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Once in a while one of our biggest errors, including those of us in the Church, is to mentally encompass God’s attributes within our limits and effectively turn him into a god (false god) to suit our agenda. A lot of people want to focus on the loving attributes of the Lord and ignore the attributes that they don’t feel happy about. They don’t want to think about the aspects of judgment, justice, tough love, and wrath that our God also commands. Some take it a step further and even think that imagining God containing some of these would make Him unfair or worse. What they are doing is making a god out of the God of the Bible to suit their preferences and it’s completely illogical as well as incorrect. The God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New Testament. We need to recall that God is an infinite being that exists outside the limitations of time and space as we understand them.
The New Testament offered God’s provision, namely His Son Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins. He came to fulfill a mission willingly, and He hated sin and loves us so much that He chose to accept the full propitiation for our sin so that we may not be eternally lost. He died, rose from the dead three days later, and ascended into Heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father. He defeated death and evil, and through Him we have the opportunity to accept the gift of eternal life. Those in the Old Testament were saved by believing that Jesus Christ was to come to do all this, and that’s how they were saved. We in the latter times must believe that Jesus Christ came to do all of this in order that we may have God’s provisions for our salvation. When He created Adam and Eve He gave them free will, and they chose to rebel against Him with it. They ate of the forbidden fruit and with that man was judged justly by being given a fallen state.
We still live in that fallen state. When we see atrocities, sin, death, and massive amounts of catastrophe that is a part of living in a fallen state and human beings having a sinful nature. If we flip the viewpoint around we can also see these things as opportunities to display our faith and bring glory to God in ways that would not have normally existed had we not been exposed to them in this way. It is impossible to understand the depth of an infinite God, but that doesn’t mean we cannot receive some understanding by His Word and His Holy Spirit guiding us. We’ve seen these challenges since the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Like Adam and Eve we are all equally accountable for such a fall as well because we are all born into sin. We all have fleshly desires that we need to commit to the Holy Spirit so that they may be extinguished. All of us have struggles and weaknesses that if it weren’t for a consistent reliance on God and His Son Jesus Christ we would be completely given into sin and their accompanying wages of death. Fortunately for us the gift of God is eternal lift in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. (V*1). The key is that we believe, and that takes faith. For it is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone that we are saved. (V*2).
Now that we’ve explored the backdrop for where we are in a very brief way, I want to delve further into the mistakes people make when they try to make their own god. Even as a human being if someone thought of me as loving, honest, and kind for instance I would greatly appreciate that surely. Do you think because most of the time someone observes me in action as being loving, honest, and kind that I have no capacity to be angry? If they are under the impression that I do not ever get angry, whether it be righteous anger or not I am afraid, they would be under a false assumption. If they assume that I have never lied, cheated, or stolen in my life – even if very limited circumstances that I believe I have been forgiven for – they would also be dead wrong unfortunately. I make it a high priority to maintain a quality reputation, but my reputation means little to me compared to my standing with God. When push comes to shove obeying God is so much greater than having a good reputation with the world, but I don’t mind having both if that’s part of God’s plan for me.
So this being just a momentary discussion of a few character aspects of one single human being, namely me Victor Nunez, and we haven’t even explored beyond the tip of the iceberg of who I am as a person. That’s the reality, I am not trying to brag or anything, but I think I can say that for most people if I were to do a similar little outline like this. We were made in the image of God, and we have intrinsic worth because He wants us alive in this day and age. He doesn’t force us to love Him because He gave us free will and that element of force would violate the essence of love. If we don’t choose Him it likely grieves Him, but that doesn’t mean He will make a decision for you. So you and I were designed by God’s grace to bring Him glory even though we deserve nothing, we were given everything. He loved us before we chose to love Him, the real definition of agape love. We’ve been given the opportunity to store up eternal rewards of which you and I don’t even deserve to spend eternity in Heaven. We deserve hell, but God saw our shortcomings in advance and Jesus Christ paid our price so that we would not be doomed to eternal torment.
So I am one human being, made in the image of God, and my character can be very dynamic. Even when I compare myself from one individual to the next person as an example, I might be an extrovert and the next guy or gal might be more introverted and reserved. I might love steak and the other may prefer a vegetarian diet. The list of potential points of comparison is almost limitless, and these are points of consideration that don’t necessarily have any intrinsic right or wrong attached to them. I am not wrong for eating meat, and they aren’t wrong for eating a vegan diet.
God’s character is extremely vast and as I said before its’ full depth is incomprehensible. We do learn a lot about Him in His Word however. We know that He is a God of perfect justice, grace, mercy, understanding, and love. In fact the Bible tells us that God is love. (V*3). People are sometimes perplexed by how a loving God can allow so much suffering and pain on this earth. They don’t understand that through our suffering, trials, and tribulations we are bringing Him glory and acknowledgment. Even if they understand this part of God, they still sometimes find space to view these actions of an omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient Creator as selfish or unintelligible in their own ways. The only selfish ones are us for demanding that a perfect God explain Himself beyond what His revealed Word has told us and what He wants us to focus our attention on. The burden of proof is not on God to explain to us every little dynamic of why He allows certain things, even certain tragedies, to occur in and around our lives. The burden is on us to trust Him in and out of them, whether we have personal difficulty at the moment or not. Whether we are reaping or sowing, at all times we need to confide that God’s plan is being executed in an eternally meaningful manner that we cannot truly grasp the full scope of.
If we read the Old Testament we can see that God exercised His perfect authority to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as bring a worldwide flood on Earth allowing only Noah’s family to survive. (V*4). These are two examples of God’s judgment on humanity. In Sodom and Gomorrah they were committing extreme sexual sin, alarmingly something perhaps not far from what we might see in some of our night clubs in the modern era. In the latter example God also saw that man was being wicked in thoughts and entertaining evil continuously in their hearts. (V*5). In the Old Testament we’ve also observed some of God’s great works in the lives of people like Moses who witnessed several miracles in front of his face including the parting of the Red Sea and the receipt of the Ten Commandments. (V*6 and V*7). He also continued to use Joshua to lead the people, and Joshua boldly accepted to follow in the footsteps of Moses and acquire the promised land in the midst of heavy defenses. (V*8 and V*9). He found that God was as loyal to him as He was to Moses as he led Israel in battle into victory over their enemies because God was with them. Joshua, like Moses, was a humble champion. Someone who knew that it took a step, or even a leap of faith, sometimes in order for God to see that his heart was in the right place. We need to pray that our hearts are consistently purified and aligned with the will of God, we can read in Jeremiah 17:9 the condition of the human heart is a grave one that consistently needs God’s repair to desire righteousness. (V*10) I pray for a thirst for righteousness, lack of double-mindedness, and to be solely focused on what God wants and not what I want.
Fast forward to the New Testament and we of course have the gospels. God performed miracles through His Son Jesus Christ that were absolutely defying of the possible. The impossible was made possible to God’s glory when He desired it to be. When Jesus Christ could have summoned a legion of angels to aid Him and save Him from death He instead endured for you and I. He felt real pain, He knew the burden was great, yet He still accepted it so that we would not perish. (V*11). Wherever you turn in scripture, you’re bound to learn something new about God and how He operates. As we grow in age, our understanding of scripture deepens and we see it from a different perspective. There’s no need to assume that all God does is wrathful because we see that His love clearly extends out to humanity over and over. Despite knowing this we shouldn’t desire to test whether there are limitations of His grace and mercy. The Old Testament seems to show that there are, but I don’t even want to overly focus my attention on that. I want to be optimistic that if I am alive and breathing He has been merciful enough with me to continue to allow me to serve Him. He doesn’t need me, but continues to allow me to write for His glory.
Once in a while I get an opportunity to talk to someone about Christianity in person and I pray that He helps me to aggressively take those chances because they aren’t as common as we would like sometimes. They also often challenge us to step out of our comfort zone where we can stretch and grow as individuals while we spread the good news. Our calling to fulfill the Great Commission might be different as individuals. I think a major aspect of it for me is to write about the Word of God, but for someone else it might be to talk to people they encounter in every day circumstances. Still yet I try to make myself as adaptable as possible, I am uncertain of what God holds for my future, but certain that he steers its’ course. That’s and should always be plentiful comfort for me to endure the challenges that life throws my way. Maybe it’s within the scope of possibilities He wants me to become a Pastor or at least desires for me to speak in front of a Church audience. There are some things that are more difficult than others, but I try not to close any doors that God has not closed. I also try not to reopen those doors that I believe God closed shut. I want those to stay closed because I know He has my best interests at heart and there’s no need to look for trouble.
In the end if you want to serve the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (the God of the Bible) you need to accept every aspect of Him and not just choose the parts you think He encompasses or find convenient for yourself. It’s not like going to a shopping center and picking out the love, mercy, and grace because they seem the most comfortable for you but leaving out the tough love, the judgment, justice, and wrath because they appear more intimidating. God wants you to take all of Him or none of Him. He wants us not to be lukewarm, because those of us who are He will spit out. He wants us to be completely all-in and committed to Him. To be on fire for Him and His call in our lives. Don’t try to walk that line that barely gets you saved, but lets you experience as much worldliness as possible without being thrown into the Lake of Fire. Try to walk the line that draws nearest to God and furthest away from desiring the worldly that He so much wills for us to see right through. He wants us to see that the dead ends are all right in front of us. We desperately need to open our eyes Spiritually and keep walking in the Holy Spirit instead.
Don’t be afraid of God in the sense of terror or panic. God wants to know you on a personal level, and He wants you to keep open lines of communication with Him through prayer. (V*12). Fear Him in the sense of reverence, worship, respect, awe, and even trembling. Know that when you’re in His presence that you are in the presence of the Almighty. He is perfect and He can judge the hidden motivations of our hearts, we cannot hide anything from Him even if we tried. Just be sure-footed and stand on His word so that you don’t stand on human wisdom and build your house on sand castles to allow yourself to slip up. God is our refuge and our strength, He never lets us down when we go through good or bad times. You may have disappointed Him countless times like I have, but He is not in the business of doing so and will never let you down. The reality is He is the only one we can truly rely on at this level because everyone else has the capacity to let us down at one point or another no matter how well intended they might be. As humans we are all fallible and all have a capacity to stumble for and around one another, let’s allow love to cover over one another’s wrongs rather than hold impossible standards in our faces. Even still keep the human relations that God leads you to because this clearly doesn’t mean that we ought to throw away every friendship we have, but rather to keep them in their proper perspective and expectations. (V*13).
V*1- “23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (NKJV).
V*2- “8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV).
V*3- “8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8 (NKJV).
V*4- “13 On the very same day Noah and Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark— 14 they and every beast after its kind, all cattle after their kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, every bird of every sort. 15 And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life.” Genesis 7:13-15 (NKJV).
V*5- “5 Then the Lord[a] saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5 (NKJV).
V*6- “21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 23 And the Egyptians pursued and went after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. 24 Now it came to pass, in the morning watch, that the Lord looked down upon the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud, and He troubled the army of the Egyptians. 25 And He took off[a] their chariot wheels, so that they drove them with difficulty; and the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians.” 26 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the waters may come back upon the Egyptians, on their chariots, and on their horsemen.” 27 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and when the morning appeared, the sea returned to its full depth, while the Egyptians were fleeing into it. So the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. 28 Then the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. Not so much as one of them remained. 29 But the children of Israel had walked on dry land in the midst of the sea, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 30 So the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31 Thus Israel saw the great work which the Lord had done in Egypt; so the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord and His servant Moses.” Exodus 14:21-31 (NKJV).
V*7- 20 And God spoke all these words, saying: 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 “You shall have no other gods before Me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. 7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you. 13 “You shall not murder. 14 “You shall not commit adultery. 15 “You shall not steal. 16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.” Exodus 20:1-17 (NKJV).
V*8- “1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying: 2 “Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.” Joshua 1:1-3 (NKJV).
V*9- “20 So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. 21 And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword.” Joshua 6:20-21 (NKJV).
V*10- “9 The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV).
V*11- “16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (NKJV).
V*12- “17 pray without ceasing,” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NKJV).
V*13- “46 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling.” Psalm 46:1-3 (NKJV).