November 25, 2020

The Face of the Gracious God

UPDATE: My essay “Our Problem With Grace” deals with some of the issues critical commenters are raising. I recall that Lloyd-Jones said that you can generally be sure that you’ve preached the Gospel when you’re accused of going too far in the direction of grace.

And just a few weeks ago, it was The Gospel and Legalism.

As always, dedicated to Fr. Robert Capon, a light for me upon the gracious face of God.

Religion #1:

God is mean, angry and easily provoked. From day 1, we’ve all been a disappointment, and God is–justly–planning to punish us forever. At the last minute, thanks to Jesus stepping in to calm him down, he decides to be gracious.

But don’t do anything to mess that up. Peace is fragile around here.

Religion #2

God is gracious, loving, kind, generous and open-hearted. He rejoices in us as his creations, and is grieved that our sins have made us his enemies and caused so much brokenness and pain. In Jesus, he shows us what kind of God he is and restores the joy that should belong to the children of such a Father. True to his promises, he will bless all people in Jesus, and restore the world by his resurrection victory.

You can’t do anything to mess this up. God’s got his heart set on a universe wide celebration.

The New Testament puts it this way:

5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. … 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

The Gospel is the good news of a gracious God. It tells us again the story of the God who loves us, the God we have grieved and abandoned and the God who has taken our judgment and suffered it himself.

We have far too many people selling religion #1. Like the Pharisees, they are the authorized representatives of the grumpy, ticked off, hacked off, very, very angry God who MIGHT….maybe, MIGHT let you off the hook….MAYBE…..IF–and it’s a very big IF–you manage to believe enough, obey enough, get the theology questions right enough, find your way to the right church, follow the right script and get the details right, down to the last “amen.”

We have too many people who have heard that there is good news about God, and then discovered that the good news was covered in 25 pages of fine print explaining why God is actually quite miserable and its your fault. If you fulfill the conditions of the contract–See “Faith is obedience, perfect surrender and a good witness,” pages 203-298–then you have a reasonable hope of avoiding God’s end-of-the-word temper tantrum.

We have far too few Christians who are overwhelmed at the news that God has fired the bookkeepers, sent home the bean counters, dismissed the religion cops and bought party hats for the grumpy old people. The big announcement is this: In Jesus, we discover that God is just sloppy with his amazing grace and completely beyond common sense when it comes to his love. Just to enhance his reputation as the God who know how to throw a party, he’s inviting all of us back home, no tickets necessary, no dress code, for a party that will last, literally, forever. With open bar, and all on him. (Oh calm down Baptists. You can go to another room.)

In the story of the man who gave cash to his servants and said, “Invest it,” the loser had this speech to justify his failure to risk a cent: “I know what you’re like. You’re a power-hungry bully with no respect for people. You’re mean and I wasn’t going to have you blaming me that you lost a dollar. Here’s your cash.”

This wasn’t the right answer. The master had been generous. Gracious. But this fellow–trained in all the right seminaries and thoroughly read up in all the right books–blew it.

In the story of the prodigal son, neither son really knows what a soft-hearted, gracious, forgiving man they have for a dad. The younger boy treats dad like he’s already dead and doesn’t matter while he’s alive. The older son has dad signed on to a system where he logs in the required amount of being a good son and he gets a pay off.

Delightful kids. I wonder where Jesus came up with those characters? Hmmm?

Then the younger son tries his version of “get a deal with dad.” Thankfully, the Father decides to ignore the religion of these two boneheads, and throws the Gospel party, courtesy of the calf that made up the meal.

The Father will have his party. Even for the undeserving kid who doesn’t quite get it. Even for the Pharisee-wannabe who is horrified that dad’s not cooperating with the system.

God will be gracious. God will be good. God will be overflowing in love. God will be good to the world. God will bless the nations. God will put his lamb and his Spirit and his loving face at the center of a universe made over in the image of the greatest wedding bash/banquet you could ever imagine.

God will not be pointing at you and saying, “He wins!” or “They were right! Sorry!” Start dealing with the shock now folks. It’s not going to happen.

Your ticket to this event will most certainly NOT have a denominational name on it. Nor will your seat at the table be determined by your church or your theological team. The grace and goodness of God is going to erase all the lines, boxes, definitions, fences, dictionaries, sermons, announcements and pronouncements ever made. Your Biblical interpretations won’t amount to a hill of beans. God himself, and his good grace, will be the star of the show.

I don’t care how many times you tell us what God has to do, God is going to exactly what he wants to make Jesus the center of history. And all signals in the advance copies of the programs are that there is going to be one shock and surprise after another.

You may even have to sit by a Lutheran. I know….but what are you going to do about it?

What’s that you’re saying? Your dad was a Christian and he was mean and angry? So God is too, because he’s “our Father?”

No.

What’s that? Your preacher says that God is about to drop things on your car and punish you with his wrath when you make bad choices because we all have to live in the constant fear of the Lord? So God has to be like that, because your preacher is waving a Bible around when he says that?

No.

What’s that? A Christian at your small group says that God punishes us for everything we do wrong, and that God will discipline us with pain and suffering until we start living righteous lives that show we’re serious about Jesus. And God must be that way, because your friend has been a Christian a lot longer than you?

No.

It’s a sad fact that what God has revealed about himself in Jesus doesn’t exactly have a huge audience. But say that God is angry, mean and about to show us just how much with a few displays of wrath and suffering? You’ll fill a stadium.

You see, the grace of God just doesn’t fit in our box. How can God really–I mean c’mon!–how can God be gracious to (fill in the blank with Hollywood celebrities, famous politicians, loudmouth pundits, your jerky boss, that teacher who failed you unfairly, your ex-whatever, people with guns and bombs, and so on)?

God’s gracious face makes our religion fall apart. It takes away all our soapboxes. It shuts our mouths, because none of us deserve it and all of us can have it. God’s love and grace are so far beyond our ideas of what they ought to be that none of our ideas about God can survive the good news that comes in Jesus. Jesus is a salvation, grace, goodness, God revolution.

Titus 2 puts it so well: “11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people…” That’s what has appeared in Jesus. He did not come to condemn, but to save. In him, there is no condemnation. In Jesus, the Father shows his gracious face to all of us, for everything.

In Mark 3: 1-6, Jesus is in church and the religious leaders want to bust him for healing on the Sabbath. They had decided that God was the kind of mean and trivial dictator that cared more about the order of service than a human being’s suffering. So Jesus heals this man, but Mark describes something utterly unique and stunning: “5 And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.”

The image of Jesus healing in righteous anger at the religious bean counters–who were about to start the process of killing him–is for one simple reason: They sat in synagogue representing God as more interested in a stupid rule than in proclaiming and enjoying his gracious face of compassion for a hurting person.

So Jesus heals that man, put he’s pretty ticked off. If he was the God these guys believed in, he’d have turned them all into Alpacas. Which would have been pretty cool….but you get the point.

Let’s stop it. Let’s stop hiding the face of a gracious God. Let’s show it, sing it, worship in its light, live as if we know that gracious, glorious God as the one the Bible proclaims and who comes to us in Jesus.

Let’s enjoy the face of a gracious God. Now and forever.

Comments

  1. My goodness, you even brought in Scripture! Yea to you for another great post. One of our folks, also a Facebook friend (Yes, I have that vice at least a bit), said that she learns every day how wonderful grace is. May we all learn, know, and never doubt that, as you have helped us do. Father Capon would tip his hat to this one.

  2. I, for one, am looking forward to the party.

  3. Steve in Toronto says

    Preach it Brother!
    God Bless
    Steve in Toronto

  4. Amen! God is reconciling all things to himself in/thru Christ. We are being reconciled to himself, to one another, to our own selves, even creation itself. He is the center of all of this. We, as “dearly loved” children, are grateful recipients. What a gospel!

  5. Amen. The real grace of God doesn’t fit our desire to feel like we are better than others.

  6. I am preaching through the parable with Capon’s book…what an absolute treasure this book and the others I own have become. Great post.

    Don in AZ

  7. That darn Jonathan Edwards . . .

  8. Our gracious loving God is also a God of wrath. Shouldn’t we balance the picture, not by our desire for a loving God, but first in showing the wrath of God and then how the wrath of God is propitiated for the church in Christ? Part of the reason the gospel is not “good news” but something we get bored with and abandon to chase wealth and sex and power is because we don’t know the Christ that will deal with sin in Revelation 14:

    Rev 14:9 And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand,
    Rev 14:10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.
    Rev 14:11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”
    Rev 14:19 So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
    Rev 14:20 And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia.

    Only after we see God in his righteous judgment do we long for the Savior we in fact have in Jesus Christ and cling even tighter to his cross. The wrath of God is real, and damnation is not just frustrating God’s plans for a big party.

  9. I think that this is one of the most beautiful pieces that I’ve read here. It comes during a very rough patch for me. Thank you.

  10. let me guess, Legalism goes with the God behind door #1 as a system to escape His wrath? Where then does the Savior fit into that? What is the selling point for #1? Why do people attend churches that preach that, doesn’t it creep people out? How does that God fit in with s Jesus who dined with sinners?
    Jared N. How does God #2 preclude wrath? Don’t mistake kindness for weakness.

  11. Hmmm? Party or get crushed in a winepress…?

    Party…Winepress…?

    I choose party!!!

  12. I know you usually get some applause comments for your posts around here, but this really is an exceptional one, Michael.

  13. Jared N, if you believe that God’s going to destroy you for your sins, you must be doing some REALLY bad stuff. I’m betting God will have mercy on me.

  14. Michael – w00t! I’m sure Fr. Capon would heartily approve, too. 😉

  15. This is scandalous!

    Foolishness.

    An offensive stumbling block.

    The implications of this are outside my ability to control or manipulate (ahem, minister to) people.

    Keep this up, and somebody’s going to actually believe that God’s Law is irrelevant to salvation.

  16. Michael,

    Thank you for once again putting into words so eloquently the radical truths that many (if not most) Christians seem content to miss.

    Now, for those who have begun to get a glimpse of this incomprehensible grace, all we have to do is live like it’s true!

    Peace,

    Rob

  17. Jared:

    Read the Gospels and tell us how Jesus used those verses you quoted when he was around sinners. In my Bible, he only uses them on the bean-counting Bible thumping Barney Fifes.

    Jesus doesn’t break those reeds. He doesn’t condemn sinners. He bears the wrath. His warnings of the wrath of God are for those who claim to be God’s official wrath distributors.

    Enjoy God my friend.

    ms

  18. Jared N,

    The scripture tells us that mercy rejoices against judgment and the Father prefers mercy above sacrifice. ISTM that it is definitely an out of balanced situation in the favor of mercy.

    “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, Abba! Father!” – Rom 8:15

    Once again IMonk, a big high fly right over the 410 sign.

    Blessings,

    Tim

  19. Have you read The Prodigal God by Tim Keller yet? It rearranges the furniture of the mind. Haven’t quite finished it yet, but your post has many parallels. Sadly, so many are spring-loaded to the elder son position. So many try to appease God by their deeds. Also, I understand Jared’s point. What does the Incarnation, the Cross and Resurrection -what does Christ Jesus save us from if not the Holy Triune God’s righteous judgement over sin? Those forgiven much…love much…rejoice much. Thank you for this post.

    In His grip,

    Ron

  20. This may be my favorite thing of all that you have written, Michael. Do you mind if I copy it and save it (giving you credit) and read it sometime at someone’s funeral? I think there are people that will need to hear it, thinking that their loved one may not really be with God.

    Joanie D.

  21. My wife and are are just finishing up THE GREAT DANCE by C. Baxter Krueger. Also a work in rearranging the mental furniture in a fashion very similar to what you’ve written here.

    It is so refreshing to think of the promises of a God who loves his creation and weeps for its state, and to think of those promises not as possibilities in a moral universe but as present realities that we must only open our eyes to in order to enjoy.

    The Dwarves in the stable in C.S.L’s THE LAST BATTLE also come to mind.

  22. WOOOOOOOOOO! This is a great start to my day! Thanks me to God!

  23. Is that you washing my feet, im …?:-)

  24. I’m gettin’ a party hat!!!

  25. Thank you for this posting.

    May Grace and Mercy abound whereever you and all of your readers live, work and worship.

  26. Jared:

    Romans 11:22 says “Behold the kindness AND severity of God.
    – to those who fell, severity;
    – but to YOU, God’s kindness, if you CONTINUE in His KINDNESS; otherwise you also will be cut off.”

  27. internetelias says

    There’s only three people at the dance of life….God, Satan,…..and me. The dance began in Eden. God….Satan…Eve…..all there. She danced with God daily…enjoying His unspeakable perfection. She has eyes for no other….cause ‘no other’ is there (well…Adam/but he and Eve are one/both dancing the dance with God). But God invites Satan to the dance….a being who, too, exudes the same perfect characteristics of the dance partner. Since Eve knows only ‘perfection/good”…she trusts all things present in Eden.
    ‘Lets make man in our image’…God said. And the dance goes on. But now…Satan, the invited guest in perfect Eden, has easily swooned innocent Eve into dancing the dance of Death….in perfect Eden….At the Tree of KNOWLEDGE… as God had purposed. Now…now…now…she is defiled. She is Dead. She is ashamed. Most importantly…she and all generations to come…have only one dance partner. She and God can no longer dance. He lives in Eden. She and Adam dwell in Death. But Eve now understands/’knows’ both good (perfect dance partner-God), and evil (vile dance partner-Satan). Gen. 3:22 “Look, now the man is in as we…knowing both good and evil (paraphrased).”

    Romans 3:24 “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth (Lamb slain before foundation of the world) to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declar his righteousness for the remission of sin …THAT ARE PAST, through the forebearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believe in Jesus.”

    ‘…..believe in Jesus’ is to choose him as the eternal dance partner. ‘Knowing’ that Jesus desires to dance with Eve…..but leaving him on the sidelines and dancing with Satan…..will, again, reap Death for Eve….the second death. God ‘appointed’ the first death in Eden. But now Eve ‘know’ both partners..both the Good one and the Evil one. To choose Christ and his redemptive act is to choose Life eternal. But to choose Satan and his ‘mammon’ desires is to choose Death eternal.

    CHOOSE YOUR PARTNER!

    The PARTY will be the marriage supper of the Lamb. The Church is the Bride.

  28. Great post, Michael. Thanks.

  29. You have no idea how badly I needed to hear this today. Thanks so much for reminding me about my Father, and about his son “who for the JOY set before him, endured the cross…” (something that I read last week that really struck me as profound).

    At this moment, I’m acually excited about being a Christian. For the first time in a while. Thanks, again, bro.

    (Suggestion for the day: round up all the legalists we know, herd them into a camp behind barbed wire– it might take the entire state of Nevada to hold them– and STICK POINTY PARTY HATS ON THEIR HEADS! Then, reveal that the barbed wire is actually edible licorice…)

  30. Copy away. Just give credit.

  31. Does this mean my friend’s mother can stop buying Mass Cards for her deceased husband, so he can get out of purgatory?

  32. I’m sorry Michael, I think I was not very clear. I am not disagreeing that God is a gracious God nor am I denying that there will be wine flowing from the mountains in heaven (as Isaiah puts it).

    However, how do we know that God is gracious? I do not think it is warranted merely to “bet on it” as Patrick Lynch has said. No, Patrick KNOW that God is gracious in Christ. My point was what Steve quoted in Romans 11:22, God is kind and severe. God is severe in his condemnation of sin. He does not, nor can he overlook it without punishment. How much greater is our love of Christ that He has saved us from the wrath of God? Now, being in Christ we treat God as a loving adopted Father rather than Judge. My concern is that we don’t merely click our tongues at fundamentalists, but say: “you are right to fear God’s wrath, but look to Christ who has taken propitiation for that wrath.” God is gracious because of Christ, not merely because we desire God to be so.

  33. IOW, iMonk, I was not disagreeing but wondering if our approach should be more pleading for the fundamentalists to look to Christ. Which in re-reading the post you do. Sorry.

  34. Michael,

    I agree with many above – the grace and goodness of God is something we need to be reminded of again and again.

    Maybe not having learned enough grace myself, I keep looking for the fly-specks in the ointment. In talking about the parable of the prodigal son you said: This wasn’t the right answer. The master had been generous. Gracious. But this fellow–trained in all the right seminaries and thoroughly read up in all the right books–blew it.

    Does this mean if I’m a religious bean-counter I’m left out of the grace? I don’t think this is what you meant, but it’s so easy to keep looking for the ‘gotchas’ that we can manage to disqualify ourselves or others with the slightest thread of conditional logic. (Alert – programmer speak). If I can’t fail the final exam by not keeping all the rules perfectly, or by not keeping a happy-clappy attitude, maybe I can fail by being a religious bean-counter and kill-joy.

    You’re making it harder and harder to keep this load of guilt balanced solidly on my shoulder.

  35. God loves us so much that he became a worm (human), threw off his mantel of power and was born into poverty. He continuously humbles himself, choosing to become the very dirt that the worms eat in order that these creatures might have life.

    Yet he doesn’t force this life on us, we must continuously choose God. Choose to be obedient to Him. Choose to Love Him. It is by Grace we can make this choice, but we still have free will. If we choose to cling to our sins we’ll die. Not all who say “Lord” will enter into the kingdom, we must bend our prideful knees and submit to His Will – which includes a removal of everything that contradicts his nature (our favorite sins).

    Remember, Christ said, “go and sin no more” and He spoke of Hell more than anyone else.

    There are two extremes to everything, never once have I found that one extreme is the right way to go. It depends on a complete understanding and usually involves a both/and in the end. In this case you’re presenting two cases:

    1. God of wrath who will allow you into heaven only if you’re holier than Christ.

    2. God of love who will let everyone into heaven for a big party.

    What the bible teaches is that our Lord is a God of wrath AND a God of love. He desires everyone to enter into heaven, and yet there is a dress code (Matt 22:11-12). God cannot admit sin into his presence as it directly contradicts the love of God. If you do not allow the blood of Christ to purify you and you cling to your sins, you will be burned up with those sins.

    Please be careful, we live in a hedonistic society that likes to justify sin (or ignore it completely). I know you don’t think sins to be good, but people need to be reminded that God is Love and Love isn’t the fuzzy-wuzzy stuff people hear all the time. Love is in for the long haul and will get down and do the hard and dirty cleaning that needs to be done, but Love will also let you walk away.

  36. I see several replies calling for more law, and at least one that seems to be promoting Finneyism. Perhaps, given that this post comes immediately upon the heals of several posts on depression, Michael realizes that much of his audience have grown up in backgrounds that drove them to despair with the law, and now need to hear a little Gospel.

    As for the “Jesus talks more about Hell than Heaven,” that’s really something of an Evangelical myth. Look at the originally languages. Are we referring to Tartarus, Hades, Gehenna, Sheol, etc.? What is the context? Who is the audience? Etc., etc., etc.

  37. I need more Lutherans countering the sort of thing Christina is saying. Where are the people who are weak on sanctification? 🙂

    ms

  38. >….Michael realizes that much of his audience have grown up in backgrounds that drove them to despair with the law, and now need to hear a little Gospel.

    No Dave, you’re wrong. They need to hear a lot of Gospel. Like all Capon all the time somewhere.

    🙂

    ms

  39. Where are the people who are weak on sanctification?

    Here am I. Send me?

    Personally, have a hard time with a loving Father allowing his child to walk in front of a speeding freight train, metaphorically speaking.

    Does that fit the bill?

    BTW, Michael, I might as well pile on and say your post was spot on.

  40. internetelias says

    CHRISTINA: There’s two sides to everything….including God…as you said. He is perfect Love. But those who only want His redemption….and not Him….are in trouble.

    Good comment.

  41. “What the bible teaches is that our Lord is a God of wrath AND a God of love.”

    I would take issue with such a statement because it’s placing an attribute of God (love) on equal footing as an expression of God (wrath). If this is the case then we are elevating wrath to that of an attribute (God is wrath) or we are lowerng love to that of an expression. In doing so, you might have your yin/yang balance between love and wrath but it wouldn’t be Scriptural. A more Scriptural position to argue this point might be “God is Love and God is Just”. But even that argument falls a bit flat, IMHO.

    Great post, btw. I wish we would hear this more from our pulpits.

  42. I’m reminded of something JI Packer said, that a lot of our religion is a result of our personality or a reaction against our life experience. A lot of the audience here seems to have grown up hearing about Religion #1 and yearns for Religion #2 “as the hart panteth after water”. And then a lot of us grew up in Religion #2, a bland, featureless universalism at its worst, and we yearn for a red-blooded religion where Heaven and Hell, good and evil, holiness and sin actually mean something. I am more in the 2nd group than the first.

    How good of Our Lord to call all sorts of people to his table! With one word, he converts both Pharisees and pagans. To the first group, it is written “Rejoice always”. To the second, “Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.” To the first group, David sings “A contrite and broken heart the Lord will not despise” To the second, “I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.”

  43. Wow, what a great post.

    One thing I’d add is that Religion #1 has driven a great many people away from the church.

    Not only that, it doesn’t create disciples who act out of love, it creates people who act out of fear.

  44. Bob Sacamento says

    My 2 cents: I like much of what Christina said:
    There are two extremes to everything, never once have I found that one extreme is the right way to go…In this case you’re presenting two cases:

    What the bible teaches is that our Lord is a God of wrath AND a God of love….

    Please be careful, we live in a hedonistic society that likes to justify sin ….but people need to be reminded that God is Love and Love isn’t the fuzzy-wuzzy stuff

    The “Please be careful” being the part I liked best.

    But I have to say, the first decade and more of my Christian walk was consumed with the exact mentality Michael is criticizing: We have too many people who have heard that there is good news about God, and then discovered that the good news was covered in 25 pages of fine print explaining why God is actually quite miserable and its your fault.

    My gosh, that was me. And I was so miserable. And let me tell you, I wasn’t (note the scare quotes, people) “sinning.” I would put the purity of my life at that time up against that of almost anybody, including the “disciplers” who were selling me that stuff. But I wasn’t proud of myself. I was scared, angry, and miserable. Can’t go back!

  45. What a wonderfully unbalanced post! You’ve described both the scandal and the unbelievable gift of grace really well! Will it likely change the mind of someone who is more leaning to religion # 1? I have my doubts. Then again, what exactly has a realistic chance to build a bridge to those who haven’t tasted grace like the younger brother did? I can’t think of anything but a similar crisis where all our personal boxes and theologies begin to collapse – to finally create the crack that is needed for this grace to come flooding in, washing away our stained and crooked images of God, and leaving nothing but wonder and thankfulness.

  46. I would take issue with such a statement because it’s placing an attribute of God (love) on equal footing as an expression of God (wrath).

    You are right. God’s wrath is how we perceive his Love working, not an attribute in itself. When you allow someone to go through detox they perceive it as wrath, when it’s actually the hardest form of love.

    I really should have worded it better as I see many have taken my post to mean I see a duality in God (as one person said, Yin & Yang). I do not. I see his wrath as a natural outcome of his Love.

    As for the “Jesus talks more about Hell than Heaven,” that’s really something of an Evangelical myth.

    I said he talked about Hell more than anyONE else. While he may not have used that word, most of our theology of Hell comes from Jesus.

    One thing I’d add is that Religion #1 has driven a great many people away from the church.

    Religion #2 has let people fall away. I’ve never been to Religion #1 (except for a few brief moments). I started in Religion #2 – “God is love and he LOVES you! Don’t worry, be Happy now and draw a butterfly to demonstrate his love!”

    One reason I come out so hard against this is it left me defenseless in college when confronted with sin, real sins. Why should I try to avoid them? God loved me no matter what I did and he wouldn’t punish me for doing sin A.

    In the end I was doing some of the worst sins and justifying them. It wasn’t until the Lord knocked me flat on my face that I woke up to the mud I was in. I begged his forgiveness and repented and I AM forgiven, but the consequences are still there. God forgave David, but his child still died.

    I’m now weakened by my previous sins and must continually fight against the temptations that assault me. When I fall (and I often do) I turn to God and implore His Mercy and I’m given it. I look foreword with HOPE for the day when I’ll be cleaned of the effects of these sins, when I’ll be able to completely love a Lord who has done so much for me.

    I don’t want a party, I want healing. I know the healing will hurt, but I’d rather go through the withdrawal symptoms than keep the effects of these sins.

  47. >...I started in Religion #2 – “God is love and he LOVES you! Don’t worry, be Happy now and draw a butterfly to demonstrate his love!”

    This is a complete misrepresentation and perversion of what I wrote. Your post will stand, but I won’t post any others in this discussion.

    Item after item in this comment misrepresents my post and declares that I’ve said thing I’ve never said.

    If you want to comment at my blog you should separate your feelings about the subject from what was actually said and be fair to the original post.

    Not a fair post and clearly aimed at me. My choice to not discuss God’s wrath does not mean I have nothing to say about it. Your decision to portray me as the worst kind of pansy-God liberal is inaccurate.

    ms

  48. jbcombox@gmail.com says:

    Christina, do you have a blog or website? I want to learn more about your perspective. Thanks for your comments here.

  49. Amen Imonk. And many thanks.

    This is the message we need on Sunday and on the
    bookshelves of the Christian book sellers.

  50. Michael, I don’t see Christina’s post as being aimed at you, but rather relating her own personal experience. Don’t be too harsh with her. 🙂