Is God Love and Nothing Else?
For many who don't want to deal with everything that God is and only want the sweet parts of Christianity, they cannot conceive of God as being anything more than a benevolent father who just wants to bless his children and lives to give them their hearts desires! As this generation says, "They don't want to man up." They would rather believe a partial truth or a lie that makes them feel good, and follow a God who will not put demands on them.
This God of theirs is not the God of the Bible! The God of scripture is not interested in making life comfortable for us, but rather calls us to die to ourselves so that others might find life in Him. We are to love our enemies, do good to them that hate us, and pray for those who spitefully use us and persecute us. We are called to take up our cross and follow Christ even to death if necessary. The Bible states outright that "ALL who will live godly in Christ Jesus WILL SUFFER PERSECUTION." All is a very inclusive word, and doesn't leave anyone out. In Hebrews 12 we read that our God disciplines those he loves, which includes every man who is serious about following and obeying Christ. The Bible also tells us that it is through much tribulation we shall enter the kingdom of God. There are so many scriptures that speak of a Christian life that is far from comfortable, that to be deluded into thinking otherwise is a clear indication that the person isn't willing to believe what is written in the scriptures.
On the positive side, God has promised to be with us until the end of the world and throughout the vast ages of eternity. He has promised to do exceeding and more abundantly more than we might ask or think. He has promised his Holy Spirit to teach and guide us through life. He has promised to meet all our "NEED," and I believe that need means spiritually, physically, mentally, materially and in every possible way. His timing doesn't always suit us, but he certainly knows much better than we do when we need something and when withholding it is better for us.
For those who rebel against God and his commandments and his son there is a God who is a God of judgment and wrath. God will punish those who reject his offer of mercy, but it is in his heart to deliver them from their wickedness if they will repent. Judgment is reserved for the unrepentant who die in their sin and refuse to turn from their own ways. Some would say that God's judgment is too harsh, but that is simply because we only see sin with our finite understanding and our earthly construct, and we don't understand the depths of sin as God does. I believe on the day of judgment it will be perfectly clear that sin is exceeding evil beyond our comprehension, and that everyone who dies in their sin and open rebellion against God will fully acknowledge that their punishment is just. There will be no arguing as all people of all ages stand in the presence of God in all his holiness and power. Imagine coming into the presence of a God who is absolutely pure and holy and perfect, laden with sin and knowing that you could have come before him acceptable and cleansed in the blood of Jesus Christ, but you refused! In Revelation, Chapter One, a man of God, the apostle John was exiled on the island of Patmos when Jesus appeared to him in all his resurrected glory and power. The Bible says that this holy man of God "fell at Jesus' feet as a dead man." If a holy man fell down in terror in the presence of the resurrected Christ, what will the ungodly do when they come before him?
The fear of the Lord is the BEGINNING OF KNOWLEDGE! This was written by Solomon in the book of Proverbs. The rest of the verse reads; "but fools despise wisdom and instruction." Since fear is only the beginning of knowledge, it is safe to believe that no knowledge that is of any worth belongs to those who will not fear the God who will one day judge them. Even Jesus said; "Fear not those who can kill the body but after that can do nothing, but rather fear him who can cast both body and soul into Hell." That would be God - nobody else.
So God is a God of love and mercy and for that we should be very thankful! But God is also a God of perfection and so his wrath and judgment are as real and perfect as his love. So then serving God is an admixture of love and fear; not one or the other. It is the lack of fear in the body of Christ that has caused many to be lazy in their walk with God and many others to become comfortable in things that they know they should run from. The lack of fear in Christians has also been the cause of a lack of fear among the unbelievers, and so they too have become careless enough to ignore, and in some cases, mock God. God, however will be just and everyone will receive what they deserve whether they choose to believe or not. A very wise person once said;
"God said it and that settles it, whether I believe it or not."
For those who just know about God and are reading this; isn't it about time that you get to "know him?" For those who know him and are careless in their association with him, isn't it time to repent and return to your first love? For every one of us, no matter what our spiritual condition is, shouldn't we consider God as he really is revealed in scripture and obey him with all our heart? There is not a more profitable or wonderful thing in the world than knowing and loving God. It is a personal thing that all of us must experience for ourselves! To refuse to learn of him is to deliberately reject your own best hope in this life and the life to come.