God’s Love and Justice: A Point of Tension or Perfect Unity?

Millard J. Erickson gives some great insight into the misunderstanding that God’s love and God’s justice are in some way at odds with one another.  Here are a few of his ideas distilled:

The idea that this tension exists results from defining these two separately.  It is derived from outside sources, and is not a biblical teaching.  

God is a unified being whose personality is a harmonious whole.  His attributes should therefore be defined in the light of one another.  Thus, justice is loving justice and love is just love.  Therefore, love is not fully understood unless it is seen as including justice.   If love does not include justice, it is mere sentimentality. 

 The idea that love is simply granting what one desires is not biblical.  Giving someone what would make him or her comfortable for the moment isn’t always the loving thing to do.  This would be an emotional reaction to a situation.  Love is much wider in scope. 

 “Justice is simply love distributed” – Joseph Fletcher.  Justice means that love must always be shown.  It is love for all one’s neighbors presently and in the future.  It is a loving concern for the welfare of all humanity, a passion for doing what is right by your neighbor. 

 ATONEMENT = God’s love and justice in perfect unity.  At the cross justice and love are not woven they are one.   Jesus through righteousness provides for both the demands of God’s justice and the desire of God’s love (that man be restored to fellowship with Him). 

God is both just and loving and has Himself given what He demands.

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