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Q&A: How Can A Loving God Also Be Just?

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Q&AAboutFaith&ReligionMost people have an unbalanced understanding of both God’s love and justice. They see these attributes as being contradictory.

God is love (1 John 4:8), which some believe permits them to sin freely (cf. Rom. 6:1), or at least respond to personal sin with, “Oh well, God still loves me. It’s no big deal that I sinned.” God is also just (2 Thess. 1:6-9), which means that He must punish everyone who is guilty of sin. “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23), thus any sin against God results in a death sentence to an eternal hell (cf. Rev. 20:14-15; Matt. 25:41).

God’s love and justice seem contradictory at first. God’s absolute justice demands that sin be punished, while His unconditional love demands that sin be forgiven.

The Cross of Christ unifies these attributes. In fact, the blood of Jesus Christ perfectly highlights both God’s love and justice. Christ, a member of God Himself (Col. 2:9), died for man’s sin (cf. Rom. 5:8). He became sin (2 Cor. 5:21) and died for us (Phil. 2:8) so we wouldn’t have to. He Who was perfectly just suffered for the unjust (1 Pet. 3:18) so that the unjust could be made right with God.

God must punish sin, but yet desires to save sinners. So God paid the price of sin Himself so that we wouldn’t have to. The Cross satisfies God’s justice, and further highlights how much He loves mankind.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Death is the price of sin, but Jesus has paid that price for everyone who follows Him. We follow Jesus by first obeying His plan of salvation (cf. Acts 2:37-38; Mark 16:16; &c), and then by subsequently “walking in the light” for the remainder of our lives (cf. 1 John 1:5-7). It is when we stop being faithful to Christ when He no longer can pay the price for our sin (cf. Gal. 5:4; Heb. 6:4-6; &c). One will naturally incur the justice of God if he willfully sins against Him.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 8:1)

Are you “in Christ Jesus?”

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