THE LOVE OF GOD AND SIN

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.

Blessings,
Dr. Dan

A LOVE LIKE NO OTHER

Valentine’s Day is a time when we share gifts, cards, and roses with those we love and hold dear to our hearts. As Valentine’s Day approaches let us not forget the holy-love of our God, who when He gave us Christ gave us His heart.  As John 3:16 so clearly declares our Lord’s love is like no other. valentinesday

When we think of the awesome love of God, we must not separate His eternal love from His eternal holiness. The Bible teaches that God is holy, a concept we have lost today. God as holy does what is right and never does what is wrong. God as holy is uncompromising with sin. God as holy always acts in a righteous manner. Holiness has to do with God’s perfect nature, His moral purity and perfection. Holiness is love morally perfect.

Because God is holy sin must be opposed and judged; therefore, man is in a predicament since he is a sinner by nature and choice. What is man to do since he cannot in his own good works and deeds comply with the holy demands of God?
In Jesus Christ that which God’s holiness demands loving grace has provided. God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself (2 Corinthians 5:19). On the cross Christ became the bridge between a holy God and sinful man. While the cross reveals a holy God who opposes and refuses to accept sin, it is where Jesus dealt with sin so man could know the peace of forgiveness. Now that is love, a love like no other!

In the perfect life of Christ and at the cross we find God personally acting in holy-love to provide for man what he cannot provide for himself. Christ is our bridge to a restored relationship with the Father. Sinful man is guilty before a holy God, needing not aid but deliverance; needing not reform but redemption. God’s holiness makes two demands: answering holiness in obedient love and judgment upon sins defiance to holiness. On the cross Jesus met both demands. Christ, as our Substitute, presented loving and holy obedience to the Father, and then in love willingly yielded to the suffering of judgment upon sin. Christ was no martyr on the cross, but He willingly went to the cross in loving obedience to the Father. His sacrifice must always be linked to His holy-love for you and me.

Christ, as the God-man, lived the life we could never live and then took our deserved punishment upon sin and in so doing acted in loving grace to offer forgiveness to humanity. Only a sinless Christ could pay for our sins, for only He could see the true nature of our sin and be our Redeemer. The Sinless One was judged but it was not His own judgment He bore, but ours. Christ did for us what we could not do for ourselves. Christ, in His living satisfied the holy demands of God and in his death willingly suffered the judgment for our sin. Christ assumed our judgment; He became our Substitute.

Now that is grace; loving, amazing grace! The marvel of the Christ of the cross is not that He won grace, but the grace of God was revealed. On the cross Jesus did not purchase grace; the offering of Himself was an act of grace. The cross is the result of God’s loving grace for you and me. Our God was not only the Giver of the Offering, but in Christ He was the Offering. God in Christ dealt with the world’s sin on the cross. What love!

At the cross Christ, who offered Himself to God, was also eternally offered by God. Our redeemer was both the Giver and God’s Gift. P.T. Forsyth succinctly states, “Only He who had lost us could find us, only He who was wronged could forgive; only the Holy one could satisfy His own holiness…Only the Creator knew the creature so as to redeem. And to know mankind He must live in mankind.” John, the apostle of love, writes, “The Word [God] became flesh [in Jesus] and dwelt among us“(John 1:14). Christ became one with humanity in His identification with us, taking the curse of our sin upon Himself (2 Peter 2:23-24).

When one’s eyes are opened to what happened on Calvary, what happened on the cross, the words, love, grace, forgiveness, mercy and redemption take on new meaning. For those beautiful words have little meaning until we understand that our sinful nature and actions are an affront to a holy God who must judge that which is unholy. But the grace found in divine love is that God in Jesus Christ met both the demands of holiness in the face of sin and on the cross assumed our just judgment upon sin. Jesus didn’t just preach Good News, He is the Good News. He didn’t just speak of sacrifice, He was our Sacrifice. He was not a victim but the Victor, and by faith in Him we share in His victory. What grace, what love! It is a love like no other.

This Valentine’s Day the greatest love gift we have been given is the Gift of a redeeming Savior!

Blessings,

Dr. Dan