Throughout the Bible we are told that God has three primary character attributes:
HOLY, JUST and LOVE.
To be consistent in our understanding of his purposes,
The word holy in the original Greek means separated. Unlike us, God is separated from sin and error.He operates by intricate principles and meticulous order – we call them laws – which govern the relationship of things that share common time and space, to prevent chaos, whether atoms in molecular orbit or people in a city.The word HOLY, when referring to God, means perfect, always in accord with his physical and spiritual laws.
The word JUST, when referring to God, means fair reward for compliance and/or fair punishment for violation. Good spiritual laws would be meaningless without a commitment to uphold them.
The word LOVE, when referring to God, means a deep and tender feeling of affection and attachment for each of us and an enduring concern for our individual well-being.
The Bible says that God wants a reciprocal love relationship with each of us, individually.
Reciprocal love requires that the object of love have freedom to choose whether or not to return love. Therefore, God gives us free will.
He gives us an internal moral law (conscience) and external guidance (Bible), but we fail him miserably. At end of this life, we must face his judgment for our choices.
If God is HOLY, he cannot ignore sin. If God is JUST, he must punish sinners.
If God is LOVE, he cannot send someone to hell if he has power to do otherwise. This creates a dilemma, a predicament in which a choice has to be made between possibilities that all give unwanted results.
To resolve the dilemma, God offers a substitution option, commonly called the plan of salvation. Here's how it works:
Because God is a trinity, explained in God's trinity, a part of God became man, and that part (Jesus) became God’s ONLY acceptable substitute for our deserved punishment.
If the offer is accepted, our life (sinful) is exchanged for his life (sinless) at time of judgment, and thus we are declared free from the penalty of sin. We become pardoned sinners.
By offering this option, God is holy, just and love, all at the same time. Dilemma solved. No conflict.
Because God can do anything, he could accomplish these free-will and substitution objectives without a death, resurrection or ascension, but that would not be an act of love. That would be cold procedure, and most people would not understand it, identify with it, respond to it or often think about it.
The way he used his trinity, and the way he reconciled his conflicts of character, is a beautiful way of demonstrating love and fulfilling the Old Testament laws. People of all cultures, ages, education and time can understand it. Not heavy theology. Just response to an act of love.
People in diverse cultures everywhere, even before contact with Judeo-Christian thinking, have always known that some kind of sacrifice – usually a blood sacrifice – is the necessary way to get rid of the heavy burden of sin. This knowledge is built right into us, part of God's design plan.
God is not always ‘fair’ in our sense of the word. He is more than fair and always HOLY, JUST and LOVE.
Jesus told this story to illustrate (Matthew 20:1-15):
A landowner went to town at 6:00 in the morning to hire laborers to work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius (a day’s wage, let’s say $150).
At 9:00 he went back to the marketplace and got some more laborers, saying 'I’ll pay you whatever is right.'
He went to town and did the same again at noon, and again at 3:00 in the afternoon.
At 5:00 he saw men standing around the marketplace and asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’
‘Because no one hired us,’ they answered.
‘You also come and work in my vineyard,’ he said.
When evening came, the owner said to his foreman, 'Call the workers and pay them their wages.’
They all received $150.
But those who were hired early grumbled that it was unfair that those who were hired later got the same pay.
The landowner answered, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for $150? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you.
Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’