If you’ve spent much time in church, then you probably know a lot of words that could be used to describe God. Father, Friend, Good Shepherd, Refuge. The characteristics of God are limitless.
What are the first characteristics you think of? Compassionate, loving, providing and all-knowing are a few that come first to my mind. I bet similar terms come to your mind.
But what about the characteristics of God that don’t make us feel so warm and fuzzy? Wrathful, jealous, just. What do we do with those traits?
They are just as real and strong as any other traits of God. God is as wrathful as He is loving; as jealous as He is patient and as just as He is merciful.
I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, those weren’t traits I thought about a lot growing up. They weren’t (and still aren’t) characteristics that made me feel good and comfortable. It’s terrifying to remember that the all-powerful God who holds the earth in His hands is wrathful.
I think so many people today have skewed views of God and Christianity because they have fit God to their mold — they make for themselves a god who isn’t wrathful or just. Their god is only loving, forgiving and compassionate (which God is), but the true God is so much more.
Have you ever considered that ignoring the traits of God that make us uncomfortable or don’t fit into our mold waters down the cross? If we don’t believe God is wrathful or just, then why did Jesus have to die for our sins? If God was just going to overlook all of our sins because He’s loving and compassionate, then why did He send Jesus to take the sins of the world, past, present and future, onto Himself?
If God doesn’t demand punishment for sin, then why do we need a Savior?
And vice versa is also true.
If God was only interested in punishing the guilty, why did He send Jesus? If He was going to give us all what we deserve (which is death) regardless, why did He have His Son bear the weight of the world?
Jesus is here because God is all of those traits. Because we were sinners who deserved the wrath and justice of God, Jesus came. Jesus came because He is loving and merciful and compassionate. Jesus took the wrath of God in our place. Jesus felt the justice that should’ve been ours.
So don’t push away the traits of God that make you uncomfortable. Don’t try to make God something He is not.
Our God is wrathful and just. He hates all unrighteousness and sin, and He punishes accordingly. But for believers, that wrath and justice is not ours to bear. They were nailed to a cross long ago. They were borne by a sinless Savior so that we may have eternal life — something we never could’ve earned or deserved on our own.
“For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21)