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Beware of Bumper Sticker Theology!

John 3:16 "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."

You most likely have seen the bumper sticker that says: "Smile, God loves you!" Sadly, God's love is probably one of the most misused and misunderstood truths of the Bible. Many people are deceived, thinking that this means God will surely overlook their sins because He is love.

The Bible does say in 1 John 4:16 "God is love." But then another verse in Hebrews 10:31 says, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." How do we reconcile these two? We must understand just as God is perfect in love, so He is also perfect in holiness.

God does not compromise His holiness to accommodate anyone. Remember, He placed Adam and Eve in a beautiful garden, but He drove them out after they sinned. In Leviticus 10 He appointed Aaron's sons as priests but destroyed two of them when they offered "strange fire". Ananias and Sapphira were among the earliest Christians, but God punished them for lying in Acts 5. Even in the New Testament age, God does not tolerate nor overlook sin in His presence.

Before one can understand God's love, he must first understand something of God's holiness. Romans 5:8 says, "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, God died for us." Don't miss the words, "while we were yet sinners" in that verse!

Certainly God's love gives us a great reason to smile, but it is not an indulgent love that is satisfied to let us live and do as we please. It is rather a redemptive love that yearns for us to be holy as God Himself is holy! F.M. Lehman said it so well in his great hymn: "The Love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell; It goes beyond the highest star, And reaches to the lowest hell."

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

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