I remember when I was at my first job, I started feeling horribly dizzy and so I decided to take a sick day. I went out to the parking lot and was just sort of just waiting it out and I saw someone there just hanging out on the curb. I don’t remember how, but we started talking and we got onto the topic of God. He said why doesn’t a loving God just forgive everyone? He said he couldn’t believe in a God who was so intolerant. This is a hard question.
The problem is, that life/heaven IS being with God, and death/hell IS being separated from him.
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. -John 17:3
And God loves us too much to simply forgive us for sin without doing something about it.
How many of you have pets? Do you love your pet? So let’s say you have a dog (just because it’s easier to visualize) and your dog has an itch which turns into a wound on it’s leg. What do dogs do? They start licking and gnawing at and biting their wound. This feels really good to the dog, but it makes the wound worse. And so what do you do? You maybe tell them “No” and discipline them, you might put them in a cone or something like that. Dogs seem to universally hate this. I could imagine you disciplining your dog and they might be feeling like “Why doesn’t my master let me do what feels good? Why do they seem angry? Why are they keeping me from what I want?”. But you, as the loving master, know that it is more loving to do what is uncomfortable so that your dog can heal.
But, if you were more “loving and tolerant” the master might say “It’s okay doggy, you can do whatever feels best to you. I will tolerate you and love you no matter what you do. I forgive you and you don’t have to change what you are doing.”
Now imagine that you knew for sure that if you did nothing, this would lead to an infection that would kill your dog.
Sin kills. That’s one of the reasons why God hates it so much. He doesn’t hate us, he hates the thing that is killing and wounding us. If God were more loving and tolerant and forgiving by the world’s standards, he would allow the very thing in our lives that not only kills us, but harms others as well.
God loves us too much to leave the thing that is killing us in our lives.
“My son, do not despise the LORD’s disciplineor be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.”-Prov 3:11-12
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”-1 John 1:9
The thing that’s different about us and our beloved pets is that he gives us a choice on whether we want that or not.