Love is the Answer -
God did it because of love not wrath.
I was in an unfortunate discussion, but fortunate that I had been. The conversation was over "what is the truth?" about Christianity. Many brought their ideas to the discussion, the truth being that we are sinful; the truth that Jesus had to die; the truth that Jesus rose from the dead; the truth that we must obey God; etc, all these stones heaped upon the foundation but the thing that caught me was when I asked "Why?". The response was devastatingly awful, a strange chill went down my back when they replied, because God's Wrath against us. They had no concept of why by that answer. If it was because of God's Wrath against us, then there would have been no need for a Savior. If all this came about because of God's Wrath, then we surely would have no hope as none of us are sinless in our own works, and every one of us would be justly destroyed and fearful. Yet, we are not, and Jesus did come to advert God's Wrath and is our Mediator, so this is the case, it is not because of God's Wrath but because of God's Love that he did it.
1 John 4:7-11, 17-19 (NKJV)
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19We love Him because He first loved us.
Holiness is a result of Love.
They retort, "False Doctrine! You call yourself a Student of the Word?! You cannot build your foundation on a single attribute of God, what of Holiness, Justice and Righteousness?!"
"What of it," I would reply, "It is all founded on the attribute called Love."
First of all, what separates Holiness, Justice and Righteousness? As God is righteous, He is naturally holy and will deal justly. What would be the purpose of separating these attributes from love when these three attributes are a result of Love?
1 Corinthians 13:4-6
4Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
These four verses describe what it means to be holy, righteous and just. God is Righteous, because He does not envy, is not prideful, and thinks no evil. God is Just because He does not behave rudely, does not seek its own (is impartial and fair), does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth. All this proves God is Holy because Love is these things and God is Love.
Justice is a result of Love
"Context! You need those things in Context!" They would cry, I could hear them gnash their teeth together. "The Law came so God's justice could be seen!"
"What of the Law?" I would reply, "The Law came because of God's Love"
Jesus was the only Man without sin, He was perfect in all His ways. He came to us to die for our trespasses and so that God, being Love, would not keep a record of wrong. This is true, but what of everyone else? How would we know what sin was, if there was no law?
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
So by the law, we came to the knowledge of sin, but to what end? So that we would be guilty before God? No so that we may know what Love is. When it came to the Law, how does Jesus respond?
28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, "Which is the first commandment of all?"
29Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is: "Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. 30And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.'This is the first commandment. 31And the second, like it, is this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
There is no great commandment greater than these, Love the Lord God, and Love each other and ourselves. The law has shown us that Love is the greatest of these things, that we shall love because He first loves us (1 John 4:19). The Law was given so we shall come to knowledge of sin, and sin is simply being disobedient to love. Justice comes from the very nature of Love.
Righteousness comes from Love.
I could hear them start to belittle me, rather than discussing the doctrine they began to throw stones at me, for it was no longer my doctrine they hated, but they began to hate me because of Love. I could only wonder why such a message would rile so much hatred, why would a message of Love be so rejected. Righteousness became the topic, they kept trying to show me some sort of light, to which righteousness is found apart from love. It was disheartening, that they would fight against Love in such a way as to discredit its power and truth!
I gave them a scenario; Can a Holy God make righteous those who are unrighteous and still be just? They still could not answer it directly, one finally brings up, "Only through Christ Jesus." I smile and nod; it was an excellent answer.
16For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
That strange word 'Love' returns to the basis of all things in Christ Jesus, who came full of Grace and Truth. What a Good News Gospel! Righteousness came apart from the Law by faith through grace, and here is where we find our hope. 1 Corinthians 13:13 "And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
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