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.