When we repent of our sins, God offers forgiveness

05/30/2013 4:00 PM

06/01/2013 8:04 PM

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I’ve always heard that “God hates the sin but loves the sinner,” but is this really true? How can God love someone who abuses children, kills innocent people, or things like that? I know I sure can’t. — L.H.

DEAR L.H.:

If God loved only people who are perfect and worthy of his love, then he wouldn’t love anyone, because we’re all imperfect and unworthy. As the Bible says, “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10).

But God doesn’t look at us this way. Instead, the Bible says, God loves us in spite of our sin and rebellion, and he has done everything possible to demonstrate his love to us. Think for a moment of all the good things God gives us that we don’t deserve: our lives, our families, our health, our freedoms. Even the next breath you take is a sign of his love for you, whether you realize it or not.

The greatest demonstration of God’s love, however, was in Jesus Christ, who gave his life so we could become God’s children and go to be with him in heaven forever. We deserved to die for our sins, but Christ died in our place, because of his love for us. The Bible says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Human beings are capable of terrible deeds; you have mentioned some of them. Because of them, we deserve nothing less than God’s judgment — and his judgment is certain. But God’s love is greater than our sin, and when we repent and turn to Christ for our salvation, God forgives us and gives us new hearts and new lives. Have you turned to him for the forgiveness you need?

© Tribune Media Services 5/31

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