[God's] judgments are an expression of His love.

The Goodness and Severity of the Lord

by Mike Bickle
8/18/20 Christian Living

Paul said in Romans 11:22 to “consider the goodness and the severity of God.” Some ministries and believers pick one or the other—either God’s goodness while dismissing His severity or the other way around. Paul exhorted us to consider both. I believe the Holy Spirit is calling the Body of Christ to consider these—that is to search out, seek to understand, to be aware of, and proclaim both the truths related to His goodness and His severity. Not the goodness without severity, not severity without goodness, not one versus the other. Both of them because only in both extremes do we have what Paul described in Acts 20:27, the whole counsel of God.

Of course, there are many truths in the whole counsel, even as the full-orbed dimension of the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 24:14) includes much more than merely the introductory message of the gospel that is focused on His glorious forgiveness of all of our sin. So we are to behold truths related to His goodness—including His great mercy for our sin, the power of the blood of Jesus, the prophetic themes of the coming unprecedented power of the end-time revival, the transformation of the church to a prepared Bride (Revelation 19:7) with the first commandment being established in first place in the Body of Christ, the unity in God’s family, the global billion-soul harvest, etc.

We are also to behold truths related to the severity of the Lord. The severity of God is a multifaceted truth about which the Bible has much to say. Yet this important subject that includes His judgments is rarely taught today. The subject of the judgment of God is a topic that is probably the least talked about, the most controversial, the most despised, overlooked, put down, talked against all over the Body of Christ. Thus, it is a topic for which we have so little biblical understanding.

Note that foundational to God’s judgments is the reality that God’s judgments are released to remove everything that hinders love. His judgments are not a contradiction to His love. They confront the things that hinder love in order to remove them. That is the point. His judgments are an expression of His love.

The severity of God has a number of dimensions. In Haggai 2:7 we read that the Lord is going to shake all the nations. That shaking involves His punitive judgments against rebellion but also involves His redemptive disciplines on His people to wake them up because He loves them so much. So the severity is more than His judgments. It is the shakings; it is the redemptive disciplines.

It is essential for the Body of Christ to understand this subject because God’s people will be far more vulnerable to being offended at His leadership in the end times if they do not understand the love that is expressed in His judgments.

My passion is that people understand Jesus’ beautiful leadership so that they will love Him with all of their heart.

Currently, many in the Body of Christ are disinterested in understanding the biblical view of God’s judgments. Some are simply embarrassed by them. Some preach against them. Worse than that, some born-again believers actually despise the judgments of God. Isaiah prophesied that when God’s judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the earth will learn righteousness (Isaiah 26:9). To learn righteousness includes much more than being taught to make virtuous righteous choices in life. Those who learn righteousness learn to interpret God’s judgments through the lens of love by understanding the Father’s heart and Jesus’ excellent leadership—both of which are significant expressions of His righteousness.

The Word of God is clear that there is going to be a radical paradigm shift of millions of believers in the years ahead concerning the subject of judgment by interpreting it through the lens of love. Jeremiah prophesied that in the end times God’s people would interpret God’s judgments rightly (Jeremiah 23:20; 30:24). Instead of rejecting God’s judgments as being contradictory to His love, they will understand them by the Holy Spirit. However, there will still be many who refuse what the Scripture says about God’s judgments. In 2 Timothy 4:3–4 Paul warned that:

“The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires . . . they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth.”

Many are becoming more and more confused and even deceived as they are embracing teachings that promise them that everything in society will just get better and more comfortable before the end. Yet this is an hour when God’s judgments will cause multitudes to learn righteousness as God’s shepherds proclaim that truth about them—yes, God’s judgments remove everything that hinders love.

What is something you’ve learned about God’s judgments?

Want more from Mike Bickle on this topic? Then watch Seeing God’s Love: His Judgments Remove All That Hinders Love.

Mike Bickle


  • Founder, IHOPKC

Mike Bickle is the founder of the International House of Prayer, an evangelical missions organization based on 24/7 prayer with worship. He is also the founder of International House of Prayer University, which includes full-time ministry, music, and media schools.

Mike’s teaching emphasizes growing in passion for Jesus through intimacy with God, doing evangelism and missions work from the place of night-and-day prayer, and the end times. He is the author of several books, including Growing in Prayer, Passion for Jesus, God’s Answer to the Growing CrisisGrowing in the Prophetic, and Prayers to Strengthen Your Inner Man.  Mike and his wife, Diane, have two married sons and six grandchildren.

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