GOD’S TWO NATURES—WRATH AND GRACE WITH LOVE

Each time I study the Old Testament I am reminded of a nature of God that seems to be completely different from His nature in the New Testament. In the Book of I Samuel, God tells the prophet that He wants Samuel to anoint Israel’s first king to be Saul. God foreknows what kind of king Saul will be. I believe Saul was chosen as an illustration for following generations to see one nature of God, His wrath. Since man was made in the image of God it is also possible for us to have two separate natures.

God tells Samuel to tell King Saul that He has a task for him to perform. I Samuel 15:3 – “Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’” But Saul did not obey God. Verses 8 and 9 – “He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.” God said to Samuel: verse 10 – “Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: ‘I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.’ Samuel was angry, and he cried out to the Lord all that night.”

I Samuel 16:14 – “Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him.” Scripture continues to tell that Samuel dies and God or another prophet will not speak to King Saul. Saul goes to inquire of a medium, absolutely against God’s law. The medium brings back Samuel from the dead to speak to King Saul. Samuel rose from the grave by the medium. I Samuel 28:16 – “Samuel said, “Why do you consult me, now that the Lord has departed from you and become your enemy?” This was because of King Saul’s disobedience to God. As a result Saul is no longer king and David becomes the second king of Israel.
King David breaks a number of God’s commandments but he always asks God what he is to do and he does them exactly as God requires. He never attacks others without first asking God’s permission. David was extremely obedient and he pleased God.

In the New Testament we see another nature of God. We see a God of love and grace. It is a nature that man can also obtain through belief in Jesus Christ. Which nature do we chose?
One of my favorite chapters in the Bible that I have written about previously, is clearly defined when Paul writes to the church in Corinth and tells them how God expects them to live. The church appears to have been living under the nature God shows in the Old Testament. There were all kinds of selfish problems in the church. Who was the most righteous, who had the most special gifts? As we study the following Scripture keep in mind the importance of being obedient to God’s Will.

I Corinthians 13:1 – 3 – “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

We are told no matter how many spiritual gifts we have been given, if we do not have love our gifts are worthless. We may have the gifts of tongues, prophecy or preaching. It is possible to understand all mysteries and have all knowledge and not have love, we will develop a spirit of being judgmental. We may have the gift of giving but if we give out of duty and lack love our treasures in heaven may be less than we expect.

I Corinthians 13:4 – 7 – “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Love is having patience with people but not necessarily with normal events of life. Love is being kind in dealing with people. An unkind Christian lacks love. If we want positive responses from others, they normally come when we are kind and thoughtful in dealing with people. A person with love will not boast. We realize how unworthy we can be were it not for Christ’s death and resurrection. Love keeps us humble and it never offends. Love forgives and holds no grudges. Love is trusting and takes God at His word. The worst thing a Christian can have is a negative attitude resulting from a lack of having a loving spirit.

I Corinthians 13:8 – 13 – “Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

There may be a time when all the things we take pride in, pass away. However, we can still have love. Satan can never take away God’s love for man and man’s love for God. We must remember that without love and holiness we will never know the mysteries of God or live with Him in eternity. Great as hope and faith are, love is greater. Faith without love can be cold. Hope without love is the potential to miss opportunities. Love is the passion that gives us faith and hope. I believe people today are confused about love. One of the greatest human qualities is love. True love or unconditional love comes from God. Love instigates unselfish service and kindness to others. Faith is the acceptance of God’s message. Hope is looking forward to God’s arrival of His permanent kingdom. It is so important to realize that we will never become a part of that kingdom without love. God is love and only those who love will be accepted. Love provides faith and love makes hope possible.

Let us look at the importance of love. The ultimate gift of love was given by Christ on the cross. Love keeps us from yielding to temptation. You may have heard some people sing very well. But some sing from a heart of love and you can tell the difference. Love gives us power, charisma and a different attitude. Christ says they will know my people by their love. The love we have been given by God needs to be given to others. This is our main mission and purpose, to love God and others and the reason we were created.

Do you want the nature of King Saul or King David? Are we living to please self or to please God? To please God our nature must become spiritual. We must allow our sinful, self-centered nature to die out. We must live as chapter 13 above tells us to live. Otherwise, we could be separated from God forever.

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