When we say that God is love, we understand that the motivation and purpose of all His commands is to bring humankind to the understanding and practice of His love. This can only be accomplished by bringing us to a state of perfection in His love. Love is the channel by which His Spirit accomplishes all things. It is the purpose that permeates and perpetuates His divine will. Without our acts of love, God could not be glorified through us. But our active participation in reflecting God's love back to Him and others is essential in completing the dynamic loop. This is why James echoed Jesus' sentiments, "If you indeed fulfill the Royal Law to 'Love and take care of the needy as you would yourself', you do well." This way, believers may be rewarded for their works, and those who are blessed by their works will be witness to the love of Christ.
God's wrath is many times an intercessory warning to draw people to Him. This is actually an extension or aspect of His love. But He shows no wrath against those He has chosen, only healthy chastisement. His final wrath is reserved for those who remain indignant and rebellious against His law of love.
Even after our new birth experience, we continue to carry with us our sinful nature, the legacy of Adam and Eve. Paul referred to it as “the flesh”, “the body of this death”, “The old person” and “the carnal mind”. (KJV) How the Holy Spirit and the sinful nature can dwell in us at the same time is truly a paradox. Paul expressed his frustration of this in Romans 7:18 through 20, “I know that nothing good dwells in my flesh. I have the urge to do what is right but no power of my own to carry it out. I fail to do the things I desire to do for God, but I am always doing the evil deeds I don’t want to do. It is not I that causes myself to act this way. It is the sinful nature that is ever present in me.” Why does God place such a spiritual burden on those He loves? Until the day we die or Jesus returns, our faith will be tested to prove our love and loyalty to God. We cannot present ourselves worthy of the unimaginable wonders of eternity without trying our best, given our set of circumstances, to surrender to God and cooperate with the Holy Spirit so we can learn and be refined from our lessons.
* “Those controlled by the appetites of the carnal self cannot please God."
* “Those who hold fast their sinful deeds take on the character of the devil..."
* “For, if you live by the flesh you will die…"
Does this mean that if we sin we will be condemned? Our sinful nature is a condition of the human race. Thankfully, God loved us while we were yet sinners, so He certainly loves us even now, though He despises the sins we commit. Through our repentance, Christ's atoning blood will wash our sins away, but our sinful nature will be with us as long as we are wearing these mortal shells. Thank God that one day we will be delivered from them.
Until then, we are commanded to do our best to rid ourselves of evil, rather than practice and be controlled by it.269 If we do, Christ has promised to perfect our faith through Him. (So there is not an unnecessary burden placed upon the physically and mentally frail and ill, it must be said that God ultimately judges us individually based upon our unique life circumstances and limitations.)