The Love and Wrath of Christ

By Pastor L. R. Shelton

As delivered over "The Voice of Truth"
Radio Broadcast

[Click Here to listen to the audio of this message as it was originally delivered]

Three times more is said in the Bible regarding the wrath of God than is said regarding the love of God. Also, three times more is said about the judgment of God than the mercy of God. Three times more is said about Hell than about Heaven. Just so, three times more warnings are given in the Word of God, warning people of the dangers of Judgment and Hell, than invitations to come to Christ as Lord and Saviour. Now, you ponder those statements, will you?

When an individual closes his eyes to the wrath of God, the judgment of God, and the justice of God, and, seemingly, sees only the love and mercy of God, he has a one-sided picture of the Godhead which does not save, but damns. A salvation based only upon the love of God is no salvation at all.

The reason for this one-sided view of the God of the Bible is that men do not know the awfulness of sin, experimentally. They do not know what sin is. They know nothing of the consequences of sin. They do not know how God hates and abhors sin, and that He cannot look upon sin. These individuals have never come to view sin in the light of God's Word and in the glorious light of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Word or Law has never been written into their minds and hearts.

Man is ignorant of the corruption of his own nature. He is ignorant of the enmity, deceit, and hypocrisy of his own heart. He is ignorant of the fact that he is destitute of all righteousness, holiness, wisdom, strength, and power either to will or act toward God. He is ignorant of the sting of death that is in his heart. He has a false peace and a false security. He has never been chased out of his refuge of lies. He is ignorant of the fact that he has a covenant with death and an agreement with Hell. He rests in the security of his own flesh and blood. He has never seen himself as a lost sinner--therefore he lives, as he says, in the love of God. He tries to keep light and conviction out of his heart, and fortifies himself against all truth. He is fully persuaded in his own mind that he is right, and that he is living in the love and mercy of God. His heart is fixed, and he daringly persists in his presumption, and if let alone in that condition, will go to Hell without warning! Such individuals do not even know the love of God. They claim they do, but apart from the wrath of God, you cannot know the love and mercy of God! Now, brother, you drive a peg and hold that there. That is true, whether you believe it or not!

Our pulpits today are to blame for such teaching. There is a steady drifting away from the God of the Bible Who is not only a God of love, but also a God of wrath. So the God that the average minister in the pulpit preaches today is a figment of their own creation, and not the God of the Bible. You listen--don't turn that dial!

So the natural conclusion the average individual comes to is: The God of the Old Testament cannot be the God of the New Testament. The reason he gives is that when you pick up your Bible and read from Genesis to Malachi, you see only a God of wrath, a God of anger. So he will tell you not to preach the Old Testament, because the New Testament sets forth the God of love. This is because he knows nothing about Holy Spirit conviction, and he doesn't want to know. He knows nothing about sin experimentally, and he cares less. He has never seen himself under the wrath of God, and he does not want to. He has never been made to behold his own corrupt, deceitful, wicked heart and, as one preacher said to me one day, "I do not want my heart opened." Another preacher said in the pulpit one day, "We want a great revival here, but we do not want anyone to become disturbed about his soul's condition." What a shallow, empty profession we have, both in the pulpit and the pew!

Here is a truth they have never seen and will never see unless God wills to open their hearts; and that is, the God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament! Jehovah Jesus of the Old Testament is the Lord Jesus Christ of the New Testament. Christ appears throughout the Old Testament as "THE ANGEL OF JEHOVAH." In Genesis 16:9-10, He appeared to Hagar as the Angel of Jehovah, and in Genesis 31:11 and Genesis 48:15, He appeared to Jacob as the Angel of Jehovah. In Judges 13:3, He also appeared to Samson as the Angel of Jehovah. In Isaiah 63:9, He appeared as the Angel of His Presence. Always the Angel of Jehovah is identified with Jehovah (Yahwe). When speaking of Himself, He said, "I am the God of Bethel."

The expression, "the Angel," means a messenger--one sent of Jehovah. This implies a distinction in the Godhead. God the Father is never sent, but the Angel of Jehovah, or the Lord Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, is the One Who is always sent. So then the Angel of Jehovah of the Old Testament is the pre-incarnate Christ in the Old Testament, and the Lord Jesus Christ in the New Testament! That great truth is so clear, and so plain. I wish you would believe it.

So it was Christ that planted the Garden eastward in Eden and placed Adam in it to keep the Garden, to have dominion over the earth and everything therein. It was Christ Who came to Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening and cried out, "Adam, where art thou?" and charged them with disobedience. It was Christ Who made coats of skins and clothed them and gave them the promise that He would bruise the serpent's head. It was Christ Who drove them from the Garden of Eden and placed the curse upon them, and then placed the flaming sword at the East of the Garden to keep the way of the Tree of Life.

It was Christ Who charged Cain with the murder of his brother, Abel, and said, "The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto Me from the ground" (Genesis 4:10).

It was Christ in His mercy Who warned Noah of the flood and told him how to build the ark to the saving of his house. It was Christ in His wrath Who brought the flood upon the earth and destroyed all living creatures, including man, from the face of the earth.

It was Christ in mercy Who called Abraham from the Ur of the Chaldees and directed him to Canaan, and it was Christ in His wrath Who left the rest of humanity to perish in their idolatry. It was Christ Who appeared with two angels at Abraham's tent door and foretold the birth of Isaac, the child of promise.

It was Christ in His mercy Who saved Lot and his two daughters from the city of Sodom; it was Christ in His wrath Who destroyed the cities of the plain and Sodom and Gomorrah by raining fire and brimstone from Heaven upon them.

It was Christ in mercy Who appeared to Abraham on Mount Moriah when he offered up Isaac and found a substitute for Isaac.

It was Christ in mercy Who wrestled with Jacob by the ford Jabbock and changed his name from Jacob to Israel, from "supplanter" to "a prince of God."

It was Christ Who appeared to Moses in the burning bush in the wilderness and commissioned him to lead the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage to the land of Canaan.

It was Christ in judgment and wrath Who sent the ten plagues on the Egyptians and slew the first-born of every Egyptian family; it was Christ in mercy Who commanded the slaying of the Passover Lamb which was a type of Himself that He might spare the firstborn of every Jewish family. It was Christ in mercy Who upon seeing the blood on the doorpost of the Hebrews' homes, which He commanded to be put there, passed over that home and spared the firstborn therein.

It was Christ in mercy Who opened the Red Sea for the children of Israel to pass over; it was Christ in wrath Who closed the walls of water upon the marching hosts of the Egyptian army and drowned every one of them.

It was Christ Who fed the children of Israel in the wilderness with manna from Heaven, Who brought forth water from the rock. It was Christ Who in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, led the children of Israel through their wilderness wanderings.

It was Christ Who gave the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai which would be the schoolmaster to lead them to Himself for salvation.

It was Christ Who appeared in Shekinah glory over the mercy seat in the Tabernacle and the mercy seat in the Temple of Solomon.

It was Christ in His wrath Who swore that none of the men that left Egypt above twenty years of age, except Caleb and Joshua, should reach the Promised Land because of their disobedience and unbelief.

It was Christ Who opened the River Jordan to let the children of Israel pass over dry shod. It was Christ Who appeared to Joshua as the Captain of the Lord's host. It was Christ Who threw down the walls of Jericho and gave them the conquest of Canaan.

It was Christ Who was with Gideon, Samson, Samuel, and Saul and gave them victory over the enemies of the Lord.

It was Christ Who set aside Saul and chose David, a man after His own heart, and placed him on the throne in Jerusalem as king.

It was Christ Who commanded the ravens to feed His servant, Elijah. It was Christ in His wrath Who brought down judgment upon Ahab and Jezebel, and all the false prophets, and it was Christ Who arrayed one nation against the other as a means of punishing sin.

It was a vision of Christ that Isaiah saw in the Temple which made him cry out what a sinful, wicked man he was. Then after the angel touched his lips with a coal of fire and he was cleansed, he was made to cry out, "Lord, here am I, send me."

It was Christ Who lay cradled in the Virgin's womb and was born in a cattle stall because there was no room in the inn.

It was the Incarnate Christ of Whom the angels sang to the shepherds on the Judean hills; and it was Christ Whom the wise men of the East came to worship in the cradle, bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

It was Christ, Who at twelve years of age, astounded the doctors in asking and answering questions.

It was Christ Who was baptized in the River Jordan and on Whom the Holy Spirit descended as a dove, and of Whom the Father said, "This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased."

It was Christ Who was led or driven by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted forty days by the Devil.

It was Christ Who walked up and down the shores of the Sea of Galilee and called disciples leaving them on their knees at His feet crying, "My Lord and my God."

It was Christ Who prayed under the old olive trees until His sweat became as drops of blood when the Father began to make His soul an offering for sin. It was Christ Who prayed, "Not My will, but Thy will be done, O my Father."

It was Christ on Whom the Father laid all our sins, and He was made sin for us, Who knew no sin.

It was Christ Who bore the Roman scourge, received the crown of thorns, and walked away from Pilate's court, bearing the cross on which He was to die as a malefactor, and as our Substitute.

It was Christ Who was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, he opened not His mouth.

It was Christ Whom they nailed to the cross and One Who hung there and suffered and died as our Substitute, our Sin-Offering.

It was Christ Who, in the likeness of sinful flesh was made sin for us, Who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

It was Christ, our Substitute, upon Whom God poured His wrath without mercy; God spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all.

It was Christ, Who was buried and rose again the third day as our Justifier and ascended back to the right hand of the Majesty on High and Who is seated now at the right hand of the Father in His glorified, resurrected body.

It is Christ Who is our High Priest, our Interceder, Who prays for us, Who ever lives to make intercessions for those Whom He saves to the uttermost. All who are hid in Him are safe from the wrath of God, because He received the wrath of God in His own body on the tree.

It is Christ Who walks in the midst of His people, those whom He hath redeemed with His own precious blood, those who have come to recognize themselves as sinners--lost, doomed and under the wrath of a sin-avenging God.

It is Christ Who knows His sheep and feeds them, and calls them by name, and they follow Him.

It is the crucified Christ Who is coming back one day for His own. He will leave His mediatorial throne and descend from Heaven with a shout; the dead in Christ shall rise first, and the living believers shall be changed, and all shall be caught up together by the Spirit to meet the Lord in the air, to ever be with the Lord.

It is Christ in His wrath Who will punish every Christ-rejecter, the fearful, and unbelieving, the abominable, murderers, whoremongers, sorcerers, idolators, and all liars by casting them into the Lake of Fire which is the second death, according to Revelation 21:8.

It is Christ Who will judge the apostate church by casting her into Hell forever.

It is Christ in His wrath Who will say to them, "Depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity, for I never knew you."

It is Christ Who said, "If ye will not believe that I am He, ye shall die in your sins," and "He that believeth not on Me, the wrath of God abideth on him forever."

It is Christ Who will cast Satan, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet into the Lake of Fire which is the second death, and also everyone who is not found written in the Lamb's Book of Life.

It is Christ Who will come forth as Lord of lords and King of kings, riding a great white stallion with His vesture dipped in blood. "And out of His mouth goeth forth a sharp sword, that with it He shall smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron; and He treadeth the wine-press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God."

So we cry with the Apostle John, "Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"

"Some golden daybreak Jesus will come;
Some golden daybreak, battles all won,
He'll shout the vict'ry, break through the blue,
Some golden daybreak, for me, for you!"

My friend, as we wait for that golden daybreak, will it be a golden daybreak for you, or will it be a day of wrath? In that morning, will Christ appear to you in all His splendor, His brightness, His glory, as your Lord, as your King? Or will He appear to you as a stern Judge, demanding full recompense of every sin you have committed?

In the quietness of this moment, let me take you by the hand, and lead you out to Calvary. Let's stand with our feet unshod, with our heads uncovered, because we are on holy ground. Gaze with me, by faith, yonder on that center cross where hangs the Lord of Glory. Do you see Him now after God has poured out all His wrath upon Him? Look, friends, look! He looks inhuman, His visage is marred, every bone of His body is out of joint. God has not spared His wrath or his judgment. Do you see Him as your Substitute, the One Who died in your place? I wish you could see that God poured out His wrath without mercy upon His Son because He loves you, and He did it for you! Look upon Him as your Lord, my Lord! Look! Look! Look!

"Ah," you say, "I don't believe it; I can't believe it." You are one of the ones who has never seen yourself as you are. May He open your heart. Look! "Look unto Me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth." My awakened sinner, my sinner-friend, oh, blessed saint, look! Look to the blessed Lord! Look to the One Who died, and was buried, and rose again! Look "all the ends of the earth," look unto Him yonder where He died. And "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus (Jesus as Lord), and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." It is Christ or Hell; it is Christ or eternal torment.

Oh, if you would walk yonder and look to him and be sheltered beneath the shed blood of the Son of God! If only you would go there where the wrath of God fell, where the wrath of God was poured out, where judgment was poured out! That is the only safe place for us, my friend. That is where I stand now; I rest there; I live there. I dare not move from there! It is the only place where the wrath of God and the judgment of God met and mercy was born! There is where I stand beneath the cross of Calvary and the shed blood of the Son of God. Oh, if you would cry out, "Remember me, Lord. Remember me!" Sinner, look to Christ!

I wish you would cry like the publican in the temple, "God be merciful to me a sinner!" Then you would sing:

"There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel's veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains!"

"Wash me, Lord, and I shall be whiter than snow: purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean," is the cry of every heart that looks to Him. Just one look at Him is sufficient. Just look, and you will never cease looking; I never have. Oh, my friends, I plead with you to look to Christ! Don't look within. You aren't saved by looking within; you are saved by looking to Him, what He has done for you on Calvary's cross. The tomb in Joseph's garden is empty! He is seated at the right hand of the Majesty on High, and He pleads His shed blood for you and me. May the blessings of our risen Lord rest upon you!


Back to The Sovereign Grace Home Page