Views from the Pews: God’s infinite love

Rev Mark Ladds organising donations at West Cliff Congreational Church''w135003c
Rev Mark Ladds organising donations at West Cliff Congreational Church''w135003c

Imagine if one day, I decided to cross the road from the church and enter Pete’s newsagents and help myself to a bar of chocolate; then quickly leave without paying.

Imagine as well that it was not my mind starting to fail me, but rather I deliberately chose to take it and not pay.

Then also picture the scene as Pete realises what has happened, although he cannot believe it.

He looks at his CCTV and, right enough, has the evidence that I really did steal a bar of chocolate.

Now Peter being the kind man he is, then approaches me and gives me the chance to say sorry and pay for the bar. But imagine then I deny it, and refuse to pay or admit my error.

What then will he need to do? Obviously take it to the courts.

Again picture the scene with me in the dock.

The magistrate plays the tape and it’s as clear as day I am guilty.

What then? Well we know what is the right thing to be done, I must be punished for my wrong. But now picture this again, the judge says I can see what you have done, the evidence is clear enough, but I am a loving judge and because of that I will let you off with no punishment to be administered.

Surely that’s good and shows also what a kind loving man this judge is?

But hold on a minute, cries the crowds, that’s not fair, that’s not just! And it would not be just or right. Sin, and that’s what stealing is, must be paid for in full.

Often I speak with people and they say, if God is a loving God then why does He, and will he punish people?

The answer is as you have just read in the made-up event (that’s right Peter, I haven’t taken a bar of chocolate!).

God is a God of love; but He is also just. God who made the heavens and the earth, and man in His own image, gave man all that he ever would need for a truly blessed existence.

But, as we read in the Bible, the first man, Adam, disobeyed God and, therefore, was punished for the disobedience. Ever since then man has continually disobeyed God in many ways, by sinning against him and towards each other.

Therefore, is it no only right that God, who is holy and just, punish those that do wrong? One of the only things we can demand of God is that he deals with us right and justly. Therefore, we are all guilty. Therefore, the punishment will be just as well.

That being, God truly is also a loving God.

This is the part many get wrong as they cannot understand just how great his love is. Instead they rant about God because he is just, therefore not loving.Because God is just he must punish mankind to remain just. Nevertheless, because he is loving, the good news really is that His own Son Jesus Christ was willing to take on humanity via the virgin birth, live a perfect sinless life, so that his righteousness can be counted as ours, and that He would willingly lay down his life and be punished in our place upon a cross so that we may be found not guilty, and justified.

I ask you, have you ever considered why Jesus was crucified and died?

The Bible tells us why in Johns Gospel… “For God so loved the world that he gave this only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Justice and love! We expect it towards each other. Justice to be done, and love to be shown. Therefore, why do we judge God who himself is just and holy, the Judge of all mankind? Why do we attack and question his infinite love? When He has shown it in the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ.