Is God Love? Or is He Just?

There is a guy I know who has two teenage girls and for anyone with even one teenage girl you know how hard it can be to parent teenagers of the female variety. From the outside looking in it seems to me that he is too scared to parent them the right way, and that is by saying the word “no” or by letting them know that certain things are wrong and he won’t approve of them. He’d rather let them do the things he doesn’t approve of just so he doesn’t have to fight with them. He’d rather be their friend than their parent.

Looking at our society today you can see that people want God to be a Father like that guy, they want Him to be the guy who is too afraid of how we might react to enforce His rules.
In fact many people preach this version of God to the world, that it doesn’t matter what you do just ask for forgiveness and move on. They want to see God as someone who loves them no matter what and that’s true but it’s not the whole story.
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I’ve met fathers who are strict…very strict. They make a command and the kids must obey or instantly suffer the consequences, follow the rules in order to earn their fathers favor, do this and do that, work hard and maybe dad will love them.
Kids that grow up in this authoritarian type of home tend to work really hard and that’s a good thing but they also think they have to do life the same way and end up pushing people away and never experiencing true love.

Many religious people see God like this, like unless we follow and obey and earn His love we will never get to Heaven.
They lean towards the Old Testament laws and want to follow all 613 of them, on top of the Ten Commandments.

Either God is Love or He is Just is what many believe. What if I told you that He is both?
God is Love AND He is Just.
God is not going to look past some of our sins for fear that we may no longer love Him, He told us what’s right and what’s wrong and He does expect us understand that.
God does not expect us to earn our way either, we know what is wrong and we will fail. We can try really hard to follow all of the OT laws and we will never succeed, if we lived a thousand years we would never get to the point where we could see a checkmark beside each of those 613 laws.
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If we can’t earn our way and God isn’t just going to let us in as we are then how in the world are we ever going to get into heaven?
That is where Jesus steps in, fulfilling the OT laws and sending us in a new direction, He will pay for the sins we have committed and He will conquer the death that belongs to us, He doesn’t just show up and teach some things about love, He arrives and sends all of the religious people into a frenzy.
No longer are they the rulers of religion, no longer must you obey or die, no longer said Jesus. The greatest commandment is love declares Jesus, love for God and love for one another.
If we were to put all of our decisions through the test of love before we made them, our world would be in a much better situation.

Christians (myself included) tend to look out into the world and say “it’s gone crazy” but the truth is the world is trying to live without God.
We stand on our pedestal and judge and condemn the evildoers while we do nothing to help them.
We can’t help them by classifying an entire group as wrong, we help them when we go one by one and face to face, befriend them, love them and pray for them.
We need to be careful though because we have a habit of preaching the “God loves you” gospel and leaving out the “God is just” part of it.
When we only talk about how God loves and we leave out the “just” part we paint a picture of a God who will forgive and forgive, over and over and He will, but He still expects us to be transformed by the Holy Spirit and live in such a way that is glorifying to Him.
When we only preach the God of justice we sound like those “Christians” everyone makes fun of and no one will take us seriously.

Like the two examples I started with, the two fathers at opposite ends of the spectrum, we need to find a happy place in the middle where we see God for who He truly is, a Just God, a Loving God who will love you no matter what but He will also be just when it comes to giving us what we deserve, unless we can show people that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Then and only then can we avoid what we’ve earned which is death and receive that which we did not earn which is eternal life.
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God is not only love or only just, God is just and love, He loved us so much He gave us His Son, God was just to the point that it cost Him His Son.
Those that see Him as only love, or only just aren’t seeing the big picture. Do we deserve death? Yes. Did Jesus deserve death? No. Yet He died and we live and that my friends is true, just love.

Thanks for reading.

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