I AM THAT I AM
Throughout the Bible, God is revealed as a holy God and every attribute of God is a revelation of his divine essence. The same God who is glorious in his love is also glorious in bringing down those who oppose and hate him.
The apostle John tells us: God is love ~ 1 John 4:8, and in the book of the Revelation, the apostle John tells us how God is praised, worshiped, and glorified for his judgments against the ungodly.
1 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up THE WRATH OF GOD.
2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest. ~ Revelation 15:1-4
Recently I came across a teaching which said the following:
God’s justice is something God does, and like everything He does, it flows from Who He is. The Scriptures tell us that God IS Love (1 John 4:8, 16); but there is NOT ONE Scripture that tells us that God IS Justice. God does justice, yes; but He IS Love. God IS NOT Justice who does Love. God IS Love who does justice.
Upon reading this, it wouldn’t take much for a person to come away with the conclusion that the writer is setting forth the ideology that love is the supreme attribute of God. Though the Bible does teach God is love, the Bible never teaches that love trumps all the other attributes of God.
God is love. He is merciful. He is gracious, and he is also angry with the wicked every day. ~ Psalm 7:11.
That last statement – God is angry with the wicked every day. – is a difficult one for many to swallow, but it is true nevertheless, because God never changes. ~ Malachi 3:6
Throughout the Bible, there are many attributes which the scriptures ascribe to God and each one is revealed in a very specific context.
For example, after the Israelites had crossed the Red Sea on dry ground, the Egyptians who attempted to do the same, were drowned. Afterwards, Israel sang a victory song to the Lord in which they proclaimed: “the Lord is a MAN OF WAR: the Lord is his name.” ~ Exodus 15:3
In Israel’s time of trouble, when they needed God to defend them and deliver them from the pursuit of Pharaoh and the Egyptian army, God was revealed to them as A MAN OF WAR .
When God gave to Moses the Ten Commandments, God revealed, in the very first command, that, he is a JEALOUS GOD.
2 I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I THE LORD THY GOD AM A JEALOUS GOD, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me…~ Exodus 20:2-5
Throughout the old testament, God referred to himself as a Jealous God within the context of idols. God alone is God, and there his no other God besides him. Those who serve idols provoke his anger. Even under the new testament, God, who is love, is a jealous God who will not tolerate his people serving other gods (idols).
If we think that because God is love, he is no longer a jealous God who will not be displeased with idolatry, we have embarked upon deception. God is who he declares himself to be, and he does not change. God said to Moses: “I AM that I AM.”
Whenever a scriptural truth such as, God is love, is elevated beyond the boundaries of the whole counsel of scripture, error quickly follows.
By emphasizing, God is love, as if its is the supreme attribute of God that trumps all others, we become prey to the mercy of those who define God’s love out of their own human reasoning.Thus the universalist can claim – everyone will be saved and no one will be damned for rejecting Jesus, because God is love, and God wouldn’t send anyone to hell. Yet this view of God’s love is not compatible with the whole counsel of scripture.
Deuteronomy 32:4 says God is JUST and RIGHT, and Psalm 89:14 declares “ JUSTICE and JUDGMENT are the habitation of God’s throne.”
Psalm 9:6 says: The Lord is known by the JUDGMENT which he executeth., and in Isaiah, God declares that he is a Just God: there is no God else beside me; a JUST GOD and a Savior; there is none beside me. ~ Isaiah 45:21
In Jeremiah, God says the following:
23 Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:
24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord. ~ Jeremiah 9:23-24
God’s character and attributes are proclaimed all throughout the scriptures and only when we hold them together do we get a true portrait of who God is.
GOD AND THE UNREPENTANT
In scripture, it is the unrepentant sinner who incurs God’s wrath, and not the repentant sinner. According to the Bible, God delights in showing mercy and forgiveness, even to the ungodly.
As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye,turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? ~ Ezekiel 33:11
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. ~ Isaiah 55:7
When the wicked turns to the Lord, the Lord will be merciful and forgiving, but what does the Bible say about the wicked who are unrepentant?
According to the Bible, the unrepentant are treasuring up wrath against themselves for the Day of Judgment.
But after THY HARDNESS AND UNREPENTANT HEART TREASUREST UP UNTO THYSELF WRATH against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God… ~ Romans 2:5
Many Christians can cite the words: the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance. Few know the context of those words. Though it is true that the goodness of God leads to repentance, Paul puts it in the form of question within the context of those who are hardhearted and unrepentant, and who despise the goodness of God.
1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.
3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds… ~ Romans 2:1-6
Paul says these words on the heels of his condemnation of the wicked in verses 18-32 of the previous chapter, where Paul tells us God abandoned the wicked to their own devices.
- GOD GAVE THEM UP to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves… ~ v 24
- GOD GAVE THEM UP unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature… ~ v. 26
- GOD GAVE THEM OVER to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient… ~ v. 28
God’s disposition, and his dealings with the wicked who are unrepentant is well documented throughout the entirety of the scriptures. Consider the following:
The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: THOU HATEST ALL THE WORKERS OF INIQUITY. ~ Psalm 5:5
God judgeth the righteous, and GOD IS ANGRY WITH THE WICKED EVERY DAY. ~ Psalm 7:11
The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence HIS SOUL HATETH. ~ Psalm 11:5
The CURSE OF THE LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just. ~ Proverbs 3:33
I could go on and on, because God’s displeasure with those who practice wickedness (child molestation, rape, murder, demon worship, sodomy, human trafficking, etc.) and refuse to repent, is well documented throughout the scriptures.
At this point, allow me to remind you, God extends mercy to the wicked who repents, but to the UNREPENTANT who despises God – God has no pleasure in them.
For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. ~ Psalm 5:4
God is indeed a loving and forgiving God, and he desires to forgive people of their sins, but they must turn away from their sins and turn to him to be forgiven by him. God is a good God, who commands all people, everywhere to repent ~ Acts 17:30, but when his goodness is despised by the ungodly who hate him, they become subject to his wrath.
9 Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy WITH THEM THAT LOVE HIM and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;
10 And REPAYETH THEM THAT HATE HIM TO THEIR FACE, TO DESTROY THEM: he will not be slack to him that HATETH HIM, HE WILL REPAY HIM TO HIS FACE. ~ Deuteronomy 9:9-10
Throughout the entirety of the Bible, in both the old and new testament, God’s love, grace, and mercy is extended to all people; and he is forgiving towards all who humble themselves in repentance. Yet for those who refuse to repent because they despise and hate him, he reserves them unto the day of judgment to be punishment ~ see 2 Peter 2:9; 3:7
Unfortunately, many Christians have the notion that the truth of the severity of God towards the wicked is a message which portrays God as harsh and unloving. Yet, the scriptures make a distinction between those upon whom God lavishes his love, and those who are an abomination to him.
The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the Lord: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness. ~ Proverbs 15:9
The commonly held belief that God loves every person (good and evil, godly and ungodly) exactly the same, is not a scriptural teaching. Consider for example John 14:21: He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me SHALL BE LOVED OF MY FATHER , AND I WILL LOVE HIM , and will manifest myself to him.
Clearly, this text suggests that those who love Jesus and obey him will be recipients of both his, and his Father’s love.
Now, consider verse 23: Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and MY FATHER WILL LOVE HIM, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
Now consider Hebrews 12:6-8
FOR WHOM THE LORD LOVETH he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, GOD DEALETH WITH YOU AS SONS; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye illegitimate, and not sons.
THE LOVE AND WRATH OF A HOLY GOD Throughout the Bible, God’s word reveals that God is holy and is to be feared and held in reverence. This holy God, who is to be feared and held in reverence, is very compassionate and gracious and merciful towards all who repent of their sins.
God’s love is freely given to those who bow before him, in holy fear and reverence. It is not bestowed on those who refuse to humble themselves before him, and who defy him.
Throughout the Bible, God’s love for the world is his offer of forgiveness and mercy to the ungodly who will humbly come to him with a repentant heart.
I read something once which I think is very indicative of how many people have come to view God’s love. The comment said of God “He is madly in love with people. That is why He dealt so furiously with sin. He crushed Jesus so He could save me.”
This statement speaks more of our infatuation with ourselves than it does God’s loves for us as revealed in the scriptures. In truth, God’s love for us isn’t a revelation of how wonderful we are: how God just can go on without us. Instead, God’s love is a revelation of how glorious he is.
That a holy, sovereign God, who is going to judge the world in righteousness reaches out to us in love to save us through his Son, Jesus Christ, glorifies him and not us. It displays his majesty and beauty, not ours.
There are many people who recognize the words of John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son. Many can quote these words verbatim. Unfortunately, many of those same people do not know the context in which the words are spoken.
Let us consider, briefly, the context of God’s love in John 3:16 to better understand God’s love as it is revealed in scripture. Let’s begin with verses 14-15:
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Now consider the old testament account from which Jesus references in verses 14-15 above.
5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.
6 And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.
7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto theLord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
8 And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. ~ Numbers 21:5-9
The serpent of brass which God commanded Moses to make was the atoning provision to save the people from the judgment which God had sent. Notice that the text says: And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died (v.6)
According to Jesus, this was a type of how God would deliver us from our sins, and it was an old testament foreshadowing of how God would display his love for us in Jesus Christ.
Sinful man is under the judgment of God, but God sent his son to be the atoning sacrifice for the sins of all who will repent and turn to him and this is how God so loved the world. He gave his only begotten Son so that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have eternal life. ~ John 3:16
Now consider John 3:17 – 21:
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. ~ John 3:16 – 21
Now notice verse 36:
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
God gave his Son to bestow his love on all who would humbly turn from their sins. God’s love for all people is revealed in his giving of his Son, with the condition, that the recipients of his love turn from their sins.
Those who refuse to turn from their sins by rejecting the precious gift of God, which he gave through the offering of his Son, have consequently rejected the love of God. Therefore they are condemned, and are under God’s wrath.
Whether we like it or not, there are people throughout the world who hate God because they love their sins. God’s love is extended to them, calling them to repentance. If they persist in their rebellion against God, refusing to humble themselves, they will be judged and damned in their sins: In this way, they are under the wrath of God.
The new testament teaches that God has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man he has appointed: Jesus Christ.
God has given his Son as the witness of himself, and in the Son, God offers forgiveness, grace, and mercy, to all people. Those who believe God’s witness, in his Son, receive life everlasting through God’s forgiveness, grace, and mercy; which is freely given in Jesus Christ.
Those who reject the Son of God; reject the love, mercy, and grace, God has offered them. God is holy and just to be displeased and angry with those who refuse to humble themselves before him so that they may receive mercy and grace.
On the day of judgement, those who reject God’s love will have no intercessor, no advocate to defend them, and will stand before a holy and righteous God with all their sins exposed before him. They will be judged for their sins because of their defiance of his goodness, and their rejection of the love God offered them in Jesus.
For them, there will no forgiveness when they stand before God to be judged. They will be judged, not by God’s compassion, but by God’s wrath.
THE DAY OF JUDGMENT
From Genesis to Revelation, the coming day of the judgment of God is a biblical truth.
For God shall bring every work into JUDGMENT, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. ~ Ecclesiastes 12:14
Jesus told his disciples that those who reject the message of the gospel would be held accountable in the Day of Judgment.
15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in THE DAY OF JUDGMENT , than for that city. ~ Matthew 10:14-15
According to Jesus, those who do not repent will be judged in the Day of Judgment
20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they REPENTED not:
21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have REPENTED long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon atTHE DAY OF JUDGMENT, than for you.
23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in THE DAY OF JUDGMENT, than for thee. ~ Matthew 11:20-24
According to Jesus, those who rejected him during his earthly ministry, will be condemned in the Day of Judgment.
42 The queen of the south shall rise up in THE JUDGMENT with this generation, and shall CONDEMN IT: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. ~ Matthew 12:38-42
In John 9:39, Jesus said: For JUDGMENT I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.
The apostle Paul testified of the Judgment of God.
25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, andJUDGMENT TO COME, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. ~ Acts 24:24-25
In the book of Romans (chapters 1-2), Paul expounds on how every man is going to be judged according to his deeds in the Day of Judgment, and says this is going to happen “In the day when God shall JUDGE the secrets of men BY JESUS CHRIST ACCORDING TO MY GOSPEL.” (2:16)
While some pervert the message of the cross given by the apostle Paul; claiming God will not bring anyone into judgment for their sins. Paul NEVER taught such doctrine.
The death of Jesus did not cancel the Day of Judgment. Nowhere does the Bible teach that God judged every man at the cross, thereby cancelling the Day of Judgment.
At the cross, the pentalty of death for our sins was paid in full so that all who believe in Jesus Christ may have life through him. Those who trust in Christ are justified and cleansed from their sins by his blood and will not be condemned.
At the cross, Jesus gave himself as an offering for our sins, so that, through faith in him, we could be justified in the sight of God according to the mercy of Him who is going to ” judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ” ~ see Psalm 9:8 and Acts 17:31.
There is no escaping the judgment of God for those who reject Jesus and refuse to repent.
Consider the words of Paul from Romans 1: 28 – 2:6
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32 Who knowing THE JUDGEMENT OF GOD, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
2 But we are sure that THE JUDGEMENT OF GOD is according to truth against them which commit such things.
3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt ESCAPE THE JUDGEMENT OF GOD?
4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to REPENTANCE?
5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself WRATH against THE DAY OF WRATH and revelation of THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT OF GOD;
6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds… ~ Romans 1: 28 – 2:6
In Acts 10:42, the apostle Peter declared, “And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God TO BE THE JUDGE of quick and dead.”
Peter elaborates on this in 1 Peter 4.
3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:
4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:
5 Who shall give account TO HIM that is ready TO JUDGE the quick and the dead.
Verse 5 is a reference to Jesus. Jesus is the man by whom God is going to judge the world as Paul says in Acts 17:31, “He (God) hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness BY THAT MAN WHOM HE HATH ORDAINED.”
In the book of the Revelation we see that only Lamb (Jesus) was worthy to open the seven sealed book containing the revelation of God’s judgment on those who oppose God. In chapter 19, it is Jesus who “treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” (v. 15)
11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and IN RIGHTEOUSNESS HE DOETH JUDGE and make war.
The apostle Paul has a similar description in 2 Thessalonians 2:7-9:
“…the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire TAKING VENGEANCE on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.”
The author of Hebrews refers to ETERNAL JUDGMENT as one of the foundational principles of the doctrines of Christ (see Hebrews 6:1-2), and warned of the judgment of God against those who abandoned the faith.
31 IT IS A FEARFUL THING TO FALL INTO THE HANDS OF THE LIVING GOD. ~ Hebrews 10: 26-31
In his second epistle, the apostle Peter reminds us again of God’s judgment saying the following:
9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto THE DAY OF JUDGMENT to be punished…~ 2 Peter 2:4-9
The apostle Peter believed the DAY OF JUDGMENT is THE COMING DAY OF THE LORD.
13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. ~ 2 Peter 3:1-13
Jude also warns of the Day of Judgment:
15 To execute JUDGMENT upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. ~ Jude 1:5-16
The apostle John testified of the judgment and wrath of God (see Revelation 14:6-8; 15:1-8) and of the final judgment before the throne of God.
11 And I saw A GREAT WHITE THRONE, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were JUDGED out of those things which were written in the books, ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they wereJUDGED EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. ~ Revelation 20:11-15