“For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past” (Romans 3:25, NLT).
Some have a problem with grace because on the surface, it may seem like a license to sin. If everything is forgiven, people can get away with anything. What of punishment? they ask. Shouldn’t mass murderers and child molesters have to suffer for their crimes? What about the rest of us, who have committed only “small” sins? When we read verses about having to give account of our lives, we inwardly tremble and wonder exactly what that means. For ourselves, we hope grace really will cover our sins, but shouldn’t the unrepentant get what they deserve?
God is the Father of all, more loving than any human parent could ever be, but he’s not just a loving Father, he is love (1 John 4:8). Would such a loving father devise a place of pain and torture for his children? Even human parents wouldn’t do that. Sin does have consequences which is why God came to earth as Jesus to take our punishment for us. Rather than give in to some twisted desire to see sinners get what they (we) deserve, we can trust God for his grace and mercy for all of humanity, for whom Jesus died (John 3:16).
Visit gci.org to listen to interviews with Trinitarian theologians.