Punishing Or Perfectly Loving?
What is salvation? Can I lose it?
As Christians we can sometimes be fed a broken down view of the gospel. This can be useful in understanding and communicating it. However, sometimes it can miss out the most important parts! It can involve us explaining that we are sinful because we have turned away from God. Being a holy and just God, He cannot stand sin therefore it needs punishment. Jesus, God’s Son, came for us and took our punishment on the cross so that we can now be in relationship with God again.
However, is this missing something? How does this explanation portray our God? As a God who has lots of rules, who loves to punish?
Let’s investigate what our God is really like:
Before the creation of the world, God the Father, Son and Spirit existed. Our God being Trinity means that His very essence is love. God loved the Son and for Him and through the Spirit everything was created. (John 1: 1-5, Genesis 1: 1-2) There was no reason for our God to judge, act in anger, be jealous or to feel anything but love. Our God created us not because He needed us but because He enjoys loving and wanted to share his love. We turned from Him and sinned by rejecting God’s love, not by doing wrong things but because we rejected His most precious, holy love. God’s anger and wrath is His response to sin. In the perfect love of the Father, Son and Spirit there is no room for sin. We were separated from His love because of sin.
Jesus died on the cross so we that we could be brought back into His love. It’s true that Jesus died to take our punishment but that’s not the end. God not only allows us into His presence again but He has adopted us as children:
‘So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. But … God sent his son … to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of the sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir' (Galatians 4:3-7).
We as a church are one in Jesus Christ. We are His body and we were raised with Him on the cross (Ephesians 2:6). When we accept Jesus’ sacrifice we are a part of him and He is in us:
'Having believed you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until redemption of those who are God’s possession to the praise of his glory' (Ephesians 1:13-14).
When God looks at us He sees us now as blameless, but not only that! He now looks at us as He looks at His Son. We can now come to God as Christ comes to Him!
‘ … for you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, there also will you appear with him in glory' (Colossians 3:3-4).
Don’t let the motivation for your faith be a desire to be perfect. God already sees us that way because when He looks at us He sees Christ. Let the motivation for your faith to enjoy the perfect love of God! (Colossians 2:6-7)
Would you agree that the motivation of our faith should be to enjoy the love of God?
How can we communicate the gospel simply yet wholesomely?