We should not mistake our loving, merciful and compassionate God to be a neglectful parent. Sometimes we try so hard to emphasize his unconditional love that we leave off that he is also a God of justice. We are in a period of grace where God's wrath and punishment for humanity's crimes are being held off but it will not last forever. We need to take sin seriously. We need to know what sin is. We need to consider it a disease that we want nothing to do with. We need to understand that no sin goes unseen by our God.
The Word is clear on the subject:
Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism. (Colossians 3:25)
What is sin? Anything that is contrary to the will and character of God. Hatred is sin. Jealousy is sin. Bringing harm to another person is sin. Living a lifestyle contrary to the holiness of God is sin. Anything that comes against these two things
- love God with your entire being
- love others
is sin. Of course, our Father knew we were slaves to a character that we could not free ourselves from so he gave his Son in a loving act of sacrifice in order that we could be free enough to make a willing choice: God's Righteousness or Sin. Once accepted, we have that choice. But in not choosing we have also chosen. This is the reason why, just after telling us that he came so that whoever wanted to can be saved, Jesus states:
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (John 3:18)
The world has been condemned and the day of judgement is coming. In all our preaching and teaching on God's love we cannot lose this fact: judgement hangs over the heads of the various people we meet today who have not made the choice for Jesus. Look at each person you see on the bus today or who are standing in the grocery line with you. God's wrath is coming upon these people because our God is a just God. These people are in rebellion to him and they probably don't even know it. They need to be told. Will you tell them?
Before someone can understand why Jesus is so important they need to understand their condition. Once they understand their condition, the importance of Jesus to them, the reality of God's love, compassion and mercy, become clear and vital. Have we gone too far in our message of love? Is the world missing out on the truth? Would they choose differently if they knew?
... because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. (Ephesians 5:6)
We have a loving, merciful, compassionate and JUST God.