14.6. Delivered from the Wrath to Come

Some have understood Paul’s teaching concerning the delivery of believers from the “wrath to come” (1Th. 1Th. 1:10) as describing their exemption from the wrath of judgment which unbelievers will undergo for rejecting Christ (John John 3:18-19, John 3:36). But everywhere in Scripture, the benefits of redemption are fully and immediately applied at the time of redemption. Believers have eternal life (John John 3:15; Acts Acts 13:48; 1Jn. 1Jn. 5:13). The wrath to come does not speak of the potential judgment of believers which has already been averted by their saving faith, but the “hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (Rev. Rev. 3:10+).

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Rom. Rom. 5:9-10) [emphasis added]

The justification is present tense and entirely complete. The believer stands totally and completely justified the moment he comes to faith. The wrath here is future.

The wrath of God here [1Th. 1Th. 1:10] is future, and hence, cannot refer to the general wrath of God against sin which is a present reality. This wrath is future. While Hell and the Lake of Fire are also future, they cannot be what this passage is referring to. By virtue of salvation, the believer is already redeemed from Hell. . . . the wrath that the Church is being delivered from is the wrath of the Great Tribulation. He is coming for the specific purpose of delivering the Church from the wrath to come, namely, the Tribulation period.1

The salvation spoken of here [1Th. 1Th. 5:9] is future, and so cannot be soteriological, which is a present reality. The salvation here is eschatological, referring to the redemption of the body which will occur at the Rapture. It is this salvation that the Church has been appointed to and not to the wrath of the Day of the Lord.2


1 Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, rev ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003), 153.

2 Ibid., 154.