Category Archives: judging

God’s Not Dead 2 Movie Warns of Scary Judgment by God But What Is God’s Judgment Really?

 

One of the noted lines in the movie God’s Not Dead 2 is,

“I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world, than stand with the world and be judged by God.”

 

Stand With God Not Be Judged movieGrace Wesley, the main character, was not going to be afraid to say the name Jesus and concluded her stand with Jesus meant she would avoid God’s judgment, but the world would get what’s coming to them.

Gee whiz, the implications of this quote are an offense to all that Jesus did for the world –in His incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension! Yet, most religious Christians would say a hearty ‘Amen!’ to Grace’s seemingly brave conclusion.

World, Please Forgive

No wonder the world is offended by and critical of religious Christianity. No wonder there was vitriol portrayed by unbelievers in this movie. I am sorry World for how we have presented God. Please forgive us, we are perpetuating lies about God to you, and even ourselves.

Comeback

Now some believers will get up in arms. They will vociferously declare, “We shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.” (Rom 14:10)

Great! I love this verse, for it speaks of intimacy and of complete revelation of our true identity, actually of all men’s true identity.

Say what?!

Context for the Judgment Seat

To grasp the fullness of this beautiful welcoming “judgment seat”, let’s consider the context –  Romans chapter 9-15, dealing with judging others.

Paul is challenging the Jews with their uppity self-righteousness, their exclusivity, and being offended that God would include Gentiles. Paul blasted away with Isaiah’s bold words – “I was found by those who did not seek Me; I was made visible and was comprehended by those who did not ask for Me.” (Rom 10:20) Yikes, that shoots a hole in the traditional sinner’s prayer!

“Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand for God is able to make him stand.” (Rom 14:4)

“So why do you judge your brother, why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.” (Rom 14:10)

The Judgment Seat via Greek

Here’s the skinny on Rom 14:10-12 through Greek meanings. It’s wondrous!

…We will all stand close beside the elevated place, the throne of God. For the Lord says, “As I live, every knee shall bow to Me and every tongue shall confess – i.e. consent fully, give thanks, praise, fully agree and acknowledge that agreement openly and without reservation, to God.” Therefore, each of us with full comprehension of himself, shall give ‘logos’ (a word, divine utterance, ‘logos’ is used preeminently of  incarnate Christ Jesus to express the thoughts of the Father) to God. Therefore, let’s not judge one another anymore.

Please note:

  • the same Greek word for stand is used in Lk 2:22 when Jesus was ‘presented’ to the Lord – i.e. stand, ready to present, to bring near into fellowship and intimacy. There is no standing and trembling in either of these passages. Hmmm.
  • most translations use the word ‘account’ – give an account to God. Sounds scary! But the Greek word is ‘logos’!

In summary – while being close to Him, everyone will bow and give thanks to Him, as they fully see their true identity in Christ Jesus and totally agree with God’s logic.

Amazing!

Dig In

  • Judgment of all sin took place at the Cross. His death brought the end of sin. There is no more judgment for sin. (Heb 9:26, 10:10,12 2Cor 5:21  Jn 1:29) Why do we still fear that and proclaim it?
  • Jesus does not judge according to the flesh. Paul finally got that by revelation. (Jn 8:15 2Cor 5:13-16)
  • Judgment is scary to many Christians. Our legalistic, works-driven, guilt-induced, fear-filled mind set cannot comprehend that God has always been for us, desires us, enjoys us. In our religious stupor we simply cannot grasp that God truly reconciled the world to Himself. May revelation undo you, so you can stand with God in agreement about His wondrous judgment of innocence and reconciliation for all. (Eph 1:4,5 3:19  2Tim 1:9  1Jn 4:17 2Cor 5:19 Col 1:22) It is part of growing in fullness. It will change your perspective!

Does Good Friday Make You Feel Bad Religious Christianity Wants You To

The focus of Jesus’ horrific death on Good Friday certainly results in many ‘feeling bad’ about what happened. Maybe it should be called BAD FRIDAY?

Good Friday Guilt

A lot of “it’s my fault” or “mea culpa” happens on Good Friday.

Does God find pleasure in our ‘mea culpa’?

Even as Good Friday elicits major guilt and condemnation from believers, it is also leveraged to make ‘unbelievers’ feel really bad, with hopes they will finally believe in Jesus. What a way to come into the kingdom – through guilt, fear, and sorrow.

Is that how God wants us to feel? Is that how God wants unbelievers to ‘get saved’?

Does God want and appreciate our guilt, condemnation, remorse, and regret over Jesus’ crucifixion?

Hmm, I wonder how much God looks forward to the religious Good Friday services that make us feel so bad?

What really happened on Good Friday

What really came down during Jesus’ crucifixion? All blue skies at the Cross_photo by aaron burdenNotice, it has nothing to do with making you feel bad. In fact, the truth about His death should make you feel GLAD – very glad!

  • God so loved (take pleasure in, esteemed, wish well to) the world He gave His Son…not to judge the world (Jn 3:16,17)
  • When we were weak/ helpless/impotent/ without strength Christ died for us. Realize that scarcely for a righteous man or even a good man would one would die, (Rom 5:6,7)
  • God demonstrated His love toward us that while we were still sinners, His Son died for us – much more then we were justified/made righteous, acquitted, approved) by His blood (Rom 5:8,9)
  • When we were enemies/hostile/with deep seated hatred, we were reconciled/decisively changed to God on account of His Son’s death (Rom 5:10)
  • Much more having been reconciled, we are saved/healed/ preserved/rescued by/inside/within) Jesus’ life (Rom 5:10). Indeed, on top of this, we are rejoicing/boasting/exulting/with head up high in God on account of Jesus Christ (Rom 5:11)
  • Since One died for all, all died (2Cor 5:14), therefore we were buried with Him into His death – and just as Christ was raised from the dead, so we also walk in newness of life (Rom 6:4)
  • The Father was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting the trespasses against them (2Cor 5:19)
  • For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured/remained under/persevered the cross, despising/looking down on/scorning/disregarding the shame/disgrace (Heb 12:2)
  • He reconciled both Jew and Gentile to God in one body on account of the cross (Eph 2:16)
  • You once thought you were enemies with God, but He reconciled you in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and blameless (Col 1:21,22)
  • You were dead in your trespasses, but He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven you all your trespasses (Col 2:13
  • He saved us and called/named/invited us with a holy calling/summons, not according to our works, but according to His purpose and grace – given to us in Christ Jesus before time began (2Tim 1:9)
  • By God’s will we have been sanctified on account of the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (Heb 10:10)
  • This Man after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God (Heb 10:12)
  • By one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified/(set apart as holy (Heb 10:14)
  • Their sins He remembers no more, thus no longer an offering for sin, and we have boldness to enter His presence by a new and living way that He consecrated for us through His flesh (Heb 10:17-20)
  • We draw near in full assurance of faith/divine persuasion – free from an evil conscience and our whole being washed clean/guiltless/innocent (Heb 10:22)

There are many more scriptures, but can you begin to see a pattern here? Please don’t let religious tradition and mind sets blind you from the fullness of truth!

Bottom line

Good Friday is really a GLAD day – reconciliation, peace, sanctification, innocence restored, joy, the end of all sacrifice and works – happened!

Good Friday is not a time to feel guilty, mourn, and regret.

The God Head was rejoicing, because “It is finished.” Humanity/the cosmos is reconciled, healed, rescued, made whole – whether the cosmos knows it or not.

How God proved the reconciliation of all

Ever wonder why Jesus was raised from the dead?

Many might think it makes going to heaven possible or that God will now forgive us of our sins. Think bigger.

Jesus’s resurrection only happened because of our justification/acquittal/ divine approval. (Rom 4:25) Selah

Mind you, this justification has nothing to do with something we have to do. He justified us without our permission or pleading. He even forgave us without our asking for it. Goodness, who is this God?!

So, stop ‘feeling bad’ on Good Friday or any other day! It’s ALL good!

Dig In

  • Religion focuses on God’s wrath being poured out on the cross. But the Word points to a lot of intentional restoration and joy going on. God restored what He started in the first place when He made man in His image and likeness.
  • To grasp the power of the Resurrection, you have to grasp the power of Salvation that happened ONCE FOR ALL on the Cross.
  • Do not let religious Christianity steal joy on your Good Friday. Enter into this celebration with the lights on and overflowing gladness flooding your heart and mind – even before the Resurrection celebration happens!

Is God A Judge? What Is God’s Judgment? Who Gets Judged?

What is God’s judgment and who gets judged?

Many Christians believe God’s judgment happens when He comes back. He will separate the goats from the sheep. God will get those nasty evil people who refused to repent and ask Jesus into their lives.

My goodness what a vindictive and punitive mindset to have about God who loved the world!

Scary judgment versus True judgment

Judgment is a confusing and scary topic. Religion makes it so.

If we do not understand His judgment through His everlasting lovingkindness, then it will continue to be intimidating, unsettling, and fearful.

Understanding of true judgment comes when we recognize that everyone is made in the image of God, God does not make bad reflections, and He sent His Son to restore this truth.

Is God A Judge?

Does God judge?

Sadly religious Christianity preaches that God is a judge – meaning, someday He will deal with all this sin in the world and all those sinners. He will pound the gavel and declare “guilty” or “innocent”.

Really?

What do we do with the following scriptures that negate this religious vindictive punitive mindset?

  • God didn’t send His Son to judge the world, but that the world be saved through Jesus. (Jn 3:17)
  • The Father judges no one (nothing) but gave all judgment to the Son. (Jn 5:22)
  • I can do nothing of Myself. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. (Jn 5:30)
  • You judge according to the flesh, I judge no one. (Jn 8:15)
  • …I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. (Jn 12:47)
  • God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them. (2Cor 5:19)
  • While we were sinners, Christ died for us and justified us by His blood and saved us. (Rom 5:8,9)
  • When we were enemies we were reconciled to God through His Son’s death, and since reconciled we are saved. (Rom 5:10)
  • Through one man’s offense judgment resulted, so through one Man’s righteous act resulted justification (GR. acquittal, absolution, approval) to all. (Rom5:18)

Sure looks like God is a non-judge Judge! Or His definition of judging is certainly different than ours.

Example of non-Judge judging

When Jesus said, “you judge according to the flesh, I judge no one”, He was speaking to those judging the woman caught in adultery. The self-righteous wanted to stone her to death, because the law commanded it.

But, Jesus had no words of condemnation. He came to fulfill (perfect) the law. Its perfection meant He spoke to her true identity. When He said ‘go and sin no more’, He didn’t mean do not commit adultery ever again. Jesus was exposing her emptiness and speaking of her true identity.

Sin (hamartia) means to have no share, to have no part, to be without, to be empty, to have no substance, to miss the mark.

Our mark, our identity, our part, our origin is God and He made us to enjoy and reflect His fullness of goodness. When we do things that don’t reflect Him we are without substance, without share. We are left empty as are others affected by our lack.

Jesus did not judge her actions, He spoke to her true being and for her “to be” so!

Meaning of Judge and Judgment

judge (krínō) – I judge, decide, to separate, distinguish, think good

judgment (krísis) – a decision, a judgment, divine judgment

Now, isn’t it interesting that ‘judge’ also means ‘think good’?

If “God is good and all the time God is good.”, then why wouldn’t His judgment be to ‘think good’ of all of us? Certainly something to think about.

Dig In

  • We tend to see judgment as a negative thing. We hope to escape God’s judgment because we believe it will be fierce. How quick we are to gloss over – God did not come to judge, but to save the whole wide world!
  • God’s judgment is reconciliation, restoration, salvation. The Greek word for salvation means deliverance, preservation, healing, wholeness. God is not against man, He is for man – His wondrous reflection. We have believed lies about ourselves. God’s judgment dealt a death blow to those lies and falsehoods. One day He is coming to make it very clear who we all really are, in the meantime He is bringing this truth here and now. Yay!
  • If we understood what His judgement really means, then exceeding joy would be our confidence and perspective. One big result – we would judge with a “righteous judgment” – just like His.

Joy Came To Earth – Religion and The World Did Not Know And Still Don’t

Consider – before the Incarnation, God had not spoken to man (through the prophets) for over four hundred years! Selah

When God finally had something to say it centered on joy and a Person!

Even though this joy was for the whole wide world, joy happened in a small and ‘hidden’ way, consequently religion and the world didn’t know it and still don’t!

‘Hidden’ Joy

God’s way – small, hidden, humble.Mary Greets Elizabeth

Look at these small ‘hidden’ joy-filled encounters involving the Incarnation story. Note Greek meaning elaborations included.

  • Elizabeth shouted with clamorous screaming that was extremely boisterous with great emotion as she explained, upon hearing the sound of Mary’s voice, how her baby John in utero – leaped skipped, bounded with exuberant, wild, ecstatic, delightful joy! (Lk 1:39-45)
  • Mary, while pregnant with Jesus, extolled that her spirit was experiencing a gladness that was jumping in celebration! (Lk 1:47)
  • The angel, standing before the shepherds, reassuringly and excitedly declared – Don’t be afraid, I bring good news of great and large joy! It is a joy because of grace recognized. And this joyful news is for ALL the people!” (Lk 2:9,10)
  • Then suddenly the sky filled with a multitude of heavenly host, who brought the message to conclusion – “peace to the earth and goodwill, happiness, favor, and delight in men”. (Lk 2:13,14)Heavenly Host Declaring Peace and Goodwill Towards All
  • The Shepherds urgently went searching for the babe. Can you imagine their wide-eyed excitement and anticipatory joy at what they would find? Afterwards encountering, they spread abroad this joyful good news. Those who heard marveled and were astonished. Perhaps because it came from shepherds! (Lk 2:16-18)
  • The Wise Men, after their arduous long-seeking journey, when they saw the star standing still to indicate where Jesus was, rejoiced with excessive, violent, extreme, great, loud, even fierce joy and delight. (Mt 2:9-10)
  • The earth was given a declaration of peace – i.e. a sense of welfare, to tie together into a whole, God’s gift of wholeness. Imagine the joy with that kind of ‘togetherness’! (Lk 2:14)

Joy Is The Focus Not Sin

When Jesus became flesh it was a happy, exuberant celebration. Joy for the world was the Godhead’s focus in coming to earth. Sadly, sin is religion’s focus for His coming.Oh The Joy!

Please realize Jesus did not have to come, He wanted to come to restore truth. Jesus came to show us who the Father really is and who we really are. (Jn 14:9 2Tim 1:9)

God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but that the world be saved, preserved, rescued on account of His Son. (Jn 3:17)

God’s joy over us propelled Him to come and remove the emptiness of sin that was keeping us from real relationship with Him.

Sin literally means ‘without form, having no substance’. Truly when we sin there is no fullness in it. It leaves us formless and empty in the long run.

God hates that emptiness. He originally made us to enjoy His fullness. Jesus came to restore that fullness. That is why God was so happy when, after 400 years, the fullness of time had come to reveal His eternal joy over us and restore access to the fullness.

Dig In

  • At times it can seem God is nowhere to be found, all is silent, life seems hopeless. But joy is coming. He might surprise you in a humble hidden way. Be open to believe (be persuaded) and receive, just like Mary. (Lk 1:38)
  • If you live in fear and guilt in your relationship with God, then know that is a religious relationship. Repent = change your religious mindset! Joy is a huge part of  God’s kind of relationship. Ask for the real deal. He longs for you to have it.
  • The Incarnation is huge – it means God enjoys our human ‘be-ing’. And God is not partial in His enjoyment. Consider – He made known to illiterate poor shepherds (the lowliest of people in that culture and time) something profound. In the darkness and quiet of the night He let them encounter  the supernatural and hear heaven-resounding news that affected the whole wide world. The shepherds didn’t grasp it all. But, they were one little hidden way He expressed His value of all mankind.

Joy to the world the Lord has come!

Oh the Fullness in hidden smallness!

What Did Jesus Mean Go and Sin No More?

Jesus’ last words to the woman caught in adultery were, “Go and sin no more.”

What in the world did He mean?

Before we get to that let’s review a few key points of Jesus’ actions from the post/video “Huge Meanings Why Jesus Stooped Wrote On The Ground and Raised Up Jn 8:2-11

Jesus Stoops for the Woman Caught in Adultery

Jesus stooped down – Jn 8:6,8

  • ‘stooped’ – Greek bend, bow the head
  • He put Himself in a weak position
  • Jesus became vulnerable
  • made Himself lower than the woman caught in adultery, thereby making her above Him (remember He came to lift us up to our original exalted position in Him – Eph ??? 2:4-6
  • He was identifying with the woman who was being shamed, put down, and accused
  • by bowing His head in essence He was cowering, like one would do if fearful and ready to be harmed. He was identifying with this woman.
  • He even put Himself lower than the accusers and essentially implying stone Me! I will take the blows for all your accusations towards her.

Jesus wrote on the ground  – Jn 8:6,8

  • Greek ‘on’ – properly, into – literally ‘motion into which implying penetration’, union, to a particular purpose or result
  • by writing in the dirt He was prophetically showing His oneness with humanity. The Creator of mankind became flesh and penetrated the dirt from whence we came. A prophetic union had taken place!
  • Getting His hand ‘dirty’ showed He had no aversion to mankind.
  • Greek for ‘ground’ means earth, soil, land, inhabitants of a region. It is also the same word used to describe Adam/mankind, i.e. “of the earth” (1Cor 15:47)

Jesus raised Himself up – Jn 8:7,10

  • ‘raised’ – Greek raised Myself, look up, am elated
  • a picture of His resurrection after He had stooped to identify with mankind
  • in raising Himself up Jesus got face to face, eye to eye – not only with the accusers the first time, but then with the woman caught in adultery. In those connections He was demonstrating to them their worth, their true identity, and the relational essence of their being with God.
  • a picture of the Godhead’s elation over the restoration and reconciliation that They knew was coming. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross. (Heb 12:2)

Note: when Jesus called her ‘Woman’, He was using a word that also means wife or my lady.  He was referring to her with respect. There is even an implication of the Bride of Christ with this word.

 Religion’sGo and sin no more’ meaning

  • Sober up.
  • Don’t you dare blow it again.
  • I have high expectations of you, in fact I demand perfection.
  • You need to try harder.
  • Don’t disappoint Me.
  • For all I’ve done for you, now you owe Me.
  • I don’t condemn you this time, but if there is a next time don’t expect such leniency.
  • It’s moral behavior I want, so be good.

Remember – Jesus prefaced “Go and sin no more” with “Neither do I condemn you.”

 Neither in the Greek is a big word. It means – neither indeed, not even, moreover not. It introduces a statement whose negation totally invalidates and rules out the statement that precedes it.

In other words, Jesus is saying ‘no condemnation allowed from anyone’ – even though the law says there should be condemning consequences, even death!

Jesus’ ‘Go and sin no more’ meaning

Therefore My lady –

go (Greek – move from one destination to another, depart from here and reach a particular destination)

and (indeed, even, moreover, also)

from (away from)

now (just at hand, immediately, now in light of what has gone before)

no more (no longer)

sin (without a part, a share; properly having no share in, without substance or form)

My loose translation based on insight into the Greek words:

‘My lady, your destination is not to be stoned, you have a better destination. Go away from what is at hand. Go away from what just transpired with all its accusations and legal requirements. You have a particular destination to reach so move to it. Leave the past behind. No longer be without your part and share of what I have for you. Stop believing lies about yourself. Repent, change your way of thinking. No longer stoop to a lesser identity. I did not make you to be formless but to have substance – to have significance, value, respect. Be who you really are! You belong and we are one! I rose up to show you how elated I am over you. So go your way, free to be all I made you to be. I made you for fullness of being – being My fullness in your own unique way!’

Can you just imagine the transformation that happened to that woman? She encountered the God of the universe, the God whose name the religious people would not even pronounce, the God who looked just like her – looking her in the face, eyes to eyes – saying in essence I love you, I value you, never will I condemn you, go and be who you really are.

Hmm, did she walk away with her head held high, a smile on her face, a skip in her step, and her eyes bright with who she really was? I’m thinkin’ so. She just faced truth and heard truth that set her free – free indeed! Gosh, imagine what all those accusers and onlookers thought of that?!

 Dig In

  • No matter what wrongs you do or mistakes you make, God will never ever condemn you. He specifically came to show you how valuable you are to Him, that you have always been precious, and never deserving of condemnation and judgment.  By the way – sin was judged, not mankind. (Jn 3:17  Jer 31:3  Heb 9:26  Heb 10:10)
  • You are never stuck in sin. Begin to realize He lifted you out of that formless place. Go and grow in revelation of the beauty of your being that began before time began – and BE IT! (1Tim 1:9,10)
  • Jesus ‘stooped’ below us in order to ‘raise’ us up to His level. Oh the glory of His inheritance in us! (Rom 4:25  Eph 2:6  Eph 1:18)

Jesus’ Gospel The Woman Caught In Adultery Includes Us!

Have you ever considered that the woman caught in adultery is a wonderful picture of us?

Now some might be offended that I would place them in company with an adulterer.

Isn’t it interesting how we Christians can get so hung up on particular sins, itemize them, prioritize them, and hence easily accuse. We decide which sins are really bad, which ones are allowable, and even which ones are not worth considering as sin.

Back to the woman caught in adultery being like us. This story in John 8:3-10 shows how Jesus brought out His scoop shovel to remove the mess she got caught in, as well as remove the mess she was drug into.

What Jesus did in this situation totally deconstructs the false teaching explained in my previous post. Our traditional religious Christian Gospel preaches that our salvation is up to us, Jesus begs to differ with that.

Click on the video to discover the true Gospel,, preached by Jesus Himself. Get the full scoop and nothing but the scoop.

Dig In

  • Grasp that His scoop shovel can handle and remove any mess.  And even in the midst of a mess, He does not condemn you.
  •  Seriously, why would God condemn someone made in His image? He knows our life, our experiences, our traumas, our poor choices, our misperceptions – and in the midst of that He values us.
  • When we realize we are not accused by God, then it sure makes it harder to want to accuse others. That is part of fullness!

Your Sin Influences God and God Judges You. Really?

Do you believe your sin influences God in His attitude, feeling, or actions towards you?

Judgment on sin

  • Is God going to judge you for your sin?
  • What if you have repented of your sins, is God still judging you for new sins?
  • Does God send people to hell because of certain sins? How about those people who are cutting off heads, of late?
  • What about Robin Williams, was he judged for his sins?

If “Yes” is to any of the above questions, then know that you are bound up in a religious Christian mindset that believes in a false Gospel.

The true Good News really is good news, not ‘kind of’ good news.

The False Good News – YOU must deal with your sin

Traditional Christianity teaches that sin still needs to be dealt with.

And if you don’t deal with it by

  1. Acknowledging you are a sinner
  2. Repenting of your sins – i.e. feel sorry for your awful self and be deeply remorseful
  3. Ask, plead, beg God to forgive you
  4. Ask God to cleanse you
  5. Ask Jesus to be your Savior and Lord

Then you cannot go to heaven. In other words you get to go to hell.

It’s up to YOU

It is up to you to determine your eternal place after this earthly life.

My, what a big responsibility and requirement we put on ourselves and everyone! What bondage the traditional religious mindset has put on ‘believers’ and ‘unbelievers’!

Horror or delight

With this kind of conditional ‘it’s up to you’ religious ‘Good News’ comes our clear determination of who won’t or will make it to heaven. Our determination will be much to our horror or much to our delight.

Here’s how it works

  • horror if your beloved relative or dear friend has not done the religious steps to secure a place in heaven
  • delight if your beloved ones did go through the steps to attain heavenly security
  • delight because certain one, for example – ‘vicious head chopping terrorist’, have to go to hell (because we know there’s no way they will do the salvation steps and obviously are not worthy to go to heaven anyway)
  • horror to imagine that someone like those ‘vicious head chopping terrorist’ could possibly even get into heaven – just the possibility of it is nauseating

Sin Controls God is impotent

Do you realize this kind of religious thinking gives power to sin and implies that God is impotent?!

It says in effect

  • the torture Jesus experienced was not sufficient
  • Jesus’ death was not enough
  • God’s love is conditional
  • you have to live in uncertainty in your relationship with God
  • your sin dictates God’s actions
  • your sin determines God’s feelings toward you
  • evil ultimately controls and influences God
  • your actions determine whether you are on God’s good side or God’s bad side
  • God is fickle, schizophrenic, unpredictable, partial, demanding

Many Christians are fixated on this delusional perceived power of sin and the requirements to clean up their act.

Crap or Truth

If you identify with any of the above ‘crap’ (excuse my language, but remember even Paul used ‘dung’ to describe all his self-righteous efforts – Php 3:8), then please know God does not want you stuck in this.Scoop Shovel of Truth Deals With Religious Crap He has a big shovel to get rid of it for you.

 

This scoop shovel is powered by Truth. Truth sets you free. Jesus came to set you free, free indeed. (Jn 8:22) Hey, do we even know what that means?!

 

Dig In

  • Know up front, your sin does not in any way, affect how God feels about you. He thinks you are wonderful and have always been wonderful.
  • Religious Christianity focuses on sin. That is not God’s focus, so why should it be yours? (Heb 10:17)
  • Do you really understand judgment when it comes to God? Do you realize that we put our notion of judgment onto God? You will be amazed at the judgment already wrought by Jesus. God’s justice and judgment are nothing like our worldly way of justice and judgment. His wonderful judgment on you is part of your fullness and your certainty!

P.S. Next post – exploring His wonderful Scoop Shovel of Truth.

God Was Not Angry With Saul of Tarsus, Nor Is God Angry At You Or The Taliban!

Has God ever been angry at you? Could He get angry at you if you do the wrong thing?

How about God being angry at the Taliban? Surely, He’s had it with the recently released “Taliban Dream Team”? Isn’t God ready to destroy them for all the mass killing they have done?Is God Angry?

Talking about destruction, are you ready to have your misperceptions about an angry God blown up? Some might say “Oh, yes!” Then there will be some who say, “No way! I know I am totally right in my world view of God. I know all my doctrines, traditions, teachings are totally accurate. Don’t you mess with my religious paradigms.” If your response is the latter, please stop reading.

Let’s see if Saul of Tarsus’ encounter with Jesus blows holes in our mindsets about an angry God.

Saul of Tarsus’ actions should anger God

  • destroyed, ravaged, harassed believers (the church)
  • exceedingly enraged against Christians
  • punished believers
  • murdered and agreed to killing many believers
  • compelled believers to blaspheme Christ’s name
  • persecuted the church, known as the Way
  • imprisoned men and women, and beat them
  • was extremely zealous for his traditions and God
  • believed he was obeying his God and doing the right thing

See any similarities when it comes to the Taliban, Al Qaeda, dedicated terrorists?

God’s Response

What was God’s response to Saul’s raging actions? Beat him up? Reject him? Doom him to hell? Have nothing to do with Saul until he repented his brains out?

For some reason, I had this picture that Saul got knocked off his donkey by that bright light, as he traveled to Damascus. Maybe it was from a cartoon or an illustration about this story? Anyway, with that image in my imagination, I read into this Damascus Road story a violent interruption by God.

To my surprise, there is no donkey mentioned in Paul’s account! It is just a brilliant light surrounding Saul, and he then falls to the ground. So much for an angry God!

Paul believed in an angry God

Now remember, Saul’s upbringing included doing many sacrifices to keep God happy. Hey, kind of like the heathens appeasing all their pagan deities with their sacrifices! Hmmm.

As far as Saul/Paul was concerned, he and God were on the same page. You blow it, you don’t follow the one true God, you pay. Hence, Saul’s ravaging anger and destruction.

But God had a good plan for Saul/Paul. God knew who he really was, what He had made in His image. And God knew the perfect timing to awaken Saul to His unconditional love for him and Paul’s true identity. No wonder Paul would later pen, “nothing can separate us from the love of God…!”

Misguided zeal

Paul gained greater clarity – “they have a zeal for God but not in accordance with knowledge.” (Rom 10:2) My, what zeal Saul had for his ‘god’. Of course it was a vindictive zeal. Boy, was he off! God is not vindictive, and never has been.

Saul’s vindictive zeal came out of self righteousness! Saul of Tarsus had been totally ignorant of God’s righteousness, and was good at establishing his own. (Rom 10:3)  After all, he followed the letter of the law to the “T”.

What knowledge?

Now, what is this “knowledge” of which Paul speaks?

Knowledge in the face of Christ Jesus! (2Cor 4:6)

Hey, remember, that Jesus said, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father…No one knows the Father except the Son…the Father and I are One…the Father who dwells in Me does the works themselves…the Father tells Me what I should say…If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also…”

Saul thought he knew God. But he didn’t because He didn’t know Jesus. It was only when Jesus showed up that Saul/Paul finally began to know the One true God.

Did Jesus ever pour out wrath on anyone while He walked this earth? Nope. Have you ever pondered how nonviolent Jesus was?

Somehow we forget that Jesus was showing us exactly who the Father God was. We still like to impose man’s misunderstanding and limited view of God in the Old Testament onto who Jesus displayed God to be.

God did speak in various times and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days He gave His final word about Himself, and us, through His Son. (Heb 1:1-3) We must look to Jesus, and Jesus only, to see who God really is!

No longer judge according to the flesh

If we truly understand Jesus’ words, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.”, then we would no longer judge anyone according to the flesh. Jesus said, I judge no one. (Jn 8:15) Paul said, in light of the reconciliation that happened at the cross, they too, no longer regard anyone according to the flesh. (2Cor 5:16)

God and Jesus were not angry with Saul. They did not judge Saul according to the flesh, nor do they judge anyone that way. Even so, God and Jesus are not angry at the Taliban. And God and Jesus are not angry at you either. In fact, the One true God is not angry at anybody!

Dig In

  • God knows how to arrest everyone’s attention to get them to see the truth about His love and acceptance. If He did that for Saul/Paul, wouldn’t He do it for the “Taliban Dream Team”? Wouldn’t He do it for everyone? After all, God is impartial.
  • God loved the world. And He still loves the world. If violent behavior is not beyond God’s love, then why would we think anything else would be either?
  • God is Love. Love bears all things – even our misunderstandings of Him. Love endures all things. Love never fails. Truly love won at the cross. There was no ‘God anger or wrath’ at the cross, only reconciliation. (2Cor 5:19) Any anger that you think was there is man’s own anger. We were ‘enemies’ (Greek – hostile) in our minds. (Col 1:21) Ditch the anger mindset about God – it is a lie.

What Does It Mean to Abide In The Vine? Part Two – False Vine Is Possible!

I ended my previous post with –  Next post we will find out what God had in mind about abiding! You just might be surprised!

In light of some fresh insights that happened yesterday, about Jesus’ passage of ‘abiding’, I need to postpone the surprise of what it really means to abide. I think these additional nuggets will wow you, like they did me.

So hang on for a series of good stuff about John 15:1-12!

The previous post, Part One, talked about things we do that enable us to abide in the vine. In and of themselves they can be part of growing in our relationship with God, but they are not what Jesus was specifically talking about when it comes to abiding.

This post, Part Two, exposes the false vine possibility!

Jesus said, “I am the TRUE vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” (Jn 15:1, Emphasis added.)

This implies there can be a false vine and even a false vinedresser!

The Father would not tend to a false vine, right? He’d be wasting His time and not being true to Himself. Thus, if we are abiding in a false vine, then that means we could have someone (or a thing) tending to us that is not a true vinedresser/husbandman/worker of the soil. Hey, this could also mean the possibility of  false fruit!Abiding In A False Vine or the True Vine

Gosh, what could a false vine possibly be?

  • a particular denomination/non-denomination/house church
  • a pastor (certain personality and teaching style)
  • doctrines
  • rituals
  • the Bible
  • ministry
  • other believers (AKA fellowship)

Am I saying these are bad? No. But, they can be if they are substitutes for the real deal. Taken to extreme, they could even be idols! That is when they are really ‘bad’ for us. Those things cannot produce fullness or fruitfulness, even though they might ‘feel’ or look like they do.

How to know if these things are not false vines:

  • they are not your identity or even make up part of your identity
  • they do not consume your time and energy
  • they do not lure or sway your thoughts and emotions
  • they do not control you (e.g. through guilt, fear, condemnation, manipulation)
  • they point you to Jesus
  • they help unfold the wonder of Jesus
  • they help you fall more in love with Jesus
  • they increase your love for all the ‘branches’

Obviously Jesus made it clear we are to abide in Him, and Him only. But that can seem nebulous, confusing, or difficult. How do you abide in something you can’t see? Then He talked about pruning, casting out branches, and fire stuff. Yikes!

So maybe this abiding in Him doesn’t look so good in light of ‘judgment’ that seems to be part of His telling us to abide?

Maybe, those substitutes aren’t so bad after all? They can seem to have an appearance of abiding, so isn’t that good enough? Then I don’t have to think about those verses of being cut off and thrown into the fire.

If you have any judgment notions about ‘abiding in the vine’ then please know religion’s ‘fallen man gospel’ has duped you. You are being deceived by false teaching that nullifies the Word of God.
(Mark 7:1-13)

Okay, enough of that religious mindset of hell fire, better watch out, naughty or nice junk! This kind of twisted and confused thinking has propped up our notion that God can be mean, even if He is joyful.

This false teaching actually promotes a false vine and leads to continued uncertainty in one’s relationship with God.

As true abiding unfolds in up coming posts you will see the tenderness, supply, nurturing, fullness, and joy of it all!

Stay tuned. You will never look at abiding as an uncertain and scary dynamic of Christian living again.

Dig In

  • There is an ease and a rest in abiding in the true vine. If you get uptight about abiding then just figure you have heard false teaching. Truth is on the way to bring you pure abiding.
  •  Scary prospects come with the traditional religious gospel message. The true Gospel has nothing but certainty, clarity, paradoxical and illogical grace, compassion, love that never fails, faithfulness that covers our unfaithfulness. Abide in truth, ditch the false uncertain junk.
  • Enjoy and receive from those ‘things’ that make Jesus even more real and nourishing. They can be an asset towards abiding in Him, and in Him alone. But remember true abiding is empowered by the Spirit of God. (1Jn 4:13)