Through the Narrow: Love and Wrath: What God Wants – By Tami Dykes & Gina Cooks

Love and Wrath: What God Wants

By Tami Dykes & Gina Cooks

It never fails to amaze us when listening to the camp of professing Christians who claim God is in control and sovereign but in the same breath say He is unable to do what He wants; He can’t save everyone He wants, He can’t work in our lives unless we have enough faith, He can’t move unless we declare, decree or claim, etc.  They would be more honest to admit they believe God has limited control or is perhaps sharing control.  What’s more amazing is that this sort of talk is leaking into solid churches, being preached by reformed pastors and embraced by Christians who seem to have a biblical understanding of salvation. 

Lately, we’ve personally witnessed a lambasting of those who rightly believe God always does what He wants and wills, by a well-approved church leader who said: “It is unbiblical to think God does whatever He wants or wills…He can’t do whatever He pleases…He is subject to man’s free will and must allow their faith to be tested first…He didn’t want to send His Son to die but had no choice…”  Looking around we see this is not so unique of a take.  Many have applauded it.  It’s not biblical, however, and may I dare say even dangerous.

We can’t really worship God if we don’t know Who He is; if we don’t have the truth about God.  God says we are to worship Him in Spirit and Truth (John 4:24).  Who is God and what does He do? Is He in total control, does He do what He wants and does anything or anyone thwart His plans or will?

Psalm 115:3 “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.”

Isaiah 46:8-11~ “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.”

“who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers, who says If Jerusalem, ‘It shall be inhabited, ’ of the towns of Judah, ‘They shall be rebuilt, ’ and of their ruins, ‘I will restore them, ’ who says to the watery deep, ‘Be dry, and I will dry up your streams, ’ who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt, ” and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.” Isaiah 44:26-28

“I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
Job 42:2

“The Lord protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, But He thwarts the way of the wicked.” Psalm 146:9
“The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all.” Psalm 103:19

“He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:15b-16

Not only is God sovereign, completely in control (these actually mean the same thing), and doing as He wants, our God is also incomprehensible and infinite.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:8-9

People want a God of their own making, one who thinks like them, who is just about love, meekness, safety, sympathy, and vulnerability. They want what’s comfortable and tolerant.  They don’t want a God that actually WANTS to save only a few (Romans 9:16-18), satisfy His wrath (Ezekiel 5:13, Romans 9:21-23), or to judge the guilty (Romans 3:5).  

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Does God delight in the destruction of the wicked and desires for them to be lost to hell?  No, Scripture says “’For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,’ declares the Lord God. ‘Therefore, repent and live’” Ezekiel 18:32.  This displays the mercy of God- that He calls for repentance so the wicked can be saved and live for eternity.  
Matthew 23:37 says, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” 
This is the compassion of our Lord and the showing of his humanity, longing for something He ultimately chooses not to sovereignly intervene in because of His perfect will.
(Dr. John MacArthur explains more on this here: https://youtu.be/oGhFslv1HKo)

Truth is, God wants to display more than just His love and peace.  He wants to display His mercy, forgiveness, and grace, as well as, His judgment and wrath.  None of those attributes can be displayed unless sin and evil are allowed to be a part of the picture.  God wants to display all of these perfect attributes and be glorified.  
“Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another or common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,” Romans 9:21-23.
“So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. Romans 9:16-18.

God does not cause evil deeds but He is certainly in control over all and allows it for good reasons. 
Even Christians wrestle and we squirm with predestination, eternal hell, sovereignty, etc. We may find the word “why” slip out of our conscious and through our mouths only to quietly remember Job and repent, and perhaps repeating Job’s response to the Lord, ““Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to You? I lay my hand on my mouth.” (Job 40:4)

We soon remember that God is not going to think like us.  We know we need to change our thinking to be more in line with God’s, and because of the Scripture and the work of the Holy Spirit in us we can understand the thoughts of the Lord (1 Corinthians 2:16) even though we know we can never come close to knowing or understanding fully what He perceives, thinks or does.

Going back to the comments said by this certain individual I mentioned in the beginning, that God didn’t want to send His Son to die and that Christ really didn’t want to do that but did anyway, it seems this person has confused wanting to do something with enjoying something.  Dare we say, Christ actually wanted to die for us?  Did He not see that it was good and that He wanted what the Father wanted?  “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and the sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV

Jesus carried through in order to receive the joy ahead, by accomplishing what was the will of God.  He endured temporary suffering, willingly and obediently, as the Father willed. 
Did He enjoy the experience? No.  The agony of being a sin-bearer and experiencing the alienation from and wrath of the Father for any amount of time almost killed Jesus before He got on the cross. “And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.” Luke 22:44. Sweating blood is not a sign of someone that is enjoying something. Far from it.  However, just because one doesn’t enjoy a particular thing doesn’t mean they don’t truly want it.  The Godhead is always in complete union and agreement, so when the Father is pleased, the Son is pleased.  God’s will is done.
“But the Lord was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.
As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities. 53:9-10

Would we enjoy pushing our child out of the way of a car and getting slammed by it ourselves?  Would that be a delightful experience?  No.  But we would choose that; we would want that more than the alternative.  We would rather take our chances and die than see our child die.  If we could intervene, we would.  We could want something we didn’t really delight in.  Now, let’s think about something on the flipside.  A Christian parent has an adult child that is living in sin and refuses to repent.  Is it joyous to have to distance themselves from their own child and not be in close fellowship with them? No.  But, a true Christian parent who is obedient to the Lord will want to do as the Lord wants no matter what (2 Corinthians 6:14, 2 Thessalonians 3:14).

These two examples really do no justice to Who God is and why He does what He does, but hopefully, it helps somewhat to clarify the confusion of wanting something vs. enjoying something.  They are not always the same thing.  

Another concept this particular person believes; “God’s perfect will is not always accomplished….because He gives His children free will.” 
This again puts God in the position of sharing control and power. Free will is something many people embrace and one Christians can be confused about.  
GotQuestions.org puts it this way, “There is nothing in the Bible that teaches human beings have a free will, at least not in the sense of how many people understand the term free will. A common understanding of free will is that we can make our own decisions entirely free of any outside influence. This understanding of free will is not biblical, nor does it match reality. The Bible teaches that without Christ we are “dead in our trespasses and sins”(Ephesians 2:1). If we are spiritually dead, surely that impacts our decision-making. John 6:44 says that, unless God draws, no one can come to Christ for salvation. If the decision whether to trust in Christ is impossible without God’s “interference,” our will is not “free.” https://www.gotquestions.org/predestination-vs-free-will.html

God most certainly has a choice in all matters.  He chooses who is saved and will choose to bless people however He sees fit.  “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” Romans 12:3

 God is sovereign over all, meaning He is always in control, will not experience coercion, and will do what He wills to do, always.  Just to add more to the mix, He can desire what we could never desire and He can have zero delight in what He actually wants… and those aren’t contradictions.

It’s dangerous to believe that God thinks the way we think.  To believe He doesn’t want to exercise and put on display His judgment and wrath, is ignoring Scripture.  To think that humans have free will and God must comply with it, is grossly mistaken and dishonoring to Him and His omnipotence and omniscience. He may not choose to exercise His control at times but He certainly will if He wants.  We should find great peace in knowing that God is in complete control and will do as He pleases, doing what is good and perfect- all of the time. We should have great rest in knowing no one or no thing can thwart His plans.

Yes, we are responsible for our sins and to respond to what the Lord has offered us.  We will go to hell because of our own sinfulness and will go to heaven because of His grace.  Throughout it all, God sovereignly and perfectly reigns and moves as He wants, orchestrating everything according to His perfect will. 

“For the LORD Most High is to be feared,
A great King over all the earth.
 He subdues peoples under us
And nations under our feet.
He chooses our inheritance for us,
The glory of Jacob whom He loves. Selah.
God has ascended with a shout,
The LORD, with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
Sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth;
Sing praises with a skillful psalm.
God reigns over the nations,
God sits on His holy throne.”
Psalm 47:3-8

Above is an article written by Tami Dykes, Gina and Tami write Through the Narrow here at Tulips & Honey Hub. They’ll be posting articles every other Tuesday. Both are published authors, and you can find Tami’s book here, and Gina’s book here. We’re blessed to have them apart of our team, and pray their writing will be as edifying to you as it is to us. – Lauren Hereford

Through the Narrow: Faith or Doubt Looking for Proof? By Tami Dykes & Gina Cook

As written previously, many in the charismatic circles seem to want empowerment and an identity that is nothing more than self-worship, in “Jesus” name. They seek power and influence that God never promised. They downplay their sin and elevate their self-worth. They even claim to be incarnational, as if they are Jesus Himself. Amongst these false teachings, there are other aspects of this movement that we want to bring to light because it’s what is sold as being real faith but is truly faithless, legalistic and in many ways abusive.

It’s the miracle-seeking that is seemingly driven by doubt looking for proof of God; people desperately looking for validation of His presence in their lives and His favor.

We first heard it put this way from Pastor John MacArthur when he said, “All these people running around, looking for miracles say, “Oh, we have enough faith to believe in miracles.” That’s not faith; that’s doubt looking for proof.” (Taken from  The Signs of an Apostle, Part 2)

We fully agree with him. We agree because we see it, not only in charismatic circles but in all religious circles, in evangelical churches, in small Baptist Bible groups, etc.

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One of us sat in a Baptist bible study many, many years ago listening to a man who was fairly new to the group express that he desired more. He was looking for wonders, for miracles. He tried to explain that this would be the wonderful boost he felt he needed in his walk. Learning the Bible and sharing the Gospel was great and all, but he wanted a thrilling experience with God. He sounded like a man not content with God and all He does through His Word. It sounds like many other people who “just want to experience the miraculous power of God” not realizing the Gospel is the power of God for salvation, which is a miracle of bringing the spiritually dead to spiritual life (Romans 1:16). The salvation of people is not the miracle they seek.

Although sprinkled within most religious circles and churches to some degree, seeking supernatural proof has been paramount for most, if not all, charismatic churches. It’s firm in their bedrock. The lack of looking at the Gospel and the miraculous salvation of souls as miracle enough gives support for all the unbiblical activity and false teachings that spring up out of it. They believe you are not experiencing the true God, the new normal, and you are not living faithfully if you are not looking for and seeing other supernatural manifestations (that were never promised or encouraged in Scripture in the first place).

From our personal experiences, if you say you don’t need to seek those types of miracles, they seem to feel sorry for you, even looking down at you. They look at you with what seems a disdain for your contentment with what you have already from God. They don’t understand it when you have peace with the mundane, obedient life or with just reading, studying, preaching Scripture. And when tragedy strikes they go into further confusion. They start desperately declaring and rebuking the tragedy in “Jesus’ name” as if doing so is the secret sauce and will undo everything unwanted.

God is sovereign and He is in control.

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We have recently heard of the debacle with the charismatic Bethel Church and the sweet little girl Olive who tragically died, whom they were trying to bring back to life through frenzied declarations, song, and dance which they called “prayer time”. The poor parents were believing in the lie that God didn’t want this death and would grant resurrection if they kept contending and declaring for Olive’s resurrection. People were expecting something God never promised or encouraged for His Church to seek. They were full of such zeal, for a lie.

Bill Johnson, the leader of Bethel Church, said, “Why did Jesus raise the dead? The reason Jesus raised the dead is that not everyone dies in God’s timing.”

Things happen outside of God’s timing? Isn’t that making God look like a confused and puny God? What an insult to God and such a dangerous thing to tell everyone about God Almighty, Who created the universe and everything in it.

“‘See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.” Deuteronomy 32:39.

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven-A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-2.

Simply put, God is in control of every life and every death and has set a time for each one- no one will die outside of God’s power, will and timing. The faithful Church understands this and has peace with it.

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Something we want to make sure to point out is that Bill Johnson’s wife Beni was seen on video saying God told her a prophetic message saying Olive would resurrect on a certain day, yet it did not happen-exposing her as false. False prophets and false teachers always show up to declare these things and stir up and exploit the people who are desperate, confused, doubting, hurting and undiscerned. Chris Rosebrough does a great job of explaining more on this very thing and even shows the videos here: F4F | Bethel, WAKE UP!

The damage done by the false teachings and abuse of these false teachers and leaders is immeasurable. What does that do to the ones already doubting looking for proof in the wrong places, when the girl stays dead? When Bethel finally announced quietly that they would cease the song and dance for Olive’s resurrection and go ahead and bury her, there were no doubt people who were left more confused and in doubt. What happens next is usually one of two things: followers seek and declare harder, try to sing and dance with more passion and muster up some more of their “faith” in order to receive the proof they are desperate for, turning into more of a legalist trying to earn and usher in God’s favor, or they eventually throw in the towel on God and walk away completely. It’s such a sad reality and it shows the desperate need for these people to be told of the Gospel message. They don’t get evangelized like many others because Christians give a half glance at their “zeal for God” and their “bold faith” and make an unsubstantiated declaration that these miracle seeking people must love the Lord; that their heart is in the right place, albeit a little over the top at times. This is a tragedy, folks. Although we can’t know individual hearts and all of their intentions, we can know that when people are embracing these teachings and behaving in such a way they have likely not received what God has already provided nor are they content with His written Word, His sovereignty and will. They do not know their Scripture and likely not the true Jesus. They are doubters looking and striving for proof.

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Those lost and doubting, if ever a witness of a supernatural work like a resurrection, would still doubt and be lost. They need to hear the Gospel to be saved and changed and to feed on the Word to be sanctified and encouraged via the work of the Holy Spirit. That is a reality we see throughout Scripture, especially in the New Testament. The resurrection of dead loved ones would still not bring salvation to those witnessing it.

“But Abraham *said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’” Luke 16:29

The Church seeking for signs and wonders, for supernatural healing and physical resurrections is not the point made in Scripture by the Lord:

“As the crowds were increasing, He began to say, “This generation is a wicked generation; it seeks for a sign, and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah.” Luke 11:29

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” Matthew 7:21-23.

So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” 2 Peter 1:19.

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Even if Olive or anyone else, was raised from the dead, the Gospel is still the only thing that matters. Through Christ’s death and resurrection alone, we are saved. That is the message we are to preach, the reason for hope and joy and the miracle we should desire for others.

We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be deceived by those who say you must seek more than what the Word has instructed us to seek. We are to be content with what He has said, given and what He has chosen to do and not do. We can pray to the Lord for Him to heal and restore but with the heart of contentment and thankfulness towards Him and whatever He desires. The only thing we need to NOT be content with, is our sinfulness, our lack of understanding of the Scripture better and the lack of our zeal and love for Him and His Word, as already revealed to us.

May we keep praying for and sharing the Gospel with all those caught in this deception; from the false teachers and prophets who exploit, to the mere weak and doubting who listen to them.

“Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.” Jude 21-23.


Through The Narrow is written by Tami Dykes and Gina Cook, both are published authors. You can find Tami’s book here, and Gina’s book here.