the passive wrath of God. He calls the chaos the active wrath of God. The passive wrath of God comes before the active wrath of God. And in the passive wrath of God, all you have is a lulling silence- the calm before the storm. The lull is the passive wrath of God.

In the passive wrath of God, God abandons you to your own devices. At this point, essentially, the path of righteousness has been willfully forsaken despite several chances to repent. The LORD allows you to do as you please.

Romans 1:28-29 “Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip.” (NLT)

In the passive wrath of God, you are storing up wrath for yourself as you indulge in unbridled rebellion.

Romans 2:5-6 “But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done.” (NLT)

In the passive wrath of God, you develop a depraved mind. You call evil good and you call good evil.

Isaiah 5:20-21 “What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever.” (NLT)

In the passive wrath of God, you conflate God’s silence concerning your sin for His endorsement of it. In the process, you defend sin and attack righteous living.

Malachi 3:14-15 “You have said, ‘What’s the use of serving God? What have we gained by obeying his commands or by trying to show the Lord of Heaven’s Armies that we are sorry for our sins? From now on we will call the arrogant blessed. For those who do evil get rich, and those who dare God to punish them suffer no harm.’” (NLT)

In the passive wrath of God, blasphemies abound and perversion thrives.

Romans 1:24 “So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies.” (NLT)

In the passive wrath of God you suppress the truth and exchange it for a lie. To comfort yourself you surround yourself with “spiritual” teachers to give comfort and confirmation bias to the lies you have imbibed.

2 Timothy 4:3 “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.” (NLT)

Micah 2:11 Suppose a prophet full of lies would say to you, “I’ll preach to you the joys of wine and alcohol!” That’s just the kind of prophet you would like! (NLT)

But the passive wrath of God is a forerunner to the active wrath of God. And in the active wrath of God, the failsafe of repentance is like water in a parched land- much needed but unavailable.

God has made a provision for all His wrath in the person of Jesus Christ. God made Him who knew no sin to become sin so that we could become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. This is the reason that Jesus came- that we be rescued from our sins and be permanently restored to God through repentance and belief in Him. The Son of God became a man willingly so that men could become sons of God freely. All who repent would have eternal life. The cross of Jesus has absorbed the wrath of God for a sinful and rebellious world. To submit to the salvation of Christ is to board the ark while you can. To reject the salvation of Christ is to live in the wrath of God as you are consumed by the everyday cares of life.

Consider the words of Peter.

2 Peter 3:3-4 Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.”

2 Peter 3:9-15 “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment. Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness. And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight. And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved.” (NLT)


Ernest is a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband, and a father. He has been married to Waturi since September 2012. They have three children- Thandiwe, Ivanna, and Theo. He is also the author of four books. The Wamboyes are passionate to see the Gospel of Jesus Christ clearly taught and understood in our post-modern world. They are champions of biblical discipleship and furthering the Kingdom of God by transforming one person at a time. They are the founders of The Relationship Centre Ltd (TRC), an organisation that aims to promote biblical family values in contemporary urban communities.

Discussion9 Comments

  1. “The son of God became a man willingly that men would become sons of God freely” that is a gut punch statement woooh, Profound.

  2. “The son of God became a man willingly that men would become sons of God freely” that is a gut punch statement woooh, Profound.

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