God’s Love Vs. His wrath
Some people see a conflict between the love of God and the wrath of God. My conclusion is that many people including Christians misunderstand the Love of God. The most common Bible verse that most people know is John 3:16. This verse clearly indicates that God Loved the entire World when He sent His son to die for Sin.
16 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. John 3:16 (KJV)
Our modern western world has only one word for love. This word love is used very freely of all kinds of love. I love my dog. I love apple pie. I love my mother. I love my girlfriend. The word love is used very indiscriminately for almost any type love. This is somewhat unfortunate because there is more than one kind of love. C.S. Lewis wrote a book called The Four Loves.
In biblical times there were actually two Greek words for love that were in use. But actually the Greeks had four words to describe different aspects of love, but only the two are used in the Bible.
The one word for love was “philos” which was a warm brotherly type love. Our city Philadelphia is based on this word. Philadelphia means “the city of brotherly love”.
The other word is the Greek word “agape” and literally means to do the best thing for the another person.
The word “agape” does not have the emotional content that “philos” has. Agape is a willed and rationally based type of love. The word “agape” is used by Jesus when he says, “Love your enemies”. This didn’t mean that we have to feel warm and affectionate toward our enemies, but that we must want the best for our enemies. Many Christians probably stumble over this verse because it is almost impossible to have affection for those who are our enemies. We may not even like them little lone “philos” them.
44 But I say unto you, Love (agape) your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. Matt 5:44-45 (KJV)
Some Christians think that the Greek word “agape” always refers to the “love of God”. That is, it is a God type of love. However, it is not always used in a good sense even in the Scriptures.
10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved (agape) this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica 2 Tim 4:10 (KJV)
Demas had given his full allegiance to the present world according to the above verse. The word for love in this verse is “agape”.
We as Christians can love our enemies in the “agape” sense. We are not commanded to feel “warm and fuzzy” toward them, but we are to do the best thing for them.
When God loved the World he loved all the people of the World and wanted the best thing for them. He may or may not have had a warm affection for them but that is not the meaning of the Greek word used in John 3:16.
The best thing God could do for all people was to provide eternal life and salvation for them. Jesus spoke of the comparative value of the body verses the soul of man. While the body is important and a gift from God, our soul and spiritual being is even more important.
Jesus said on more than one occasion “fear not him that is able to destroy the body, but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell-fire.” He said it was better to be crippled and lose the use of one part of the body than to enter into hell with a whole body.
The Apostle John writes in 1st John:
15 Love (agape) not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love (agape) the world, the love (agape) of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 1 John 2:15-17 (KJV)
The word “World” in the New Testament is used in three different ways: 1) the physical world, 2) the people of the world, and 3) the world as an evil system which is opposed to God.
The Apostle John uses the word “world” as the temporal world and the system of people that are in opposition to God.
19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. 1 John 5:19 (KJV)
In all these contexts the word “world” is the Greek word “kosmos” from which we get the word “cosmos”. The word “kosmos” means orderly and organized.
People of this world may have all type of troubles, disasters, and illnesses, but that does not mean that God does not love them. God who knows that end from the beginning wants the best thing for every created person. He wants to give them eternal life so that they can live with Him forever. This is truly the best thing for every human being. The love of God whereby He provided for the salvation of every human being is the greatest true love of all. All troubles, pains, and sufferings are only temporary but eternal life is forever with God.
Why do people go to hell? Because they refused the remedy for sin! Mankind is defective, corrupt, and contaminated with sin. God is holy and righteous and cannot allow anyone in His presence that is contaminated with sin.
Steve Jobs died of cancer because he delayed the treatment. He had decided that he could figure out a cure himself so he delayed until it was too late for doctors and medical specialist to help him. Steve Jobs was truly a great man but his self-confidence may have been his undoing.
God did not send His Son into the World to condemn the World of people but in order that He might save them from the consequences of their sin.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:17 (KJV)
God’s desire and wish for every human being is that they might be saved. The Apostle Peter writes this very clearly.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 (KJV)
Receiving salvation and eternal life is so simple and clearly explained in the Bible that I find it hard to believe that all people would not want to receive it. All a person has to do is to Believe that Jesus Christ died for their sins upon the cross and then rose again and now lives in the presence of God.
18 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. John 3:18 (KJV)
36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. John 3:36 (KJV)
The moment a person truly believes on Jesus Christ he receives eternal life. This is not in the next life, but in this life. A believer receives eternal life in this life.
May you trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and receive Him for eternal life.
Rev. Thomas L. Clark – Phil. 3:14