Did you know that God loves you regardless of your performance or service to Him? Unfortunately, this is not the picture religion paints.
The majority of ministers tell their congregations that they must “earn” God’s favor. There are different variations of how they deliver this doctrine, but each fundamentally leads Christians away from grace into a relationship based on works.
Most of the religions of our day preach a performance-based relationship. The Gospel message is supposed to be good news, but this distorted focus on our works removes the “good” from its message.
You cannot earn God’s favor which is why Jesus had to die as our substitute. There are a lot of people who do not understand this.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:1)
God will never condemn us for falling short. He knows that we are human and incapable of earning His favor and so sent Jesus to serve as our substitute.
For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant. But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath. For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again. (Psalm 78:37 – 39)
Psalm 78 provides an account of Israel’s rebellion in the wilderness. They lived before the time of Jesus, but still, God had mercy. How much more should we expect the same living under a covenant of grace?
Many of you may have heard the teaching that God loves you based on your performance. He loved you so much that Jesus was given as your sacrifice approximately two thousand years before you were born. If God loved you enough to give His only begotten son to redeem you, why do you think He would now base His love for you on your performance?
Religion preaches a works-based relationship with God that never leads to a positive Christian experience. I am not surprised that so many people have no interest in becoming Christian. We run around like chickens with their head cut off, hoping to earn God’s favor and wear ourselves out. The unsaved see this and want nothing to do with the God we serve.
The Gospel message Jesus left for us to preach is that God loves us independent of our performance. He knows we are human and bases His love for us solely on His grace.
I have heard people make accusations that the grace message allows people to live in any way they desire. Nothing could be further from the truth. When you truly understand God’s love, you will live a holy life as a fruit of your salvation.
Holiness will never be required to obtain a relationship or favor with God. It is a byproduct of our relationship with Him.
I know that this may sound too good to be true. It is radically different from what is being taught in most churches today. My prayer for this book is that it will help you develop a deep intimate relationship with the loving God I serve who so desires to spend time with you.
You must realize God loves you regardless of who you are. He is not interested in your works and has put no requirements that you must meet besides believing in your heart that Jesus is your Lord to fellowship with Him.
God’s wrath for our sin was placed on Jesus when He went to the cross. The price for our sins has been paid so entirely that God can finally draw us into His presence to fellowship with Him. That is the good news of the Gospel message.
The price of our sins is paid, but still, very few Christians seem to understand the God they serve. In the following pages, I will be sharing things that the Holy Spirit has taught me about Him.
Relationships require an understanding of the other person. You will not develop an intimate relationship with any person you thought was cruel, harsh, or mean. It doesn’t matter if the person is God or another human being. None of us want to spend time with a mean and angry person.
People are constantly evaluating those around them. We do not necessarily do this consciously, but there are people too who we will want to spend time with and people we won’t. Our relationship with God is no different.
It is only natural to evaluate God based on what people and ministers tell us about Him and how those who call themselves Christian live. If this input provides an impression that He is angry with us and His people are suffering just like their unsaved neighbors, why would we want to serve Him?
The Lord called me to attend Bible college in 1990 at a school in Oklahoma. My denomination did not agree with the teaching, leaving me with a hard choice. Our district had a monthly breakfast for local ministers, which I usually attended. One of these was held the week before I left, and when I sat at a table, all of the other ministers got up and went to other tables. They knew about my choice to attend this school and were unwilling to fellowship with me!
I was naturally very defensive when school started due to how they had treated me. It was clear that God had called me to attend, but other than that, I knew very little about the school. Each day in class, the instructors kept taking us back to the Word of God. It became clear over time that my denomination had misrepresented the school.
My experience is illustrative of how people resist the idea of serving God today. His Church has misrepresented him to the point that many will not even give Him a chance to reveal Himself to them.
Ministers often portray God as full of wrath and the source of our suffering. They tell parents He “took” a child using sickness or disease. Victims of violent crime often believe that God is in control and has a purpose for their experience due to the error taught from pulpits. It does not surprise me that there are so many empty churches today!
I would never have attended the college if I had let the prejudices of my denomination sway me. Many people have heard awful things about God and allowed themselves to be convinced by the error.
Most of the ministers who teach these things have good hearts and believe they are doing good. They have been taught the error by their denominations and do not even realize the damage they are doing.
I believe in the Bible one hundred percent. It is the infallible Word of God, but it is split into two covenants. Old Testament saints were treated much differently by God because they lived before Jesus went to the cross and paid the price for humanity’s sin.
The Old Covenant depiction of God shows Him as being full of wrath. Many Christians view Him this way without realizing His anger has been satisfied by Jesus. God poured all of His judgment out on His Son at the cross.
Our God has always been, by nature, love. We will see that the depictions of His wrath are an exception in the Bible and were limited to people living under the Law.
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