It’s true! God can’t help himself! He is wonderfully good and kind and will not change. He is just incorrigible about His kindness. “For God so loved the world He sent His Son…” (John 3:16). I’m not so sure how we (Christians) decided that we needed an angry, wrathful God to motivate sinners and believers alike to want God enough to be saved. God’s primary motivation is love and kindness. “It is His kindness that leads to repentance.” (Rom 2:4). Grace is shocking in its (His) generosity. It really is worth celebrating!
Why is it that folk get really nervous, even angry, about the fact that God is wonderfully kind, and even in a “good mood”? Why is it that folk need to qualify a “God is good” statement with the qualifier “but He is also wrathful”? Does that then color our mentality and therefore our message? Absolutely!
One day we will die, but we don’t live in anticipation of it.
Now that’s a sobering thought. It’s a truth too! Should Jesus wait too long, I will die before He gets here. The older I get the closer that event comes. I’m certainly not uncertain as to my future. I have a very calm and strong assurance about my eternal destiny. It’s glorious! In a way, I’m looking forward to it. Not the dying part, but the living forever after that.
Question: Because I know that I will die someday, does that mean I have to live in daily anticipation of death? Not at all! I am always prepared for it, but I don’t live with a sense of morbid expectancy. I choose to live life to the full without concerning myself with the certainty of its end.
One day God will judge, but we don’t have to live in anticipation of it. Far from it!
We all know that God will one day call an end to earth’s history and bring a fiery end to sin and death. It will come eventually. The Bible is very clear about that.
Second question: Because I know judgment will come someday, does that mean I have to live in daily anticipation of it? Absolutely not! Besides the point that all believers have passed from judgment and into life, the New Testament message to unbelievers is one of kindness, love, and mercy. A good God, because of His love, decided to provide his Son as a solution for our separation from Him. God’s primary motivation was his own high level of love and kindness! The message is “for God so loved…”. That message has not changed.
We do not live in anticipation of judgment. Our Good News message is not one of judgment and the anger of God, but rather His kindness and the promise of His Spirit that will lead to changing mindsets (repentance) and transformation.
Like Son, Like Father
Everybody likes Jesus, even non-Christians. He is regarded as compassionate and kind and definitely non-judgemental. People are not so sure about God the Father.
Christians for centuries have taught that God (the Father) is angry and easily displeased. He is full of judgment and is quick to exact vengeance on sinners. It is even taught that Jesus came to bear the wrath of God and took our place in bearing the God’s punishment for sin (partially true). The continued wrath of God is such that Jesus needs to continually stand in between God and us to protect us from further judgment. So, Jesus, we like, but God the Father is not so easily loved. Couple that view of the Father with the experiences of imperfect and sometimes unjust earthly fathers and we start to absorb an emotionally re-inforced fear of an angry God that starts to dominate the view we have of God. No wonder we have Christians who are unsure of their relationship with God, and unbelievers who want nothing to do with Him or the church that painted Him that way.
I was meeting with a pastor in my office some years back and spent a few minutes at the beginning of the conversation describing some of the amazing healings we had seen during a recent conference. He was intrigued until I began to talk about a very good and very kind God who really wants to bless us with good things, good gifts, and healing. I looked up at him for a moment as he began to argue that we also need to teach about the judgment of God and the wrath of God. As he was talking he tucked his legs up under him in the chair almost in a foetal position. I was amazed at how defensive he became, a defensiveness that was also revealed in his unusual posture in his seat.
It is sad but true that large portions of the church believe the same things about God and are never quite sure about their relationship with Him, and are quite uncertain about their future eternal life. Fortunately their view of Jesus, and their relationship with Him is seen in a more positive light. Let’s have a listen to what Jesus says about himself.
John 14:6b-11 (TPT)
“To know me is to know my Father too. 7 and from now on you will realise that you have seen him and experienced him.”
8 Philip spoke up, “Lord, show us the Father, and that will be all that we need!”
9 Jesus replied, “Philip I have been with you all this time and you still don’t know who I am? How can you ask me to show you the Father, for anyone who has looked at me has seen the Father. 10 Don’t you believe that the Father is living in me and that I am living in the Father? Even my words are not my own but come from my Father, for He lives in me and performs His miracles of power through me. 11believe that I live as one with my Father and that my Father lives as one with me – or at least, believe because of the mighty miracles I have done.” – John 14:6b-11
Six Reasons why Jesus is the Revelation of the Father
It seems fairly obvious that if Jesus came to reveal the Father, the Father could not have been known as well prior to that. Jesus needed to bring a full and complete revelation (revealing) of the Father. This revelation was necessary for at least six reasons.
1. The Father wanted to be known much much better than He was.
2. Jesus wanted the Father revealed (“I only do what the Father says and does..”)
3. God was in the ‘business’ of reconciling mankind to Himself, and part of that process was knowing Him.
4. Knowing Him meant being able to hear His voice and to live by what we hear from His mouth.
5. One of the key roles of the Holy Spirit is to help us recognize Who our Father is.
6. Knowing Who our Father is, introduces us to a very high level of relationship. We get to sit in heavenly places (Eph 2) with Jesus because of our Father.
Again, God, our Father is amazingly good and kind and so full of empowering Grace.