“There Is No True Love Without Discipline”
a devotional by Shelby Rahn

The concept that God truly forgives everyone if they repent, and that His love knows no bounds is arguably impossible for humans to fully comprehend.

When I pause to look back and analyze where I might be sinning and need improvement, the amount of my sin can seem overwhelming.
I often have a hard time dealing with the guilt that comes when I disappoint God.
It is difficult for me to understand how He could possibly love and forgive such a corrupt and sinful person like myself, much less a world full of people just like me.

My pastor once said that “you know you are pursuing God if you run to Him to repent when you sin rather than running away.”

Sometimes I find myself running from God, not wanting to accept His love and forgiveness because I do not feel like I deserve it.
However, it is in our nature to respond by running away from God because we are not worthy of His love! But what is important is that God feels otherwise.

Romans 5:8 says, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

God recognizes our sinfulness but loves us anyways and showed us this love by allowing His Son to die so that we could be with Him. Love is part of God’s character.

You have probably heard people say “God is Love.”
1 John 4:8 also confirms that: “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
When you put love and forgiveness together it seems like even if we sin it is not that big of a deal because it is easy to repent…but this is not the case.

A friend once said “if you don’t sin then Jesus’ death was for nothing.” This idea that sinning is okay because Jesus will forgive you is unbiblical.

The idea that God is love has been overly emphasized in this day and age and has led to a society that condemns anyone who dares judge or call someone out for their sin.

The truth is that God is equally loving and just.

Psalms 33:9 says, “The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.

His justice and wrath flows from His love because there is no true love without discipline.

For example, imagine a parent who truly loves their child. If their child does something that puts himself in harm’s way, then the parent may discipline their child. If they did not show some sort of wrath or justice to correct their child, is that showing love? I think most people would agree it is not.

So if God is equal parts love and justice, then He must put sin in its rightful place.
That is, yes, God will love you if you sin and will forgive you if you repent, but out of His love He will also show wrath towards sin.

In response to God’s love Paul, says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” – Romans 12:1.

And in response to God’s wrath Paul warns: “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people” – Ephesians 5:3.

Being a Christian does not only mean repenting when you sin, it means that you offer yourself to God, and because He is without sin, we too should strive toward this end!

Shelby Rahn

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