Will We Ignore the Love of God?
Recently the auditorium Bible class partook in a discussion referencing instances when God’s wrath was clearly directed at His people, those whom He loved. The passage that came to my mind was Judges 10:10-16.
“And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, saying, “We have sinned against you, because we have forsaken our God and have served the Baals.” And the Lord said to the people of Israel, “Did I not save you from the Egyptians and from the Amorites, from the Ammonites and from the Philistines? The Sidonians also, and the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you, and you cried to me, and I saved you out of their hand. Yet you have forsaken me and served other gods; therefore, I will save you no more. Go and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.” And the people of Israel said to the Lord, “We have sinned; do to us whatever seems good to you. Only please deliver us this day.” So, they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord, and He became impatient over the misery of Israel.”
God let his people know that He had saved them from multiple enemies through several generations, and He felt betrayed because none of the prior love shown prevented the people from forsaking Him. The hurt and the pain were evident, and the wrath of God burned. There is a passage in Hebrews that is incredibly similar in sentiment. It too references the love shown and proven and then contemplates the dire consequences for the individual who ignores or utterly forgets.
Hebrews 10:19-23;26-29 “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful… For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgement and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses, how much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of Grace?”
We aren’t perfectly able to relate, but we have God-given emotions, and we have been made in God’s image. It is easy for us to comprehend, though not enjoyable, how we would feel if our only innocent child willingly died for someone, who went on to ignore the sacrifice, or worse, acknowledged the sacrifice initially but eventually began to disdain the child and care nothing about the love previously shown. There would be righteous indignation. There would be wrath.
Hebrews 10:14 indicates that Christ died for all mankind, but not all are being sanctified. 1 Timothy 4:10 says that Christ is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. For those who have not put their faith in Christ nor have been baptized into Christ’s blood in baptism, acknowledgement of Jesus Christ’s death has not been accomplished. If this remains until the end of time, we should expect God to take a wrathful position against the one who ignored his Son. Either a person’s sins are remembered no more by being sanctified through the blood of the Lamb, or they are remembered because sanctification hasn’t occurred. Either a person believes in the gospel of Jesus Christ (which will drive proper speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity – 1 Tim. 4:12), or they do not.
For the person who has been sanctified through the blood of Jesus Christ, let us never turn back again to our previous state, effectively forgetting how God has brought us out of our own Egypt and conquered our own Canaanite foes by freeing us from our own oppression – the bondage of sin. Let us, until our days are over, remember the love of God and allow that remembrance to drive us to love God with all our heart, soul, and strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves.