Wrath and Love

December 29, 2017

Is the God of the Bible a God of wrath? Or is He a God of love?

The answer is yes – the Bible presents Him as both.

We see both pictures of God clearly in the book of Revelation. In chapter 6, the Lamb opens six seals of the scroll of history. After He opens the sixth seal, we read:

Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Revelation 6:15-17)

These rebels against God see Jesus. They see the Lamb who was slain, who by His blood “ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9) – yet they see Him not as loving but as wrathful. They look upon the One who is their only hope – and they only see judgment, they only see wrath. They don’t fall on their knees and worship Him, saying “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:10). Instead, they want to hide from Him.

Later we read that those who remain in rebellion against God despite plagues “cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory” (Revelation 16:9). Without repentance, without the redemption that comes from the Lamb’s blood by grace through faith, they are left with only a “fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries” (Hebrews 10:27).

So, yes, God is a God of wrath to those who remain in rebellion against Him. Indeed the Lamb Who was Slain is a God of wrath, a Lion, to those who refuse to bow before Him, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Yet in the immediate context of these pictures of wrath we see pictures of His great love and tender mercies:

“He who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 7:15b-17).

The first group calls upon rocks and mountains to shelter them from God’s wrath. God Himself shelters the second group. The Lamb Himself shepherds them; He leads them beside still waters; He restores their soul.

The first group looks upon God and the Lamb and sees only wrath. They might even say, “God is wrath.” The second group looks at the same God, the same Lamb, and sees love. They gladly proclaim, “God is love.”

At the Last Day, we all will be in one group or the other. God will be to us either a God of wrath or a God of love. There will be nothing in between. And so the Apostle Paul says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved!” (Acts 16:31).

The Lord God offers you forgiveness freely. Without cost. You don’t have to clean yourself up to come to Him. Rather, you must admit that you cannot clean yourself up; you must admit that apart from His grace and mercy, rebels like you cannot stand before His holiness.

So end this year of 2017 by repenting of your rebellion. Fall before the Lamb. Be reconciled to the Lord God Almighty through Him.

And He will reveal Himself to you as a God of love.

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