John the Beloved writes, “God is Love” (I John 4:8). There is a misconception as to the meaning of the Love of God. Many picture God as a Heavenly Grandfather who lets the grandkids get by with anything without fear of any reprisal. Many people who live recklessly in sin hide behind the truth that God is love. They interpret God’s love to mean He is tolerant of any kind of behavior regardless of how ungodly it might be. After all, if God loves me what difference does it make how I live, for He will forgive me anyway. There are those in Christendom today who endorse all kind of bizarre and depraved lifestyles under the umbrella that God loves everyone and, in the end, it matters not how one lives; therefore, we must be tolerant, accepting, understanding, and nonjudgmental no matter how debased one’s behavior.
One who defines God’s love under the pretense of toleration regardless of the kind of behavior one engages in, does so because they either (1) have a total misunderstanding of the essence of Divine Love; or (2) they do so to give themselves an excuse to live as they please. In most instances I think it is the latter reasoning. Let it be said, the Love of God is not to be a shield to hide behind so one can indulge in deliberate unbiblical behavior. Such an abuse of God’s love is an offense to the holiness of God which necessitated the work of Christ…and called for it and provided for it.
One must forever embrace the truth that God’s love cannot be divorced from His holiness. God’s love flows forth from His holiness (His moral and transcendent purity), which of divine necessity effects judgement upon sin. God’s love seeks to bring about repentance and transformation in man, but He does so within holy-love’s character which detests sin. Judgment is holiness’ reaction to sin, which is the enemy of God and the destroyer of man. One cannot have an adequate grasp of the love of God in Christ Jesus until one has an understanding that God’s holy-love came to condemn sin which is incompatible with God’s holy nature. His love cannot be separated from His holiness The horror of the cross pictures the ugliness of sin in the face of holiness, yet the love of God is exhibited in Him bearing and judging sin in Himself as our Sacrifice for our noncompliance to the demands of His holiness. His love didn’t and doesn’t tolerate sin, but exposed its hideousness on the cross. His love didn’t excuse sin but judged it. There can be no offer of forgiving grace without an affirmation of the moral majesty of His holiness which despises sin. His love didn’t dismiss sin but in Christ dealt with sin.
God’s Loving grace has no meaning apart from His holiness which exposed on the cross sin in all its horror and the judgment it deserves. It is the holiness in God’s love that necessitated the cross. While in the Christ of the cross God provided redemption for humanity, the cross is foremost the self-justification of God to the world that He is holy and sin is an affront to His holy character. On the cross the holiness and love of God merged, revealing the darkness of sin and love of Christ who not only complied with God’s holiness but bore in Himself our judgement, paying the debt we owe for our inability to comply with the demands of His holiness. The message of the New Testament from John the Baptist, to Jesus, to Peter, to Paul, to John is “Repent.” In repentance we acknowledge the despicableness of sin is exceedingly sinful in the face of a holy God. True repentance is realizing that God took the broken law of his holiness so seriously that it entailed the perfect obedience of Christ and His death upon the cruel cross. The terror of sin’s judgment should fall upon us, but in love the judgment of our sin was laid on Him. At the cross we see the severity of God in His dealing with sin and we see the love God in Christ in the giving of Himself as the Sacrifice for our sins. Our salvation was not secured by dismissing judgment upon sin, but by judgment upon sin. God’s holy-love accepted and bore in Himself His own holy judgment upon sin. He being the only One who had the right to judge sin, absorbed in Himself the judgment we rightly deserved. Now that is LOVE.
One who claims Christ as Savior and continues in their sin, in an antinomian lifestyle, under the pretense that God’s Love will overlook their willfully sinful lifestyle, has failed to grasp the meaning of Christ’s death on the cross. His death was not to preserve us in our sin, but to save us out of our sin. His death was not for the purpose of making us comfortable in our sin, but for us to grasp the horror of sin for which Christ died and turn from those sins. His death was not for purpose of continuing in the old life, but walking in newness of life. His death was not for the purpose of tolerating sin, but seeing the blackness of sin and turning from it. His death was not for the purpose of being acceptant of sin, but expelling from our lives the very sins for which God judged in Jesus Christ. The judgment due us willingly became His, the repentance remains ours. It was because of man’s sins that Christ suffered; it was punishment of sin that fell on Him. And the worst of sins is to with ingratitude continue on in those very sins for which Christ suffered the judgment of the holy Father on our behalf.
God in grace through Christ calls us unto Himself. Seeing that only holiness can be in communion with a holy God, by the grace of God He has made provision in Christ for us to come unto Him; and by a living faith in Christ we become partakers of that same eternal holy-love which God from everlasting to everlasting bestows upon His Son. O, what a Savior.