I have met many believers who live in fear of God because they think He is angry with them. In fact, some preachers seem to go out of their way to cultivate that fear. They take people to Bible passages that tell us to fear God. The message people often hear is that Jesus loves us, but God is angry. We are only safe from the wrath of God because Jesus protects us.
No wonder these believers lack assurance! No wonder they live in practical fear, day by day. No wonder they have little focus on relationship and lots of focus on performance. After all, if Jesus simply stood out of the way, God would fry them!
So there are a couple of questions we need to ask. First, is it true that Jesus loves us but God wants to punish us? No. Who was it that sent Jesus? Who is Jesus? The fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith is that Jesus is God. The heart of Jesus toward us is the heart of the Father. There is one motivation of love in the heart of God. He does not hate us. He does not desire to punish us. He loves us.
One of my favorite passages is John 16:27 where Jesus says, “the Father Himself loves you.” He wants us to understand that it was the Father who sent the Son, the Father who made the way of salvation for us. The Father loves us.
No, Jesus does not stand between us and the wrath of God. Instead, Jesus bore the wrath of God for us. God took upon Himself the wrath that had been focused on us. I wrote on this earlier.
So, is God still angry about my sins? No! First, there are no sins on your account. They were all washed away by the blood of Jesus. Your sins are as far away from you as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). Second, you are fully reconciled to God through Jesus. When your sins were washed away, you were accepted into full relationship with God in Christ. The separation is gone because your sins are gone. Third, the only motivation toward you in the heart of God is love. From that love you and I can accept ourselves and love others.
No believer should live in fear, especially not fear of God. Yes, the Scriptures do call us to fear the Lord, but I take that to mean a proper respect and honor toward the Creator. As much as God loves us, He is still awesome and wonderful beyond our understanding. He is not our buddy, a common friend at our level. He is our Lord who loves us and invites us to trust Him as the one Friend who is able to bear our burdens and see past our faults. In fact, He is the One who has dealt with our faults and has made us perfect in Christ.
9 . . . ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away: 10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:9-10 (NKJV)