April 9, 2011

Punished Because You Are Loved

As I make my way through the Minor Prophets the broken nature and fallenness of humanity becomes evident to a painful degree. In one year I have now gone through the OT with a fine tooth comb twice. The failure of humanity becomes very much a part of you when you spend this much time in it, especially the Minor Prophets and the failure of Israel and Judah over and over and over and over and over. And God forgiving them over and over and over and over (and forgiving me over and over ad nauseum too). I include myself in this comment because when I see the failures of Israel and Judah I also see myself. We should all see ourselves in these fallen people. Fallen people of God. If we forever view the God of the Old Testament as the vengeful God punishing humanity and never looking at the depraved nature of the people and their sin we will never understand that God punishes because He loves not because He likes to see humanity writhe in pain. People need to stop seeing themselves and other people as victims and we need to begin to see ourselves as the sinners we are deserving of the punishment and chastisement we receive.

We do not belong to an angry and wrathful God, we belong to a loving God. He is a God that continues to return to mercy and grace. If we got what we really deserved we would be instantaneously zapped out of existence and destroyed. It is only through God's long-suffering patience and mercy that we still breath. We are only worthy of death and people either have a hard time accepting this or they just do not understand the God of the Bible correctly, through the right lens. The God of the Old Testament is not a mean vindictive God. If anything He is just the opposite. Even a precursory review of the enormous amounts of spiritual failures by God's people shows just how tolerant God is.

Which brings up another issue. Intolerance. The Bible, The God of the Bible and those that adhere to the Bible are not intolerant people. When people say this about Christians it is clear to me that not only have these people not even read the Bible, they do not even understand the fundamental precepts that under gird the Bible and its lessons.

If you EARN Hell, you GO to Hell. That is how it goes. Once you are there you stay there regardless of what the trendy and hip rock star pastors are telling us nowadays. It you didn't go to Hell and stay there then that diminishes the importance of what Jesus Christ did on the Cross. That cannot happen. If we lessen the importance of Jesus' sacrifice we demean it and somehow make it less important. It is clearly of supreme importance as the entire Bible revolves around that one divine act of sacrifice and atonement at an ordained moment in time.

The wages of sin is death. Spiritual death, not just bodily. As a matter of fact, you body has little to do with it. Just a few thoughts.

We are punished because we are loved. A child that is not punished by their parent exposes a parent that does not love or care for their child. God wants to save us but if one does not know he is doing wrong, odds are he will continue doing wrong and this is not holy nor the path to sanctification for a justified person.

Your other option is damnation. It isn't really a hard choice if you ask me.

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