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I find it a tad humorous, in a sad sort of way, whenever I hear someone say “God supports” a certain kind of sinful behavior.
“God supports [insert sin here].”
Just think about those words for a second.
I mean, here you have God, the ultimate, the pinnacle of being and knowing, the creator of everything that exists – or has ever existed – who, for the sake of this article, I presume would be deemed by anyone making such a statement to be by nature self-existent, self-sustaining, transcendent, omniscient, omnipotent, immutable, holy, righteous and perfect in and of Himself.
In other words, He would possess all the innumerable attributes befitting the Creator and Sustainer of the universe and all that it contains, right?
So, how is it that, when it comes to matters involving the exercise of our own independence and freedom of choice, particularly those volitional decisions that clearly go against the commands and precepts of the God who inherently possesses these attributes, we somehow default to a view that makes Him nothing more than a glorified respondent to the latest Gallup poll (as if God cares what you or I think)?
This selective relegation of God is especially apparent when considering the issues of same-sex marriage and so-called LGBT “equality”, matters which even many who profess to be “Christian” (a label that is becoming more watered-down with each passing day) would argue is “supported” by God under what I refer to as the New Testament “Love Clause” that we are to “love one another.”
Despite the countless other characteristics and virtues that make God who He is (for example, that He is holy, righteous and wrathful), we have a tendency to view Him as being only a God of love, one whose sole desire is for us is that we “love everyone” because, after all, “we are all God’s children”, right?
Well, no. We are not all God’s children.
But, hey, that’s another blog article for another day.
People, Christians included, have so stripped God of His divine attributes until, essentially, only one remains – love – leaving us a mere shell of the God who is actually spoken of in the pages between Genesis and Revelation.
But, not only have we made for ourselves a one-dimensional God of love only, we also seek to define the manner in which this God of love “loves” us and, likewise, in what context the aforementioned Love Clause should be applied by us toward others. For example, being able to marry whomever we choose, even if the “spouse” is of the same gender (or worse.)
As such, there is hardly anything that is absolutely sinful anymore in the eyes of this “God of love.”
To the extent that there is such a thing as sin, it is completely subjective as our revised, stripped-down version of God desires only our happiness, not our holiness. On that note, author Michael Horton, in his book Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church, rightly opines,
“It is easy to become distracted from Christ as the only hope for sinners. Where everything is measured by our happiness rather than God’s holiness, the sense of our being sinners becomes secondary, if not offensive. If we are good people who have lost our way but with the proper instructions and motivation can become a better person, we need only a life coach, not a Redeemer.”
How very true that statement is.
It is interesting to observe how easily we will profess a belief in a “God” whose nature, by definition, cannot be equal to ours, while at the same time deconstructing Him to such a degree that He naturally becomes more like us and, consequently, more “relateable” to us.
The logical progression of this misguided train of thought is this: the more relateable “my” God is to me, then, the more I can identify with Him and, most importantly, Him with me. Thus, making Him more like me and, likewise, me like Him, all without my actually having to do anything to appease His anger towards me because of my sin as, again, this deconstructed God is a God of love only. So, what could there possibly be to fear as far as His discipline and wrath are concerned, right?
Given this “relateable” view of God, we can easily understand why so many of us view our lives – and lifestyles – through the humanly-conceived paradigm of which of our subjective desires God supports, as opposed to the divinely-inspired objective standard of what a sovereign, autonomous God demands. Hence, why we see ourselves in need of a God who is more of a supportive Life Coach who helps keep us on the “right track” than a substitutionary Redeemer who realizes that our staying the right track isn’t, and was never, the issue to begin with.
In the first of the four gospels, Matthew, the narrative of the birth of Christ describes Jesus as the One who will save us from our sins, not sign off on them.
Now, I don’t know about you, but from where I sit it seems more than a bit ironic that this “God of love” has Himself provided the means for sinners like you and me to be reconciled to Him, only to have us turn right around and reject the idea that this benevolent and gracious plan is, in fact, a mercifully volitional act inspired by a God who truly loves us.
Instead, in keeping with our fallen nature, we have so twisted and genuflected the biblical concept of God’s “love” as to render it a behavioral blank check, completely devoid of any boundaries, or repercussions for violating them, which is why increasing numbers of so-called “Christian” churches today are “affirming” same-sex marriage and LGBT rights (such as what transpired recently in Ireland.)
The very idea that God’s love is without boundaries is nonsensical. That God sent His only Son to die a horrific death on a cross is evidence enough of that.
What parent raises a child without a loving set of parameters to help protect and guide him or her through life?
God could have demonstrated His love for us without the cross, but that’s just the point. In the crucifixion of Christ, it wasn’t God’s love that was at issue. The problem was – and continues to be – our sin, which is why Jesus had to die in our place as our substitute, as John R.W. Stott, in his masterpiece The Cross of Christ, explains,
“The notion of substitution is that one person takes the place of another, especially in order to bear that person’s pain and so save him or her from it. Such an action is universally regarded as noble. It is good to spare people pain; it is doubly good to do so at the cost of bearing it oneself.”
This is what Christ did.
Jesus Christ bore the pain of your sin and mine upon Himself, thereby appeasing for all eternity the wrath of a holy God that would otherwise have to be paid by you and me, an utter and eternal impossibility, needless to say.
“For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; no evil dwells in You. The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity.” (Psalm 5:4-5)
I mean, think about it, okay?
That we would refer to the God of the Bible as “God” is to make a one-word declaration that He alone wields complete power and authority over our life. This authority was not granted to Him by some other being who was higher or more exalted than Himself. Were that the case, He would not be God, then, would He?
Our problem is that we have completely lost sight of who God truly is and, worse yet, we don’t really seem to care to know who He truly is.
Sure, we believe “a” God exists, kinda, but that’s usually where it ends. As I said before, the God most of us believe in is a God of only love, not judgment.
Truth be told, we have no real awareness of or appreciation for the distinct qualities that make up God’s divine nature.
God is sovereign. He is majestic. He is holy. He is altogether righteous. He is the only true God and, as such, He is not nor has He ever been subject or beholden to whether or not our sinful whims and preferences are ones He will “support.”
Look, let’s be honest, okay?
The fact of the matter is that on issues such as same-sex marriage, for example, God has clearly and unambiguously spoken.
He has spoken just as clearly about murder, lying, stealing, adultery, money, taxes, work and food, all of which are issues we seem to have no problem at all with taking God at His word. And yet, we refuse to accept what He has to say when it comes to marriage. On that issue, we want to make what is a matter of our sin against God a matter of support of our sin by Him, all under the guise that God is a “God of love.”
Heavy Is Our Savior’s Cross
Heavy is our Savior’s cross
Weighed down by human sin
His blood so pure, no earthly dross
Is borne by only Him
with thorns for a crown
The Lamb is led away
A cross to bear for sinners bound
On this, His final day
Rough, hewn, unpolished the wood
A cross for all man’s sin
Will hold the pain no mortal could
A death reserved for Him
A death reserved for Him
Life torn from flesh and from bone
Yet still a pain far worse
For all of sin He must atone
The weight of heaven’s curse
Death, loss, the dark shadows day
His work now almost done
Naught else will do, no other way
Salvation must be won
His blood so pure, no earthly dross
Is borne by only Him
My unsolicited advice to people who subscribe to a one-dimensional God who “supports” their sin under the guise of love is this: do yourselves a favor and stop referring to Him as “God”, because it is you who have taken over that role in your life.
Think about it.
“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” – Luke 6:46