What is God truly like? This is a question I have wrestled with. My whole life I have heard people say, and have said myself, that God is a God of love and of justice. Your sin deserves God’s eternal and unending punishment, or wrath. You can avoid this punishment by trusting in Jesus for in Jesus we see God’s love. In other words, God shows love to some and wrath to others.
To hold this understanding leads to some unavoidable questions. Does Jesus save us from a vengeful God? Is God’s love offered with a threatening fist raised to punish you if you do not accept? And if God tortures you for not accepting God’s love, how is God different from an abusive husband?
As I read Brian Zahnd’s book Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, I felt like I was reading my own questions and struggles. I deeply resonate with this book, and I almost want to say any Christian who is honest about the tension between God’s wrath and love should too. Zahnd writes with honesty and passion that lays it all right out there for the reader. This is not an academic book, rather it is a book any Christian who has wrestled with these issues could read. The answer Zahnd gives is beautiful: God is more loving then you could imagine.
I have enjoyed a few of Zahnd’s books and am often challenged by what he shares on social media. This book definitely deserves a place on this list.