God of Love or Wrath?
Is your perception of God as an old man in a black robe just waiting to strike you down for anything that you do wrong, a God a to be feared, or is He a God of love allowing you to do just about whatever you want to do? Many claim to fear God, while others simply say that God is a God of love, and we need not fear Him. I suspect that the truth lies somewhere in between these two points and perhaps including both elements. What exactly does His Word, the Bible, tells us about God?
Proverbs 1:7 says that, "And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding." And we find in Ecclesiastes 12:13, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." "But what is there to fear about God?" you must be wondering knowing that God is a God of love. Sure He is, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The Bible gives us many reasons to fear God, understanding that fear is to recognize the awesomeness and the sovereign authority of God. First, you must understand that God is perfect in every way. Many people today don’t understand how righteous He is, that He hates sin. And we see this in both the Old and New Testaments. As I mentioned in an earlier article, Adam and Eve just ate from the forbidden tree and all of mankind got cursed, (Genesis 3) and in Numbers 15:32-36, they stoned a man for picking up wood for a fire on the Sabbath Day. Neither of these sins would hardly be classified as anything that bad in today’s world. But the New Testament tells us that the "wages of sin is death," (Romans 6:23 ) and James 2:10 , tells us, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." Not only that, but Revelation 21:27 says while in reference to Heaven that, "And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth." If that isn’t enough, 2 Peter 2:4,5.6 shows us how God dealt with the unrighteous, "For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an example unto those that after should live ungodly!" In fact, Scriptures warn us of the wrath of God in the future times. "Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. (Ephesians 5:6) "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; (Romans 1:18) and "1 And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth." are just three examples of His wrath yet to come. And knowing that, "Jesus Christ (is) the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever," (Hebrews 13:8) I wonder why any of us would not be afraid of a God such as this?
But what about God being a God of love and the verses that tell us these things like, "We have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him?" (1 John 4:16) And we know that Jesus said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13) This is exactly my point for John 3:16 tells us that, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." And this was before we got right, for, "God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) God's righteousness says He must punish sin, but God's love provided the punishment through His Son, who died on the cross for all our sins. However, it is not automatic.
The Bible tells us that we must make a decision, telling us that we must be "Born-again" (John 3:3) for "I (Jesus) stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him..." (Rev. 3:20) Ephesians 2:3 continues, by telling us that, "Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." (Romans 5:9) Yes, it is not God’s wrath that we’d have to face, but rather great happiness in Heaven with God’s blessings, for Paul writes, "Neither height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:29) Later he tells us how that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. And we get a glimpse of what he must have seen in Revelation 21:21 , "And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass." Imagine the house that He promised us when He told us that He was going to prepare a place for His children in John 14, back nearly 2000 years ago. Not only then, but even today, He tells His children not to worry about things as He’ll take care of His children. The question isn’t any longer whether God is a God of wrath or a God of love, but rather which God will you be facing when you meet Him? The reality of the situation is this, as Matthew 7:13,14 tells us, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
"What’s my point?" you must be thinking. As we near this fourth annual Wisconsin Christian News Expo, it is to let you know that there are many people raised in a denomination, seriously thinking that when they die they will go to Heaven, but instead, they walk in darkness. I was such a child. And because of the deception that blinded me from the truth, we started this ministry in an effort to reach the lost, primarily the Catholics who, just as I was, don't even know the reality of their position with God and remain lost.
Earlier, I showed that the Bible stated we have been justified by the shed blood of Christ, and Scriptures say that whoever believes will be saved. The key is then determining whether or not they do believe in that fact, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3:36) The Bible also tells us that, "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth." (1 John 1:6) When Jesus was about to begin His last few hours, He prayed earnestly to the Father, "And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." (Luke 22:41,42) Then, as He was about to die, Jesus said, "It is finished." (Luke 19:30) And we see that in Isaiah 53:5 it says, "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." It doesn’t say that we should wait and that He’d give us sacraments that we can apply for this purpose, nor does He teach that He made a place called Purgatory to get any remaining sins purged from our souls or that our works help in this salvational matter. There are so many other beliefs in which they unknowingly think that they are walking the walk, but to the contrary, they are headed for a future appointment with the God of wrath.
In closing, I am willing to answer any questions concerning Catholicism and the many other areas that they clearly go against Scriptures. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 11:4 of people that have different God and a different gospel then the one true gospel that saves. The Bible says that God wishes that all men would be saved and so do we at Gospel Light Ministries. With this in mind, think about which God you'd like to face, the one of wrath that everyone fears, or the God of love that will provide for you? Remember, there is a way that seems right to man that leads to condemnation. Check us out and get right with God today.