The Christian life can be likened to traveling up this rocky path up a mountain where we can only see enough to get to our next destination. We climb a bit, run into some fog or clouds and either keep climbing, wander in circles until we find our way out, or retreat back where we can see where we are. This thought was driven home from various Preachers at our last Camp Meeting, at Old Time Baptist Church. The theme was Higher Ground.
Where I want to tackle things from perhaps another angle is this thought. On our path are ditches on both sides, on the far right and the far left. Most of us tend to fall into one or the other and we tend to stay there. The Bible says in John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. God does the drawing. The extreme ditch where many fall into over this verse is the doctrine of Calvinism, which says that man has no free will in this matter. If that were the case men would be robots. Romans 10:13 says For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Modern evangelism ignores the doctrines of repentance and becoming a new creature AFTER salvation and teaches that if someone cries LORD SAVE ME yet wants to continue on in their sin, they are saved. That flies in the face of other bible doctrines. John 14:28 says Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. Jehovah Witnesses take that verse out of context and say that proves Jesus isn’t God. Jesus was merely referring to his humanity. The Bible says in Ephesians 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ. Jesus is 100% God.
The great Christian Songwriter, Billy Joel (I am kidding), sang, “Why do I go to extremes?” That would be a great theme for Christianity. The key is balance. God is the perfect balance. A just God, yet a loving God. A consuming fire, yet the good Shepherd. The God who created the flames of hell for the devil and his angels, yet created a beautiful heaven where the Bible in 1st Corinthians 2:9 says, But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
The Bible says in 1st John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Jehovah Witnesses use that verse, “God is Love” to say, “See there is no way a loving God could send anyone to hell.” That is false human reasoning, because that ignores all the other attributes of God. The Bible shows the three offices of God, in Isaiah 33:22 For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us. Jesus is our King of Kings, but that doesn’t mean he loves sin. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil. A just judge must punish sin wherever it is found. Imagine facing a judge and being guilty of serious crimes and telling the judge you heard how loving he is and hence expected him to let him go.
Today we have lost a balanced view of God. Most modern circles paint God as this loving warm and fuzzy sweater wearing grandfather of the sky who could care less how we live. Cultists like the military bashing Hyper Calvinists of Hillsboro Baptist Church that wrongly preach “God hates fags” paint an opposite view of God. The Bible gives us the balance. Sin is a by-product of our rebellious nature, and God will punish sin, but at Calvary the love of God met the justice of God. God poured out his wrath and hatred of sin on the cross. John 3:16 says For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Jonah 4:2 says And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.
Do we have a balanced view of God? The right balance will cause us to fear him who hath the power to cast us into hell. Yet love him with all our heart because he died in our place.