Every time. Every single time I try to teach people that God is love and that God responds to our failures with mercy and forgiveness, someone will always try to say, “But God is also a God of Wrath and Justice!”
But, as I’ve already mentioned, there are zero verses that say “God IS wrath”, but there are lots that teach us that “God IS Love,” and the book of Revelation even mocks the idea of God’s wrath by comparing it to the “Wrath of the Suckling Lamb“, which is equal to saying “The Wrath of the Kitten” or “The Fury of the Puppy.” It’s laughable.
Still, I feel the need, once again, to point out something to those who insist that God is a God of Wrath and that God’s Justice must be retributive.
If we look at the book of Genesis in the Old Testament, which is where we supposedly get the idea of Man’s fall from Grace and the origins of “Original Sin”, we notice that the way this “God of Wrath and Justice” reacts to the first murder is pretty out of character.
Yes, God warns Cain not to harbor resentment in his heart towards his brother, Abel. Yes, God seeks out Cain after he has murdered his innocent [and presumably more righteous] brother.
But how does this vengeful, wrathful God who demands perfect Justice respond to the very first murder in human history?
Let’s see. No wrath. No rebuke. No shedding of blood.
What we see is that God sends Cain out to wander the land as a nomad. But, even as Cain cries out, “This punishment is more than I can bear! Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me,” God’s response to Cain is this: “Not so!”
Why? Because God’s punishment actually comes with a sign of love and permanent protection for Cain.
Not only this, but God corrects Cain’s assumption that he would be “hidden from [God’s] presence” by saying, “Not so!” because God’s sign declares to everyone: This is my son. I have shown him mercy. So should you.
So, where is the wrath of God? Where is this perfect Justice we’ve been told about?Perhaps God really IS a God of love? Perhaps God actually responds with mercy and protection and vows never to leave us or forsake us?
Maybe it’s true that God is really like Jesus? Maybe God was, in Christ, not counting our sins against us but reconciling the World to Himself?
What do you think?[NOTE: Thanks to my friend Derrick Day for this amazing insight.]
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