There’s a rumor that has been floating around for quite some time that God is Love. He hates nothing. He offends no one. He makes no accusations. All he really does is pat our heads and tell us how wonderful we are and how much he wants us to do whatever makes us happy. Essentially, he is a tolerant God.
I am not sure what this God is based on, but it is not the God of the Bible. It is a God of our own making, a God made in our mage. I’ll admit he is appealing on some level. No one likes to be told they are wrong. No one finds it pleasant to have their sin exposed. This God is certainly easy to get along with. Yet I would suggest that this God of tolerance is not a God of love. My last post was about the fact that acceptance is not the same thing as love. This post will suggest that intolerance is not the same thing as hate.
The God of the Bible is a God of love, but that does not mean that He hates nothing. In fact, I would argue that it is because He loves that He hates certain things, namely, sin. The message of the Bible is actually that God’s intolerance and His love flow from the same place and work to achieve the same goals: the glory of His name and the redemption of His people.
Suppose for a minute that God really was a tolerant God. He might notice that we all sin, that this sin leads to our destruction and death, but he would do nothing about it. Perhaps, he would see that what we think makes us happy really only makes us more miserable, but he would not lift a finger to stop us or say a word against us because he would not want to offend. He would simply sit back and watch us as we ruined our lives, but oh he would celebrate with us that we were able to live freely unencumbered by old-fashioned rules and out-dated standards of morality. This God might make a good pal, but not a very good Savior and above all, he would not be a God of love. His tolerance would be convenient for him, but come at a very high price to ourselves.
Fortunately, this is not the Gospel. God did not choose the path of convenience, but of sacrificial love. The good news of Jesus Christ is that God loves us so deeply and hates our sin so passionately that He absolutely refused to tolerate it. He would not leave us in our sin and knowing that we were powerless to keep His law and meet His standards, He took our penalty. His love for us has cost Him greatly.
The Cross is as much an expression of God’s wrath as it is of God’s love. It was as much an offensive action as a defensive one. Christ died to save us, but He also died to defeat sin, to purge His creation and His people of the sinfulness that He abhors. On the cross, His love and His hate coalesced to purchase our salvation. So we find that contrary to popular belief and political correctness, we should rejoice to find that we have an intolerant God. For just as a good and loving Father refuses to stand back and accept the harmful and destructive habits of his child, so our Father has refused to accept and leave us in our sin. Our God is intolerant and this is very, very good news for both His intolerance and His love have compelled Him to save us from our sins.