If God is So Loving, Why Can’t He Be More Tolerant of Sin?

The reality is that God is merciful, but that isn’t quite the same as being tolerant. There is a reason God can’t stand sin. You see, his core nature is holy and pure. (See Deuteronomy 32:4, Isaiah 54:5, and Revelation 4:8.)

So a holy God cannot be in relationship with sin in any manner. He is so holy that he “cannot allow sin in any form” (Habakkuk 1:13). To do so would violate the very essence of who he is. So our sin naturally separates us from God. And a relational separation from him causes spiritual death. “The wages of sin,” the Bible says, “is death” (Romans 6:23). It is this death or separation from God that preserves his holiness. And yet because he is a God of love, the Bible declares that he delights to show mercy (Micah 7:18). So what is he to do?

The answer lies in the combination of his loving mercy and his perfect justice. Sin has to be paid for. And that is where God’s justice comes in. Instead of being tolerant of our sin, God’s sense of justice combined with mercy makes the payment for it. He paid for our sin with nothing less than the life of his only Son.

His holiness is satisfied because Jesus was sinless—a perfect sacrifice without sin. We are “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood (Romans 3:24-25). God paid a very high price to grant us forgiveness.

Question: How does the sacrifice Jesus made for you make you feel about God, sin, and mercy?
Question: What do you think about a God who would sacrifice his only son for mere humans?

Content adapted from Josh and Sean McDowell’s book, 77 FAQs about God and the Bible.

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