Monday, March 14, 2016

THE LOVE AND WRATH OF GOD


Some years ago in a small town in England a man escaped briefly from an institution for the criminally insane. During his few hours' liberty, he captured, raped, and murdered a small girl and was then apprehended by authorities. At the same time he arrived at the police station under escort, the father of the child arrived, too. The father was a mild-mannered man, but when he saw the person who had murdered his beloved child, he went berserk, and it took a number of lawmen to control him. There was no incompatibility between his love and his wrath; in fact, there was a clear connection between the two. Strangely, the intensity of his love was demonstrated in the intensity of his anger. Love for the beloved was shown in anger against that which had destroyed the beloved.

The love and wrath of God must be seen as a continuum of the divine emotion for humankind. The intensity of the love of God for people is clearly mirrored in the intensity of His antipathy to that which marred His creative masterpiece. And the greatest manifestation of the love of God, the cross of Christ, is itself the fiery focal point of the divine wrath. You cannot look at the cross and see love without wrath and wrath without love. The cross stands tall in human history as the epitome of the relationship between both.

-- Stuart Briscoe in The Fruit of the Spirit: Cultivating Christian Character


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