Saturday, July 27, 2013


Are God's Love and God's judgement (wrath) opposites?

We heard a great sermon last night during revival asking us if God's love is unconditional. Pastor Martinez left the question for us to wrestle with and through, but he made a great case for why it isn't unconditional. That sermon stirred up a bee's nest in our congregation. We had visitors who said they would not return. What about that question did not sit well with people?

Well I'm not a theologian, but I think it's because of the phrase unconditional love, it's meaning, and how it is being used today. Originally, I thought God's love was unconditional, and I could think of scriptures quickly that spoke of God's love for me. However, no where in the bible does it state that God's love is unconditional. And I realized the answer is not as clear cut as I thought.

According to the website, the phrase unconditional love didn't become mainstream until the 1960s during the LSD drug culture. Read the following excerpt from the same website:

God's love is truly amazing... God's love is unilateral: He loves the unlovable and gives His glory to them. God's love is completely undeserved. God's love is unfailing for those in whom He delights: who respond to Him and receive His Son. But, God's love is clearly not "unconditional"; for wrath and eternal damnation will come to those who reject His Messiah and His Gospel. Let us be sure to be found in the position of receiving God's love, and not His judgment. Let us heed the conditions clearly set forth by our Lord so that we can be at peace with Him. And let us shout the message of these conditions from the rooftops so that others might be saved, rather than retreat into thinly veiled license, universalism, or anything else that "sets itself up against the knowledge of God" (2Cor 10:5).

That statement is where I got my blog post title.  Are God's love and God's (wrath) judgement opposites? I did a little research on the web and most people who site God's unconditional love are pastors who are Calvinists or proponents for homosexuality such as this person who left the following comment on this Campus Crusades (Calvinist) blog about God's unconditional love:

We naturally respond with great relief and gratitude when we read scriptures that tell us that our sovereign Lord God loves us unconditionally and that Christ paid the sin debt of the world in full. This must include the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered. Like all of us, we are saved by a profession of faith in Jesus Christ and a commitment to do as Christ commands us? Is it not a sovereign act of God to declare us all righteous by faith in Christ? Is it not the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit (God) to begin our sanctification process to bring us to God, lest any of us should boast? Then why to we use the word of God to oppress and condemn a segment of people created in the image of God when God love us unconditionally. Also why does the fundamentalist church use scripture to condemn and discourage people from having a saving faith and a prayer relationship with God, whose Grace we all depend upon?

Isn't that comment insightful? Scary how the human mind can take a statement (not in the bible) and twist it to mean what they want. I'm pretty sure based on last night's sermon that this is the type of unbiblical (is that a word?) thinking pastor Martinez was trying to turn our minds from.

While reading and researching further I came upon an excellent article by Timothy Lane that explains what my thoughts were in asking whether God's love and God's (wrath) judgement were opposites.

Here is a small excerpt, but I recommend you read the article it in it's entirety. (Emphasis are mine)

The second experience was more recent, At a church service the reading was from Romans chapter 12. "Love must be sincere," began verse 9. The next word came as a shock. "Hate." "Hate what is evil." For most Western Christians hate is the last word that would be associated with love. But a love that does not contain hatred of evil is not the love of which the Bible speaks. It is most fitting therefore that a volume on God's love should include an essay on the wrath of God. This is necessary, not because we need to balance God's wrath with his love, as rival attributes, but because God's love itself implies his wrath. Without his wrath God is simply not loving in the sense that the Bible portrays his love.

What did I decide? 

Is God's love unconditional in the way that Calvinists and homosexuals infer when they make that statement?  NO.

Are God's love and His wrath opposites? NO, because God's love must include God's wrath.

Therefore, in my opinion IF you were to include God's wrath in God's love then you could rightly say His love is unconditional. Sadly, most people will not include God's wrath in His love and will miss out on eternity.

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