God's Love and Wrath
Topic: Occupied With Greatness Passage: 1 John 4:7–4:12
A Recap from Sunday’s Sermon
Preaching Text: 1 John 4:7-12
The Apostle John’s statement, “God is love,” is one of the more famous passages in the Bible (v. 8). However, what sounds simple at first is difficult to properly interpret.
First, we define love from our own experiences of it rather than what God has revealed about it. The Greek language uses several words to nuance the types of love. The most prominent word for love in Scripture (agape) is a self-sacrificial kind that loves unconditionally for the sake of the beloved. It is a choice even more than a feeling and there is nothing that will separate us from God’s love (see Romans 8:38). Much of human love is very different.
The second difficulty we have with our text is the word “propitiation,” which is an atoning sacrifice that appeases God’s wrath. Like our view of love, we also view wrath from a human perspective. We see it as capricious and emotionally unstable anger. But for God, it is a steady and consistent disposition against all sin. The tension is thus summed up: “How can God love us unconditionally while being wrathful against all sin?”
God shows his love and wrath in the Cross of Christ.
John Stott said it well: “Rather than condone sin, God’s love finds a way to expose it because he is light and consume it because he is fire without destroying the sinner because he is love.” The application, according to the Apostle John, is to love one another (v.7). We do so because God is love. We do so because God loved us on the Cross. We do so because God makes himself seen through our love (v.12).
Taking It Home: There is one God of the Bible. Discuss Old Testament passages that show God’s love and New Testament passages that show his wrath.