Thomas Goodwin On a Story of Love and a Story of Wrath

Thomas Goodwin (1600-1680), after an entire sermon on the loving heart of God toward sinners, concludes with these arresting words, especially the final ones.

Take up a resolution to love him. For if you come to him, what do you come for? Pardon of sins. And what is it in him that must procure that? His having died for you; that was it. And what was it that moved him to die? An infinite love; such a love, as were the thing yet to be done, he would certainly do it, and die to satisfy God for you. Now then, seeing he has already done it out of such a love, how can you ask pardon of him, as the effect of such a love, and not love him again, and obey him in all things?

But to make short with you, know this, that if you will not come in to him, you will be damned. So Christ said, “He that believes shall be saved, but he that believes not shall be damned.” And I could tell you another, and as large a story of Christ’s wrath against those that refuse him, as I have told you of his love. The Lamb can be angry, for he is a Lion also.

I’ve never read anyone who communicates the lamblike tenderness of Jesus like Goodwin. The heart of Christ for sinners was the accent of his writing, as it is the accent of Jesus’ ministry, the accent of the Bible, and should be the accent of our thinking and speaking about him.

But for as large as I’ve come to see Jesus through the vision of his love that Goodwin has shown me over these months, Jesus is larger still. He is a Lion and a Lamb… which, in the end, makes the fact that he is a Lamb toward those who would come to receive his love all the more assuring.

Reference: Thomas Goodwin, The Works of Thomas Goodwin, vol. 4 (Grand Rapids: Reformed Heritage Books, 2006), 224. Slightly modernized language; emphasis added.

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