What God’s Love Cannot Embrace

Posted on December 8, 2020


By David Ettinger

God’s Love
We are told in 1 John 4:8 and 16 that “God is love.” God is so loving, in fact, that He sent His only begotten Son – Jesus Christ – into the world to save us from our sins (John 3:16).

Romans 5:8 confirms this: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God does not wait for us to get “good enough” before He gives us eternal life in Christ Jesus, He reaches out to us in the sinful state we’re in.

Of course, we must seek God’s forgiveness and submit to His lordship (Act 4:12, 16:31; Romans 10:9), but the point is that we can never be “good enough” to earn His forgiveness. His forgiveness and bestowing of eternal life upon us is a pure work of His grace and love.

Regarding this, Ephesians 2:8-9 says: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Titus 3:5 tells us: “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we did in righteousness, but in accordance with His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”

So yes, God’s love is abundant, and He bestows it upon we sinful mortals!

A Caution
However, love is not God’s lone attribute. God has several, among them, holiness. In Leviticus 11:44, God tells the Israelites: “For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, because I am holy.”

As a holy God, He must judge sin – all that is evil and wicked:

  • “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive compensation for his deeds done through the body, in accordance with what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
  • “… the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).
  • “… Enoch … prophesied, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord has come with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him’” (Jude 14-15).
  • “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18).

Love and Holiness
Do these verses reflect a God of love? Maybe not, but they do reflect a God of Holiness who must judge sin. This truth, however, does not nullify God’s love. Yes, God indeed is a God of love, but God’s love cannot embrace what His holiness condemns.

And what God’s holiness condemns is sin. And what is sin?

  • “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: sexual immorality, impurity, indecent behavior, idolatry, witchcraft, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing … those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).
  • “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor those habitually drunk, nor verbal abusers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
  • Too long to reprint here, but one the premiere passages regarding sin God abhors is Romans 1:18-32.

Because God cannot embrace sin, He cannot embrace those who practice and/or approve of sin. He cannot accept – but rather must judge – the following:

  • Every form of sexual sin. Only sex between a husband and wife – married to each other – is acceptable.
  • Abortion, which is murder.
  • All who reject Jesus Christ: “The one who believes in the Son has eternal life; but the one who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36).

Yes, our God of love can forgive and embrace those who repent of such sinful acts and confess Jesus as Savior and Lord. However, God can never embrace those who willingly engage in and/or approve of these acts His holy righteousness condemns. Those who persist in embracing such sin will spend eternity in torment.

To preach anything short of this is to preach a gospel of damnation.