“Yes” is shorthand for a longer, amazing thought: “Yes, God loves you.” John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” 1 John 4:9–10 states it like this: “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Stated simply, God loved us so much that He sent only Son to die for our sins on the cross. That’s God’s loving “yes” to you and me.
“No” is shorthand for a longer, terrifying thought: “No, God cannot overlook sin.” As much as God loves us, our God is a righteous God who does not overlook our sin. We are “by nature children of wrath,” that is, the eternal wrath of God (Ephesians 2:3). “The wages of sin is death,” that is, eternal death and separation from God forever (Romans 6:23). Our sinfulness and sins render us guilty before God and worthy of eternal punishment. God justly says “no” to our sin.
“Yes” and “No” Together for Us in Christ
Though God says “no” to our sin, we see “that Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3). Only the Lord Jesus Christ—both man and God, sinless and perfectly obedient—only He could give “Himself as a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:6) and merit a righteousness that is declared as ours when we place our hope and faith for salvation in Him. Our penalty for sin is paid by Christ, and Christ’s perfection is ours as well.
So, even for believers, God still says “no” to sin. However, God’s “yes” of love to us is to let Christ have taken the penalty for our sin on Himself at the cross. God’s “yes” of love to us is furthermore to declare His Son’s righteousness as ours by faith.
Putting it all together, God says “no” to sin, and emphatically so through the death of His sinless Son on the cross. At the same time, this death was God’s “yes” to you and me, His loving means of salvation in sending His Son to die in our place.
What a terrifying thing it is to contemplate the consequences of our sin. What an amazing thing it is to know of God’s love for us in Christ. May each of us say “no” with God to our sin and “yes” by faith to His Son who was lovingly sent for us!
All quotes ESV