The height, depth and breadth of God’s love can never be fully described, nor can it be understood this side of eternity.
The wideness of God’s mercy is beyond man’s comprehension. For this reason we too often try to squeeze him into the distorted and limited mold of human understanding.
The grace of God is man’s only hope. Made operative by faith, it is the means of our salvation. But for this attribute of God, man’s state would be hopeless. Day by day we are its recipients and by it God’s love is shed abroad in our hearts.
But that is not the total picture and some have erred in stressing only God’s love, mercy and grace, creating a concept which is distorted and incompleted. God is not a beneficient Santa Claus, an everpresent Genie, a tolerant Father in whose favor we rightfully bask and on whom we have the inherent claim to the good things of life.
But can we ever understand the love of God apart from the context of his holy anger? Can we understand the Cross until we know something of God’s capacity for wrath? Can we grasp the meaning of sin apart from the absolute holiness of God?
Part of the dilemma may stem from our concept of anger and wrath. The wrath of man is of the flesh, his anger only too often caused by some personal affront. Out of anger man may proceed to sins of speech or action. Aside from those occasions when regenerate man is roused to righteous indignation anger is usually sin and leads to many things which harm man and hishonor God.
The wrath of God is a holy wrath, a consuming reaction against evil the nature and extent of which no man can understand. Here we are confronted by the inscrutable fact of divine holiness and by the depth of the implications of sin. It is not as man hates that God hates; rather ...1
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