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YES, GOD IS LOVE, BUT . . .

March 2011

The whole world needs to hear the truth that God is love (1 John 4:8,16). Our Creator, by nature, is love. In a world filled with evil, where many people are self-centered and fail to show proper regard for others, it is great to know that God is love.

While the thought that God is love can be the source of encouragement, comfort, and assurance, there are those who misuse the great truth that God is love. For many folks, saying, “God is love” is like a magic formula that instantly removes the guilt and consequences of sin and makes everybody happy because, you see, if God is love, then He will accept everything which each person does. In reality, from a biblical standpoint, that is not the case.

Yes, God is love, but that does not mean that He loves everything that every person does. Our Lord hates all forms of lawlessness (Hebrews 1:9).

Yes, God is love, but that does not mean that men will not have to face the consequences of the mistakes that they make. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and it is still true that “whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7).

Yes, God is love, but that does not mean that all people will be saved. Are you sure? Yes, sir. Jesus declared that some will go into “everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:46). In fact, He said that “many” are traveling the path that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13).

Yes, God is love, but that does not mean that He will not hold humans accountable if they rebel against His will. Those who do not obey the gospel “shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord” (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

Yes, God is love, but that does not mean that He accepts false religious messages. The devil’s fatal appeal is that, because God is love, then He counts all religious teaching as good. In fact, those who pervert the gospel of the Christ stand accursed (Galatians 1:6-8). God’s word plainly shows that false teachers are headed to destruction (2 Peter 2:1,2). So, while God is love, that does not mean that false teachers can hide behind God’s banner of love and not be held accountable for what they say.

Yes, God is love, but that does not mean that He will not judge us according to His word. His love does not remove the reality of judgment. The Christ said that the word which He spoke will judge people

(John 12:48). That is an unchangeable truth.

Yes, God is love, but that does not mean that He is not also righteous and just. One aspect of God’s character or nature (such as love) does not offset or do away with other aspects of His nature (like justice). “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne . . .” (Psalm 89:14). Doesn’t the Bible talk about both the goodness and severity of God? It does. In fact, they are mentioned together in the very same verse (Romans 11:22).

Yes, God is love, but that does not mean that He will act out of harmony with His revealed will. My relative in the flesh that dies outside of the Christ will be lost eternally. Per God’s arrangement, all spiritual blessings, including redemption, are available only in His Son (Ephesians 1:3,7). Thus, I dare not appeal to Him to somehow go against what He has revealed in the Bible and save my deceased, outside-of-the-Christ kinsman.

Yes, God is love, but that does not mean that His children have the right to live as they please. We are blessed to have freedom because of God’s love and grace, but we must not abuse such freedom by fulfilling the lusts of the flesh. Indeed, those who participate in the works of the flesh without repentance “will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:13,19-21).

Yes, God is love, but that does not mean that He will not rebuke and discipline those who sin against Him. What did Jesus say to the lukewarm saints in Laodicea? “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:19).

Yes, God is love, but that does not mean that His children are exempt from trials, struggles, and temptations. Each of those matters is a part of life for all people, both saved and unsaved alike. Jesus Himself was not exempt from any of these (Hebrews 4:14,15). Like gold, our faith must pass through tests and trials to show its genuineness (1 Peter 1:6,7).

Yes, God is love, but that does not mean that nothing bad or unpleasant will ever happen to us. God the Father loved Jesus, but Jesus suffered (1 Peter 3:18). God has never promised that our life on earth will be free from discomfort and “bad experiences.” The fact that God loves us should motivate us to keep being faithful to Him, looking forward to being with Him forever in heaven.

Yes, God is love, but let us not misuse His love.

— Roger D. Campbell

TRUTH is published monthly by the Klang church of Christ in order to help educate, edify, encourage, and equip the saints of God.

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