Because of sin, the wrath of God has existed against mankind. And, it continues to be stored up for judgment against those who are not reconciled through faith, especially against those who have rejected the Gospel.
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36).
The necessity for Christ to come as a propitiation (to satisfy God’s wrath) is evidence that God’s wrath existed prior to the rejection of the Gospel. And, where it says “the wrath of God remains on him”, the term “remains” confirms that God’s wrath existed toward mankind prior to Christ. It is clear then that God’s wrath is not brought about by the rejection of the Gospel, but by our natural rebellion, though, no doubt, the rejection of God’s Son would add immensely to God’s indignation.
So, though God’s just wrath has been satisfied by Jesus’ sacrifice, those who do not believe on His Son will nevertheless have to face His fierce judgment, because His wrath continues to abide on them.
BENEVOLENT, BUT RIGHTEOUS
God’s wrath is hard to imagine because He is kind to those who He is angry with. “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt 5:45). Nevertheless, God (and Jesus since His ascension) has been judging the peoples of the earth throughout history and, in the end, He will bring all before His throne for His final judgment.
Therefore, we should warn people who haven’t believed in God’s Son as their substitute, for their sins to be forgiven, not to think that His goodness towards them means that He won’t judge them in His wrath, because He most certainly will!