There are two things you need to know about God. Before I get to that, it is important that you know to whom I am referring when I say “God.” I am not referring to the god of your imagination or some non-personal mystical higher power. I am not referring to the god many so-called Christians claim to serve… the one who seemingly turns a blind eye to sin. I am not referring to Allah (the Muslim moon god), or Brahma (the Hindu deity), or any of the other demonic entities who lead millions of souls to hell. I am referring to the Creator and sustainer of the cosmos, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God who’s Spirit hovered over the waters, the God who said “let there be light,” the God who formed man from the dust of the earth and breathed life into his soul. I am referring to the One who was, and is, and is to come. I am referring to I AM.
Here are the two things you need to know about GOD: He is HOLY and He is LOVE.
Because God is Holy and we are not, we fear Him. Proverbs 9:10 tells us “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Isaiah the prophet recounts the terrifying vision of entering God’s presence in the book of Isaiah, chapter 6. Describing the scene, he tells of seraphim who are always in God’s presence declaring “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty.” Only a fool would fail to tremble at the thought of entering the presence of one such as this. Indeed Psalm 14 tells us “the fool has said in his heart, there is no God.” A wise person once told me “it is also a fool who knows there is a God and yet says in his heart “no, God.” Any attempt at religion, any strategy to draw near to God that lacks an understanding of God’s holiness is folly of the ultimate kind.
So, what of His love? 1 John 4:16 tells us “God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” Notice is says “God is love” not “love is God.” The Beatles famously sang “all you need is love.” But in fact, the truth is “all you need is God.” If you attempt to define love apart from God, you will have a distorted understanding of love – a perversion. This perverted kind of love, excuses sin. It is devoid of holiness. Likewise, there are some who claim to be holy... they don't drink, they don't curse, they don't cheat on their spouse. But they are greedy, uncaring of others, judgmental, harsh and aloof. But God is love. His holiness defines his love and his love defines his holiness. The two cannot be separated.
Romans 5:8 tells us “God demonstrates his love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And John 3:16 declares “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” My friends, before the foundation of the earth, God knew the wrong choices Adam and Eve would make, and he knew what it would cost him. He knew the wrong choices you and I would make, and he know what it would cost him. If you have heard some version of the gospel that tells you God doesn’t care about sin, you have heard a false gospel. If you think saying a "sinner's prayer" gets you a free pass to heaven, while continuing to live in sin, you are deceived. Likewise, if you have heard a version of the gospel that tells you that you have to somehow do enough good stuff to overcome the bad stuff… that God is mad at you all the time… that you had better try harder and do better or else… then you have heard a false gospel. Here is the truth. God is holy and he is very serious about sin. And he loves you enough to save you from that sin. He sent his own son to die for your sin and my sin. Jesus bore the penalty and the shame of our sin on the cross, and on the cross we see the perfect exemplification of God’s holiness and His love. For those of us who have repented of our sin (turned from it) and declared Jesus as Lord, we are comforted rather than terrified by God’s holiness. We are drawn to it. We glory in it. Indeed, we are clothed in it. And we walk in the reality of God’s love, having been made righteous by the blood of Jesus. And as followers of Christ, our lives should reflect these two things… God’s love and God’s holiness. This is the living way of the disciple of Jesus. These two things are the pillars of the children of God.
I encourage you to meditate on these two truths: God is Holy and God is Love.