Both the love of God and the wrath of God are genuine and real. It is certain that God loves all mankind. Jesus said, "For God so loved the world...(Jno. 3:16). He tasted death for every man (Heb. 2:9). "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us," that is, "for the ungodly" (Rom. 5:6,8). God chastens those He loves and scourges evrery son whom He receives (Heb. 12:5,6). He loved Israel with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3).
The wrath of God is as real as His love. It is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18). John asked some who came to his baptism: "O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" (Lk. 3:7). There is a "day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God" (Rom. 2:5). Those who turn from God to worship evil will drink of the wine of the wrath of God (Rev. 14:10). God's wrath is fierce (2 Chron. 28:11). Israel provoked God to wrath by their disobedience in the days of Moses (Deut. 9:7,22). Even so, today the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience (Eph. 5:6). This wrath is not vague and so general that its effect is not felt individually. Moses, Uzziah, David, and the remnant of Israel experienced it (Deut. 1:37; 2 Sam 6:7; Neh. 13:18).
Love and wrath do not cancel each other. They are not opposites. Hate is the opposite of love, and pleasure is the opposite of wrath. God loved mankind even though He was displeased with them (Rom. 5:6,8). God is provoked to anger or wrath by those whom He is seeking to save (1 Kgs. 14:15; Jer. 44:6-8). Wrath sometimes brings disciplinary action through love. Many times children provoke their parents to anger, not because the parents do not love them, but rather because they do love them. Fathers are told to "provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4).
We all have experienced the love of God, and we continue to enjoy its blessings every day. He sends rain upon the just and the unjust (Matt. 5:45). On the other hand, we surely have given God reason to be displeased and angry with us because of our misconduct. Jesus always did those things that please God (Jno. 8:29), but we sometimes miss the mark and so displease Him. If we wish to receive the benefits of God's love in the sacrifice of His Son, we, too, must do those things that please Him. Then we will not experience the tribulation and anguish that come through the indignation and wrath of God Who loves us, but which are reserved for those who do evil (Rom. 2:5-11). If one who is living in disobedience to God turns from his disobedience to serve God, then he shall save his soul alive (Ezk. 18:27).
God loves us all, but we will experience His wrath if we trample the Son of God underfoot, and count the blood of the covenant by which the saved are sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace. He has placed the choice before us (Heb. 10:29).
By Gilbert Alexander.
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