December 11: “The Problem of God’s Love and Holiness”

7 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

Amos 4:1–6:14
Revelation 2:18–3:6
Psalm 130:1-8
Proverbs 29:21-22

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

Psalm 130:3-4 (NLT): “LORD, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive? But you offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear you.”

Reflections from Scripture:

Psalm 130:3-4 reveals the “problem” of God’s love and holiness.

Since God is love, He wants us to come into a relationship with Him and enjoy Him. He desires to forgive us of our sins so that we can enjoy Him in this life and also in the life to come.

But, since God is holy, He cannot tolerate sin. Not only can He not allow it into His presence, but He must also punish it severely wherever He sees it. After all, good judges cannot simply overlook law-offenders, and God is a Good Judge.

Therein lies the problem! God’s love says that He wants us to be with Him in this life and in Heaven forever. But, God’s holiness says that we cannot come near Him but, instead, must be punished in a place called Hell forever.

God’s love says: “I want you to be with Me!”

God’s holiness says: “You are a lawbreaker, and I must send you away from My holy presence.”

So, how does God reconcile the “problem” between His love and holiness? Look at the cross, my friend!

The cross shows us how much God loved us. It shows us how far God was willing to go to make us right in His eyes so that we could know Him and enjoy Him.

John 3:16 (NLT): “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

But, the cross also shows us how holy God is. God could not simply overlook our sin. Someone had to pay our sin debt. So, God sent His Son to do just that so that anyone who transfers their trust (trusts in Jesus and not themselves) will be forgiven and saved (refer back to John 3:16).

God must be true to Himself. He is love and cannot diminish that attribute simply because He is also holy. But, He is holy and cannot diminish that attribute simply because He is also love. The cross allowed Him to demonstrate both and remain true to both of those attributes.

Further, the cross allowed Him to glorify Himself so that in eternity we will celebrate what He did for us. God is so good!

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT): “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank You for revealing Yourself to me in Your Word. And thank You for allowing me to see how You have done everything You’ve done to remain true to who You are and for my blessings. I praise You! Amen.


Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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