1. The Bible’s God does NOT seek or enjoy punishing human beings (Lam.3:33)!
The “God with a Scowl” of such recent infamy is not the Christian deity. That “god” is creation of pagan thought, unworthy of either deity or humanity. The Christian God, on the other hand, is wholly love, implacably love. He will exercise “tough” love as discipline, as necessary but this love is always aimed at our restoration and growth.
2. The Bible’s God is NOT uninterested or unaffected by our prayers.
Though it is popular to claim that prayer is good for the one who prays (and this certainly true), that God neither wants, or responds to our prayers is false. In fact, the chief good prayer does for the pray-er is to enter into a mystery – a relationship with a God who is not all uninterested in us and our perspective on things, our needs and wants. And one who does respond and under whose sovereign our lives and history itself unfolds differently if we pray than if we do not.
3. It is NOT improper, unspiritual, or blasphemous to question God, raise a lament over how things seem to be going, rage over the unfairness of it all, and even demand that God keep his promises when he seems to have let that ball drop.
In one of her novels Toni Morrison has a character say, “It’s not that I don’t believe that God exists. It’s just that I don’t trust his judgment sometimes.” We’ve all been there, right? And if the Bible is any guide almost any response to situations or seasons in our lives that God seems indifferent or hostile up to, is acceptable, even faithful, for us to express to God. I suspect that God loves it when his people show their relationship to him matters enough to show it, whatever it is.
4. It is NOT true that we are saved without works.
We are not saved by our works, as if we have earned it. But we are also not saved without works either. Well, technically we are, but those who arrive at the pearly gates with nothing to show for their lives here, well, Paul indicates that not something you want to happen (1 Cor.3:10-15). If we’re not saved by works, nor without works, then we must be saved for works. That’s the purpose or goal of salvation – that we can again become response-able for that for which we are responsible to do.
5. It is NOT true that Jesus came only to save us from our sins.
Think about for a second. If the above were true that would mean sin was a necessary part of God’s plan and essential to providing a reason for the coming of the Savior. See the problem. If Jesus came only to save us from our sins, then our sins were necessary for him to come and do his saving work. No, Jesus didn’t come only to save us from our sins. He came to do what he always intended to do – come among as one of us to fulfill God’s eternal plan of drawing as close to his creatures as possible to share eternal fellowship with us here on earth. He was always go to come. Our sin complexified his work in coming but did not derail God’s original plan and Jesus incorporated taking care of the problem of sin into his mission to draw near to us and draw us near to the Father in fellowship to last into the ages.
6. Jesus’ Second Coming is NOT his return in glory to finally and fully establish God’s Kingdom.
Nope, that’s his third coming. Pentecost is his second coming in the gift of his Spirit to us.
7. However much you might Jesus was like God, he was NOT!
Christian faith claims just the opposite – how much God is like Jesus. If you want to know what God is like, don’t turn to pagan projections like the “God with a Scowl” (above). Turn to Jesus and there you will see God (Jn.14:8-9). The Jesus-likeness of God is the fundamental tenet of Christian theology.