The other side of this question is: “If God is so just how can He accept
anyone into heaven?” God reveals to us clearly two aspects of His
character: His justice and His love.
God, because He is just, cannot say that our rebellion against Him does not
matter. All of us have offended Him. We reject God’s commands, which is
a personal rejection of God.
When my daughter was 2-years-old she jumped violently on the back of our then
baby son. She offended my son, but she also offended me, because I had been
clear with her that she was to be gentle with her little brother. In the same
way, when we adults act against each other (in our sexual misbehaviour, our
selfishness, crashing into each other’s cars without owning up) we
offend another person, but we also offend God.
Our rejection of God’s commands is a symptom of our personal rejection
of God. God has been clear about how He wants me to live and how He wants me
to relate to Him. When I go astray I am actually saying to God, “God, I
do not accept you as God of my life — I am the ruler — just go
away and leave me alone.”
God cannot just say to Adolf Hitler that it does not matter and sweep
Hitler’s many offences under the carpet. And God (because of His
justice) cannot say that my offence does not matter, just because my offence
may be of a different degree. Its anti-social nature is the same.
God in His justice gives us what we ask for: eternity without Him. Hell is not
the popularly conceived “goblins at the end of the garden”, but
rather is eternal loneliness ... as God withdraws relationship from us.
The greatness of the Bible message is that God is not only just, but loving.
In the moment of the death of Jesus, the love of God and the justice of God
meet. In His last moments on the cross, Jesus cries out in anguish to the
Father, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The answer is
that God so loved us that He abandoned Jesus (sent Him to Hell) to pay the
price of our rebellion, so that God could in His love accept us, and yet
maintain His justice (and not say that our offence does not matter).
We must accept God’s justice, and the question is: Will you accept
God’s love ... and thank Him for Jesus’ death on your
I do not function well or react quickly in the mornings. While I was having a
shower, my little boy swung his arm around in the kitchen, hit the coffee cup
that Catherine was carrying across the room and scalded his arm very badly.
Catherine raced him into the shower with me and told me to turn off the hot
After a few moments I realised he needed to be in the cold shower — not
me — so I got out of the shower. Then I put him in a cold bath. It was
freezing — his little face poking up through the water — but I was
determined that he would stay under the cold water — because burns
recover better if they have cold water put on them for 20 minutes. He was
whimpering, shivering, freezing — pleading to get out — and I
ruled against him — “Stay in the water”. But I did it for
Solomon’s good. It hurts to have an obedient boy make a reasonable plea,
and to be a father who rules against your son. If there had been any other way
I would have found it.
On the night before He was killed, Jesus, with tears, begged His father not to
have to go through with His death: Going a little farther, he fell with his
face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this
cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
I felt a little of what that was like with Solomon in the bath that day. I
just had the smallest glimpse into God’s heart, as He looked down from
heaven, as His obedient boy made a reasonable plea, and to be a father who
rules against your son.
But what struck me was “What father would kill his son — if there
had been any other way?” Only a thug of a father, a cruel barbaric
father. But that is not the Father God of the Bible. The Father we meet in the
Bible is a Father who loves and delights in His Son.
What I have come to see is that there was no other way of me being forgiven
other than for the Son to take the punishment that should have been directed
The problem with other religions is that they ultimately are suggesting other
ways. If you look closely at every other religion other than “Biblical
Christianity”, then you will see that essentially they are saying
“We do things to make ourselves acceptable to God”, whereas God
(in the Bible) is saying “I sent my Son to die so you could be
acceptable to me.”
When God went to the extent of sending His Son to die, any other proposed
route to God is an insult to Him and His Son. To propose another way is to say
either “the death of your Son was not enough”, or “I have a
better idea”. Either way they are salt into the wounds of the death of
|Dominic Steele heads up Christians in the Media and is the author of the popular new course ‘Introducing God’.|
To find out where a course is running (or how to run one) go to www.IntroducingGod.org or send a message