Did Old Testament God Love His Enemies?

Hey, thanks again for sending in your questions related to our recent sermons. It’s always great to know how you are hearing what we are saying. So thank you for sending in the questions. Question this week. Ask did the God of the Old Testament love his enemies?

This last week in our sermon, we talked about how in Jesus God loves his enemies because he absorbed the wrath and retribution that his enemies deserve in the person of Christ to free that person from that wrath and retribution. So God can be loving who really is his enemy, who is us. And so the question is, is that what the Old Testament God did? Which is a great question, because in the Old Testament we see a lot of wrath, don’t we? God destroying cities, sodom and Gomorrah, famously, many things to say about this.

First, I would say it’s not just the Old Testament. You look in the book of Revelation, lots of wrath coming down there’s, bowls of wrath, right, that we see in the book of Revelation. And so is God different at different times? Is it a different God? Famously, in church history there was a heretic by the name of Marcian who said he didn’t really like the Old Testament God.

He liked the New Testament God, and he divided those out. And so while we might not be as formal in our critique of God as Marcian was, we could say Marcian’s ghost still kind of haunts our churches and Christianity in general, saying, I don’t really know about this wrathful God in the Old Testament. I like this loving God in the New Testament. Seems like Old Testament God didn’t love his enemies. Seems like New Testament God does.

What’s the deal? So, again, thank you for asking that question. I’d say, which we have talked about on a previous question somewhere along the line, but number one, the wrath that we see in the Old Testament is the wrath that is placed on Jesus on the cross in the New Testament. So there’s the same amount of wrath, it’s the same God delivering the wrath. Number one, the wrath of the Old Testament is what was placed on Jesus in the New Testament.

Number two, the wrath that we see in the Old Testament is the wrath that we deserve. That’s what our sins have earned us, is that wrath. Number three, that wrath that we see in the Old Testament is what we are free from forever because Jesus bore that weight for us. So now in Christ, that wrath is completely gone. God is loving his enemies or who are us in terms of the wrath that we see in the Old Testament.

And really wrath we see in the New Testament, if we include Revelation, everybody has an opportunity to escape that wrath. It’s repentance and trust in Christ in the Old Testament, it’s repentance and trust. In one day, God will make it possible for them to be reconciled to God. And so that’s a trusting in Christ kind of pre incarnation. Trusting in Christ, trusting in the hope of Christ.

That’s what they did. It’s repentance. I’m sorry. Two people went up to the temple to pray, one a pharisee, one a tax collector. And the tax collector said, have mercy on me, O God a sinner.

It’s trusting God that he will somehow someday provide a rescuer to reconcile the sinner to God. That’s what Old Testament folks did. Everybody had that opportunity. It’s not just Israel. It’s not just like God reached in and plucked out Israel and nobody else had any opportunity.

You see Jonah going to the Ninevites, right? God’s plan for Israel was for them to be a light to the nations so everybody can get in on this. In the temple area, there was a gentile area, right? It was not just Israel that had opportunity to be reconciled to God and escape the wrath. In the Old Testament, it was everybody same as in the New Testament.

Everybody has the same opportunity to be putting their trust into Christ, to be reconciled to God and flee from the wrath which they deserve. So God makes it possible for his enemies to be reconciled to him at any point along the biblical story. And so God is always loving his enemies and saying, this is the way that we can be reconciled. That is a love for everyone. It’s not different between one testament and another, really is love for everyone at all time.

But not everybody takes advantage of that, right? Not everybody says, okay, God, I want to be reconciled to you. Not everybody goes up to the temple and says, have mercy on me, O God a sinner, right? Some stand up and say, I reject God, right? And then at that time, what is there left to do but receive the wrath that they deserve?

So we hope that helps. Hope that answers that question. Thanks again for sending them in, and we will see you next time. Bye.