The Faulty Foundations of Faith Alone – Part 6: Jesus’ Death Appeased the Father’s Wrath?

For Part 5, click here: The Faulty Foundations of Faith Alone – Part 5: Jesus Paid the Penalty For Our Sins?

Or start at the beginning: The Faulty Foundations of Faith Alone – Part 1: God is a Trinity of Persons?

As shown in Part 5, the whole idea that Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins is not only completely non-Biblical, but is diametrically opposed to the Bible’s plain teaching that God neither condemns the innocent nor acquits the guilty—and neither must we.

And yet, somehow Jesus paying the penalty for our sins is supposed to satisfy God the Father’s justice, and appease God the Father’s wrath.

It would be hard for anything to be more false than this.

6. This satisfied the Father’s justice, and appeased the Father’s wrath?

  • The wrath of God, as presented in the Bible, is directed at those who sin by breaking God’s commandments.
  • The justice of God, as presented in the Bible, requires that the guilty be punished and the innocent be exonerated.

Even someone who formerly sinned and broke God’s commandments, but has repented and now obeys God’s commandments, will not be punished under God’s system of justice. Here is how this principle is presented in the Old Testament:

The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.

But if a wicked person turns away from all the sins they have committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, that person will surely live; they will not die. None of the offenses they have committed will be remembered against them. Because of the righteous things they have done, they will live. Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?

But if a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked person does, will they live? None of the righteous things that person has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness they are guilty of and because of the sins they have committed, they will die. (Ezekiel 18:20–24, italics added)

And here is how the same principle is presented in the New Testament:

But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God will repay each person according to what they have done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism. (Romans 2:5–11)

There is not a single case in the Bible in which God’s wrath is appeased without the sinners themselves either repenting or being punished.

And there is not a single case in the Bible in which God’s justice is satisfied by an innocent person being punished instead of a guilty one.

If an innocent person is put to death when a guilty person should have, God’s justice is in no way satisfied, and God still does not acquit the guilty. The wrath of God continues to be on those who sin, and the salvation of God continues to go to those who stop sinning. This is the plain teaching of the Bible.

Nowhere in the entire Bible does it say that God’s wrath is satisfied when Jesus Christ, who was innocent, died instead of a guilty sinner. And nowhere in the Bible does it say that God will declare the guilty innocent because Jesus’ death on the cross satisfied God’s justice. It’s simply not there. These ideas were pure inventions by human theologians who ignored the Bible’s plain teachings and substituted their own false ideas, “teaching human precepts as doctrines” (Matthew 15:9; Mark 7:7).

The idea that Christ dying instead of us satisfied God’s justice and appeased God’s wrath is the sixth faulty, non-Biblical foundation of faith alone.

For Part 7, click here: The Faulty Foundations of Faith Alone – Part 7: Imputed Righteousness?

For further reading:


Lee Woofenden is an ordained minister, writer, editor, translator, and teacher. He enjoys taking spiritual insights from the Bible and the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg and putting them into plain English as guides for everyday life.

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Posted in All About God, The Bible Re-Viewed
6 comments on “The Faulty Foundations of Faith Alone – Part 6: Jesus’ Death Appeased the Father’s Wrath?
  1. Frankly Frank says:

    HI Lee,

    Speaking of anger and wrath. I am really wrestling with Christ’s unbridled anger when he drove the money changers out of the temple. I am wrestling with this because one isn’t supposed to be angry at others but rather forgiving, ready to turn the other cheek, and of course the biggest of all love your neighbor as yourself. (And please don’t throw it was just the manifestation of divine tough love at me either. 😉

    So tell me, how do you reconcile Christ’s every act while he was on earth as a perfect example for us to follow including acting with violent anger and yet being expected to be as peaceful and loving to others as lambs?

    Obviously if anger as Christ displayed is inherently condoned per his actions at the temple where are those that try to follow Christ draw the line and not act out with similar violent anger? What’s the difference then between “vengeance is mine”, “those who live by the sword shall die by the sword”, and what Christ did to the money changers as being perfectly righteous and just? Remember he was still human, living in a relatively structured society, and thus subject to all the civil and criminal laws in place at that time just like everyone else.

    I think that if Christ had explained why he had no other choice but vent his violent anger that one time upon those money changers it would’ve still been problematic for me as I have little doubt those same money changers returned but with ‘security’ to protect them from future whippings. So I assume they continued money changing anyway at that temple. What then was the point? Christ didn’t use his anger to enact a new law against money changing in temples, right? Ultimately therefore what was Christ really trying to show us with his display of violent anger there under that particular singular instance? As it is likely that he broke some law by his actions and if he had been arrested instead of successfully fleeing the authorities what do you think would’ve been his defense at the trial? That he is God incarnate and therefore was justified? Could a Christian today get away with something like that either? Of course not.

    So Christ being perfect then and Christ being perfect today (for he is unchanging) expects us also to be violent as he was when it is required? So again, when is it required? I have little doubt that what he did at that temple was criminally illegal to do at that time as it would be today. You can’t go around willy nilly whipping people because you spiritually disagree with what business they do at a house of worship. This of course is also assuming that what the money changers were doing wasn’t breaking the law per se and he was not acting as one can do under certain citizen arrest scenarios. Today it’s certain he would likely be arrested, tried, and convicted of felony criminal assault and battery. Point is he apparently ignored the law and did it anyway.

    I think this is a tough one I’m throwing at you here with a lot of conundrumic questions.

    Frankly Frank. 🙂

  2. Frankly Frank says:

    Ok Lee, I read the article. Good enough yet I was very surprised that there was only ONE comment on such a hugely important topic! Go figure. I don’t quite understand how that topic warranted such a lukewarm reception.

    However beyond all that, there’s still a bit of a disconnect to me between what AFAIK Swedenborg describes as God’s nature towards us. I think you have reiterated repeatedly what Swedenborg has said in that God is never angry with us and that consequently He doesn’t throw us into hell in anger but that we ultimately choose to go to hell and he obliges our desires accordingly. Again without anger.

    How does this reconcile with Christ who is God whipping people out of a temple? Here there is unbridled anger. I don’t see love at work here. I see pissed off no holds barred hate. I mean if you’re going to whip the hell out of some stranger how can you do that “lovingly” and at the same time with the same fury that hate can only prescribe? I’m talking now as a fallible human being not as a divine entity who has perfect control and balance of their emotions.

    And then there’s the live by the sword and die by the sword conundrum. When is one “living” by the sword too much since even Christ said he brings a sword to the party?

    Frankly Frank 🙂

    • Lee says:

      Hi Frank,

      To be clear, the story never says that Jesus hated the people he was driving out of the temple. And a careful reading of the text suggests that he used the whip of cords primarily to drive the animals out, similar to a cattlemen or shepherds using a goad to direct the animals in their herds. Here is the story as it appears in John:

      The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” John 2:13-17)

      The key words are what the incident called up in the minds of his disciples: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

      Zeal is not the same as anger, though it may manifest itself as anger. And the zeal was not so much against those who were profiteering from sacred things, as it was for the sanctity of the Lord’s house. In other words, his anger was directed against the evil that was being done more than at the people who were doing the evil. And if his strong action caused some of those profiteers to reconsider what they were doing, and change their ways, then the love of God would have shown through in reformed, heaven-bound lives instead of greedy, hell-bound lives.

      The wrath of God is a force that destroys evil. People are destroyed in the process only when they cling to the evil and refuse to abandon it. And their destruction is not actually an annihilation of their soul and life, as some believe, but a banishment to the darker realms of hell, where they can continue to engage, within boundaries, in their evil schemes, and where they are kept isolated from heaven in order to protect the innocent from their malice.

      For more on the wrath of God, violence in the Bible, and related issues, please see these two articles:

      1. What is the Wrath of God? Why was the Old Testament God so Angry, yet Jesus was so Peaceful?
      2. What about Violent Religions? Is God Really Bloodthirsty and Vengeful?

      Oh, and Can Christians be Hardass? was one of the earlier articles here, published within a few months of the start of the blog, when there were not yet many followers. That may account for the lack of comment.

  3. Frankly Frank says:

    I don’t know, Lee. I understand what you’re saying but since anger is an innate human trait and since we’re created in God’s image then I conclude that God not only gets angry at the results of evil itself but also with those that do evil.

    Now when Christ said he brings a sword that to me says that violence is brought too. I don’t know how that can truly be interpreted to mean something else!

    I guess what I’m saying here is that while God is pure love he is also pure hate. A pure hate albeit that is justified perfectly. And I guess I have a hard time believing that what Swedenborg describes as God’s heavenly gentle only loving nature is somehow divorced by his violent hate reflecting actions here on earth. You know like drowning everyone including innocent children.

    As to why he didn’t whip the money changers too perhaps he knew that would be an arrestable offense per the law. Overturning tables and pouring out coins? Pretty violent if you ask me in that particular context. Hmmmmm. Animals on the other hand likely had zero lawful rights. So they can be whipped, not herded, no problem.

    Anyway, I think there’s a lot more to that temple event than it appears.

    So no, I’m not completely satisfied with your explanation but that’s my problem. You did your best.

    Frankly Frank. 🙂

    • Lee says:

      Hi Frankly Frank,

      Did you read the two articles I linked just above, about the wrath of God and violent religions? Those two articles lay out a lot of what I would respond to you with here.

      About Christ bringing a sword, here is the full statement:

      Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.

      For I have come to set a man against his father,
      and a daughter against her mother,
      and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
      and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.

      Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:34-39)

      It seems clear enough to me that Jesus is not using “sword” literally here, but rather as a metaphor for conflict. Believing in him and following him, he is saying, will bring people into conflict with their family members who still hold to their previous beliefs, and who will reject anyone, including family members, who adopts the new beliefs he is promulgating. There aren’t necessarily any literal swords involved.

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Lee & Annette Woofenden

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