Big Idea: God is loving.
There are two attributes of God that are expressed through how he relates to free will creatures. Those two attributes are love and holiness. Last week, we talked about how God’s holiness means that he is completely separate from his creation. But, that is only one aspect of his holiness. It also means that he always does what is right. When he relates to free will creatures, his holiness forces him to punish them. So, his holiness is expressed through justice. When a wrong is done, justice rights the wrong. For a criminal, justice rights the wrong through the prison sentence. For sinners, justice rights the wrong through punishment in hell. However, God’s love forces him to offer grace. Because God is loving, he gives. The things that he gives are grace and mercy. When sin enters the picture, these two attributes of God create a conflict within God, in which he is unable to act. He must offer sinners a choice to either relate to him through his holiness or through his love.
There are many religions and philosophies that confuse these two attributes of God. One way they confuse them is they teach that God’s love is expressed through his justice. A prime example of this is the religion of Islam. Everything in Islam is about the justice of God. If a person obeys God’s commands, there is no need for justice, but if a person disobeys God’s commands justice is necessary. The only concept of love in Islam is through justice. God expresses his love for creation by righting the wrongs. He expresses his love to humanity through punishment that leads to purification. However, Scripture teaches that these two attributes of God are expressed independently of one another based on the choice of the sinner.
Day 1: Isaiah 30 (Key Verse: 15 – 19)
Day 2: John 3 (Key Verses : 16 – 20)
Day 3: 1 John 4 (Key Verse: 7 – 11)
Questions for Discussion
- What do these verses say about God’s love?
- Do you tend to lean more toward relating to God through holiness or through love
- How does this affect your faith and your walk with God?
Observe a time this week when someone wrongs you in some way. Offer them love by giving them grace and mercy.