But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
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Those who doubt that there will be a future judgment of God through Christ, and who for that reason despise his patience, do all they can to discredit it as being true and certain. For they believe in wickedness. It is wickedness to deny what God has foretold. Paul mentions three things which are fitting punishments for unbelief—wrath, fury and tribulation. The locus of wrath is not in the one who judges but in the one who is judged. God is said to get angry and to take vengeance, but in reality the nature of God transcends such passions. But this is said so that we should believe that God judges sin and that he will finally take revenge. So Paul adds “and fury.” This means that God will seek vengeance, adding to his anger in response to the injury which has been done to him. Commentary on Paul’s Epistles.
Paul deprives those who live in wickedness of any excuse and shows that it is from factiousness and carelessness that they fall into unrighteousness. … Their fall is voluntary; their crime is not of necessity.
To the unbelieving and despisers who obey not the truth but unrighteousness, when they have been filled with adulteries, and fornications and filthiness, and covetousness and unlawful idolatries, there shall be anger and wrath, tribulation and anguish, and at the last everlasting fire shall possess them. You asked me to show you my God—this is my God, and I advise you to fear and trust him.
But to the unbelieving and despisers, who obey not the truth, but are obedient to unrighteousness, when they shall have been filled with adulteries and fornications, and filthiness, and covetousness, and unlawful idolatries, there shall be anger and wrath, tribulation and anguish,