God is love and justice; you miss something important if you skip one attribute or the other.
Easter: God is Love and God is Justice. In our culture, we probably hear “God is love” most often – even if only meant in a vague, amorphous sense. That’s true, but it’s not the whole story: God is also Justice. You miss something important about God if you miss one attribute or the other. Yet God actually embodies both characteristics, and at Easter vividly displays them together at the Cross. Together it’s what makes grace so amazing!
The word ‘Gospel’ means “good news”. What makes something good news is resolution, or saving from bad news. It’s an ancient concept that anyone who’s read a good book or seen a good movie is familiar with: drama, tension, things look bleak, and then resolution and the good guys win. If you’ve read ahead to the end of the book in the Bible, the good guys (that’s God and everyone on His side) win.
But first the bad news – the drama and tension: all of us are sinners, who miss God’s mark, go our own way and fail to meet His standard set by the fact that He is holy. In the original Greek the word for sin is ‘hamartia‘. The word ‘sin’ is an archery term that connotes the distance off the mark from a perfect bull’s eye. It means we fail to meet God’s perfect standard.
God says through the Apostle Paul in Romans:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God – Romans 3:23
the wages of sin is death – Romans 6:23
Our sin, in failing to meet the mark of God’s holy perfection, is unholiness. It’s contamination that separates us from a pure and holy God, who is the source of everything good. God is Justice. Justice demands payment for wrongdoing. A debt is incurred. Justice demands that restitution is made, and rightly that penalty is paid by those that committed the offenses. What we deserve is separation from Him and everything good. We deserve death and damnation. It is the definition of justice for us as wrongdoers to get the punishment we have earned. Worse, there is no way we could ever hope to satisfy our sin debt before a holy God on our own efforts.
That’s the bad news. If that’s all there were to the story, it would be pretty bleak indeed. But thank God the story’s not finished – not yet.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. –1 John 4:7-8
The good news is that God is also Love. And God merges his Justice and Love at the Cross, where Jesus – God in the Flesh – paid the penalty demanded by God’s Justice for sin himself because he loves us. Jesus was himself perfect and sinless. He didn’t deserve to die as a payment for anyone’s sin, but he chose to die willingly “for the joy set before him” because he loves you.
That’s what makes grace so “amazing”. If God weren’t both Justice and Love, his death on the Cross wouldn’t really mean much. If God didn’t embody Justice, there would be no penalty, no debt, nothing to be saved from. It wouldn’t make God’s Love that special, or particularly noteworthy. Without both, one’s attitude toward God might rightly be: “Yeah well, God is love and he loves – doesn’t he owe me that?” But both are true, and that makes God’s Love amazing. We don’t deserve it, we aren’t owed it, and God chooses to give it anyway.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
We may not be slave traders, but each of us knows the depths of their own heart and whatever dark things are hidden there – and so does God. That God loves us anyway is amazing. The story continues beyond the Cross. Jesus died on the Cross on Good Friday – making the payment that satisfies God’s Justice and demonstrating His Love towards us. He was buried in the Tomb for three days, but on Sunday, he rose from the dead! His victory over death means we can have eternal life through him – really good news. That’s why there is so much to celebrate on Easter. Happy Easter!
Matt is a Husband, Father, Christian, Patriot and Conservative. He fundamentally believes in upholding the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, with a strong focus on the Second Amendment. Matt primarily writes about Second Amendment issues, gun rights and gun control, and is published on several sites. Matt lives in the Pacific Northwest, outside of Seattle. He enjoys running, hiking, camping, shooting, hunting, Linux computing, and Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Apocolyptic fiction.