I’ve been putting off documenting our hunger sessions because it makes me feel guilty to write something other than my thesis, but I remember that Ed Sheeran said something about writing to unclog the pipes. I decided to bundle the two chapters, “God is love” and “God is holy”, of “The Good and Beautiful God” together because an imbalance is a dangerous thing. Since a few weeks have passed, I’m simply including snippets from the book and comments.
Many people live with the assumption that God’s love is conditional… Consequently, God’s love is constantly in flux. It’s as if God were on a kind of swivel chair… The god I created in my mind years ago was spinning so much it made me dizzy to watch.
This led to a discussion about sin and salvation. Sin causes a separation between us and God, but while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (See Isaiah 59:2, Romans 5:8, and 2 Chronicles 7:14.) God’s holiness and His love are both expressed on the cross. Through repentance and believing [in] Christ, we are reconciled with Him.
If Jesus reached out to known scoundrels, then the rest of us have a chance.
Self-righteousness was brought up. Was the author implying that there are degrees of sin and sinners? I think it was more about how these scoundrel’s sins were manifested openly, like the prodigal son’s.
The character of the elder brother represents those of us who chafe at the idea of God loving sinners.
Yet both the prodigal son and his elder brother were sinners.
By loving us, God makes us lovable.
Our worthiness to be the beloved is not innate. We are loved because He is love.
Our next session was about the holiness of God. The two predominant false narratives are “God is wrathful” and “God does not care about our sin.”
The first one is a misattribution of wrath as a permanent attribute of God. He is not eager to punish us.
God is fiercely and forcefully opposed to the things that destroy his precious people… Whereas love and holiness are part of his essential nature, wrath is contingent upon human sin; if there were no sin, there would be no wrath.
Would a God who took as much pleasure in evil as he did in good be a good God? Would a God who did not act adversely to evil in his world be morally perfect? Surely not.
~ J.I. Packer
The cushy, fuzzy god [who never judges and sends no one to hell] is neither biblical nor truly loving… The teddy-bear god seems inviting at first. But when you look at our world or look deeply into your own heart, you see a darkness that is unmistakable. The nonwrathful god is powerless against this darkness.
The true God defeated sin on the cross.
While it is correct to say God is holy, it is not correct to say that God is wrathful. Wrath is the just act of a holy God toward sin… God is holy and pure. And God’s holiness and purity are part of God’s goodness and beauty. Holiness is God’s essence… Wrath is what humans experience when they reject God. And it is a necessary part of God’s love.
Love loves unto purity.
~ George MacDonald
God’s first and last word is grace… Only then can we begin to understand God’s holiness and ours.