Law and gospel

Hello, I know this is one of those difficult questions and I’m not the first to ask, but it burdens my heart and my faith more than anything does. So I know the Bible says these things: that anyone who knows love knows God because love only comes from him, he loves every person on this earth, and anyone who lives a godless life is solely to blame; that he doesn’t predestine anyone to hell, but all things are possible and within his power. So when I think of a love stronger than even the deepest love we experience on earth, I can’t imagine that possibility including sending an ignorant human being who was loved eventually to suffer for the rest of time. Some say “just be grateful that he’s chosen you,” but I care about everyone and not just myself. And I’m sure we all know someone who isn’t in our faith who still has an honest, behind closed doors, good heart. My therapist is the most self-sacrificial person I have ever met. His biggest reason for never wanting to, say, be in a car accident, is because he doesn’t want his patients to lose him. He stays hours late in the office if anyone needs him. He loves them all so much. So when I see the parts of the Bible where God destroy cities, including children, and shows wrath and hatred, when I later read a verse about his love, I feel that perception there. I don’t mean to sound offensive in any way. I believe my faith is still a genuine one. I was raised in a WELS school and church, baptized, and I believe the consistent voice across all books and chapters of the Bible is consistently that of God. I’ve been subject to anger-filled, hatred-filled people and seeing any true hatred in God contradicts the love I need to be able to run to. I’ve asked pastors in person and haven’t received much help so that’s why I wanted to ask here. Thanks so much for taking the time to read.

I do not see a question in what you submitted, but I sense an uncomfortableness in what the Bible teaches about God’s justice, his anger, and hell.

As you pointed out, the Bible teaches that God loves sinners (John 3:16). The Christmas season shows the love of God in sending his Son to rescue sinners (Galatians 4:4-5). God desires the salvation of all people (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). This is the heart of the gospel message in the Bible.

At the same time, the Bible teaches that God hates sin and sinners (Psalm 5:5). This is what the Bible’s message of the law is all about.

The messages of the law and the gospel are not contradictory ones; they are different messages.

In addition to the preceding information, the Bible teaches that faith in Jesus saves, while unbelief condemns (Mark 16:16). The nice things that unbelievers might do in life do not lead to their salvation (Romans 3:27-28; Galatians 2:15-16; Titus 3:5). Salvation comes through Spirit-worked faith in Jesus Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). Saving faith, in turn, comes through the gospel (Romans 10:17).

Conversations with pastors about these teachings of the Bible are definitely helpful. In addition to them, I would suggest that you read Law and Gospel: Bad News—Good News. The book explains very thoroughly the different messages of the law and gospel, and addresses your concerns. It is available from Northwestern Publishing House. Your church library may also have a copy. God’s blessings to you!