Newsflash: God Responds to Evil, Initiates Love
I read something profound the other day. God’s wrath is in response to evil. God’s inherent nature isn’t wrathful . . . He’s not performance-based . . . He didn’t set up a ‘pass-fail,’ ‘win-lose’ world. He didn’t create wrath or eternal punishment as a preventive measure either . . . it wasn’t some celestial game of intimidation and fear . . . where He had to have a ‘yang’ to go with the ‘yin.’
He created a perfect, loving, harmonious world. But when pride appeared in Lucifer, and in Adam and Eve, and in their descendants, God had no choice but to respond. For God to be just, there has to be consequences for evil. A perfect, holy God wouldn’t be perfect and holy if He simply ignored evil.
But wait a minute . . . does that mean God responds to the evil things I do or tolerate or ignore? Yes, He does. Or at least He did when Jesus went to the cross. All of our evil, all of our sins, past present and future were transferred to Jesus. God released His wrath on His own Son, who had committed no evil whatsoever, so we could be forgiven and restored to a place of peace, innocence and holiness. It makes sense to live lives of gratitude for Jesus and what He did for us. Unfathomable, self-sacrificing love.
Personally, I don’t think God likes this part of His job. I think He was forced into it. He had to respond to evil with judgment and wrath, but He takes no pleasure in it. He says in Ezekiel 33:11, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.” In 1 Timothy 1:3-4, Paul writes, “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
God’s heart . . . His true nature . . . is unconditional love, not wrath. That’s what He does, that’s what He gives, that’s who He is. In A Love Worth Giving, Max Lucado writes . . .
“Our love depends on the receiver of the love. Let a thousand people pass before us, and we will not feel the same about each. Our love will be regulated by their appearance, by their personalities. Even when we find a few people we like, our feelings will fluctuate. How they treat us will affect how we love them. The receiver regulates our love.
Not so with the love of God. We have no thermostatic impact on His love for us. The love of God is born from within Him, not from what He finds in us. His love is uncaused and spontaneous . . . Does He love us because of our goodness? Because of our kindness? Because of our great faith? No, He loves us because of His goodness, kindness, and great faith.”
That’s Him. That’s our Heavenly Father right there. Loving, good, kind, faithful.
Prayer – Father, give us the courage to ask you the tough questions about you. Holy Spirit, inspire us to lean into our doubts . . . to study your Word, ask for clarity, and receive your truth. Lord Jesus, prepare us to be your Ambassadors. In your beautiful, matchless name we pray. Amen.
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