You cannot separate God's love from His justice- the two go hand-in-hand, yet there are many liberals whom would claim that God is love (and love is God) and in being so could not do anything unpleasant and would not send anyone to hell.
Then we have the legalists who would have us still adhere strictly to the Old Testamant law.
Though one could get a more thorough analysis of law vs grace under the 'Christianity vs Religion' page..there is a distinction here which I will attempt to address:
Without Love, God would be a cold and unbending tyrannt who would punish at the slightest infraction of His perfect standard. (Which unfortunately is the common misconception many have of God in regards to the Old Testament.)
Without Justice, God would be no better than us..permissive and too relaxed about sin, not caring too much what we do to others or Him- thusly making Himself less than Holy.
Without a standard, anyone could do absoutely anything they want and get to heaven- cheapening Christs sacrifice...which is the greatest demonstration of love.
As R.A. Laidlaw once correctly stated:
"God's love would have forgiven the sinner, but God's rightousness prevented the forgiveness.
God's rightousness would have judged the sinner, but God's love restrained the judgement."
There are a thousand and one other 'balances' to be found, if one reads what the scriptures say.
I don't know who wrote the following, but I believe it aptly summarises the compromise that has caused Christianity to become toothless in it's attempts to compromise and seem relevant to a dark, lost, selfish and confused world:
Preach to me no more sermons on God’s love, unless it is accompanied by a message of His holiness. Preach to me no more sermons of His amazing grace without mentioning from what His grace saves me. Preach to me no more sermons of my Lord’s mercy except it be contrasted with what He would otherwise be just and righteous to do.
I cannot understand this God of love without hearing of His many other characteristics. My God is woefully complex, but He has been reduced to a god of mere sentiment and romance, which god has no power to save. Explain to me the wrathful God of the Old Testament. Acquaint me with His jealousy; why is His Name Jealous? When God says He “hates,” tell me what is it He despises? Show me His anger in full that I might know the object of this anger and avoid it in my own life. Don’t down play and trivialize His anger, I know He doesn’t change.
Show me the horrors of hell that I might truly prize my salvation and seek to share Him with others. Teach me to be hopeful of Judgment Day but to share with those whom are lost they should greatly fear it. Declare God’s holy commandments that I might have a portrait of His purity and holiness and conversely, that I might know what sin is. Proclaim to me my sin â€“ that I lie, that I cheat, that I hate and covet. Tell me of my helplessness to keep said commandments that you might impress upon me my dire need of a Savior.
Once I have a grasp of the abomination of sin, then and only then, show me my Savior! When I fully comprehend the depth and breadth of my personal sin, my original sin, my self-righteousness and my unbelief, then the Gospel will really be Good News! When I realize my nakedness before God, my utter bankruptcy with respect to sin, I might esteem my deliverance utterly. Pastor, teach me the meaning of repentance, that I might truly be forgiven. Show me true humility that I might know its semblance.
Declare to me the offense of the cross and expound upon its meaning. Tell me, Pastor, why does it offend? Don’t merely tell me this is God’s love; help me to see His perfect justice in this Event. Describe for me also the representation of His holiness and righteousness at Calvary. Explain to me that this is what I have escaped through a life laid down for Christ; that this is the hell I deserved and instead Jesus took the punishment. Tell me that on that day, He became sin for sinners.
Then permit me to see by example how to live for this beautiful Savior. Help me to see in you the life of the redeemed. Show me your love for the lost; teach me likewise how to pour out my heart for them.
Then finally, tell me of God’s wonderful love for me. Then I think I will really understand “how great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” Then I know I will understand. Then I will be truly in His loving grip.
As you can see, it is a mistake to favor one of God's qualities over the other..you must take Him for who He is, or not at all.
Want to know how to be saved?
Click here: http://www.thewhyman.jesusanswers.com/about.html