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Weekly Wisdoms for the week of December 2, 2013

Wrath and love fuse on the Cross.

God is a just and righteous God -- perfect (see Deuteronomy 32:4). God, therefore, can not let imperfect, sinful humans into his presence. In his justice, God gives every person the fair penalty for his or her sin -- eternal separation from the holy God.

God is also a God of wrath -- holy wrath against sin. As Romans 1:18 says, The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness. That wrath is against all who have sinned.

However, God is also a loving God (1 John 4:8). Indeed, God demonstrated his self-giving love for us by sending Jesus Christ to die for us (Romans 5:8).

These two key attributes of God -- holy wrath and love -- fuse on the Cross. For that's where God shows his love by satisfying his holy wrath in order to provide a path for sinful humans to know the holy God.

God loves you not because of what you do, but because of who He is.

God is love (1 John 4:8). God doesn't have to pretend to love you; He can't not love you, because He is love.

In fact, the very actions of God exemplify what love is. The apostle John explains that this is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us (1 John 3:16). Only a few verses later, he further defines love: This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:9).

Notice that God's love for you is independent of how you behave, who you are, or how you respond to that love.

Romans 5:6-8 reminds us that God loves us regardless of where we are: You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Jesus represents God's love for us in what we now call the Parable of the Prodigal Son (see Luke 15:11-24). In that allegory, the father openly and lovingly receives his son even though the son had run away, squandered all of his money, and insulted the father. In the same way, God loves us unconditionally.

There is nothing you can do to get God to love you -- He already does. There is nothing you can do to deserve God's love, because, by sinning, you have turned your back on God and are fundamentally no different than the prodigal son. That parable is a clear reminder that God loves you not because of what you do, but because of who He is.