No doubt if you have been in church for any length of time, you have probably heard reference to, if not a series of messages, on the attributes of God. This study looks at the character traits that are true of God such as his omniscience, justice, holiness, etc. One attribute of God that is spoken of most often in today’s world is his love, and certainly there are many New Testament scriptures that refer to this wonderful attribute. Romans 5:12 comes immediately to my mind, “But God commended His love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
And while it certainly is true that “God is love” and that His love is to be meditated on and appreciated, at times it is good to be reminded that there are equally true other attributes of God that need to be considered. For example, Hebrews 10:30-31 reads, ” For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” These verses remind us of a very different side of God, one that we would do well to keep in mind. Words such as “vengeance”, “fearful thing” remind us of the fact that God is holy and that sin must be dealt with.
One of the most famous sermons in human history is one that I remember reading in my literature book in the Christian school I went to. “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, preached by Jonathan Edwards, was mightily used by God to see the conversion of no doubt thousands of souls. Stories are told of people literally falling out of their seats and lying motionless on the ground due to the strong Holy Spirit-conviction brought about by this message. And what was it’s focus? The holiness of God that is ready to meet out severe judgement on the unsaved. While some could probably rightly argue that this message over-emphasized judgement and fear that may have resulted in some simply emotional responses, the truth remains that God is not all about love and only has positive thoughts towards all of humanity. No, God is still a God of justice who hates sin and will one day meet out justice on unbelievers. May we be careful to view our God as He truly is, not just the God that we want to imagine.