by Paul Benson
The Love Of God
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. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:16-17
The most important revelation you will ever get in life is that God really does love you, and wants to be in perfect communion with you. Matching that level of importance, or at least running a close second, is the understanding that all who reject his love will face his eternal wrath.
Until we come to this realization we cannot properly appraise the purpose (or value) of life. No matter how successful a person is, or well known and respected, without a proper understanding of the love of God for mankind we will never know but a meager fraction of life’s potential. Considering the fact our interaction with, and response to, this divine outreach is a matter of eternal life or eternal death; it might behoove us to make sure we have an understanding of God’s love which is in accord with the Scriptures.
His Benevolent Love
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
Although we see one of the strongest evidences of the sinful fallen nature of mankind is selfishness, the Lord Jesus taught his followers that the greatest expression of true love was evidenced by the laying down of your life for others. And after he had spent several years exemplifying that statement by living a life serving the needs of others, he gave the ultimate example by going to the Cross to die for us.
The Bible Is Of Divine Origin
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:14-15
It wasn’t until I discovered that the Old Testament was full of types and shadows that it really ‘came alive’ to me. By types and shadows I mean that the stories and events (and even the Law) of the Old Testament are full of symbolism and word pictures that all speak of Jesus; and foretell his birth, his life, his ministry, his death, his Resurrection, his current role as intercessor, and his future Coming to rule and reign. The books of the O.T. are rich with examples of this amazing additional witness to the Gospel.
There is no way the Old Testament could contain this overwhelming descriptive nature hidden in its pages apart from supernatural design. It is one of the strongest evidences to the Divine inspiration of the Scriptures that we have. Once you learn to look for this, you can see the Gospel of Christ throughout the pages of the Old Testament. We see Jesus referring to a type/shadow (one of many hundreds) of the O.T. in the above verse from John’s Gospel. He was referring to the following passage from the Book of Numbers:
The Loving Sacrifice
And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. 9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. Numbers 21:8-9
This story typifies the Cross of Christ. The people had been bitten by snakes and were dying. So God told Moses put a brass snake up on a wooden pole and whoever looked upon it would be healed from the poison of the bites. The wooden pole is symbolic of the Cross, The brass is symbolic of judgment; the snake symbolic of sin. When you, by faith, look upon the Cross, and see Jesus bearing the judgment of your sin, it no longer brings death to you.
I hope YOU have realized this truth as a personal experience.
The Other Side Of God’s Love
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. John 3:18-19
As great of a revelation as the sacrifice of the Cross of Christ is, it is not the complete story of God’s love for mankind. It is but one side of the coin, so to speak.
Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. Romans 11:22
Sadly, and contrary to the preaching of some of today’s celebrity ministers, the love of God will NOT lead to the ultimate reconciliation of all of mankind. Those who spurn God’s love and the truth of his Word will not know the benefit of his Son’s sacrifice. They will see the other side of God’s love: his jealous anger!
The Love Of A Jealous God
For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: Exodus 34:14
It might surprise many that one of the names for God we find in the Bible is ‘Jealous’. Much preaching is done on the benevolent love of God; but sparse are the messages on the wrath Jesus will visit upon this world at his Return. A lot of folks seem to think he is going to descend with a kitty-cat in one arm and a bouquet of flowers in the other, but not so! The Bible tells us he will return in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: (2 Thess. 1:8).
When we think along the lines of how great God’s love is it would be wise to consider that great love carries with it a great capacity for jealous anger. It has been said, “Hell has no fury like a woman scorned!”. Whoever said that had no idea what they were talking about. The damnation the wicked shall face will be an eternal expression of the jealous anger of an Almighty God rejected by the creation he loves so dearly.
The Unpopular Side OF God’s Love
This type of preaching will not win you any popularity contests; but those who preach the goodness of God but fail to warn of his severity are perverting the message of the Gospel. Many preach like they are doing God a favor by just presenting his best side to the world, and hiding all his (supposed) ‘bad’ attributes. Others are preaching that because Jesus went to the cross that God is no longer angry with sin; that all sin is forgiven. This is a lie from Hell, but becoming very popular in our day.
By preaching a God who is no longer angry over sin they are giving people a false concept of who God is; and are doing a lot of damage. It gives people the mistaken impression they can continue on in their sin and still know God’s grace. But it is a balance of truth, and a proper regard for the consequences of sin, that causes man to truly repent and seek forgiveness. By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil. Proverbs 16:6
God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day. Psalms 7:11
The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: Nahum 1:3
A Balanced Message of God’s Love
God does NOT acquit the wicked; he transforms them into the Righteous by the power of his grace. What is the difference between the true Gospel and the false? One transforms while the other merely pacifies. No transformation – no salvation!
- The true gospel produces a new man in Christ. Walking in the true grace of God places a new heart and a new nature in a person. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God… 2 Corinthians 5:17-18
- The false gospel leaves you in the same sinful state but with a false assurance of salvation. A lying deception that has millions of lost souls convinced they are on the road to glory. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:11
The Bottom Line
Every person ever born will experience the love of God in one fashion or the other. Either his Benevolent Love expressed through the Sacrifice of his Son; or the horror of facing a never-ending expression of his Jealous Anger. It is only those who have found true repentance, and turned from their sin to embrace faith in the Blood of Christ and his death on that Cross, who will be saved.
Only the Righteous redeemed (born-again from above) will know God’s forgiveness. The unconverted wicked shall know only his wrath, no matter how religious they are.
Only the transforming power of God’s true grace can save a soul!
Has it truly transformed you?
I know that life is chock-full of responsibilities, trials, distractions and decisions. But above all else in life, please accept the reality of the great love God has for you. It is magnificent beyond our capability to comprehend. I hope you recognize your need to respond to that love in the manner he has chosen.
It is a decision you will never regret.