I was talking to a young lady about God and who He is. As the discussion moved toward God’s perfect judgment and how He promises to punish the unrepentant, she became very quiet. I asked her what was on her mind and she replied, “My God would never do a thing like that. He is a loving God.” It turned out that she was living with her boyfriend outside of God’s parameters for marriage.
To ease her guilt she had, in essence, created a god that she said “understood” and because he was a loving god, he would not hold her accountable for her life style. We do not want to be fooled; God’s Word is clear on the subject. James wrote, “Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (2:10). In truth, we all fall under the judgment of God. It is as Paul wrote to the Romans: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
And yes, God is a loving God! He has given us means of escaping His wrath and punishment. The Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans continues, “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth to be an atoning sacrifice by His blood, through faith…” (3:24-25). God sent His Son, Jesus, to pay for the sins of the world. Jesus accomplished His Father’s will by keeping God’s Law perfectly, paying for the sins of the world as He sacrificed Himself through His death upon the cross and rose again on the third day.
Yes, through faith in Jesus, our sins are forgiven and we have the promise of eternal life. This is a gift of love from God, but it is ours on His terms, not ours. Through this gift of faith, we are called to repent of our sins. To repent is to feel and know in our hearts that we have sinned against God and to seek His forgiveness. Another aspect of repentance is that once we are forgiven, we are to amend our lives. We are to strive to change our lives to comply with God’s will. That is God’s plan!
However, sinful man, with the aid of the devil and this evil world, tries to find ways of, let’s say, continuing in the sin by creating a version of God that okays whatever sin we don’t want to give up. This newly created version of God creates a false peace and draws us further from the truth. This cannot be. There is only one God—the God found in the Bible—and all other versions of the true God are false gods. There is no gray area; God draws a very distinct line. We cannot have one foot on one side of the line and the other foot on the other. There is no middle ground. We are either on the right side and striving to follow God’s will or we are on the wrong side, living outside His will. But rest assured that when we repent and seek to amend our lives, that is, when we strive to move away from our sin, there is full and free forgiveness in the blood of Christ. God is a loving God on His terms, not on terms that we create. To learn about the one true loving God, go directly to the source, to the only place where we can come to know the true God: His holy Word, the Bible.Rev. Larry Wentzlaff is the Evangelism-Missions Counselor for the Evangelical Lutheran Synod.