God’s love vs. Moral Purity

This is my seminary discussion board post for this week…
Some have contended that there is tension between God’s moral purity and His love. How would you respond to such a charge?

I have heard people say there is tension between God’s love and justice.  Many people cannot grasp the fact that God is both loving and just. The cross itself is the ultimate picture of the mingling of ultimate love and justice.  The same God who created a boundary between sin and himself provided the very sacrifice to help us bridge that gap and be redeemed into His presence.

In this world, there is no one else that can embody both moral purity and love.  That is why God is holy and we are not.  It seems that there is tension between God’s moral purity and His love when you first think about it.  But diving into the Scripture reveals a totally different paradigm.  The first example of God drawing a line in the sand about moral purity comes in the story of Adam and Eve.  He gave them a specific commandment not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  They ate the fruit in total disregard for God’s moral law and as a result sin entered the world, which led to separation between God and man.  He warned them and they pursued the sin anyway.

All throughout Scripture, God is very clear about what He hates (Proverbs 6:16-19) and what we should be focused on (Philippians 4:8).  One of my favorite passages is Psalm 24:3-5 where he gives the qualifications of a person who wants to stand in His presence.  He looks for a person with clean hands and a pure heart.

Millard Erickson states “God’s justice requires that there be payment of the penalty of sin. God’s love however, desires humans to be restored to fellowship with him” (Erickson, 324).  It is hard for the human mind to comprehend that the consequence of sin has been paid by the one that we were separated from due to our sin.

Just as a loving parent, God established His moral standard, yet His love abounded. His standard of moral purity has not diminished. The penalty of sin hasn’t changed. The penalty remains for those that reject Jesus Christ.  But it was God who loved us so much that He sent His only Son (John 3:16). It was God who looked upon His creation and provided a way for the penalty to be paid – through His Son.

Romans 5:8 says that, “God demonstrated His own love for us in this, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  He is not erasing the penalty for our moral impurity; he has put Christ in our place to pay the debt.

To those that say there is tension, I would respectfully disagree. There is only tension for those that choose not to believe and accept God’s ability to provide appropriation for our sinful acts. Jesus is the bridge from His moral purity and the extension of His love toward mankind. God’s moral purity and love are perfectly in tune in Jesus Christ. God sent His only Son to be born and die for people that deserved to die. Who can question the kind of love that holds us to the highest level of accountability because it cost God His one and only son?

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