Is God loving or angry?

Is God loving or angry? There’s no simple answer to the question. The complex answer is yes. Yes, God is love, and therefore God is loving. Incredibly loving. Loving in ways that we can’t even understand. But yes, God is also angry. Can you really blame Him? Look what we do to each other. What we do to Him. And what we’ve done to pretty much every part of His creation that we can reach! Who wouldn’t be angry? Why do we wish for a loving God, but expect an angry God?

Is God loving or angry?

We really have to try to understand something about both the love and the anger of God if we’re ever going to find Him. Just think about it. Our main topic here is finding God, especially in religion.

If our source of “religion” teaches that God is loving, but not angry, we won’t truly find Him. On the flip side, if our source of “religion” teaches us that God is angry, but not loving, then we miss the mark even further.

We must understand both the love and the anger if we’re hoping to find God.

An example from the Bible – Is God loving or angry?

Of course, the Bible has lots of examples to show God is loving. But then, examples of God’s anger also exist. Here are two well-known passages that show both.

First – probably the best-known verse in the Bible. It shows very clearly just how much God loves us.

John 3:16

Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Second, a passage from Romans showing not only God’s anger, but also some background on why.

God’s Wrath Against Mankind

Ro 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

The passage goes on to explain why we are without excuse. We’ll look at the remainder of this passage in a moment.

So – which one is it? Loving or angry?

To borrow a question from an old game show – ‘Will the “real” God please stand up?’ It feels that way, doesn’t it?

A bit of history on this thought of God as loving or angry.

I wrote this back in February, 2011 for a talk I was giving.  The topic was “Who gets the credit?”  Maybe that seems like an odd combination – asking “who gets the credit” and “is God loving or angry” at the same time.  Hopefully, by the end, it won’t seem so odd.  And even if you can’t answer both questions – hopefully, this will cause you to think about them – and will lead you to want to answer both of them.

It was a live talk and I used some of the things in the room as “props”, aids for making a couple of the points. So, I need to set up those things for you before getting into it.

First, there was a piano in the room. I don’t know if it was a grand piano, maybe baby grand(?), but it was at least that style. And it was very well kept up.

Second, there were several doors in the room. My plan was to use two of them, pointing to them to illustrate something. As it turns out, the Pastor’s wife made two really nice cardboard doors. She drew in the panels and everything. One said “Angry God. The other said “Loving God”. Perfect!

With that information, here’s the updated version of – Is God loving or angry?

Is God loving? Or is God angry?

Those are questions that lots of people would love to know the answer to.

Many people have heard of the famous verse from John 3:16. It says

In other words, God loves us so much that if we believe in His Son Jesus, who died on the cross to save us, then we will live with Him forever in Heaven.

What does believe in Jesus mean?

We read a lot about "believe" in Jesus.  But what does that mean?  Is it really just saying "I believe"?  Or is there more to it?

Truth is, there's more to it.  If we go back to the original Greek words recorded in the Gospels and various other New Testament books, that word refers to a lifestyle.  A lifestyle that's based on our belief in Jesus.  Today, we say one has to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.  That's what's meant by believe in Jesus.  

For a much deeper look into this topic, I encourage you to check out Are we supposed to Believe God, Believe in God or Follow God?

That certainly sounds extremely loving.
But then we do often hear about God being angry. Where does that come from?

One example would be from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans, in chapter 1, starting at verse 18:

God’s Wrath Against Mankind

Ro 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Ro 1:21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

So God is angry because He should be obvious to us. But many of us don’t see Him or give thanks to Him.
That doesn’t sound so loving. That is, not so loving on our part.

Maybe we are too busy – maybe we are too interested in ourselves – maybe we just don’t care. There are many reasons why people don’t see God around them, but the result is the same. If we don’t see God, we can’t give Him thanks.

So how can we reconcile these two things? Which one is He? Is God loving? Or is God angry?
Or maybe He’s both?
And how do we know what He really feels towards us?
Can we know?
And what if we could know?

What if we could know how God feels towards us?

Let’s start with – what if we could know.
If we could know that when we leave this room, the angry God is right outside one door, <I point to the angry door> and the loving God is outside the other door, <I point to the loving door> how many of us would intentionally choose to go out the door with the angry God on the other side?

Most of us want to go out the door to the loving God.

But – how can we know which door leads to the loving God?
How do we know whether our lives are on a path to the loving God or the angry God?

Before going too much into this I want to be clear that I believe there is only one God.
It’s just a question of whether we are taking a direction with our lives that will lead to Him being angry with us.
I’m going to talk about a loving God and an angry God. But make no mistake, He is one God. However, He has two possible reactions to what we do with the life He gave us. That sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

The key here is that God’s qualities, although invisible, can be clearly seen. That’s what Paul writes in Romans, but how can that be possible? How can we see the invisible? Because if we can know what God’s qualities are, if we can begin to know something about Him, then we can know which door we are walking towards. We know if we’re going to the one with the loving God. Just as we know when we’re going to the one with the angry God.

That may sound confusing, so let’s look at an example.

Consider the piano behind me. <Pretend there’s a piano behind me.> <I guess pretend I’m someplace you can see me as well.>

What can a piano tell us about God?

If I sit down and play it – it wouldn’t sound that good. 

But if a world-famous piano player came in here and played, we’d all think it sounded incredibly good. We would be impressed with the way it sounded. But – being impressed with the playing could just be about the person, the practice time, all the work they put in.

What about God?
Did God have anything to do with it?
Are we ignoring Him by just focusing on the person?

We need to see if there are some invisible qualities of God related to that person playing the piano.

For instance – the ability to play that well. That’s a gift from God. And, it’s a gift whether the person is a Christian or not. To ignore that the gift is from God is to not give Him glory or thanks.
In simpler terms – it’s not giving God credit.
Without the gift of talent for playing so well, no one would have enjoyed listening, because it’s that gift from God that makes the person a world-famous pianist. As opposed to sounding just like when I played.

Is there more?

Are there more invisible qualities of God that we can see in the piano?

What about the song itself? The ability to write beautiful music. That’s another gift from God.

Can you think of anything else? Are there even more qualities of God in this piano?

What about the piano itself?

Playing the piano that well is amazing enough. Writing the music that someone else learns to play seems even more amazing.

But think about the first person that actually thought of making a piano. What a gift from God is that? What was Bartolomeo Cristofori thinking back in 1698 when he built the very first piano? Imagine being the one to come up with a whole new instrument. Especially one like the piano. It’s so complex. Most people probably don’t know who invented the piano. I didn’t until I looked it up last week.

How many of us think about giving God credit for it? And yet, the ability to design and build that first piano was a gift from God.

There are most likely many more ways to see the hand of God in that piano. But I believe the point is made with those three examples.

What does a piano have to do with Jesus?

So, how do we move from recognizing God in a piano, giving Him credit for it in many different ways – to believing in Jesus and having eternal life?

As Paul writes in Romans, our thinking becomes futile and our hearts become darkened, because we don’t see God around us and therefore don’t give Him credit. We don’t give Him the glory that He deserves. Worse yet, we give the credit and the glory solely to the people who carried out things with the knowledge given to them by God. In Biblical terms, we essentially turn that person into an idol. Why? Because we give them the credit, the honor, the glory that should go to God.

What Paul is saying here is that because we refuse to see God in everything around us, even things that we see every day, it gets harder for us to see Him at all.

While the passage in Romans seems very unloving, and is actually titled “God’s wrath against mankind” in the NIV translation of the Bible, it is also very loving. Yes, it is. Please keep reading to see why.

Free Will

Loving? Really?
How can that be?
It’s loving because It provides us with a map of sorts.
Not an ordinary paper map. And not a Google map. But still a map.

Think back to the two doors. One with the angry God. The other with the loving God.
The question was, how do we know which door is the one we want?
Paul tells us in Romans.
The angry God is outside the door that we choose when we refuse to see God around us. The loving God is outside the door that we choose when we do see God around us, and give Him the glory for what He has done. In very simple terms, when we give Him the credit.

For those of us who are Christians, our task is to help those who are not yet believers. To start off with, that may be something as simple as helping others to recognize those invisible qualities of God that Paul writes about. Then, as we seek to learn more about God, we all travel on the path to knowing Jesus. Towards the eternal life promised in John 3:16.

Free will versus predestiny
Free will versus predestiny

Free will and predestiny are two things that different denominations take very seriously.  And they don't all agree.  At the extreme predestiny end of the spectrum, people believe God predetermined literally everything that happened, is happening, and will happen in this universe.  At the opposite end, the free will end of the spectrum, we people have the free will to do whatever we want.

 I believe there are dangers with the extreme positions.  

 If we believe God has literally predetermined everything, life seems rather pointless.  At least to me.  Are we anything other than puppets whose strings are pulled by God?  Is there any love in that kind of world?  In fact, does it turn God into the author of evil?

 However, if we believe we have total free will, is there any hope for us?  In this extreme, God becomes nothing more than an observer.  Watching His creation heading at warp speed towards oblivion.  There's no hope for our long-term future.  

 I understand where both sides get their viewpoints.  There are Bible verses that support God predetermining things.  But there are also verses that show God gives us free will in things.  I believe the key is to realize that both sets of verses point to some things - not all things.  There are times when God intervenes to ensure that certain things happen.  But for the most part, God appears to give us free will.  However, even with free will, God does try to get our attention, although He won't necessarily force us to do things.  Even a little reading about the Holy Spirit shows that.

 Here are a couple examples.  On the predestiny side, consider people like Moses, Gideon, Jonah, the Apostles, and others who God essentially wouldn't allow to say no to His "request".  Some went willingly, others didn't.  Those who went willingly had moments of doubt.  And yet, all fulfilled their goals given to them by God.  On the free will side, we can pretty much look in the mirror.  Or at our friends.  For a Biblical example, how about the rich young ruler, who just walked away from Jesus?

 For a deeper look into this topic, please check out my series on Predestiny versus Free Will. 

If we believe God has literally predetermined everything, life seems rather pointless.  At least to me.  Are we anything other than puppets whose strings are pulled by God?  Is there any love in that kind of world?  In fact, does it turn God into the author of evil?

That was the end of the original talk.  To people who had come to a church.  So there were certain assumptions about the beliefs they came in with.  And there were time constraints.  Without those two things, there’s more to say. So here’s the rest, told as if I was still in the room.

Which door?  Which God?

Towards the beginning, I asked –

If we could know that when we leave this room, the angry God is right outside one door, <I point to the angry door> and the loving God is outside the other door, <I point to the loving door> how many of us would intentionally choose to go out the door with the angry God on the other side?

The truth is, there’s an assumption built into that statement.  One that’s not necessarily true.  Given that this was a talk given in a church, that assumption was probably true.  Now that it’s out on the web, that assumption is definitely not always valid.  Have you figured out what the assumption is?

The simple fact is, not everyone intentionally chooses the door with the living God on the other side.

Why not?

People always have preconceptions about things.  Up until a couple days ago, I would have added an exception for babies.  After reading Philip Yancey’s Book Where is God when it hurts?, I don’t think I’ll be doing that anymore.  He’s talking about pain and fear.  Imagine a baby, comfortable, safe, and warm (usually) in the mother’s womb for about 9 months.  All of a sudden, all the warm fluid is gone. There’s pressure. Lots of it.  There’s screaming coming from somewhere.  The feeling of going head first (hopefully) down this tiny little tunnel.  Then there’s blindingly bright lights.  Someone’s pulling.  Getting picked up.  Getting slapped.  “Ouch!”  And that’s the baby’s introduction into the world!  I can no longer say that babies don’t have preconceptions about this world they were brought into.

Anyway – we have preconceptions.  We hear things.  We read things (even this thing you’re reading now).  We have friends that tell us things.  We have enemies that tell us things (yes, we “learn” from them too. Maybe especially if it’s fear).  We have an accumulation of everything that’s ever happened to us up to this point.  

Some of it we remember.  Some of it we don’t.  But I suspect it all affects us.

Free will again?

The thing is, I believe we have the free will to either accept or reject the impact of the people and things we’ve experienced.

Maybe they’re overall positive. And we like that, so we stay with it.  

Maybe they’re overall negative.  Now what?  Do we feel like that’s all there is? And we stay with it, because maybe there’s nothing else? At least, nothing else as far as we know froM our experiences.  Maybe we’re just destined (or doomed) for a life of misery, so why fight it?  Karma?  Predestiny? Too afraid to go for something better?  There are lots of reasons. But many people do stay here.  Too many stay there by choice. Unfortunately, I know that from experience. It’s hard to get out of it.  Too many meet the “angry” God simply because they think that’s the way He is.  There’s no effort to even look for the loving God – because the deep-seated belief that He’s angry and condemning is just too strong. I even went beyond not looking for God. There was a time, rather too long, that I actively tried running away from Him.

I believe this is a problem with the people who present that view of God – not God Himself.  I choose to believe that it’s up to us which view of God we see.  Look at my story.  There have been so many times when I could have permanently turned away from the loving God.  Restate that – there have been so many times when I wanted to forever turn away from God.  But I kept coming back.  There are so many things from my past that I chose to consciously reject.  Even while yelling at God about “why are you doing this to me?” – I still was rejecting that things had to be that way.  

The only way I see to change that is to open the door to the loving God.  I’m not strong enough to reject it by myself.  I know that.  I have a tendency to get really depressed when things are going against me.  I know that now as well.  There’s only one way that I can turn that around. And that’s to open the door to the loving God.  Yes – I keep opening it.  We have to.  

Is God loving or angry? Why do we want to know, but have so much trouble with the loving answer?

For some reason, we always seem to be drawn to that other door. The door with the angry God.  When things don’t go right for us, we blame the angry God.  When we look around and see the state of the world, we blame the angry God.  Maybe He’s looking at us and asking how come we (His church) aren’t doing a better job of representing Him and why we (His church) aren’t doing a better job of taking care of this world?  Maybe it’s not really His fault at all.  Maybe it’s too many of the people who say they love God, but chose the “angry God door”?  Please, don’t let them give God a bad name.  Don’t pick the angry door just because too many other people also picked it.

So yes – just as Adam and Eve had a choice (free will) to go back to God and verify what the snake (Satan) was telling them – was it true or not – so do we have the free will to go to God and ask Him: which one are You? Are you a loving God? Or are you an angry God?  And what if He says “yes”.  What if He says, “that’s up to you”.  What if He says that His will is for you to choose the loving one? But that you also have the free will to choose the angry one?  Which one will you choose?  

Too many people emphasize the downside of not choosing the loving God.  They say He’s going to send us to Hell if we don’t love Him.  They say He’s going to kill us if we don’t love Him.  They say all sorts of things about Hellfire and Damnation to scare people into loving God.  But that’s not the full story.  Jesus’ first message is love.  His last is the angry side of God. And that’s for those who reject the first message. For those who reject God’s love.  The choice is ours.  

God knew that many would not accept the message of love.

We see in Luke that Jesus came for everyone. As usual, I include entire passages for context. But check out the bolded words in the underlined verses. There is a trend in there. One that shows the difference between what God offers us and what we accept from Him. Those that don’t accept are exercising their free will. And choosing which door to open.

The Shepherds and the Angels

Lk 2:8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Lk 2:13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

Lk 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

Lk 2:15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

Lk 2:16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

But at the Last Supper, Jesus Himself says that some reject this offer –

The Lord’s Supper – Mark

14:12-26 pp — Mt 26:17-30; Lk 22:7-23
14:22-25 pp — 1Co 11:23-25

Mk 14:12 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

Mk 14:13 So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. 14 Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 He will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.”

Mk 14:16 The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.

Mk 14:17 When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. 18 While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.”

Mk 14:19 They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely not I?”

Mk 14:20 “It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me. 21 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

Mk 14:22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”

Mk 14:23 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it.

Mk 14:24 “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. 25 “I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.”

Mk 14:26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

So what was meant for all – was accepted only by some.  That this was going to happen is foretold at the very beginning of John’s Gospel.

The Word Became Flesh

Jn 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.
Jn 1:3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
Jn 1:6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
Jn 1:10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
Jn 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jn 1:15 John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ ” 16 From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.

Now, we can say, of course John wrote this. But that doesn’t mean John was aware of God knowing this ahead of time. Yes, we could say that. However, what John is writing refers back to the prophet Isaiah. To a time long before Jesus was born. Note: this time I’m not including the entire passage. Only the portions required to show the link to what John wrote. If you want to read the whole passage, just use the links below.

The Suffering and Glory of the Servant

Isa 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Isa 53:4 Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.

Isa 53:6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

By now, you can see that God was well aware that many people would reject His offer of salvation through Jesus. This, even though He warned us ahead of time. And we chose to ignore the warnings of rejection as well.

Some choose to believe the rejection is because God made some people that way.  I choose to believe that God knows His children well enough to know that many of us would reject Him.  If God made people such that they would be forced to reject Jesus, there are problems with other parts of scripture. For one, since we’re talking about a loving God, as I said before, it’s not at all loving if we don’t have any choice in the matter. Plus, as we see above, the angel of the Lord said this was good news for all. If it wasn’t, then the promise was a lie. That’s also not a characteristic of a loving God.

Most people know John 3:16.  Many people reject the notion that God loves people that much.  How many realize that there’s also a map that comes after that statement. A map showing the path to both of the doors we’re talking about here?

Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

Jn 3:1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
Jn 3:3 In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.’”
Jn 3:4 “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”
Jn 3:5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
Jn 3:9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
Jn 3:10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

In the passage above, Jesus explained both the truth and the way forward to Nicodemus, an unbelieving Jewish Pharisee. If the path was good for Nicodemus, it’s certainly good for us.

There’s no pre-condemnation here.  There’s no pre-destiny here.  There’s nothing that says just because much of the rest of the world is rejecting God’s offer that any one of us must also do the same.  There’s nothing that says anything in our past must make the decision for us.  Quite the opposite. It’s telling us to be different.  It’s telling us to be the ones to break from the bad things in our past.  Telling us that each and every one of us can make a choice. In fact, must make a choice.  Which one? The loving God? The angry God? That’s entirely up to us.  The consequences that come after that? They are also entirely up to us.  Just choose the one we want.

What if we want to change our minds?

Earlier, I wrote that If I was to sit down and play the piano, it wouldn’t sound that good.  I used to know how to play.  Not a concert pianist by any means.  But pretty good.  I took (was forced to take) lessons for several years.  I had a grandfather who was a professional musician. He played in clubs during the big band era.  He was amazing.  Could still play piano in his 90’s. From memory with no music sheets!

But there’s a point here.  I used to play.  I stopped playing.  Now that I’m retired, I actually want to start playing again.  Consider this scenario with the doors.  

You know what though? I’ve been retired for seven years now. And still haven’t spent very much time learning to play again. I do spend a lot of time writing. And with our dogs. And yet, not so much on the piano. My point is, wanting to do something and actually doing it are two very different things. Going back to the issue of choice, we absolutely must follow up the choice with action to put that choice into place. Well, at least we must do that if we want to see the loving God. Seeing the angry God is easy – just don’t do anything to try to see God at all.

What if we were forced to choose the loving God when we were young?

What if you had previously chosen (or been forced to “choose”) the loving God door?  Then you rejected it and ended up (by default) at the angry God door?  Can you change your mind and go back to the loving God door?  Absolutely!  Here are the words from Jesus to the Church in Laodicea from Revelation.  A church that had given up their love for God.  A church that didn’t really hate Him.  They were pretty much indifferent.  Very much like someone who has closed the loving God door, hasn’t actually opened the angry God door yet, but are just drifting around outside both doors, but opening neither.

To the Church in Laodicea

Rev 3:14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Rev 3:19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

Rev 3:21 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

That’s Jesus’ message to you, if that’s where you’re at.  He’s standing on the other side of the loving God door.  Waiting for you to open it.  And if you do, He’ll be there with open arms waiting to greet you.

What if we’ve never opened the loving God door?

What about someone who has never opened up the loving God door?  What if you’ve always felt that God hates you, or God’s out to get you?  What’s there for you?  Remember the two guys hanging on the crosses on either side of Jesus?  

The Crucifixion

23:33-43 pp — Mt 27:33-44; Mk 15:22-32; Jn 19:17-24

Lk 23:26 As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then
“ ‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
and to the hills, “Cover us!” ’ 31 For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Lk 23:32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

Lk 23:35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”

Lk 23:36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

Lk 23:38 There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Lk 23:39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

Lk 23:40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

Lk 23:42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’”

Lk 23:43 Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

One of them rejects Jesus – and gets nothing.  Not even a response.  That’s the angry door.  The one where God isn’t present.  God’s telling us that if we don’t want Him, that’s what we’ll get.  An existence without Him.  An existence without even a response.

But look at the other one.  All He does is say “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

And unlike the first one, this man gets a response – “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.

It’s that simple.  He opened up the loving God door and there was Jesus. And an eternity in paradise. Of course, we need to remember something about belief and acting like we believe it. This man didn’t have much time left in his life. No other chance to “do” anything. And yet, with what little time he did have, he made the choice and he did act on it. And we’re still reading about it, nearly two thousand years later.

Both men got what they wanted. Both men were in the same situation. Dying on a cross.  And yet one chose to insult God, while the other chose to ask to be remembered by God.  

Either man could have made either choice.
Both men got what they wanted.

Conclusion – Is God loving or angry? Which door did/do/will you choose?

What do you want?  A loving God? Or an angry God?
Which door do you want to open?

Ti 2:11 For the grace of God hath appeared bringing salvation to all men.

John 10:10I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Rev 3:10 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

Someone’s at your door.

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