Updated: Dec 21, 2020
He who is only just is cruel. (Byron)
There are two sides to everything, and not even God is exempt from this truth.
His two sides—He is love and He is just. If the Lord was only just, and His primary concern was punishing us for violating His commandments, He would not be love. On the other side of the coin, if God allowed us to violate the laws of life and liberty without consequence, He would not be just.
Many look only at God’s love without considering His righteousness. Others look only at His justice without considering His love: both views are one sided. Twenty-first century people tend to observe the love side of His nature. The persons who view only this side of God have a propensity for doing whatever seems right in their own eyes. They believe that they are subject only to "their" and what they determine to be right or wrong. Accountability, righteousness and justice do not fit into this theology. God’s standard, that to which we will be held accountable, is outlined in His Ten Commandments.
In order for God to be love, He has to offer the objects of His affection an option. When He created man and woman, He placed in them the privilege and responsibility of choice. Without the ability to choose, right and wrong cannot exist. Love is not possible without choice. God cannot punish us for doing wrong if the possibility of doing right does not exist. He cannot reward us for doing right if wrong is not possible. Love that cannot be accepted or rejected is not real. God cannot violate our privilege of choice. It would wrong for Him to do so. If He created us with the possibility of wrongdoing, but did not provide a way out, a means whereby we could be restored to right standing with Him—He would not be loving or just. So before He created us, God devised a plan.
The Apostle Peter declared, “It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end … life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacred blood … and this was no afterthought. Even though it has only lately—at the end of the ages—become public knowledge, God always knew He was going to do this for you.” You have a choice. You can walk with God or you can face His justice on your own merit. You can choose right or you can choose wrong. “Remember that grace is the gift of Christ, who exposes the gulf which separates God and humanity, and by exposing it, He bridges it” (Karl Barth).