Thursday, August 7, 2008

Holy Love

For years I have had the misguided notion that love and holiness are polar opposites, and that in God both exist, although in a mystery that can't quite be grasped. But it occurs to me that is wholly other. Love and holiness are two sides of the same coin, and one cannot truly exist without the other.

God is love, and God is holy. Therefore they must really be the same. True love and true holiness strive towards the same goal. They look for the perfection of character necessary to experience unlimited communion with God. Because God loves us, He works to make us holy. If we respond in love as He desires, then we will strive to be holy. Because God is holy, we will also want to be holy.

The problem with this concept arises in our own perceptions. We redefine both love and holiness. We think love means to feel nice things, say nice things, or do nice things. We think holiness is a warped adherence to archaic rules which have become irrelevant to modern living. Therefore we find love and holiness to be opposites. The truth is that both love and holiness are first, a desire for communion with God, and secondly, a desire to help our fellow brothers and sisters in attaining that same goal.

This brings us naturally to thinking about how God, in His love and holiness, deals with sin. God hates sin for the same reason that parents hate cancer in their children; because it is killing them. Again, we have a misconception about sin. We think it's about actions. It's not. Sin is about what is inside of us. The actions are merely the symptoms to indicate this dread "disease" is still at work within us. We think, "Why can't God just overlook the sin and go on with life like we do?". It's because it's much deeper than that, and God knows it even though we want to deny it.

Sin must be wholly eradicated. God has done all the work necessary for that through Christ's death, resurrection, and ascension. He further strengthens us through the Sacraments. But that still leaves us needing to apprehend these things in faith and obedience. As we do, the Holy Spirit is continually working to destroy sin and establish holy love within us.

So how is it then that some go to hell? Is God not able to save them? Or is He unwilling to save them? No. He can, and wants to. But in His holy love, He has chosen to allow us to choose whether or not we will serve Him. If we choose sin, He must separate us from the rest of His people or sin will destroy the whole lot. Think of it in the same terms as when doctors must quarantine someone. It is for the good of the whole.

Because God is holy love, He will have a people of holy love. We all have the opportunity to be part of that people. If we will choose holy love over selfish sin will have what everyone truly craves- eternal life, which is to know God and commune with Him intimately now, and forever.

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