It is extremely important to have a biblically balanced understanding of God. In discussing moral issues it is common for people to say “God is love, and He loves everyone,” thus, in effect, justifying all sorts of unbiblical behaviors. And yes, the Bible says God is love (1 John 4:8, 16), that God loves everyone (for example, John 3:16), and that nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-40). This is pretty awesome!
However, we can’t stop there. The Bible also says that God is a God of righteous justice, and He does punish sin. We dare not trample on His holiness by violating His commands. The Bible (both Old and New Testament) is filled with stories of nations and people who did so and were judged. You see, a holy loving God must punish sin. If He doesn’t, He ceases to be righteous and just, and His love isn’t perfect because He allows us to do what He has called evil.
We must grasp both God’s love and justice. If we just focus on God’s love, we can justify any behavior we want to engage in because, after all, God loves us and accepts us regardless of what we do. This leads to license. On the other hand, if we just focus on the justice of God, we live a life of joyless, cold ritual. This leads to legalism. Both of these extremes are dangerous.
It is when we grasp hold of the biblically balanced understanding of God that we will develop a deep, intimate relationship with Him, live a life of holiness and joy, and develop a truly biblical worldview of moral issues.
We must not define God to our liking — either as a syrupy sweet friend who lets us do anything we want, or as a grumpy bully that looks for any opportunity to squash us. He is to us Abba (Aramaic for daddy — referring to warmth and emotional closeness), and Father (referring to intellectual understanding of respectful fear and reverence). This is our God, the God we love, worship and obey
Pastor Frank Nolton
New Hope Community Church