God of Wrath or God of Loving Compassion?

January 30, 2007

God of Wrath or God of Loving Compassion?

When I read someone write that God “hates” or focuses on “God’s Wrath” most often it is an unbalanced and mis-characterization of God and His revealed Character.

Most often it is the desire to show some sort of twisted “love”, a perversion of the true love of God at he expense of the loving nature and desire of God to reveal Who He is to His creation. It is a rationalization that is it not “loving” unless we tell of the wrath of God… but that is not the story of the Bible… that story is a story of Great Love. I often wonder if it is one’s placing of their own view of how God views them… that drives one to think of God in this way. I wonder if it is placing their own knowledge of God in place God’s revealed knowledge instead of trusting in God’s revelation of Who He truly is. I see it as a lack of knowing the Grace of God.

God is a relational Being. We see this in the first revealing of God as he says “Let us create man in our image.” (Gen 1:26) God reveals that He Himself is more than a being Who is based on “alone-ness” but rather the desire to express outwardly what is already inwardly expressed. Man even in him perfect state of innocence needed God to show and reveal Who He is. Man, even before the fall was designed to be intimate in his relationship with God and to grow in His knowledge of God.

God created man in Him Image, to be His Image bearers over all creation. He created animals so man would have a sense of otherness…God brings all the animals before Adam so that Adam could name them… yet notice after Adam names the animals Adam notices that “no suitable helper was found”. God teaches Adam that he needs an “other” to relate to. So, God created woman. (Gen 2)

Thus, God created man to not only be His Image, but we see that part of God’s revealed nature is relational… for in His Image God creates man and woman… beings who relate to each other. (Gen 1: 27)

As I posted in another post on the Knowledge of God, I pointed out that the “sin” of Adam and Eve was not just eating the fruit, but in that they desired knowledge apart from God… to have knowledge for themselves in that way to be a god or like God… they simply denied that true knowledge only comes from God revelation of Himself. Scripture teaches that “We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” (1 Cor 8:1) so in that as we express our own knowledge at the expense of God’s revealing of Himself in love we become more Godless. It is a form of idolatry and self worship. It is the sin of pride… the very sin that cast Lucifer from the heavens and reduced him to Satan…

Romans shows this as it runs through that no man who walks in this way of godlessness is safe from the wrath of God… and this is the context wrath must be taken.

Romans 1:18-28 “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.”

Most focus on the sexual sins in this passage yet do not notice it is against “godlessness and wickedness” God’s wrath is against… and that knowledge of God is in the very creation… Man being God’s Image, has an innate knowledge of God built in himself. Yet even with that man seeks knowledge apart from God and “suppresses the truth”. We see that even in creation God’s “eternal power and divine nature” is displayed… as the animals even in the fallen world are taken care of and that God divine nature is displayed as even in our denial, we seek to have intimate relationships… yet we in our fallen state twist these into a perversion of what God intended. So God gave men over to their own wicked desires and hearts…. Man truly does deserve God’s wrath… As I state about Grace, that the God Who spoke all things into existence could un-speak all things and owe us no explanation. He would be perfectly just in doing just that. Yet why does God not do this? Because it is against His very nature to do so…

God is a just God and will bring all things to justice… which He did at the Cross… all creation is redeemed yet waits for the revealing of the Sons of God… (Rom 8:19) He will judge those who do not come to the Knowledge of God as He has revealed Himself, yet not without first giving all a possibility to return to Him.

I find it interesting that many teach that the God of the Old Testament is the war God, or the God of Wrath… I think that the issue is again a misunderstanding of justice… and the character of God… Exodus 34: 5-7 teaches the character of God… “Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD.
And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.”

He is a compassionate and Gracious God… slow to anger, and abounds in love and faithfulness… He is a loving and forgiving God and is faithful to fulfill His promises to us mere humans.

Most focus on God “getting the sinner” yet miss the story is a love story that God, though having every right to judge mankind and destroy all, has chosen to express love to us. Love is not wimpy, nor is God a “girly god” because of His love… in fact the nails that were hammered into Christ’s hands and feet did into hold Jesus to the Cross… Jesus’ Love for us held Him there. To hold up God’s wrath over God’s great love for us is a perversion and distortion of God’s revealed written word… and worse the very reason Jesus came to the world… not to judge us, but to save us, by the Great Grace and Love God has for us. God is a kind God… merciful beyond all compare…

John 3:16 – 21 is so often over used that the profundity is so often missed…

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

God loved us so much He became a man… the very Words God spoke literally are the Person of Jesus, for Jesus is the Living Word of God… The Word which all creation came to exist. God so loved this fallen world He gave His Son, this Word, to die for us and to be raised so that we would not taste death for eternity, but have eternal life… and whoever lives by this truth, is living by what God has done for us in this great love.

To put down God’s love is anathema to the very nature of God… it spits in the face of Jesus and abuses God’s creation. Such a person has no knowledge of God’s love for one must know God, to know God’s love… and in that one will love his brothers and sisters… and express this great love to the world… just as God did through Jesus… and that is our new vocation as the image of Christ. We are to proclaim the New Creation to this fallen world and speak of the Great Loving grace and mercy God has for us… we are to speak of God’s compassion so that man will see the kindness of God and come to repentance. To think that all the Life of Christ is about is to “get to heaven” is a selfish and distortion of the awesome vocation and privilege we have as we follow Christ’s example of self sacrificial love for mankind.

So, again, do not let someone tell you the lie that God hates you… God loves you and desires you to come to Him for Who He is… a loving, forgiving and compassionate God. Do not let knowledge keep you from true knowledge… let God reveal Himself to you…


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Oh the Love of God compels us

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