7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:7-11
As part of the love series, last week, we fleshed out some common mistakes that people make in the statement ‘God is love’.
Today, let’s tread one step further.
If God is love, then what about the wrath of God?
LOVE AND WRATH
God is a just judge,
And God is angry with the wicked every day.
Sometimes, the Psalms seem to be a long litany of God’s anger towards sinners. In fact in Psalm 7:11 above, the Psalmist states that God is angry with the wicked every day.
That sounds disturbing, right? We have heard that God is good, then how in the world can He be an angry God? In our realm of understanding, love and wrath aren’t friends. They just don’t exist together. Period!
But, in the Creator God’s grand scheme of things, love and wrath exist in perfect symphony. There are three things that we must understand in order to understand their correlation.
1) GOD’S VIEW OF SIN AND SINNER
There is a difference in the way God looks at the sinner and the sin. God hates sin. He can never ever compromise or give even an inch when it comes to the matter of sin. Habakkuk 1:13 says, ‘You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness.
Why do you look on those who deal treacherously, and hold your tongue when the wicked devours a person more righteous than he?’ Our pure and holy God can’t stomach sin! Not even a teeny weeny bit!
Can we say that’s His disposition regarding a sinner? Interestingly not! When God looks at a wicked and evil sinner, He gets angry. Let’s look at a couple of reasons as to why God gets angry with the sinner.
1) God’s anger arises out of His love for the sinner. He has great purposes and plans for His creation and when He finds His children going astray, it enrages Him. His detest for sin and sinful living does not change with time.
2) God is righteous and Holy. These attributes necessitate that He be not numb but actively abhor sin.
3) God exercises His mind and will. He can’t shut His mind and be complacent about the sin and wickedness around Him.
Now, the statement that God hates sin but loves the sinner has some grain of truth. He surely will be angry but His heart yearns to deliver and save the sinner. It’s like a family having a wayward child. The child might indulge in alcohol and drugs and cause the parents much hurt and anger. Their pain might even lead them to chucking him out of their home. Is there something wrong with that anger? It’s justified, right? The parents have showered love and time on him. They have dreams for his future. Seeing their child sloshed senseless and addicted to alcohol enrages them. Their anger stems out of their love for him.
God’s anger toward a sinner is not any different. Hebrews 12:6-11 says, ‘For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it’. The Living God created each one of us. So it matters to Him how our lives turn out. Just like an earthly father would discipline his child when the child steers off course, our Heavenly Father loves us so much that He would care to discipline us too. God knows that sin can derail and destroy our lives. Since He hates sin, He’ll step in to chasten us and rid us of our sinful lifestyle.
…to be continued…