Saturday, March 11, 2006

God Loves You (don't forget to add "JUST AS YOU ARE")

Why do people say that, just as you are ?

Saying "God loves you" is not enough ? When we speak to people about God and we get to the point of telling them that God loves them why do we need to add the words "just as you are" ?

Is this a reaction to some people thinking that God is mean and is mad at them for something and by adding just you are we're making God's message to them not so harsh ? Have some people witnessed to others in the past and made them feel bad about their sins a little too much ? Have they focused too much on the bad stuff ? Is this more sensitive method of telling people about God's love better than the other method of "too much fire and brimstone".

If God is mad at us should He be ? Does He have to adjust His expression of love for us to accommodate our potential reaction to it ?

I can imagine a cop catching someone in a crime and walking up to him and apologetically saying..."hey I just wanted to let you know don't worry, the judge is not mad at you, the judge loves you just as you are. I just have to tell you that no matter what you've done, no matter how bad you think it is the judge is not mad at you. When you see him just really really tell him that you are sorry and didn't mean to make wrong choices and he will automatically pay all of your fines and completely forget that anything bad ever happened. Remember he loves you...he is longing for you to come to him and share his love with you..." blah blah blah.


Just as you are ! It confuses me. It skews my view of what I have always understood about my crime and offense to our Holy God. It takes the emphasis off of my crime and soothes me before I even have a chance to grasp or fathom the depth of my crime. Maybe I need to spend some time coming to terms with the crimes I have committed and the harm that it has done to His holy nature.

If I was caught in a crime and received the penalty which would be impossible for me to pay and if it was clearly communicated to me what the consequences would be and they were very severe I would be scared, fearful, guilty, ashamed, nervous, troubled, trembling and whatever other emotion associated with a person who has been caught in a crime with the knowledge they will have to face a judge whose job it is to execute a sentence to match the crime (I have experienced those emotions). No one has said anything yet about love or anything like that. I'm not much in the mood to hear about thoughts of love. I've just been caught in the act of a crime.

What if God IS mad at us ? Does that make you feel uncomfortable ? When I read the bible I see many many occasions where it appears that God is not too pleased with our behavior.

Check out Romans 3:10-18:

As it is written:
"There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."
"Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit."
"The poison of vipers is on their lips."
"Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness."
"Their feet are swift to shed blood;
ruin and misery mark their ways,
and the way of peace they do not know."
"There is no fear of God before their eyes."

This is like the cop catching you red-handed in the act of the crime.

If these are the crimes you were caught committing (breaking the 10 Commandments) and you were arrested and standing before the Judge and had no way of hiding your offenses, were embarrassed, ashamed–stripped of all dignity, dirty little secrets that no one knew about–EXPOSED, confronted with guilt and felt completely helpless to rectify the damage done to the Holy Judge who can tolerate NO wrong (Habakkuk 1:18-Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong) then as He delivers the sentence for your crime all of the sudden things now go from bad to worse. Not only are you found completely guilty but it is impossible for you to even come close to paying the penalty which would satisfy the perfect law of the Judge.

You hang your head in shame...then you fall to the ground pleading for mercy.

How long do you stay down there ? What if He decides to let you stay down there and suffer for a little while ? This story could end there and all would be well in the Judge's just world.

This perfect Holy untouchable Judge steps down from His bench and picks you up off the floor and gently tells you that He has the penalty paid for. He decides to do this only at His good pleasure. Only because He decides to do this.

The Judge does not even need to say I love you. His love is evident in His action toward us.

This person would not have even been able to understand God's love AT ALL if he had not been in the position to be full aware of his offensive crimes and their evil consequences.

To attach anything behind the statement "God loves you" is very dangerous. God's love means nothing to a person except that He is some kind of needy, dependent God who just can't live without us...huh ? –nothing could be further from the truth. God needs nothing. He certainly does not need us. He can cause the rocks to praise him if He so pleases.

We can begin to understand God's love only after we've received His mercy. Only after we have admitted we are totally deprived and unworthy. We can then receive His grace. We can then be allowed to receive His sanctification which will then allow us the privilege to worship Him.

"Just as you are"–I still don't know what they mean by that. The only thing I can think of is they are trying to make people not feel so bad. But I think people NEED to feel bad...very very bad. Then they can experience God's love.

If you choose to say "just as you are" after saying God loves you to someone, you better make sure they understand how they actually are.

Romans 5:6-8
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

The law of God is not intended to bring forth guilt and shame nor does it lead people to God through scare tactics (this is not the fear of the lord). All of these are from the Devil, not from God. Guilt paralyses a person and makes them feel unworthy of god, but conviction which is from above drives one towards righteousness by making one feel worthy of god’s love. Shame too is from the devil, for in the beginning Adam and Eve’s disobedience left them ashamed of their nakedness as a result of the devils’ lies. That is why Adam responded: “I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid”. So we see also that being afraid of God, is part of the devil’s deceitfulness and leads to hiding from the Creator, who searches for us in our wickedness. It is the Lord who covers us from our shamefulness and commands that we clothe ourselves with Christ.

The purpose of the law is to make our sin utterly sinful by pointing towards Christ who is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. I don’t understand how any Christian would fail to be in “the mood to hear about thoughts of love”, don’t you know that Christ is love and it is love that justifies the wicked. For God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.

I’m sorry you think that making people feel bad about their sin is the way to bring them to god. And that you entertain thoughts of god being mad at sinners. Are these not God’s children, did Christ not come to save SINNERS! Is not his love made perfect in our weakness? Who are you to judge and to discern who deserves God’s wrath? Has Jesus Christ not taught us that we should not judge, that judgment is His and that we shall not judge but leave judgment up to God? Is it not God’s kindness that leads to repentance? The Lord’s desire is for a contrite heart and spirit, who seeks repentance in light of God’s goodness, displayed in those who do good to others, who love and do not judge, and who do all these things not because of heaven, nor forgiveness of sins, nor fear of hell, but because they seek to see and KNOW God intimately and seek his kingdom first above all other things.

“You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written: God’s name is blasphemed among the unsaved because of you”

1:47 PM  
Blogger Kennyo said...

Dear Anonymous (do you have a name ?)

I have to ownder how David felt after he was confronted about his sin with Bathsheba ? It seems he had a pretty good understanding of his sin toward God.
He also received the mercy and forgiveness of God but only after he came to terms with the sin.

Paslm 51:
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.

O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.

Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

5:23 PM  
Anonymous Miguel said...

I would say David's repentance came about because his mind is forever captive to thoughts of love, invaded constantly by the joy of knowing God. This is why he shouts: Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. It is because he felt distant from this joy that he once knew, this complete pleasure that he had substituted for cheap thrills with a married woman, that he understood the weight of his sin. David's fear is to be seperated from the presence of the lord: Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Elsewhere in the psamls he considers God's presence to be the dwelling place of everlasting joy and pleasure, to not take part in these became his sin, his hell...Again the law served to expose the seriousness of his sin, not dwelling in the joy of the lord, and pointed towards repentance in Christ, in who's right hand are pleasures and joy forevermore.

PS: My name's Miguel, a student of you dad and brother Mike.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

The fear of the Lord is the begining of wisdom, not the grace of God. It wasn"t God's grace that brought me to salvation, it was my brokeness, shame and conviction (guilt)from my sin that drove me to repentance and my acknowledgement that I could not live separated from God any longer, I grew up in church and christian school,I heard about God's grace all my life, until I came face to face with my guilt, (not from Satan but from God)the difference between God's guilt and the enemies is this. If we confess our sins he is faithful and just and foriveth our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. At this point we are forgiven and God says as far as the East is from the West so he has remembered our sin no more. Once we confess and receive forgiveness he will not bring guilt for our confessed sin, only satan does this, that is the difference! Second why are you afraid of offending someone by telling them the truth? The word of God is alive and sharper than any two edged sword even to the separation of bone and flesh and soul and spirit! His word will perform it's work, do you think by only giving the grace you are helping someone? Only the truth shall set you free. There is no salvation without repentance, and how can you have repentance unless you have something that shows you that you have missed the mark,or what sin is. There are none righteous no not one. we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. If you only give someone partial truth it is still a lie. We must not compromise the word of God because we think we might offend someone, the gosple is an offensive thing, think about what he went through, He received what we deserved so we might have eternal life, the scourging and death he experienced was because he wanted us to receive grace, yes but think of how terrible the punishment he took that we deserved!!!! Wow God's judgement placed upon his only begotten son so we wouldn't have to face our own sin. No so when we came face to face with our sin we would become broken and repent and then receive that grace that was paid for by so high a price. Our salvation is not cheep!

10:36 AM  
Blogger Kennyo said...

It's great to hear from you ! I admire the fact that you're pursuing God as you are. I understand the comments you are making about David enjoying God's pleasure but when you read 2 Sam. 12 you will see that David only had a desire to return to God after he was made aware of his sin by Nathan exposing it to him. God did not send Nathan to David to urge David to remember experiencing God's pleasure. Instead God sent Nathan to him to expose David's sin which he was trying his best to conceal. David thought he could get away with it as long as no one knew about it.

Nathan told David about the poor man's one and only little lamb which his children played with. He said that a rich man wanted to prepare a lamb for his guest and instead of taking one of his own among the many he had stole the only lamb the poor man had and prepared it for his guest.

At this point I think you can begin to see the just anger and punishment for the crime which David said should be death and a repayment four-fold because of his sin without any pity for the poor man.
It was at that point that Nathan told David he was the man (verse 7). Nathan tells David that God want him to remember all of the good things that God has blessed him with (God's pleasures) but David chose to defy and sin against God (ps 51:4). Nathan explains David's sin in detail, letting David know that he is not getting away with anything.

Only after this sin and offense being exposed, which David thought he was keeping in secret (vs.12) and only after hearing of the consequenses he was going to have to face and admitting his sin did Nathan tell David that God would forgive him (vs.13)

There is a biblical principle and process shown here which is incredible. It's the same as the high priest having to sacrifice an innocent animal before entering the holy of holies. If that sacrife is bypassed then there is not entrance into His presence. He is too holy to look upon sin (habakkuk 1:13). Therefore the sin must first be dealt with, as ugly as it is.

You cannot enjoy the pleasure of God's goodness without first offering up the blood sacrifice of the lamb, which by it's naure exposes our evil deeds, otherwise therewould be no need for the sacrifice.


3:32 PM  
Anonymous miguel said...

Hey kenny,

I agree with your latest response, I don't think it differs from mine in any way. My point was that the law, the commandments, are always broken by the fact the we do not follow these commands with fullness of heart. The act itself is not the culprit, is the condition of the heart which produces such act. I may not steal orlie, but I still sin because in my heart I do not hate stealing or lying. Even though my actions might not be sin, the condition of my heart is sinful for it does not HATE sin.

This where the law points to Christ as it leaves us utterly helpless to improve our condition in any way. Only Christ within can do this. Basically the root of all sin is idolatry, not making God our ultimate joy, but rather taking more pleasure in his creation. This was David's sin and what Nathan came to remind him of.It was guilt that led him to hide from God, but it was conviction that brought him back.

PS: I agree on your views on these new church growth techniques an all that jazz and how suffering for Christ is almost never emphazised in our churches, but theres also a lot that concerns me and that is why I wrote...

To Dave,

You are wrong to say: "It wasn"t God's grace that brought me to salvation". How you have belittled God's grace, I tell you it was God's grace and grace alone that brought you to salvation. The fact that a sinner turns from his sin and looks towards God is GRACE! We have no power to do this by ourselves. "JOHN 6:44-55: No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him."

The only part that you and I both had in our salvation was to SIN! How can someone who lives by the sinful nature, who's heart is always rebellious towards the things of god, just one day start thinking about what sin is? Repentance is ordained by God, for don't you know that we have been called by his will before the creation of the world?

I would also like to say that I am not afraid of telling people the truth, what I am always afraid of is telling people my truth. That is why if my actions have any worth they shall speak for me, for only as a last resort will I use words to persuade anybody (I am not in the business of persuasion, or winning over converts). My only business is to become a disciple of Christ.

Christ at all costs.

8:58 PM  

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