Is God’s Disposition Only Compassionate and Loving?

Bible,JesusAt the late period during the Age of Law, mankind became deeply corrupt. No one could keep the laws, and all people were in a dangerous situation where they would be condemned to death by the law. In order to take on our sins, the Lord Jesus who became flesh was crucified to redeem us and to forgive our sins, and bestowed abundant grace and blessings upon us. Therefore, we think God is love to us mankind, is forever compassionate and loving, and never easily becomes angry. Could it be that God’s disposition is just love and mercy? Isn’t our knowledge of God like this too one-sided? What sort of understandings of God’s disposition do we have through the work of the Age of Law and the Age of Grace God had done?

The Old Testament records that during the Age of Law Jehovah God decreed the laws, and led mankind to live on earth, comply with the laws and commandments and know what sin was, what kind of people were blessed or cursed by God, and that all those who disobeyed the laws and commandments would be condemned to death because of offending God’s disposition. Just as Jehovah God said, “But it shall come to pass, if you will not listen to the voice of the LORD your God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command you this day; that all these curses shall come on you, and overtake you” (Deuteronomy 28:15). “Moreover all these curses shall come on you, and shall pursue you, and overtake you, till you be destroyed; because you listened not to the voice of the LORD your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded you” (Deuteronomy 28: 45). We see in the Age of Law, the disposition God expressed was wrath and curse, but in the Age of Grace the Lord Jesus was full of love. To redeem mankind, He was nailed to the cross and bore the sins of man. Although at that time, people didn’t recognize the Lord Jesus is God Himself appearing in the flesh to do the redemptive work and the Judean all abandoned Him, the Lord Jesus still worked in their midst with great love, toleration and patience. What’s more, when He was flogged by soldiers, He still prayed to the heavenly Father for forgiving their ignorance. Through these, we see the main disposition God expressed in the Age of Grace is love and mercy.

Did God express His majestic and wrathful disposition when He worked in the Age of Grace? When the Lord Jesus reached the temple in Jerusalem, He saw the temple became a house of merchandise. Then He pushed over the tables of the moneychangers and the stools of those who sold doves, drove the cattle and sheep out of the temple, and then rebuked them for turning the temple into the den of thieves. At the moment the disposition God revealed was wrathful and majestic. However, when He saw the blind and the lame came before Him at the temple, He cured them. From this, we see God’s grace and love. In addition, when the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees who served Jehovah God abided by the word of God and served God according to the commandments and decrees God set forth, the temple was filled with the glory of Jehovah God. Thereupon, Jehovah God was with them, His Spirit worked among them and His compassion and love also accompanied them. Yet, at the end of the Age of Law, the leaders of Judaism went against the laws, offering up inferior offerings and devouring the sacrifices, and they merely interpreted ancient traditions instead of God’s commandments and only led the common people to keep religious celebrations, so that people verbally worshiped God but had no God in their hearts. To maintain their status and jobs, they only interpreted the letters and doctrines in the Bible and didn’t lead people to seek to know God. So when the Lord Jesus came to work, they not only didn’t bring the chosen people of God before God, but resisted and condemned the Lord Jesus, disturbing and preventing people from returning toward God. Hence, the Lord Jesus cursed and condemned them as the “Seven Woes,” saying, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” At this moment God’s disposition was majestic and wrathful. Eventually, because the leaders of Judaism didn’t recognize the Lord Jesus was the coming Messiah in prophecy and the appearance of Christ, they crucified Him on the cross and offended God’s righteous disposition, leading Israel to destruction in A.D. 70. Because of offending God’s disposition, Judas who sold out the Lord Jesus died with his body bursting open. From these, we have seen God’s majesty and wrath and that God’s righteous disposition is tolerant of no offense.

We can also see God expressed different disposition upon different people through stories recorded in the Bible. Saul is the first king of Israel. Originally, he obeyed the order of Jehovah God, put things into practice according to God’s word and complied with the way of God, so the Spirit of Jehovah God was with him, and he was blessed by God, always winning the war. God’s love and mercy accompanied him all the time. When he attacked the Amalekites, he didn’t obey God’s order to annihilate all of God’s enemies but relied on his own intention to keep the superior cattle and sheep and told the lie that he would sacrifice to God. And then God’s word came to Saul by Samuel, “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams” (I Samuel 15:22). As he didn’t submit to God’s word, Saul was abandoned by the Holy Spirit, losing the leading of God and no longer able to win the war. From then on, he lived in pain and fear. We see when Saul heard and submitted to God’s word, God was with him; however, when he rebelled against God’s word, doing things according to his own way, God’s wrath befell him. Losing God’s blessing, Saul became weak and faint, finally committing suicide because of losing the war. We can see at that time the disposition that God expressed was majestic and wrathful.

Then, let’s talk about King David. He shepherded sheep from his childhood and ever defeated the Philistine giant just by slinging a stone at him, and after he was anointed and became the king, he repeatedly fought victorious battles, because every time he depended on Jehovah God to defeat the enemy. He kept God’s way, revered God, and obeyed God’s word, so the Spirit of God was always with him. As a result, he gained blessings from Jehovah God. Through these, we can see God’s compassionate and loving disposition. Yet, to occupy Uriah’s wife Bathsheba, David killed Uriah with the sword of the children of Ammon and then married Bathsheba. Jehovah God saw the evil things David did, and afterward, God’s majestic and wrathful disposition befell him: The swords and arms weren’t far away from his home, and the child of Bathsheba and him died, and even his son hunted him. From that we can see God’s majestic and wrathful disposition is intolerant of man’s offense. Finally, David repented himself to God in his whole life, and hadn’t approached to other woman until he died.

From the above examples, we see in God’s disposition there are not only love and mercy, but also majesty and wrath, and meanwhile God expresses different disposition on different people. God expresses His disposition on the basis of man’s conduct, behavior and attitude to God from the depths of man’s heart. Take David we just spoke of for example: When he depended on God in his heart, obeyed God’s word and followed God’s way, God’s disposition to him was love and mercy, and at the same time the Spirit of God was also with him and blessed him; nevertheless, when he did things which were evil in God’s eyes, didn’t keep God’s way and rebelled against God’s word, God’s majesty and wrath came upon him. Through this we can see God bestowed mercy and love upon those who obey God’s word, keep God’s way, have a God-fearing heart and stray away from evil actions. While God’s majesty and wrath are aimed at those who disobey God’s word, don’t keep God’s way, don’t have slight reverent heart to God, and do things which are evil in God’s eyes. God’s mercy and love as well as majesty and wrath are all the expression of His righteous disposition, and His righteous disposition is intolerant of man’s offense. With regard to all good and beautiful things, God’s disposition is compassionate and loving, and for evil things or things that resist God, He will be profoundly wrathful. Therefore, no matter how much we have paid, how much suffering we have endured, how much work we have done, as long as we offend God’s disposition, disobey God’s word, and do the things rebelling against and resisting God, God will hate us and reveal His righteous disposition. Only by having true knowledge of God’s disposition can we protect ourselves and avoid offending God’s disposition.

By Ling’en

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