Is God's love greater than God's judgment?

No one I know, including this writer, isn’t aware of the magnanimity of the love of God. Against the stark backdrop of our depraved nature and inability to make ourselves better people, the love of God is like a bright star on a dark night. But is it biblically sound to extol the love of God to the exclusion of the judgment of God? Should we minimize what would most certainly turn off this postmodern generation because we believe  a love message trumps all else?

If there is a scripture which is the centerpeice example of God’s love,  it is John 3:16. After all, just about every facet of Christian expression from the very legalistic to the very liberal have used it without hesitation. Its core revelation is irrefutable: no one is excluded from the love of God. As much as we may not want to believe it,  no one  —including Hitler and all those of equal evil character— can be denied God’s love. God’s love is agape: an act of the giver’s will without regard to the status of the recipient. Then too it is a mystery to all who would pause to examine it. How could God so liberally love  people who hate and rebel against him?

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotton Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

God’s love is not an emotion, it extends far beyond a strong feeling. It is so strong it commands an action worthy of its expression. In this case and to our eternal benefit, the action of expression was the personage of Jesus Christ. Love was made flesh and lived among us. While God (as love incarnate) was on the earth 3.5 years, he touched and indentified with the vast scope of humanity represented by the peoples of his earthly era. Though he chastised them severely, he loved even the Pharisees whose hate screamed for his blood.

This inclusive love is like praise in that it has little to no prequalifying conditions. Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. All that’s required is breath to give God praise.  But there is something else we must consider. What of those who reject this breathtaking love?

God’s love is the divine antidote for sin to all those who will accept the shot in their souls.  But what if a person with a fatal disease rejects the only cure for his sickness? What would be the inevitable consequence?  

Perhaps that’s why we have done the world a grave disservice by disconnecting John 3:16 from John 3:17-21.  Is this intentional because we know people are more inclined to respond to love, thus we omit a critical element of the message of love?  Have you ever wondered why the  religious pundits of the gay christian movement never dare to go beyond John 3:16 even though they are the literal words of Jesus? The gcm takes John 3:16 literally, but completely ignore John 3:16’s powerful but offensive revelation.   In fact, the literal read of John 3:16 has become the central focus of the gcm’s “inclusion” philosophy.

The most pro-homosexual text in scripture is: John 3:16 “For God so loved the World that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” In other words, all the pro-human texts in scripture are pro- homosexual too. (writer’s emphasis) [ source ]

I agree it is a pro-homosexual scripture if we are defining homosexuals as people. But it is not a pro-homosexuality scripture. It cannot be because it would endorse sin that God has clearly condemned in other places. A delimma?  A contradiction? Not at all. The homosexual simply has to choose between loving his sin or accepting the sacrifice for his sin, thus forsaking it.  John 3:17-21 is more than  just theological window dressing. It is a sobering thing to read right after John 3:16:

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

Jesus actually seems to be explaining John 3:16. He takes more time and words talking about the ramifications of rejecting his love than he does about accepting his love. Does that really matter? It seems to matter if you were look at popularity of subjects. Google “God ‘s love” and you get over 33 million results.  But  google “God’s judgement”, and you barely get 800k results. Just the opposite of what Jesus did.

Some in the church see love and judgment are as two irreconcilable parts of God. One represents a New Testament Christ(loving, forgiving, merciful) while the other represents an Old Testament God(angry, warlike, and condemning). Take a really good guess as to which one is more appealing to today’s mindset. It seems inconceivable that a gracious, loving God would condemn people and send them to hell. Technically, that’s true.  But Jesus reveals that such condemnation is a self-inflicted consequence. Not only does God not want people to be condemned, he does not do anything to cause that to happen.  What he does do is give every person a choice.

Acceptance of Christ (as Savior and Lord) means life eternal, rejection of Christ as the same means death and punishment. In so many words, Love becomes the stumbling block in the choice. As Jesus said if man loves his sin and the darkness more than the light of truth, he will become a victim of his own depraved choice.

14 Comments on "Is God's love greater than God's judgment?"

  1. Hallelujah!

    Pastor Foster, WELL SAID My Brother! WELL SAID!
    And the Church said, “Amen!”

    Your last 2 paragraphs were AWESOME and the TRUTH! All of this article is the truth and sound doctrine.

    Merry Christmas to you, your family. I am headed out of town for the week. I will chat with you again next week.

    GCMW: Thanks EW, I edited out your calvinism remark because I dont want the responses to be focused on that unless its organic to the discussion.

  2. Pastor Foster, this is an excellent synopsis and explination on God’s love and judgment. I believe the primary factor involved with these two (of many) characteristics of God is how one aspect of scripture always compliment s another. The example of John 3:16 – 21. It demonstrates AND explains the LOVE and the JUDGMENT of God, based upon whether we believe in and on Jesus or not, determined by whether we love the Light or darkness, dictated by the behaviors that will determine eternal life or condemnation. The entire chapter of Deuteronomy 28 is another great example. The first half of the chapter determined blessings if one was obedient; the latter half, damnation for disobedience.

    This also demonstrates the high importance of hermeneutics, and delivery of scripture in its proper context. This is the single-most basic factor that distinguishes truth from heresy, and an excellent way to determine a true man of God, or a rat.

  3. “Is God’s love greater than God’s judgment?”

    That I would say, I rely on his righteousness.
    We can see his righteousness although out the bible.
    I think of the shepherd that tends his sheep, if one was to get lost he would leave and go find the one lost sheep. Now if this one sheep continued the shepherd would brake the sheep’s legs. Looking at it one may say that is a very hard jundgment on the sheep, but infact he is saving the sheep’s life. I would rather lose my eye, hand, etc and my life be saved.

    Matthew 5:29 “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”

    To God be the glory.

    Thank you brother, That was needed to be said, great one, God bless

  4. EnochWalked:

    Calvinists are the only ones who can provide a Biblical explanation to how John 3:16 applies to the 4 billion people living today, the clear majority of the world’s population, will live out their entire lives without ever hearing the gospel and therefore being unable to make a free will decision for Jesus Christ. The only “blinders” are those who refuse to acknowledge that “free will” does not exist for the overwhelming majority of humanity that lived out their lives without even being given the opportunity to choose or reject Jesus Christ. This very fact is what drives so many people to adopt universalism or religious pluralism.

    gcmwatch: To answer the question, judgment is a part of love, because without judgment love cannot exist, or vice versa.

  5. God’s love supercedes everything. The love of God is so powerful it produced an escape strategy for sin itself! I do see God’s love (and LOVE as a verb) as the foremost, preeminent, command of God. The Bible very clearly articulates that love is even greater than faith. Food for thought.

    1st Corinithians 13: Faith, Hope, and Charity.. .but of these three Love is the greatest.

    To be clear, LOVE is greater than faith, greater than hope.

  6. Hey Healtheland, It’s been a while but I have to agree. What we see is the dichotomy between the common grace given to all sinner and saved alike and Sovereign Grace in salvation. Regarding the love of God it is undeniable that God Loves his creation in the grand scale. However, on an individual basis we see the Bible replete with verses such as, “Jacob I loved but Esau I hated. This does in fact have to do with the topic at hand. For example, if ALL were dead in their sins and inherently evil from birth as the Bible describes then we have to see God’s love in both Salvation and Condemnation. For example, do you out of love for your children both punish them as well as praise them? Of course! Why then would it be any different then with God. So when we study God’s love we have to understand it from the view of a omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent God who both Saves and condemns. Also, what better way to show his love then through salvation. The idea that God would come to save anybody is a sign of his divine love for mankind. So the question begs to be answered. How can we as former lovers of darkness have had our “deeds exposed”? For example, how many people have you witnessed to and openly exposed their deeds? Probably many. So the question that needs to be asked is why would one sinner reject and the other accept the same salvation message when the Bible clearly teaches that men were dead in their sins. Are we to imply that “I” was slightly more alive then the next sinner? Of course not! Well, I think the answer can be found in various scriptures pointing to Love in terms of Gods love for his creation in total yet his specific love for his saved. Let’s look at Malachi 1: 2-3:
    2I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob,
    3And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.
    Also, let us look at Romans 8-9. It is quite long so here is the link.;&version=9;

    What we can see is that God does in fact love his children who are saved and have been redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb. And likewise we can see that God does in fact love his creation both saved and unsaved in totality in John 3:16. It is only when we understand that when we apply the word love we must put it into the context between the individual vs the aggregate and when directed towards a specific object. For example, in our language we say “love” all the time. I love pizza. I love my Mom. I love my cat. I love God. However, the question needs to be asked what and how is the afore mentioned word “love” applied. Can it be applied uniformly across ALL things? No! I hope you love your Mom more than you love Pizza. I hope you Love God more than your cat. You see love can’t be equally applied in every situation.

    That being said God IS LOVE. But we need to understand what that means in context in totality vs individual. Once we grasp this we can understand how both Salvation and Damnation is reconcilable.

  7. …we live in a culture in which many other and complementary truths about God are widely disbelieved. I do not think that what the Bible says about love of God can long survive at the forefront of our thinking if it is abstracted from the sovereignty of God, the holiness of God, the wrath of God, the providence of God, or the personhood of God – to mention only a few nonnegotiable elements of basic Christianity
    – D. A. Carson, The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2000), 11

    Merry Christmas !

  8. Kyle and healtheland –

    Romans 9:13 NASB – “13 Just as it is written, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.”
    The word for “hated” is also the same word used in Luke 14:26 – 26 “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”

    It says nothing about condemnation or Hell, rather it points us to God’s Sovereign will to use some and reject others. Clearly Luke is not telling us to “hate” our parents – rather we are to choose God first, even over our parents as God choose Jacob over Esau – for good reason (their choices/responses to God – FREE WILL). It would also be beneficial to note and consider Romans 9:13 (Paul’s reminder) against Obadiah 1:17-18; that Esau is not being referred to as an individual, but rather the nation of Edom – the decedents of Esau who hated God and opposed Israel.

    When God “hardened” the Pharaoh’s heart it was only after God gave him many plagues (act’s of grace in my opinion) and he rejected them. Over and over the Pharaoh refused to submit to God’s authority and power even as an eye witness to His authority and power. If one thinks God prevented the Pharaoh from responding to Him, I would submit that one has just changed the very character (definition) of God.

    Conclusion – God’s foreknowledge does not equate to predestination & the Bible does not teach any man is predestined to Hell.

    as far as the gcm’s “love” – . In the name of “love” all religions lead to God; in the name of “love” we must change and adapt to our culture or social circumstances. It logically follows that same sex relationships should be counted as holy and blessed by the christian faith. After all, what could possibly be wrong with two people loving one another? In postmodern thought, it is not the biblical texts that play an indispensable role, but the community itself. Salvation becomes relative, if not entirely subjective. Man, not divine revelation takes logical priority in determining right from wrong, truth from error.

    Those who think they can wrap themselves in the fig leaves of their loving intentions and actions toward God and neighbor are in for a big surprise. ‘Just love God and people’ is not the gospel; it is precisely that holy demand of the law that we have grievously failed to keep. Where much of the preaching today (illustrated by Joyce Meyer’s comment above) offers a false distinction between law and love, the biblical distinction is between law and gospel. Our love toward God and neighbor is the essence of the law; God’s love toward us in Jesus Christ is the essence of the gospel. ‘In this love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins’ ( 1 John 4:10 )
    – Michael Horton, Christless Christianity (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2008), 136

  9. Request for clarity about the personhood of God.

    Mark, How do you hold true to the notion of God being full of wrath in the ‘light’ of Romans 13:10, Jeremiah 29:11.

    Maybe my understanding is elementary but it would seem to me that God is not in the business of harming people. The aformentioned scriptures make it clear. Love worketh NO ill against its neighbor. Jeremiah 29:11 says God plans to propser us not to harm us. Yet, conservative theolgians make God seem so petty, vengeful, and even… tyrannical?

    To be fair the LEFT paints God as warm and fuzzy and the RIGHT paints God as hell-fire-and-brimstone, judgmental and mean. Where can the truth of God’s personhood be found?


  10. Hi Tony,

    I don’t really adhere to your conclusions about the “left” or “right” although ot many it may appear to be so. That said – the attributes of God are found in His word. I think you’re concentrating on worldly – social concerns, not spiritual concerns. The cure (for sin) then can’t be social or economic.

    Think of it this way – sin was in essence God’s problem; Sin in fact has been delt with by God – Jesus Christ. God’s love is self evident, thus so His is Wrath – both of which are Holy. You can’t separate the two – that is simply re-defining God to meet a temporary flesh driven ends.

    God is indeed King – not man. That is not tyrannical in any sense. Who else provides perfect justice? Who else paid the death sentence for my sin? Who else gave mankind the greatest loving act of all eternity? Oh yes indeed – Let me fall into God’s hand before men’s hands any day, eh?

    Lastly – want to see God’s wrath, look at the Cross.

    Want to see God’s love – look at the Cross.

    Merry Christmas indeed!

  11. Mark,

    I humbly disagree when we look at the scripture in its totality Regarding Romans 9. The entire chapter when looked in its completeness clearly shows the elective process of God. For example when we read it in its entirety it states:

    Romans 9
    What we need to apply is exegesis when understanding the text. When we read in totality we see that God is the one who chooses and man responds and not the other way around. in fact, oftentimes when we look at the debate between monergism vs synegism the rift is actually not that great but rather a debate as to which one is the cart and which one is the horse if you know what I mean.

    Now how does this pertain to the topic? Simple! God being a loving God saves sinners. Now as for Homosexuals who twist the scripture of John 3:16 they are using eisegesis to create a god which is accepting of their lifestyle. And why wouldn’t they? Mankind like the bible states is inherently evil. Psalm 58:3 states, “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” So the question needs to be asked is it even surprising that fallen man who loves sin and is dead to the spiritual things of God even want to come to the truth? The answer is plainly NO! Therefore it takes the divine to interrupt that dead persons way of existence. Then and only then can anyone truly understand the Love of God. For example, did not Paul have the knowledge and the Law of God? Of course! Then why would it take a supernatural event to open Paul’s eyes to what plainly should have been apparent? Simple! Mankind des not have the capacity to accept the Love and forgiveness of God lest they were Loved first by God and that same God applying his Sovereign Grace to that once dead individual bringing that person to repentance. So the question that needs to be answered is does God “Love” the world as some deem love? Of course not! That Love is as I stated above is “common Grace” applied to the wicked and the saved alike. However, Love for an individual and the bringing that soul from darkness into light is something which can only be initiated by a Sovereign electing God. Again, How does this pertain to the abuse of John 3:16 by homosexuals. Well, I say it is the same abuse by the universalist. In other words it’s eisegesis being applied by a particular group to satisfy that groups own ends. Therefore, it is only by God’s grace which is initiated by that same God to save sinners and make them alive and not the other way around. God quickens the dead which allows them to believe. Dead people no matter how animated and may seem alive are spiritually dead. Dead people can’t discern spiritual things thus lack the capacity to “believeth in him” unless he first brings them to life.


  12. Kyle,
    I don’t disagree with most of what you said here – I am still not sure what specifically you disagree with me on. ?

    I do indeed look at scripture in totality – men are free to reject God (the Truth) or not. Why else would some be worse off than those at Sodom?

    The Truth of God is written on every man’s heart – thus God’s word when rightly proclaimed has the divine power of God to transform lives – and bring salvation, even among the “dead.” You may call that “supernatrual” – no problem here. If, however, you are implying God predestines some to specically Hell – that I would say is not only bad theology, it is not supported by scripture.

  13. Isaiah 42:3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. Isaiah 42:4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.

    I use to quote half of this verse until I read “till” in Isaiah 42:4. We use to read “a bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench” to people who were struggling with fornication but were repentent and then I read the word “till” and then I felt like I was unknowingly lieing to them.

    Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
    Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid [his] face from you, that he will not hear.

    It says that his ear is not heavy that it cannot hear so God can hear. It says He hid his face from us.

    The quick answer is that God is not unable to see sin but God can’t condone it without disapproval or without wrath so maybe that is why God hides his face but there are verses which say that God can look upon evil:

    Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the LORD [are] in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
    Proverbs 15:11 Hell and destruction [are] before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?
    Job 11:11 For he knoweth vain men: he seeth wickedness also; will he not then consider [it]?
    Psalm 10:14 Thou hast seen [it]; for thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite [it] with thy hand: the poor committeth himself unto thee; thou art the helper of the fatherless.

    The distinction between Habakkuk 1:13 and the other verses is if God looked upon iniquity then He couldn’t hold His tongue when the wicked devoureth.

    Habakkuk 1:13 [Thou art] of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, [and] holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth [the man that is] more righteous than he?

    How can Jesus be God and have people stand in His presence including the worst of sinners? You have to understand in the incarnation, God took on an additional nature:

    John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

    Let me back up to John 1:1 so other people can understand:

    John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    “Word” is used for God and this “Word” became “flesh”. It is the same word used for God and used for Jesus.

    Yes, God hates sin:

    Psalm 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear [me]:
    Proverb 28:9 He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer [shall be] abomination.
    Psalm 7:11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry [with the wicked] every day.
    And He is Holy:

    Psalm 22:3 But thou [art] holy, [O thou] that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

    And when Jesus was on the cross, He bore our sins and God didn’t look on Him so that He could look on us:

    Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

    2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

    Our God knows that we were set up but realises that we could have a second, third or fourth chance and be redeemed and look upon us as what we’re not:

    Romans 4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, [even] God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.

    Because Jesus took God’s wrath for us, we are:

    1 Peter 2:9 But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

    Jesus took of His glory robe and was veiled in flesh and made Himself of no reputation so I think God for a time cloaked some of his attributes or rights.

    Psalm 50:21 These things you have done and I kept silent;you thought I was altogether[fn1] like you.
    But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face.

  14. Great post. I really enjoy reading your blog. Keep up the good work. I’ve just started a new blog that will be highlighting the secular progressive movement (gay agenda, pro-abortion causes, etc). Unfortunately, most Christians still don’t know what’s going on out there and the mainstream media certainly isn’t covering it.

    We’re looking to build a solid group of social conservatives who’ll frequent our site regularly and contribute to some good discussions. I hope you’ll check us out!

    If you’ll add us to your blogroll we’ll gladly add you to ours. Our blog is at


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