Vengeance Is Mine

Romans 12:19–20

Principle for Bible Reading

We all have been sinned against, in large or small ways. The Bible calls us not to avenge ourselves, but to entrust the pain and offense to God, who judges justly. In this lab, John Piper reminds us of the promise that God will repay every wrong ever committed against us.

View the outline.


Introduction/Prayer (00:00–00:44)

God Will Repay (00:44–03:24)

  1. When it comes to personal vengeance or payback, surrender it. Do not act like it didn’t happen, but give it over to God. (Romans 12:19)
  2. God promises to repay evil done against you. (Hebrews 12:19)
  3. Believing this promise will free us from the felt need to avenge ourselves.

The Example of Jesus (03:24–05:15)

  1. Jesus did not revile or threaten in return. (1 Peter 2:23)
  2. Instead, Jesus (even Jesus) trusted himself to the one who judges justly. Vengeance is God’s. (1 Peter 2:23)
  3. All things will be settled rightly by the one who judges justly. God always gets it right.
  4. If you have a cause that you believe is just, and you believe you’ve received an injustice, the Bible calls you to entrust it to the judge.

What Revenge Says About God (05:15–07:03)

  1. God always punishes every wrong.
  2. He punishes the evil in hell (for those who do not repent), or on the cross (for those who repent).
  3. To take vengeance yourself is to say hell is an inadequate punishment or the cross is an inadequate sacrifice.

Study Questions

  1. According to Romans 12:19–20, why should we not try to avenge ourselves? What promise keeps us from taking vengeance ourselves?
  2. Read 1 Peter 2:22–23. Explain how Jesus lived our the principles of faith in Romans 12:19–20.
  3. If hell is the punishment for sin, and the cross paid the penalty for sin, what do our attempts to avenge ourselves say about hell? About the cross?
Piper: “To avenge yourself is to say hell is an inadequate punishment or the cross is an inadequate sacrifice.”