How Do You See God? – Olamide Obire

Many of us who grew up in Christian homes are so disenchanted with the church. Many have left the church. The opinion of the world out there about the church isn’t any better. The message that they are hearing is:

“You’d better stop sinning, come to Christ and do your best to obey the law or else God will punish you.”

Because of this false gospel, the world sees us as a self-righteous people who think they are better than others because of their religion. They see angry preachers who are all about God demanding righteousness from the sinner and is intent on raining down punishment on anyone that does not abide by His laws. Some Christians even see God (wrongly) as a hard Taskmaster who will not bless unless you first grovel, go hungry, obey His law, do good deeds, sow seed and pay tithe.

Notice no Christ in this false equation of salvation? It is all about what you must do in order to be righteous, escape God’s wrath and get the blessing and not what Christ has done. Romans 5:9 tells us:

“And there is still much more to say of His unfailing love for us! For through the blood of Jesus we have heard the powerful declaration, “You are now righteous in My sight.” And because of the sacrifice of Jesus, you will never experience the wrath of God.”

Believer, NEVER means NEVER. In Christ, we will never experience the wrath of God, not because God has gone soft on sin but because Another took our suffering and died our death.

Believer, see God as your Daddy. The love of our earthly fathers cannot hold a candle to His love for us. What would you not do to make your own child live in triumph over sin and death and inherit your wealth if you had all the power to do so? Would you first expect him to grovel and beg like an outsider before feeding him? How much more our Abba Father who has poured out His grace (undeserved, unearned, unmerited favour) on us in all “wisdom and prudence” (Ephesians 1:7-cool and not recklessly that it needs “balancing” by human hands who try to add law to grace and so are “neither cold nor hot.”

This false gospel that is being peddled by false bible preachers says you will still face God’s wrath that Christ took for us unless you deploy your own arm of flesh that will fail aka human effort to doing right and obeying the law in order to be perfect before God. This is an effort in futility, “For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.” Romans 3:20.

This “obey the law to get/remain right with God” doctrine is not of Christ. It is what the Pharisees and teachers of religious law believed and practiced. They demanded righteousness from others yet they could not cast the first stone…no one can.

We who are living more than 2,000 years after the Pharisees can’t help but dislike them when we read about them in the Bible or watch that old movie “Jesus of Nazareth.” They seem so pompous and proud, boasting in their ability to obey the law, pointing out sins, dishing out punishment for sinners and eager to give the woman caught in adultery the punishment of death that she very much deserved, even though they could not cast the first stone. Christ showed them that they were no better than the woman they were about to kill. Instead of them to remain in the Light of the world and be saved from their sins, they slunk back into their darkness of trying to obey the law to get right with God. They rejected Christ, Grace-personified.

This no different from what is going on in many places of worship today. Christ is being rejected by many of these our “big pastors” and many followers too who teach and believe that their right-standing with God and having eternal life is based on their ability to obey the law and do good works; those who, like the Pharisees, deceive themselves by believing that “God blessed me because I paid my tithe and don’t wear make-up and jewellery.” These things amount to “a menstrual rag” before God according to Isaiah 64:6-

“We are all like one who is unclean, all our so-called righteous acts are like a menstrual rag in Your sight.”

Christ’s death is meaningless in the life of anyone who thinks that his own obedience of the law amounts to anything before God: “I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.” Galatians 2:21

Titus 2:14 tells us: “He gave His life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us His very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.”

But with this false gospel, the focus is on how God will punish sinners if they don’t obey and not on Christ’s love, how He frees us from every sin and judgment and transforms even the vilest offender to live right! It is no surprise that the world sees many Christians the same way we see the Pharisees and teachers of religious law – bigoted, pompous and self-righteous. No one wants to have anything to do with such people.

Believer, this is not the gospel of Christ!

Jesus saved the adulterous woman from the death that she deserved, free of charge, but “pastor” will tell you to go and fast and sow seed before God will deliver you from the troubles of your own making! No amount of fasting, promises to obey the law or begging could have saved the woman from the punishment that the law demanded, just as no amount of fasting, tithing and sowing seed can help anyone escape God’s wrath.

Believer, we are not under law but under Grace where sin does not have dominion. Try to obey the law in order to be godly and sin will have dominion, “For sin shall not have dominion over you for you are not under law but under Grace.” Romans 6:14.

Anyone who depends on the law (human effort at obedience) to get right with God or receive from Him is cursed/b]- Galatians 3:10: [b]”But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under His curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.” No one can.

We know these verses by heart-

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. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3.

-but somehow, many of us miss its meaning. Believers are being taught the false message that they will perish in hell and miss eternal life that God gave His own Son up for us to have as a gift if they don’t obey the law in order to be godly. Why then did Christ die? Romans 6:23 says:

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The wages of sin is death. We were all appointed to die once. Christ died that death. Eternal life is a gift through Christ, not something a person earns.

And the unbeliever? He hears: “Repent and come to Christ or else you will burn in hell.” As if we could change ourselves. Are you a believer? This is why we believe: John 6:43-46 (MSG)

“Jesus said, “Don’t bicker among yourselves over Me. You’re not in charge here. The Father who sent Me is in charge. He draws people to Me—that’s the only way you’ll ever come. Only then do I do My work, putting people together, setting them on their feet, ready for the End….”

It is the goodness of God that leads to repentance, not threats of God’s wrath that He gave His own Son to save us from. When the love of Christ and His gift of righteousness to the sinner who believes is unveiled from the pulpit, the people will live right and love proclaiming Jesus too. It is His “Neither do I condemn you” that makes us “go and sin no more.”

Check out His way with sinners who encountered Him throughout the gospels. Just imagine what would have happened if He had yelled His disgust at the Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob and told her to go and “repent” before He deigned to bless her. She had had five husbands and was living in adultery with a sixth man. No word of condemnation or judgment to her from our Saviour Jesus Christ. He even complimented her for being truthful with her “coded” response about having no husband. She ended up proclaiming Jesus in her village.

Believer, this is the Good News (gospel) of Christ- Romans 1:16-17:

“For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. 17 This Good News tells us how God makes us right in His sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

And how does God make us right in His sight? See this in Romans 3:

“26…for He himself is fair and just, and He makes sinners right in His sight when they believe in Jesus. 27 Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. 28 So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.”

The law is not of faith. But because of wrong teaching, many depend on their own ability to obey the law to get right with God so that they can get the blessing, just like the Pharisees. This is being faithless. Believer, let’s not be found here. The gospel is not “obey the law and God will bless you; do bad and God will beat you.” No Jesus in the equation. The Pharisees believed and taught this and we can’t stand them. But none of them could cast the first stone. They demanded from God’s people what even they could not do, like many church leaders today. It is not surprising that the world sees churchgoers as a bunch of bigoted, hypocritical liars. Everyday, they see “holy” leaders who act like they are sinless making bigoted, hateful and divisive statements and doing things that Christ can never. Everyday, the world laughs when pastors and leaders that pride themselves in their own righteousness and ability to obey the law are exposed as being unable to cast the first stone. (No sin is beneath anybody. The potential to commit heinous crimes is in everybody. God sees this potential and how favourable circumstances can make some people think that some sins are beneath them and that they can obey the law.)

But notorious sinners and despised tax collectors always drew near to Jesus. He never condemned anyone the way we who are supposed to His ambassadors are doing today. People have not changed since He walked the earth as a Man. Sinners will follow Jesus and get transformed when His love and “no condemnation” for even the vilest offender is unveiled from the pulpit. The vilest offender who believes can never remain the same. Only when we receive God’s abundance of Grace and His gift of righteousness to us in Christ do we get to live in triumph over sin and death, including all of its symptoms of sickness, lack, depression, etc:

“For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and His gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one Man, Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:17.

The pulpit is not a place to unveil the sins of sinners. It is not a place to unveil the good works or virtues of a pastor. It is not a place for politics. It is not a place to unveil the Ten Commandments and which person is not doing what. People are already aware of their sins and are looking for the Way out. The pulpit is a place to unveil the love of Christ for the world, His salvation from sin and death that is free for all who believe and His power to transform even the vilest offender who believes to a life of righteousness- nothing to do with what we do/did. All to do with what Christ has done.

Right believing always produces right living.

Author: Nairaland Forum

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