Tuesday, June 16, 2015

God Is Love

Not long ago I read these words: “God is a God of love. God is a God of fierce anger and wrath.”

A question immediately arose in my mind. Are anger and wrath inherent to the Person and character of God?

The Bible says, "He who does not love does not know God, for God is love" (1Jn 4:8).

I think we must distinguish between that which is essential and that which is secondary to God's nature. God is love and always has been—even in eternity past.

But can we say God is angry or wrathful and always has been—even in eternity past when there was nothing and no one (save God Himself) for God to be angry or wrathful towards? I don't think so.

I think folks who know Jesus best affirm that He was and is a Man of love. They would say, "He is such a loving Person." Does this mean sin doesn't anger Him? No. Jesus could and can be angry. But we would not characterize Him as an "angry man."

Sin angers Him because He loves, not because He hates. As has been often observed, he who loves the garden must hate the weeds.

Similarly, we don't think of godly people as "angry" people, though sin can anger them (especially their own). Thus, the Apostle John correlates our loving others with knowing God—God is love. Love is essential and primary to the essence of God.

We can say in agreement with 1 John that God is love. I don't think we can affirm "God is anger/wrath/hate" (these things being secondary rather than essential). In other words, love and hate are not of equal ultimacy.

And let us Christians be especially mindful that Jesus says people will know we are His disciples—not by how angry we are—but by how loving we are.

By this all will know that you are My disciples,
if you have love for one another.
~John 13:35



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