Anguish of the soul

person holding brown wooden cross
Photo by Gift Habeshaw on

Tribulation and anguish on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek.

Romans 2:9.

In verses 7 and 8 Paul had shown how God would render both groups of people, righteous and unrighteous, retribution according to their works. In verses 9 and 10 this thought is explained further, only the order is different. Judgment is pronounced first on those who do evil. 

Verse 8 had described the judgment from God’s point of view as “indignation and wrath”. Indignation is God’s holy anger over sin, while wrath signifies the execution of His wrath in judgment (cf. also Revelation 16:19).

Sinners will experience “indignation and wrath” as “tribulation and anguish”. The word “tribulation” stands for distress or oppression experienced externally or as soul-felt dejection. “Anguish” signifies mental suffering caused by helplessness. And there will in fact be no escape from “indignation and wrath” when God carries out His righteous judgment.

Who “does evil” or who “works what is good”? That is the vital question. But again, the answer depends on whether one has been led to repentance through the goodness of God or whether His goodness has been scorned. 

“Every soul of man” is addressed here. The individual cannot hide in the crowd; neither his nationality (Jew or Greek) nor his religious status (Jew, heathen or professing Christian) can help. Everyone is personally responsible before God.

“So then each of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12).