Summer Refreshment Series – God’s love is only half the story.
Summer Refreshment Series – Live ABOVE the Chaos – Telling people about God’s love isn’t enough.
It sounds so great that God is loving. We all want Him to be, and thankfully He is, but by focusing on His love, we can lose sight of His holiness. Why does His holiness matter anyway? Because without His holiness, we don’t even see the need for a Savior. Join me in an excerpt from Live ABOVE the Chaos to discuss this issue.
Laurie O’Connor, Live ABOVE the Chaos (Alpharetta: Booklogix, 2014), 36-39.
People enjoy talking about God’s amazing and perfect love. Yes, God loves us, but His love can’t excuse sin because God is also holy. We are less apt to talk about that. God’s holiness couldn’t just overlook Adam’s or Eve’s offense, and God’s holiness can’t “fix it” by giving their offspring (you and me) a clean slate.
In God, both love and holiness are in simultaneous and full operation all the time. Love and holiness exist together as one. There is no toggling back and forth between the two. It’s like wearing a pair of glasses. We have to look through both lenses simultaneously in order for the glasses to provide us with perfect vision. In the same way, if we want to see God properly and perfectly, we have to put on “glasses” to view Him. One lens is love and the other lens is holiness. Both have to be simultaneously in front of our eyes in order to see God with clarity.
Did you ever clean a window, only to return later to find it still marred with streaks, smudges, and dirt? The imperfections were there when you first left; you just couldn’t see them until the sun’s position changed and revealed the truth about your original cleaning efforts. In the same way the sun shines new light on the true condition of our windows, God’s holiness shines new light on the true condition of our hearts. We may look clean to others around us, but when we see “holy,” our filth is revealed.
Perhaps you are tempted to think you don’t want a holy God after all. But I want a holy God. I suspect, given time to think about it, you will too. I want a God who never makes a mistake. Don’t you? I want a God who has no imperfection in His thinking or in any of His dealings with me. I want God to deal perfectly with the men who rape our daughters, the thieves who steal our belongings and drain our savings, and the people who murder.
But what if I am one of the criminals just mentioned, and I come to my senses? Or what if I am a law-abiding, good citizen who suddenly sees herself in front of God’s holiness—and I see filth? Then I would want love, the other lens through which I am seen. I would want forgiveness and a chance to change. In God we have both—holiness and love. In the words of David Platt, “[God] absolutely hates sin and sinners, and He absolutely loves sinners. In the cross we see the absolute full expression of His holy wrath and His holy love coming together in one glorious moment for our salvation.”
In the garden, the curse on all mankind began because God is holy. In Jesus, we have payment for every sin because God is love. I believe when the pendulum of focus between holy and love swings to one side or the other instead of remaining perfectly balanced in the middle, confusion occurs. For example, if someone is told only about God’s holiness, God may be seen as a dictator and unapproachable. If someone is told only about God’s love and “asks Jesus into their heart” on the basis of love alone—in the absence of holiness—the individual may not even know why they needed Christ in the first place. I wonder if there are people who think they are Christians, but because they never grappled with the concept of God’s holiness, they never saw their sin and understood their need for a Savior. And that may be our fault, the Christians who only told them half of the story.
*Summer Refreshment Series runs from June 10-August 12. Each week, this series will provide an excerpt from Live ABOVE the Chaos, selected specifically to encourage you in the heat of your summer months.
Picture Explanation: We celebrated Father’s Day early this year, though not everyone could join us.
This is the father of my children. He works unbelievable hours to provide for this family…always has. He has saved every card, picture and scribbled note his children and grandchildren have given him since each were born. He is a tough dude, but also the most sentimental, especially when it comes to his children, and I love that about him.
May God bless each and every father on the globe today. To my own dad, thanks for reading my blogs. I love you more than I can ever express.
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