The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them
to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always,
even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
May 14, 2017
1) God of Wrath vs. God of Love? (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
God of Wrath vs. God of Love?
Is the God of the Old Testament the same as the God of the New? For
while some folks view the former as a God of wrath, they also see
the latter in the New Testament as a God of love. But are
these two different Gods?
It is true that we have more examples of God's wrath in the Old
Testament, such as the global flood of Noah's day in which only 8
people survived (Gen. 6-8); the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
that eventually resulted in only 3 souls saved (Gen. 19:1-25); the
drowning of Pharaoh's army in the Red Sea (Exod. 14); some of the
Hebrews destroyed by fire for murmuring (Num. 11:1-3); the earth
that opened up and swallowed Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, along with
their families, for rebelling over the leadership of Moses and
Aaron, along with the 250 consumed by fire for also doing so (Num.
16). Many of the Israelites then grumbled against Moses and
Aaron, accusing them of being the cause for the death of Korah and
these others. So God brought a plague upon these grumblers that led
to the death of 14,700 of them (Num. 16:49). Many of Israel died for
complaining about the food God provided (Num. 21:4-9). For
joining in with the idolatrous worship of Baal, 24,000 Israelites
perished by a plague (Num. 25:1-9). When David sinned by
wrongfully numbering Judah and Israel, it resulted in 70,000 dying
from Dan to Beersheba (2 Sam. 24:15). In defense of the city
of Jerusalem and for the Lord's sake, as well as for David's, the
angel of the Lord put to death 185,000 Assyrians who would have come
up against the city (2 Kings 19:35). These are just some of
the examples in the Old Testament of God's wrath that brought about
Could it be that we don't take God seriously enough, in our time,
with regard to sin? Do we think more lightly of it because we
are not seeing God's wrath being outpoured today as it was in Old
Testament times? Of course, it could very well be that the
Lord sometimes still does carry out His wrath providentially, which
we are not aware of nor can determine. But if He did, and we
knew of it, would that change our attitude toward sin and our
What examples do we have in the New Testament of God's wrath leading
to the death of the wrongdoer? In Acts 5:1-11, Ananias and his
wife Sapphira were both struck down by God for lying, which resulted
in “great fear” that “came over the whole church, and over all who
heard of these things" (v. 11).
Though people lie today without losing their lives for it, does that
mean that God now approves of such? Is not lying still
wrong? And would not God's attitude still be the same toward
it as when Ananias and Sapphira did so? Of course, the worse
penalty of all for lying is that it is a sin by which one can be
lost, ultimately kept out of heaven, and end up in the lake of
fire eternally (cf. Rev. 21:8).
Another example is that of Herod. When acclaimed as having
“the voice of a god and not of a man,” after delivering a speech,
Herod was then struck down and died “because he did not give
God the glory” (Acts 12:20-23). Again, however, does it mean
it is now all right to do the same today, as what Herod was guilty
of, just because that person would not be immediately struck by God
for having done so?
Paul points out to the Corinthians that “many among you are weak and
sick, and a number sleep” (1 Cor. 11:30) for having incurred
“judgment” by failing to remember Christ's death when observing the
Lord's Supper (v. 29). Instead, some were making a common meal
out of it to fill their bellies rather than think upon the Lord’s
great sacrifice and atonement for our sins. The King James Version
speaks of that “judgment” as being “damnation” brought upon oneself.
So it is not only the love side of God that we see in the New
Testament, nor only the wrath side of God that we see in the Old
Testament. For even in the Old Testament it shows of the
Lord's great compassion for His people. And out of that
far-surpassing love, He sent His prophets numerous times to the
wayward ones to urge them to repent and return to Him. For as God
instructs Ezekiel, “Say to them, 'As I live!' declares the Lord GOD,
'I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the
wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your
evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?’” (Ezek.
Consider also His message through the prophet Joel: “'Yet even now'
declares the LORD, 'Return to Me with all your heart, And with
fasting, weeping and mourning; And rend your heart and not your
garments.' Now return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious
and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness And
relenting of evil” (Joel 2:12,13).
Let us remind ourselves that God sent His Son during the Old
Testament times, who was “born under the Law, so that He might
redeem those who were under the Law” (Gal. 4:4,5). “For God so
loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son...” (Jn.
3:16). Though that is read in the “New Testament,” yet the
actual giving of His Son was during Old Testament times, as well as
the life He lived up to His death (cf. Heb. 9:15-28). And the
promise of the Messiah and the giving of His life for every sinner
was prophesied several centuries prior to the New Testament Age
(Isa. 53, Psa. 22). What a greatest of all indication of God's
love that was and is!
It must also be realized that God's nature does not change (Mal.
3:6). Jesus Christ, who is “the exact representation of His
[Father's] nature” (Heb. 1:3) and, therefore, as much God as the
Father (cf. Jn. 1:1-3), is also spoken of as being “...the same
yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8).
That God, who never changes, has a love-side as well as a wrath-side
can also be seen in Romans 11:22: "Behold then the kindness
and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's
kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will
be cut off.” And we also see this in John 3:36: “He who
believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the
Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” It
makes a great deal of difference in whether we choose to go the way
of Christ or not.
By knowing that the God of the New Testament is the same as the God
of the Old Testament, perhaps seeing those examples of His wrath
will instill in us a greater reverence for God and the need to
comply with His commands – rather than thinking of Him, as C.S.
Lewis once wrote of the case of those who “....want not so
much a Father but a grandfather in heaven, a God who said of
anything we happened to like doing, 'What does it matter so long as
they are contended?'” (via The Problem of Pain).
And some go to even more extremes in actually wanting to have as
little to do with God as possible. Lewis also writes in the
same book, “We regard God as an airman regards his parachute; it's
there for emergencies but he hopes he'll never have to use it.”
May the examples of God's wrath in the Bible prompt us to realize
more seriously the dangers of sin and be motivated to live holy
lives instead. “For if we go on sinning willfully after
receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a
sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE
FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. Anyone who has
set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of
two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he
will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has
regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was
sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him
who said, ‘VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.’ And again, ‘THE
LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.’ It is a terrifying thing to fall
into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:26-31).
But, as we have seen, the choice is up to us. We can
either find it a terrifying thing to be in the hands of God, due to
incurring His wrath, or a place of great blessing and protection and
from which no one can pluck us out, due to abiding in His love by
our obedience to the gospel. As Jesus teaches in John
10:27-29, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow
Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and
no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given
them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them
out of the Father's hand.” To hear the voice of the Lord (by
hearing the gospel) and following (by our obedience) is the key to
avoiding the wrath side of God and enjoying His love — and may it be
that we will ever do that!
News & Notes
Kelli Fleeman received her second chemo Thursday, which
will be followed by another on the 25th and then June 1. Her doctors
have mentioned the possibility of radiation treatment, but only if
the chemo doesn’t do well enough. Her breathing has improved;
and she was able to eat a little macaroni and cheese, but is
primarily on a liquid diet. Though the lump in her throat is
still interfering with her speech, she says she "feels
better." Her husband Rick writes that "Overall she is doing
We are glad to hear that after spending more than three weeks in
the hospital for his double lung transplant, Gary Cradick
was to return home Monday (5/15), which was his 25th day.
Let us also remember in prayer: Lexi Crawford, Michelle
Rittenhouse, Rachael Gerbing, Kay Byars, Judy Daugherty, Shirley
Davis, Jim Lively, Mary Vandevander, La Donna Andrews, James
Medlock, Buddy Gornto, Sunny Nichols, Billy Lowe, and Tom
WordPress version of this week's bulletin:
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17;
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark
16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet.
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not,
salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m.
Tuesday: 7 p.m. (Ladies' Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
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