It is no mystery that the devil has blinded many in the church of Jesus Christ from seeing the full measure of all of God’s attributes. When someone reads the Bible, she will become aware of the fact that God is more than just love. But who is reading their Bible, today?
Unfortunately, most evangelicals sit in congregations in America, today, where the church’s mission statement (a corporate America invention) constrains God to one dimension, one attribute. The Bible is clear that God’s nature is love (1 Jn 4:8), and God’s nature is increasing in the hearts and minds of Christians, to be conduits of Christ’s love (1 Cor 13).
The error is insidious, however. The root of the error is the neglect of God’s attribute of justice. Ignoring or denying God’s just judgment and punishment of sinners is a fatal mistake for many who have been led astray. All people have sinned and are already condemned to death and eternal fire in hell (Jn 3:18). They are simply waiting for the execution of justice.
This is the bad news of the Gospel. God is holy and righteous, but all humanity is totally depraved. Without God’s mercy, all people would simply suffer the eternal consequences for their inherited and practiced lawlessness against God.
American evangelicalism too often looks at Christ, and His death, and it preaches God’s mercy, motivated by His love. The result is love, love, love. If a preacher speaks of sin, judgment, justice and eternal damnation — he is not a preacher in that place for very long.
Christians, today, if that is an accurate identification, simply will not tolerate the negativity. Modern psychology, so pervasive in the American mindset, is bent on positivism. The result is a slap-happy love-fest. God is presented as the lover of all people. Christ is presented as the loving Savior of all people. The Holy Spirit is presented as the longing-lover of every soul, who is often disappointed by so many people rejecting Him. These are tragic misrepresentations.
The growth mission of American evangelicalism is to love everyone into the kingdom. The Social Gospel joins with the positive love psychology in a frenzy of happy work activities. Carnivals, fairs, festivals, marches, rock concerts, pilgrimages, etc. occupy the calendars of the evangelical church, in not too distant reflection of liberal churches, who accept everyone just as they are, in sin.
Of course, it is not called, “sin,” in these “churches.” Because God loves everyone, Christ died for everyone, sin is no longer the issue these people consider. It is love. The pressing matter, for them, is convincing sinners of God’s love for them, without any mention of His just judgment, still pending against every sinner who does not have the Son of God (Jn 3:36). Election and reprobation are absolutely taboo in these churches. Thus, salvation is diluted or distorted into a cheap sales pitch.
So let us finish with some clarity. God is righteous and just. All people are ungodly and unrighteous, sinful lawbreakers, deserving eternal punishment for offending God’s infinite majesty. God’s Word declares, “I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy.”
The Bible teaches that God has had mercy on a people (1 Pet 2:10), chosen before Creation (Eph 1:3–4), to be saved in time (Mt 1:21), by Christ, the Son of God, who takes these elect ones into the glory of His church, the bride of Christ (1 Pet 2:9). He sets His love upon them (Rom 5:8), as demonstrated by His willing sacrifice of Himself, to give them life from their wages of sin, which is death (Rom 6:23).
These loving actions by God the Father and God the Son are preached, in love, by God’s Holy Spirit (Jn 15:26; 2 Cor 4:6), who calls out God’s chosen people from bondage to sin in the domain of darkness (Col 1:13). Thus, God’s particular love, is seen in His merciful actions to save a particular people. This is just and merciful, and it is the true love of God.
Spokane Valley, Washington
July 26, 2021