There is a serious problem that persists among students of The Holy Scriptures. In all Bible Classes I attend one problem presents itself, but few recognize it. Consequently there is an impasse to truth and true revelation is prevented to those who are seeking truth.
There is a proverbial dancing around the evident, but an inability to, or maybe an unwillingness to express the facts.
I credit this problem to the limited mono-focal teaching and preaching about God and His description of Himself.
For years now it seems we have become enlightened and no longer do we see God as the Judge of sin. It is not popular to allow God to ever express any form of anger for He, we all know, is a God of Love. We excuse God if it appears that He has brought any form of painful Justice to any unjust situation. We protect God's reputation; we express anger to anyone who even suggests that God would do such a thing.
This is not a statement of accusation aimed at anyone; this is a search for truth and considerations of those apparent truths.
I suggest that in many ways we have built us a "God" the way we want Him to be; He possesses only the ability to 'love and to give.'
There is absolute truth in presenting God as a God of Love. In the Scriptures we read that, "God is Love." Therefore, the presenting of God as a God of love is not the error.
Where then does the error exist?
Our error exists in our refusal to allow God to be all He says He is, because it brings fear to our hearts and incensed anger rises up in our emotions because the image of our God has been defaced. We do not want a God Who can be angered. We refuse a God Who judges sin and Who and brings, or even allows acts of destruction to be brought upon individuals or Nations as judgment for their sins.
The most recent experience with this situation was yesterday. The Bible Class was filled with earnest seekers of truth. The facilitator was excellent and the study material was the Word of God. The Book being studied was Acts and the specific chapter brought up the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira.
We could not seem to get it reconciled that they died because the Lord took their lives because they lied to the Holy Spirit.
Of course no one can really lie to the Holy Spirit because He knows all things past, future and in real time, but it was their intention to deceive, and they lied and they died.
The Scripture text plainly says that it brought "fear" to the hearts of the other believers. That kind of judgment should and will bring a fear of God to people's hearts.
Yesterdays Class finally summed up the truth; Ananias and Sapphira simply laid down and died. God did not do it! That summation flies in the face of other texts that inform us that God gives the breath of live and when He takes the breath away, things die. It defies the written text regarding Herod who was smitten of worms as he was sitting on his Throne because Herod had accepted the praises of the people who called him a god. The Bible tells us that "The Angel of the Lord, afflicted (smote) Herod and he died.
The Scriptures, both in the First Testament and in the New Testament give us a true picture of Who God is and how He is; He makes it clear.
In the New Testament we are told that the First Testament is a primer of sorts for us, so that we may understand HOW God deals with people. Yet many times I have heard students verbalize this statement, "I like the God of the New Testament, but I don't like the One of the Old Testament."
Where did we miss it? There is One God and He is the same God; the God of both the Old and the New. How can that statement be spoken? Why? Because we miss the great expressions of the Love and Mercy of God as written in the First Testament and we also miss the Judgment of God as expressed in the New Testament. Both the love and mercy of God toward repentant mankind and the judgment of God on sin are recorded in all the Scriptures, First and New.
What has happened? How are our eyes blinded to reason? How can we read and not perceive? Could it be because we begin our study with preconceived notions about "Our" God and therefore do not allow Him to be how He says He is?
If we are made in God's image, and most of us are willing to accept that as fact, then how is it that we can be angry at injustice but refuse to allow God to feel any other way about it than simply mushy indulgence which we call "love?"
We need to awaken and listen to the Word of God and to teach and to preach what God says. It is no more correct to instruct that God is a wrathful God Who is delighted in executing judgment of painful experience than to instruct that He winks at sin and never brings anything uncomfortable to those who persist in the indulgence of those things that He calls sin. Mono-focal instruction on any one facet of God's Nature is simply not the entire truth.
The same texts that tell us that "God is love," are the same texts that tell us that, "God is angry with the wicked every day."
It isn't a difficult concept if we are will to let go of the God we built and accept God as God describes Himself. So what, it brings a little check to us about how we live our daily lives? It is no different than respecting the laws of the land and its Enforcers, or our parents.
All the texts of Scripture assure us that God looks on our hearts and if He sees that we want to do right in His sight that He is merciful to us if we mess up and don't get it perfect.
The anger and wrath and judgment are toward the sin we embrace and refuse to let go; always the love and mercy of God are available to us, if we will tell God, "I did wrong, forgive me and help me to do right," then we have no fear of judgment of the painful kind.
We may attend a Buffet, spread with countless wonderful foods, and we are permitted to fill our plates with what we want and like, but we cannot build our God by selecting for Him attributes and emotions that we like, while ignoring what we do not like.
God is the Creator and we are the thing created. We must accept Him as He says He is; and then we must humble ourselves and worship Him because He awesome, loving, good, kind, and merciful.
As long as we do not embrace sin and live in sinful styles of indulgences, according to God's ideas of those sins (and not our own idea,) then we need have no fear of God that is paralyzing to us; we experience only the reverential respect for God that tells Him that we do love, honor, and respect Him.
Ramona, Master of Arts in Ministry, BA in Biblical Studies, I am an Ordained Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
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