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Apostolic Preaching of the Cross

April 21, 2011

Again, Tim Challies in a post on God’s jealous love gives these thoughts on Leon Morris’ Apostolic Preaching of the Cross:

When the Bible speaks of God’s love, it does not refer to a warm, fuzzy sentimentality, but a love that is so jealous for the good of the one who is loved that it blazes out in wrath against all evil. The writers of the New Testament had no concept of a love that did not react in the strongest fashion against all sin. He writes “Perhaps the difficulty arises because we are making a false antithesis between the divine wrath and the divine love. We are handicapped by the fact that we must necessarily use terms properly applicable to human affairs, and for us it is very difficult to be simultaneously wrathful and loving.” But God is able to be both perfectly loving and wrathful. Unlike us, he is not given to outbursts of emotion or to irrationality. His wrath is as perfectly and completely manifested as his love.

So now we must ask why this matters. What does it matter if we believe God has full and unconditional love toward everyone? The problem is that a diminished view of the wrath of God indicates a diminished view of human depravity. A person who believes God’s wrath does not abide on the sinner, must also believe that God does not hate his sin. This will inevitably lead to a diminished view of justification. What use is justification if sin is not really that important? It is no wonder that the doctrines of grace begin with Total Depravity. Only when we understand the desperation of man’s condition can we understand the love and wrath of God. It may seem to us that it is easier and more effective to preach a gospel of universal love—a gospel where God loves and accepts us just as we are. But this is not the gospel of the Bible. Until we know our sin and God’s wrath against it, we cannot know love. Until we know love, we cannot know the Savior.

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From → Preaching

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