How can that be?
For starters, our God is something Poseidon or Hades was not. The gods of Greek mythology were, at their very root, selfish; causing them to respond to offense with anger, vengeance, pouting, scheming or some combination thereof. You know – the way we respond to offense.
Our God has proven himself selfless, to the point of accepting the required penalty for our sin at His own expense.
Therefore, He responds to offense (once sincerely confessed) with grace, forgiveness, patience and redemption.
Of course, we acknowledge these attributes of God all the time, but when it comes right down to it, we often believe in them as much as we do the Easter Bunny. They really seem too good to be true, more like a flannel-graph children’s story than real life. This is especially if you’ve never seen someone demonstrate patience under pressure or forgiveness after cruel exploitation.
Regardless of difficulty, believing is pretty much the key.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. – Hebrews 11:6 (ESV)
You must believe our God is more wonderful than you could imagine.
Forget about whatever choices you made in the past and think about this: If you had been the one who actually carried out Christ’s crucifixion and then stood back and mocked Him as His precious blood dripped from your filthy hands, He would pray for forgiveness on your behalf, before you even asked for it. Even if you didn’t want it.
If you find it impossible to believe in a God like that, you need to question whether your god is the God of the Bible or one of your own making, no more real than Zeus with his signature lightning bolt.
As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. – Psalm 103:12 (ESV)
“As far as the East is from the West…” – for real?!? God removes our transgressions that far from us!?!
Reflect on that! (I mean, SELAH.) Do you even think David fully comprehended what he was saying? How could he have known that if he had said, “As far as the North is from the South…” it simply wouldn’t have had the same impact? North and South, of course, meet at the poles, but East and West never meet – ever.
Further, Jesus hadn’t even died yet (in the scope of time), yet David already knew by faith, his sin was covered, forgiven and forgotten, utterly and completely!
How can we not hold to that same faith when we know what God went through on our behalf? “IT IS FINISHED!”
There’s no way we could hope to wrap our mind around a truth as wonderful as God’s grace. It isn’t logical. It is a mystery. However, it might help to come to grips with the fact that we can’t even disappoint God in the first place. For all the ruckus stirred up by the book The Shack, by William P. Young, it completely convinced me of this reality. For you to disappoint God, two things would have to be true:
- God would have to expect that you were going to meet a certain standard.
- Then you’d have to fail to meet it.
Of course we fail to meet God’s standards every day, but here’s the deal. He already knew about every single one of your failures before you did it. It was those very failures for which He died.
No, we weren’t the actual humans who crucified Jesus, but we might as well have been. Our sin is just as unforgiveable, and His grace just as forgiving.
(Did I just contradict myself?) What’s more: He knows every choice you’ll make in the future, so you can’t disappoint Him then either. Even better: He knows precisely how many failures it will take for you to learn each lesson He has to teach you.
So while I watch my sin-o-meter count up my past failures, (“I’ve lost my temper for the 325,738th time. I’m so mad at myself!”), God watches my sin-o-meter count down to the day when I will literally sin no more! (“MJ’s only going to lose his temper 1,273,188 more times before he finally has it under control! Praise Myself!”)
Can you accept that? If you can, you can finally write “disappointing God” off your list of “Things to Fear.”
You also eliminate one huge cause of shame. Furthermore (and please let this soak in), since God is gracious and forgiving and since (due to His omnipotence) He can’t be surprised by anything (including our failures), then He really doesn’t need any time to “get over” whatever it was we did wrong. He already got over it on the cross.
QUESTION: Do you believe in a God like this? Do you live like you believe it? Why?[Want to grow deeper in God’s love and forgiveness? This is an excerpt of the 3rd book in our discipleship series: Beyond Sex & Salvation. So seriously consider purchasing a digital copy and you will learn three key life disciplines for relational success; habits best best forged BEFORE you fall in love. Even before you date! Find out more or purchase the book at this link.]
DNA: It’s What’s For Dating
It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. And would like to learn how to better build healthy relationships in the meantime.
Check out all three study guides in our store. You can walk through them on your own, but it’s more fun with friends (that and it kinda makes sense to grow in relational success in actual relationships with others), so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study.
Even better? And ask a rock star married couple you respect to lead it!