Recently, I tweeted a comment made by my pastor during service that caused a commotion I’ve kinda come to expect from our culture. I tweeted:
“We have this idea that we are all God’s children. But that’s not right. We are all God’s creation. If we receive Him we become His children.”
The problem is that many people misunderstand God. In our culture of unequivocal acceptance and tolerance we wear (by choice) rose colored glasses when it comes to things outside our control to the end of taking the bite out of them. So God is no longer something to be feared but someone who loves and accepts us as we are. Jesus is no longer the incarnation of God who taught on Hell more than any other subject but a good teacher who told us to love each other. Christianity is no longer a way of life but an outdated set of ideals from a culture less civilized than ours that we can draw from if we find something worth drawing.
But that isn’t how the Bible describes God, Jesus or Christianity. God is the scariest being in the universe. Period. There is nothing that should scare us more than God. On a whim, He could decide to stop holding our molecules together and like Professor X in X-Men 3 we would fly apart into billions of tiny particles. Or He could decide that we never existed and POOF! we are gone, never existed and no one knows us (Rm 11:36). (Really, what evidence do we have that this hasn’t ever happened?)
In Romans 11, Paul says this when talking to non-Jews about being grafted to the tree of salvation (a metaphor):
So do not brag about those branches that were broken off. If you brag, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in to the tree.” That is true. But those branches were broken off because they did not believe and were unfaithful, and you continue to be a part of the tree only because you believe and stay faithful. Do not be proud but be afraid. If God did not spare the natural branches, then he will not spare you either. (Rm 11:18-21)
So God is a god who saves those who believe and are faithful. If you are not faithful, which means a follower of Christ, then you are not going to be saved and he will break your branch off the tree of salvation. You cannot be both saved and unfaithful at the same time. Paul continues:
So you see that God is kind and also very strict. He punishes those who stop following Him. But God is kind to you, if you continue following Him in His kindness. If you do not you will also be cut off the tree… The Jews refused to accept the Good News (Gospel), so they are God’s enemies. (Rm 11:22, 28)
- Were we all created in God’s image? Yes.
- Does He love us all? Yes.
- Will He cut us off from salvation if we stop following Him? Yes.
- If we stop following Him no matter how much he loves us will we become His enemy? Yes.
How do we follow Him? Not from our own ideas of what that means, for certain! Instead by doing what He asked us to do in the Bible whether it makes sense to us or not. God’s opinion overrides all others.
No one can explain the things God decides or understand His ways. (Rm 11:33b)