It seems that we no longer like talking about the side of God that burnt whole civilizations to a crisp or killed even His children on the spot for their sin.
Since we don't want to come across as fire-and-brimstone extremists, we prefer to talk about love, mercy, grace and all those non-offensive attributes of God. However, there are many dangerous repercussions of this. I'll list two of them.
#1: It is an inaccurate portrayal of God. God is love. No one is denying that. Everything He does is saturated in pure, undefiled love. But God is also just. Therefore, everything that He does is also immersed in justice.
One of the most common forms of idolatry today is the worship of our favorite part of God. Look at one Mark Driscoll says on the subject,
Jesus is not a nice old man in a button-up cardigan sweater and loafers singing happy songs while loading everyone onto a trolley headed to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe to meet King Friday like some Mr. Rogers clone. That god is the neutered and limp-wristed popular Sky Fairy of pop culture that wants to bless everyone, does not care what you call him/her/it/they, never gets angry, and would never talk about sin or send anyone to hell. This mythical Sky Fairy is increasingly mistaken for Jesus, however, by many young pastors and Christians I have met who don’t want the gospel to be the offensive and foolish stumbling block that it is. So they remake Jesus in to a feathered-hair fairy in lavender tights and take the sword of Revelation out of his hand, replacing it with a daisy.When Moses asked God to identify Himself, the Lord said that He was Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh. I am that I am or I will be who I will be. God is who He is and it's not for us to start picking and choosing our favorite parts of Him. We can't hold to the God who feeds the five thousand and not to the God who destroyed the Canaanites and is coming back with a sword in His hand.
This is when people start accusing me of worshiping a mean, selfish God who just wants to strike everyone will lightning. Not so. I worship a God of both love and justice. I believe that to be the God of the Bible. Every just thing God does is sprinkled with love and every loving thing He does is sprinkled with justice. This is why Jesus had to die. Because sin has to be punished.
I love what John Piper has to say,
We are creatures, and our Creator is not bound or obligated to give us anything - not life or health or anything. He gives, He takes, and He does us no injustice...And besides being creatures with no claim on our Creator, we are sinners...All we deserve from Him is judgment. Therefore, every breath we take, every time our heart beats, every day the sun rises, every moment we see with our eyes or hear with our ears or speak with our mouths or walk with our legs is, for now, a free and undeserved gift to sinners who deserve only judgment.God doesn't owe us anything but wrath. The fact that you and I are still breathing right now is a testament to our Father's mercy. For some reason we think God owes us life and comfort and a free choice. But He doesn't. If He gave us what He owes us we'd all be in Hell right now.
For those who would argue that I'm still making God out to be a tyrant, let me first say that God has every right to be a tyrant. Shall the clay say to the Potter why have You made this way? God is our Creator and therefore our Owner. A painter has the right to poke holes in His own masterpiece.
But second, we must remember how we define right and wrong. We don't define who God is based on our own understandings of morality. We define morality based on who God is.
#2: It cheapens the rest of God's attributes. When we look at what God does and we think God is unloving, what are we saying? We're saying that God owes us love. But, if He owes us love, grace and mercy than those attributes are meaningless. When we start with love, God's justice looks cruel. But when we start with justice, God's love looks so much more amazing.
Likewise, when we begin to understand how worthless we are in the presence of an Almighty God, it should make us stand in awe of God's deep love. When we begin to see ourselves as sinful enemies of God who justly deserve death and Hell, the fact that God has offered us fellowship with Him is all the more incredible.
That is the desire for my own life. That I learn to love the unpopular side of God. The side that everyone else shoves under the rug. I want to claim that awesome, almighty Judge as my Daddy. Lightning bolts and all.