First, a guest post by John Frye:
God’s justice does not require that he, in the end, forgive everyone. Forgiveness is not an attribute of God. It is an act. Therefore not forgiving is not a violation of God’s being. Yes, God is love and God can be unforgiving. Forgiveness is not part of our nature, either. It, too, is a decision, an act just like God’s forgiveness is a decision, an act. I think it is petulant to respond: if God does not forgive all the time, then I don’t have to either. In view of the cross, we live in a vast forgiveness atmosphere. We are called to forgive just as God forgives us. This is right and commanded. Yet, God is just and he will punish evil doers. Love does not require that God forgive.
And then, by Scot:
...there is a widespread apathy about sin because we’ve embraced a God who is so gracious and loving that God has become avuncular, or a God who will ignore our sins. Another point I make is that sin wounds, always wounds, and it wounds because it eats away at our character and our capacity to love and to become holy.
We reduce sin to manageable proportions when we reduce the “Christian life” to “accepting Jesus” (not carefully understanding even what “accepting” means) and when we fail to see the massive focus of Jesus on “following him.” Sin, in other words, is the failure to follow Jesus — and following Jesus is about the first two commandments because it is about making God truly God in our life, and following Jesus is ultimately what Adam and Eve faced in the Garden of Eden: either do what God calls us to do or not.
Sin is about usurping, and for us Christians that usurping takes on a powerful christological shape in the NT: it’s about Jesus, it’s about following him. When we choose not to follow Jesus, we choose to become usurpers.
Sin is not reduceable [sic] to a checklist. It’s too deadly serious for that.
And from today, by John Frye again:
A friend of mine remarked that the new defin[i]tion of God’s love means unconditional, endless tolerance and affection. Sweet, but so much wishful thinking. Discounting the perichoresis of the Trinity, the hard edge of love that compelled Jesus to voluntarily lay down his life for sinners is considered ‘bad parenting’ by God the Father, even divine child abuse. You can read it in many popular expressions of the new, soft, fireless, judgmental-less love. I think many of these new “God is love” proponents learned their definitions of love from Sesame Street rather than from the biblical text. What I think they mean when they say “God is love” is “God is nice.”
Good thoughts. The last one reminds me of a wonderful little book that I read a few years ago, might even have excerpted here: God is Not...Religious, Nice, "One of Us," An American, A Capitalist. As always, be sure to read the whole post of each of them.