Daily Archives: 24th May 2024

The God Jesus Reveals

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Speaking Truth to Power
The God Jesus Reveals.

Why is it that a lot of believers do not believe the way God is revealed in Jesus Christ and are more comfortable with the way they see the God of the Old Testament? A killing, warring, revengeful, man-hating and a punishing God that is watching our every move to beat us back in line with the big stick of sickness, disease and poverty and eventually to everlasting suffering in hell.

Why people recoil from the God who tells them to love their enemies and to overcome good with evil as Jesus (the express image of God) reveals, and refuse to believe that He will reconcile the world unto Himself, is ironic indeed.

Many man-influenced believers believe in retribution. They want a God who tells them that there should be an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life, and they become upset when anyone suggests a God who asks them to be merciful, loving, compassionate and forgiving. The God of grace is not to their liking. Instead, they want a God who punishes people beyond a just punishment for their wrong doings, they want a God who will provide infinite punishment for limited sin.

The God of grace revealed in Jesus Christ is far too generous. He gives His all in love for others, so we could do the same. Such a God is too sissified for most believers. They want one that only requires a tithe and a one hour time slot on a Sunday and then live for self the rest of the week with a spot of Bible reading and prayer here and there. Ultimately, they want a God who declares as an abomination all of those who offend their established traditions.

They don’t like the God who touches lepers, embraces Samaritans, declares women equals, and has the audacity to say to gays, lesbians, transsexuals, and bisexuals, “Whosoever will may come.” They don’t like the God that Jesus reveals because He embraces those whom they want to reject and disrespect. They prefer the God viewed in the Old Testament; the God who declares certain races unclean and would render women who are menstruating as unacceptable in the temple.

They want a God who, when they march off to war, will be on their side and they reject the God revealed through Jesus who warns that those who live by the sword will die by the sword.

When people promote the grace gospel, the rejection that is so strongly realized should have been expected because most believers feel more comfortable with a God that is like most people…vengeful, judgmental, and ready to mete out torture to those who do not conform to expectations…torture that goes on forever and ever. The God revealed in fullness in the Jesus is not to their liking at all.

The Bible says that God created us in His own image. Unfortunately, man has coated a God in their own image. There is no doubt that most Christians want a God of their own making, but that’s not the God who is revealed in Jesus Christ.

God is not the God of Jonathan Edwards who said…”The God that holds you over the Pit of Hell, much as one holds a Spider, or some loathsome Insect, over the Fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked; his Wrath towards you burns like Fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the Fire; he is of purer Eyes than to bear to have you in his Sight; you are ten thousand Times so abominable in his Eyes as the most hateful venomous Serpent is in ours. You have offended him infinitely more than ever a stubborn Rebel did his Prince: and yet ‘tis nothing but his Hand that holds you from falling into the Fire every Moment: ‘Tis to be ascribed to nothing else, that you did not go to Hell the last Night; that you was suffer’d to awake again in this World, after you closed your Eyes to sleep: and there is no other Reason to be given why you have not dropped into Hell since you arose in the Morning, but that God’s Hand has held you up: There is no other reason to be given why you hadn’t gone to Hell since you have sat here in the House of God, provoking his pure Eyes by your sinful wicked Manner of attending his solemn Worship: Yea, there is nothing else that is to be given as a Reason why you don’t this very Moment drop down into Hell.”[1]

Instead, He is the God of love and mercy found the Beatitudes [2], the God Jesus reveals!

STOP THE MADNESS!

The practice of end time fear mongering has been around for hundreds of years projecting infectious insanity regarding end time prophecies, causing many people to rationalize the irrational and act irrationally. Such irrational behavior has been the cause of suicides, religious oppression and isolation not to mention otherwise rational people selling off everything they own because they believe the deluded end time fear-mongers, who gain power and control over people and who profit financially by preaching and selling books about end time gloom and doom.

Every religion has their very own fear-mongering prophets of doom and gloom, so far, none of these insane fear mongers have been right about anything, the only thing they have proven is how wrong they are, and how easy it is to stampede the people the have control over with fear, which has always been the hottest selling product of every religion…FEAR…THREATS…BLAME…SHAME…AND GUILT.

Thus the only truth that all the fear mongers share and have revealed, is the stupidity of wrong belief patterns in keeping on believing and preaching the same wrong beliefs over and over again even though such beliefs keep proving to be wrong.

The potential of such insanity is that more people believe their insanity of fear causing an eruption in violence and instability among and between the people and nations; irrational behavior that could lead to an unnecessary war, at the end of which people will become more disillusioned because the end time rapture did not happen.

TO STOP THE MADNESS SIMPLY STOP LISTENING TO THE FEAR-MONGERING FEAR MONGERS.

Fear is not of God. “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father’” (Romans 8:15).

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (1 Timothy 1:7).

Maybe you fear that you’re not good enough or prepared enough for the end times, maybe you fear that you’ll fold under the pressure or not be “perfect” enough, or maybe you fear what’s happening in the religious world and are reacting in a phobic way because of it. Yes, we are most definitely to watch and pray. But we are not to fear. Fear is of the devil. Hope and trust is of God. Trust that the same God who started the work will complete it…not only in you but in the world also (Phil. 1:6).

Like Paul, we can say “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Timothy 1:12). What ever ‘that day’ is.

 – Glenn Regular – Used with his kind permission. Glenn is the gentleman pictured in the header photo.

Footnotes

Footnotes
1 This is from a sermon by Jonathan Edwards, “Sinners in the hands of an Angry God“. The description on Amazon reads thus: ‘ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” is a sermon written by British Colonial Christian theologian Jonathan Edwards, preached to his own congregation in Northampton, Massachusetts to unknown effect, and again on July 8, 1741 in Enfield, Connecticut. Like Edwards’ other works, it combines vivid imagery of Hell with observations of the world and citations of the scripture. It is Edwards’ most famous written work, is a fitting representation of his preaching style, and is widely studied by Christians and historians, providing a glimpse into the theology of the Great Awakening of c. 1730–1755. This is a typical sermon of the Great Awakening, emphasizing the belief that Hell is a real place. Edwards hoped that the imagery and language of his sermon would awaken audiences to the horrific reality that he believed awaited them should they continue life without devotion to Christ. The underlying point is that God has given humanity a chance to rectify their sins. Edwards says that it is the will of God that keeps wicked men from the depths of Hell. This act of restraint has given humanity a chance to mend their ways and return to Christ’.

I sometimes think that the sermon’s brutality is somewhat misrepresented in that he genuinely thought that he was preaching the truth as he knew it, and he was making a sincere and impassioned attempt to waken his audiences from their lethargy, hoping to present the idea of Hell in all its full horror. He certainly did a good job of that!
2 Mt 5:3-12