Saturday, March 21, 2009

What If?

Steve McVey had a interesting post over on his blog and I thought I would pass it on...


What if we've got it all wrong about God in the modern church world? What if He is nothing like we've imagined Him to be? What if the most basic understandings we have about His nature, His personality and His approach to us completely misses the point?

What if God the Father didn't send Jesus the Son to come alone to earth so that the Father could vent His anger over sin against the Son instead of us, but instead so that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit could together come to deal a death blow against sin in order to free us from its grip before it caused us to waste away into eternal nothingness?

What if the work of Jesus on the cross wasn't to change God's mind about you, but to change your mind about God?

What if God isn't nearly as concerned about what you're doing or not doing as He is about how you see and understand Him?

What if God is smiling as He looks at you right now and you could never do anything to wipe that smile off His face?

What if the coming of Jesus wasn't God's reaction to Adam's sin, but was carrying out a plan that had been made long before Adam was even created?

What if the primary characteristic of who God is has nothing to do with being a judge, but has everything to do with being a gentle, loving, Father?

What if you could never cause God to become angry or even disappoint Him?

What if you didn't need more faith, but only need to depend on Jesus to express His faith on your behalf?

What if you were the child God always wanted?

What if fulfilling God's plan for your life didn't depend on you at all?

What if God loved Muslims and atheists and homosexuals as much as He loves you?

What if you were a part of the inner circle of love shared by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

What if?

7 comments:

Judah Himango said...

I like this post. It reminds me of an old Yiddish proverb that, while it certainly applies to Jews, it can also apply to gentiles:

The Messiah you are expecting will never come; The Messiah that is coming you never expected.

It's interesting to look back at the gospel and see how the disciples, even after Messiah's coming-back-to-life in Acts 1 and 2, thought he was still going to becoming political ruler who would throw off the Roman empire and restore Israel.

The Messiah the disciples -- indeed, Jews at large -- were expecting never came.

Likewise, I suspect that the Messiah Christians are expecting will never come.

There is one thing I dislike about Steve's post. And that is, it smacks of the "God is all grace & mercy, never anger & judgment". I don't think that's Scriptural. Without judgment of any kind, God is not a just God.

Besides that, though, I like the post. Thanks for posting it here, Gary.

Gary Kirkham said...

Judah,

I can't really speak for Steve, but I don't believe he denies or preaches against judgment. In regard to judgment, he was asking us to think about God's heart. Do you think that God would rather judge the world or see the world come to faith in His Son?

But primarily, I think the post is about how God relates to His redeemed children and how His children view Him. As His child, Judah, do you think that you will be judged in the same way as the lost? If you believe that there is a judgment of some sort awaiting those who are in Christ, have you already decided what that judgment will look like? Do you believe that when you personally stand before God (or Jesus?) someday, that His anger will burn against you?

In Christ,
Gary

Matthew Daelon said...

Interesting, Judah. I was reading on some website about modern Jewish beliefs in Judaism and the person they expect is totally different from Jesus. Actually, while reading it, they talked of the messiah establishing a one-world government and all that stuff...That sounds like the OTHER guy.

But like Gary, I think Steve is trying to get to God's heart. I'm quite certain Steve doesn't deny judgment for unbelievers. If he did, I wouldn't listen to him. But I think he is trying to get the point across that God takes no delight in judgment. His heart is to see everyone come to repentance. Again, the proof of this is the cross of Jesus Christ. While God loved us indescribably even when we were dead in our sins, he also loved justice. And he poured out his wrath on his Son. While his justice against sin must be carried out, God has an unfathomable heart of love for the ones he carries it out upon.

Matthew Daelon said...

Also, I agree with Judah. Without judgment of any kind, God is not a just God. He carried out his judgment on the Son that all may honor the Son as they honor the Father. And he will pour out his judgment on the unbelieving who refuse his grace. There is no excuse for refusing grace.

Bino M. said...

Gary,

I too liked the post. The only place where I have mixed thoughts is the second one in the list.

I too have struggled with the idea that a loving Father punishing His Son. But on the other side I see it as a just God executing His justice but out of His mercy He chose His own Son to bear that punishment.

But as far as Steve's point is concerned, 'but instead so that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit could together come to deal a death blow against sin', I am kind of confused.

Because I see the Son praying to the Father, "if possible, take this cup away from me...".

Anyways, I just posted a comment on Steve's post.

Gary Kirkham said...

Matt,

Great comments!


Bino,

It is a mystery. I think that it was just Jesus' human side shining through. Maybe it could be likened to what happens when a Christian dies. We may not fear death, but we can certainly fear the act of dying. Or maybe it would be better to say that we can dread the pain and suffering that can come with death.

So I don't see a contradiction. Even though the Godhead were in full agreement that the death of Jesus was necessary, the human flesh that Jesus put on still dreaded what was to come. Part of what Jesus accomplished on this earth was to model the Christian life, which is a life of complete obedience to the Father. I order to model that life, it was important that He be tempted in every way, even with the dread of an agonizing death, which is illustrated by Jesus asking if the cup could be taken away. So by Him saying "Not My will, but Thine be done," He showed us that the Son of God had the power to be obedient even while being tempted to avoid a horrible death. That same power is at work in us.

In Christ,
Gary

Bino M. said...

Thanks Gary! I agree.