In seeking to understand how we ought to relate God's love to His wrath, many of us will have come across the argument that in the Old Testament God is primarily a God of wrath, whilst in the New Testament He seems to have changed His tune and is more a God of love. To say this is to misunderstand what the Bible says about God. A clear reading of Scripture shows that this is not the case. Jesus speaks about hell more than anyone else in the Bible. How then should we apprach this misunderstanding? Don Carson takles this misconception of how we ought to relate God's love to His wrath:
Nothing could be further from the truth than this reading of the relationship between the Testaments. One suspects that the reason this formula has any credibility at all is that the manifestation of God's wrath in the Old Testament is primarily in temporal categories: famine, plague, siege, war, slaughter. In the here and now those images have a greater impact than what the New Testament says, with its focus on wrath in the afterlife. Jesus, after all, is the One who in the New Testament speaks most frequently and most colorfully about hell, this Jesus of the other cheek. The apostolic writings offer little support for the view that a kinder, gentler God surfaces in the New Testament at this stage in redemptive history.Don Carson's full article can be read by clicking here.
The reality is that the Old Testament displays the grace and love of God in experience and types, and these realities become all the clearer in the New Testament . Similarly, the Old Testament displays the righteous wrath of God in experience and types, and these realities become all the clearer in the New Testament. In other words both God's love and God's wrath are ratcheted up in the move from the Old Testament to the New. These themes barrel along through redemptive history, unresolved, until they come to a resounding climax in the Cross. Do you wish to see God's love? Look at the Cross. Do you wish to see God's wrath? Look at the Cross.