I’ve been having various conversations online recently where people who don’t share my faith in God say things like: come on, that stuff about sin and repentance doesn’t concern me, it’s just what you believe.
And if it was, then of course you’d have nothing to worry about.
But the message I’m preaching through my blogs isn’t a message I made up, it’s the message that comes across loud and clear through the Bible and no, the Bible isn’t a book that human beings made up, it’s the Word of the living God – a message from our Creator to us, which we are free to listen to or to ignore but the consequences of this choice are very real consequences and just because you choose to believe that God isn’t real, that doesn’t make him any less real, and it doesn’t make those consequences any less serious.
A bit like those cases when someone stands before a court and says “I don’t recognise this court’s authority” – because, for example, they don’t accept the sovereignty of the country in which they’re being judged. You can say that as much as you like, but does that change the fact that there’s a judge right there in front of you who actually has the power to judge you and to throw you into prison? Will your life in prison be any less real, just because you don’t recognise the judge’s authority?
I’m sadly hearing so many people speaking of God with contempt, and ignoring the very real danger they’re in. Including sometimes those who mistake Jesus for some kind of laid back Nice Guy in the Sky who doesn’t mind anything very much – wake up, people, this Jesus is the guy who went around calling people to repent, and warning them of hell!
Oh, but God is love, I hear you say – yes, he is, the Bible says so. It doesn’t mean that he puts up with sin and injustice. Read the Bible with your eyes open and see for yourselves – this is the God who destroyed almost the whole of the earth in a flood; this is the God who rained down fire and sulphur onto the city of Sodom. And think about injustice – think about those people who do stuff that you personally regard as utterly wrong and evil, and ask yourself: would you like God to ignore that stuff?
Most people would like to see evil punished – but most of us have our own ideas of what does or doesn’t count as evil, we make up our own rules, and we make excuses for ourselves and for those we love: I couldn’t help it; it wasn’t so bad; etc. But when we face God on the day of judgement, what will matter then isn’t what we think but what God says, and he has very high standards. Jesus said if you call someone an idiot that’s as bad as murder – and how many of us have never done that?
The world is full of people who think they’re ok, but when we come face to face with God and see ourselves through his eyes, our self righteousness disappears. You know about those people who brought a woman to Jesus saying she’d been caught committing adultery (the penalty for which was death by stoning)? They wouldn’t have done that if they weren’t used to thinking of themselves as righteous people. But when Jesus said “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” they all disappeared, because face to face with God they couldn’t pretend any more.
None of us are righteous. None of us live up to God’s standards. And each and every one of us is going to stand before him on the day of judgement. The time for repentance is now, when you still can. If you have been holding God in contempt, you need to repent. If you have been pretending he isn’t real, don’t wait until that day when it’s too late – recognise him now, when you can still take him up on his offer of salvation, redemption, being made right with him through the blood of his own Son.
Oh, but if he loves us then why doesn’t he [insert whatever it is that you think God should do] – you and I do not have the right to dictate terms to our Maker. We are in no position to negotiate or make demands. We come to him on his terms. Because he is God.