Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The picture of God

The image imprinted into my brain about God wasn't very different from this picture where God keeps His finger at the "Smite button" ready to strike when we blow up. During the many years of human history, somehow we invented such a joyless, sadistic, controlling god and not many people even dare to question such a ridiculous theology. It is as if we keep forgetting the God who came down from the glory into the planet earth, offering us the way, the truth and the life by being a sacrifice on the cross. I am not talking about a God who compromises sin; but since He was a Holy and just God, he had to pour out His wrath on sin and He chose His own Son to do just that, there by providing forgiveness for the entire sins of the entire humanity through His one and only sacrifice. Deliberately or unknowingly forgetting this historic one time event, people still go back to Old Testament daring to point out a wrathful God and preach the sadistic sermons on God's wrath and hell. This is absurdity! It is not that God changed His standard 2000 years ago and ok'ed sins; but His punishment for sins were fulfilled (atoned) by the one sacrifice of Jesus.

How hard is it for us to picture a God who smiles, with full of joy and love waiting for us to run into His arms? No, He is not waiting for us; He is coming after us, not to punish us but to tell us about the punishment His son endured and offering us freedom and joy. Bible talks about a Jesus, 'who for the joy set before him endured the cross'. It was a joy for Him to redeem us, provide us a way to be renewed and to be regenerated into the true image of God which we lost in Adam. Such a joyful restoration of our true humanity has to be celebrated and proclaimed with overflowing joy instead of being debated, argued and ridiculed by wrongly dividing the Word of God.

I couldn't get rid of such an angry grandfather image of God by my own futile efforts, but He replaced it by giving me a brand new heart (which He offered us ages ago through His prophet - Ezekiel 36:26); opened my eyes to see His unending, unconditional love and awesome Grace. He is the cause and effect and guarantee of my salvation.

The angel who appeared to the shepherds, told them about the birth of Jesus, "I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people." (Luke 2) Jesus is the good news of great joy, He brings joy, He fills us with His own joy and gives us new hope to see God as He is... This is the truth what fires up our heart. The other picture, which the religion tries to portray is ridiculously false and depressing and thats is not the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible can be seen in Jesus - we may know Him and know His characteristics by reading the Gospel accounts - hangs out with hopeless people, tax collectors, prostitutes, outcasts, nonspiritual, messy... not to strike them, but to love them and embrace them dearly... and we may anchor our hope courageously upon this Jesus.


Gary Kirkham said...


I have to admit that at one time I had God pictured just like you described. I had him pictured as an angry old man who was just waiting to hammer me the second I got out of line. One day God opened my eyes and He spoke to my heart and told my that I had Him all wrong, that He really did love me...just the way I am. It was something He had to do.

I think that many times the way we picture God is a reflection of our earthly relationships. But what's worse is that we will tend to treat others and think of others the way we believe God treats us and thinks of us.

That is why legalists are so hard on others; it is a function of how they think God deals with themselves.

That is why we should not only tell them the truth about God's grace, we should also be graceful toward them...even when they are resistant and abusive to the message. To paraphrase James, preaching grace without living grace is dead.

In Christ,

Nicole said...

I have heard of the term, Nice God verses Mean God! I think I actually seen an article about this where the first sentence was like Mean God verses Nice God, which one do you serve?!?!

Weird. I listened to Wayne talk about this where he went to a men's bible study or something and just finished talking about Father's grace and love and afterwards he had someone confront him and told him he didn't think he would believe in the Nice God because he wanted to make sure he made it to Heaven by trying harder in how he lived for God and didn't feel 'safe' in resting in Father's grace!

Pretty crazy when you put it that way! Some are more interested in living so confined in legalism than living in an amazing free graced relationship with the Father who wants to set us free from all of that stuff....

In Freedom, Nicole!

Aida said...

Wow! This is a great post, Bino.

Father offers us so much love and freedom but, as Nicki pointed out, many will reject it. Jesus said that “no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.’” (Luke 5:39) Unfortunately, we have a tendency to want to cling to the old out of fear even when the new is better.

As we have opportunity, we must continue to speak about the wonderful liberty we have in Christ. Because some are ready, they will hear and be set free. Thank you for sharing the truth so clearly.