God is Love - and Holiness
The Bible is the absolute, indisputable, non-negotiable foundation of Christianity. Without it, it’s impossible to even define what it means to be a Christian. That’s why I feel that it’s vitally important to establish the reliability of the Bible in it’s original languages. Being convinced through much research that the Bible we have today is the accurate and faithful Word of God forms the authority base of my life and worldview.
Building upon the Bible as the foundation of spiritual authority and truth, I can then find answers to every question it discusses. It tells me about the nature of God, the cause of sin, our need for a savior, the savior’s identity, and our required response to him. It defines Truth, justice, reality, and everything else that exists. Anything that contradicts it must be inherently false, regardless of popularity, ’inner witness’, experience, or human wisdom.
The Bible tells me that God’s nature is both loving and holy. Holiness cannot exist without justice. For God to be holy he cannot tolerate sin, which is defiance of God’s will. Therefore there has to be a standard by which sin is identified and dealt with.
To God there is no conflict between love and justice, but to the sinner they are opposites. From the sinner’s view, justice is harsh and painful, but from God’s view it is required by his holiness. Without a standard by which sin is identified, holiness loses its meaning. How can holiness exist when there is no such thing as an absolute standard of right and wrong?
Specifically, God shows his love to sinful mankind by meeting the demands of his holiness for us. Romans 5:8 says “But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” His holiness could have been cold and unbending by itself, but his love solved the “sin” problem by meeting the demands of justice without consigning us all to the hell we deserve. Jesus paid the bill, but only those who accept his payment on their behalf will escape the penalty of sin. This is why not everyone goes to heaven, and why that fact does not violate either love or justice or the free will of man to choose his eternal destiny.
This seeming dilemma between love and justice is where Satan thought he had God outsmarted. He couldn’t imagine how God could be both loving and holy, and many people can’t imagine it either. If God simply let everyone into heaven it would violate his holiness, but if God made it impossible for anyone to get to heaven it would violate his love. But God proved his greatness and superiority when he sent us his Son, our Savior, in whom Love and Holiness are reconciled!
Without the authority of the Bible, no one can understand how to resolve the dichotomy between God’s love and his holiness. The truth is, I see both in the Bible, but since there is so much false teaching I am forced to emphasize judgment. It would be the opposite of loving for me to never confront sin or error. Faced with these things continually, it would be understandable for you to get the impression that I only see one side of God. But if you only see one side of God, you will naturally be critical of anyone who sees more.
Remember, it is we who are made in God’s image, not he in ours. God is who the Bible says he is, not who people wish him to be.