How do you perceive God? It seems that almost every person sees God in a different light, and it’s the image of God (or whatever you submit your life to) that determines your daily conduct.
How do you perceive God?
Some see God as a judgmental oppressor. A being with power far beyond our own; just waiting for us to step out of line in order to inflict eternal punishment. At the first sign of trouble most of these people point their fingers at heaven, blaming God for the pain they unknowingly inflict on themselves. Sometimes this feeling of fear turns into a hatred towards God. Sometimes people get eaten alive by the hate they embrace. They will rather die than join those idiot Christians.
Some people see God as a loving play-mate. They see Him merely as caring, kind; a type of Santa Clause, always merry, smiling at all they do. They do whatever they like and then take pride in calling themselves Christian. They see themselves as good people, because God loves them, no matter what. They think Jesus is their bestest buddy in the whole wide world.
But what does the Bible say?
Exodus 20:3-6 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Someone once said that God created man in His image and man has been returning the favor ever since. Do you worship the God of the Bible? A lot of professing Christians think they do, but have some idolatrous idea of God. A lot of professing Christians I’ve met don’t think God will really send sinners to eternal punishment in hell. That type of thing just doesn’t fit in their picture of their loving God. It’s this type of thinking that leads them to believe they don’t really have to do what God says or tell others about the coming judgment.
Let’s look at the two sides of the coin: God’s wrath and God’s love.
The Bible says “God is love” (1 John 4:8). And we know that He loved us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). OK, so God loves everyone no matter what they do. If I sleep with my boyfriend/girlfriend or habitually swear, or watch porn or whatever He still loves me. Or does He?
The Bible says in Psalm 5:5 that God hates the workers of iniquity (that is sinners). Now it’s getting confusing, right? I read a Bible comment on this verse recently that explains it very nicely. It says that God doesn’t hate the same way we do. The fact is that God is a righteous judge (2 Timothy 4:8) and he does not pervert justice (Job 8:3). God must punish sin. He proved that by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. The fact is that each and every person on earth stands guilty before a perfect, holy, righteous God that will judge us on every single thing we did and thought of here on earth (Romans 2:16). You don’t have to have physically killed someone to be murderer, if you hated someone, God sees you as murderer (Matthew 5:22, 1 John 3:15). Take some time and look at the ten commandments of God (Exodus 20). That is the benchmark God set to be righteous in His eyes. Its obvious no-one is guiltless (Isaiah 64:6) This law is so powerful that God Himself had to come down to earth and carry the punishment of the law and became a curse in our place (Galatians 3:13). Christ didn’t even destroy the law or take it away! (Matthew 5:17-18).
How can anyone even think God will just ignore their sins! When God looks at a true born-again Christian, all He sees is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 10:4). But when God looks at any one who has not submitted their lives to the righteousness of Christ and tried to justify themselves by their own works, he sees the broken law (Galatians 3:10) and therefore a guilty sinner with no excuse (Romans 1:20) and will therefore be condemned (Romans 3:18). How can anyone who truly believe in Jesus Christ carelessly continue to sin? How can anyone spit in the face of Christ while they profess to love Him? All Christians stumble sometimes (Romans 7:15-19), but will WANT do what Jesus commands because they love Him (John 14:15).
I know there are some hard words in here, but I hope this devo will make you think about the fate of family and friends (or maybe your own) that do not know Christ. Hebrews 10:31 says it’s a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God. God is not a monster. He showed His love for us by carrying the punishment for our sins. Our sins! But the law still stands for those who do not know Him.
So, in closing, I want to urge everyone to be careful not to bow down before an idolatrous image of God. It may be destructive not only to yourself, but also to those around you.