Annihilation… perhaps not the first word that comes to your mind when thinking of love?
(Note: I am not referencing the John Stott theory of annihilationism, to which I vehemently reject as dangerously unscriptural…)
If we are to consider God and his character with a pure lens, untainted by human bias or wishful thinking, but truly to consider his character as portrayed in the scriptures, well, we would then have to wrestle with the concept of wrath.
Many pastors today in the west spend little time on the concept of wrath and make it into something only bullies would talk about… yet, on the other hand, no one in the scriptures spoke more of the concept of hell and everlasting torment than that of Jesus himself.
God, in the scriptures, is described characteristically as a lion and a lamb – all in one. We see this at the cross. Here, the great Emperor God-man, having taken flesh, gives himself over to a humbled state – even taking the weight of eternal punishment due many personally upon himself.
We see the overlapping of grace and wrath, God’s eternal unmitigated destructive power and justice is laid on Jesus’ brow, and in our stead, therefore offering revealing grace. God himself both takes the punishment on himself and relieves us (who would one day come to believe, and those who have believed) of punishment.
God Explained It Beforehand
I dare you to attempt to plumb the bottomless depths of this verse and come out unchanged–I reckon it impossible. But, truly, to let yourself succumb to this idea, you will come out a man having seen 10,000 years:
“But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand” (Isaiah 53:10, NASB 1977).
Long before Jesus, in the flesh, had entered the scene, God told us what would unfold. He said it clear as day, “the LORD was pleased To crush Him.” How could God find pleasure in this? Because His righteous wrath would be vented, and upon himself.
A Broad Shouldered Savior
This was decisive. We have a broad-shouldered savior who went both obediently, against the will of his flesh, and also, willingly, as it was for God’s good pleasure. As it is written in John 10:17-18,
“For this reason the Father loves me because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have the authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
Love Was Defined By Him
At the cross, God showed his prodigious love, incalculable, immeasurable, and in this exact instance, he manifested his prodigious hatred – for evil. He crushed his son because he crushed evil itself as it was laid upon him. In essence, if you have surrendered, repentant unto belief in the son, then Jesus has drunk your hell sentence, rightfully due you, down to the very last droplet.
To taste some morsel of the breadth of what has been done for you, believer, is to consider that God has had an infinite hatred in his love – and has completely satisfied this toward you in his son.
People who do not preach the realities of hell cannot possibly love. Because love himself preached on them more than anyone else.
Casey is passionate about helping other Christian men in their walk with Jesus Christ. His writings on faith draws from a love of malacology, kinesiology, and quantum physics.