Again, we look to our brothers & sisters at 9marks for clarity:
Is there a contradiction between God’s love and wrath?
Have you ever heard the following? “God is love! He would never judge anyone or send anyone
to hell! That’s just not loving!” Pitting God’s love against God’s wrath is as common these days as the biblical illiteracy which feeds such a sentiment.
- Yet far from pitting God’s love and God’s wrath against one another, the Bible portrays God as merciful and just (Ex. 34:6-7), kind and severe (Rom. 11:22), loving and wrathful (Rom. 5:8-10).
- John 3:16, one of the most famous verses in the Bible, says, “For God so love the world, that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him would not perish but have eternal life.”
- Why did God give his Son to die on the cross for us? Because he loves us.
- But why did Jesus have to die on the cross in order to save us? Because God’s wrath would only be satisfied when the penalty for our sin was paid in full. Because God is holy his wrath burns against sin and he will punish it. But does that mean he isn’t loving? No! God satisfied his wrath by punishing Jesus in our place on the cross precisely because he loves us. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:6; see also Gal. 2:20, Eph. 5:2).
Let’s consider Romans 3:23-26 as an example – “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified (expression of God’s love) by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood (expression of God’s wrath & love), to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins (expression of God’s love). It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just (expression of God’s wrath) and the justifier (expression of God’s love) of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Note: parenthetical statements added by me)