Wrath and Love are the same thing where the love is perfect. We may not think so, if we had our hand in the biscuit jar, and Dad or Mum caught us. Human anger is often irrational, whereas God’s “anger” is always rational, because it is a constant, and always has the same motivation, to benefit his creation.
This is because God’s Love and Anger are the same thing. He is not multifunctional, he is a constant being whom, though we see him in the progression of time, is actually fixed in time. Not that this has a lot to do with anything.
“Our God is a consuming fire.” The Holy Spirit is spoken of in terms of fire. At Pentecost the Spirit came on them all and appeared as flames of fire. When Moses came down from the Mount, his face was glowing from the residual Glory of the Lord, and from the glory of the given law. There is a principle of cleansing with fire. The wheat will be gathered into the barn, but the chaff will be burned.
The task of the Spirit is to burn out sin from believers, whether in large lumps or bit by bit. The Spirit confronts sin and destroys it. Similarly it will burn up the physical creation to reveal the Spiritual creation, when Christ returns with his fiery angels. Men feel the presence of God’s wrath, because the sin within them filters it as anger and guilt and judgement. Paul said it was better to marry than to burn, whether with passion or whether he meant the Spirit perhaps. Errant cities were consumed by fire. True, some were also drowned in water, but that symbolism seems reserved for better things like baptism and rivers like the Jordan. Here too is the symbolism of cleansing, perhaps also by destruction.
At the end, it is God’s love that removes all sin from the creation. Love cannot be love if even a small part of hate is left to survive. It is spiritual matter in confrontation with earthly matter. Matter and Anti-matter. Fire and paper. And as for the hypothetical believer whose “works do not stand”, “he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames”.
The Spirit confronts sin. Galatians shows conflict and confrontation between Spirit and flesh. All flesh will be destroyed. All sin will be destroyed. Righteousness destroys unrighteousness. God’s love and wrath are the same thing, it is only our perception of it (him), as perceived by us, that sees a difference.
[see also “Punishment and Passion (wrath II) ” ] [and “Rising to life (wrath III”)]
Cwrath Cspirit Cfire