I’ve been hit with this following point before and I am not sure how to answer. Is it a contradiction in God’s nature to say that He is a God of love/mercy/forgiveness and at the same time be a God of justice? In other words, how can God be a God of love/mercy/forgiveness/omnibenevolence and at the same time still be a God who judges and condemns?


I can certainly understand why some are troubled by what can seem like two contradictory qualities of God: His love and His justice. His love says that he wants us to love him and he wants to love us and to experience a relationship with him forever. His justice says that sin deserves consequences, and “the wages of sin are death” (Romans 6:23). We all believe (or hope) that God should be just. We also all belieleve (or hope) that God is loving. Fortunately, God is both. How does God’s love and justice work together? This is the beauty and the miracle of the Christian gospel. The answer is found in Romans 3:21-26. God’s justice says sin requires death. His love says he wants us to be just and righteous so that we can have a relationship with him. God’s solution? He sent his Son to die a terrible death in order to take for us the punishment for our sins. He did this so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:26). God’s justice and his love met at the cross. For those who accept his love and who put their faith in Jesus, God’s love wins out over his justice, but for those who spit in the face of God–who reject what Jesus did for them, then God accepts their decision to not have a relationship with him. Whether we accept his love or reject it, God’s justice is total and absolute, as is his love. His love gives us a choice. Love always gives a choice. Justice produces consequences for those free choices. Thanks to God for willingly giving his Son so that he can be just and we can be justified.

John Oakes

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