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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What Kind of God Were You Looking For?

Mankind is creating a god in an image that this palpable to mankind. This god appreciates being the mankind's servant. He (or she) always brings those who die into his (or her) presence. The only people who aren't in heaven are certain people who wouldn't have wanted to be there anyway. These are people who are either unknown or are historically bad. Thus, mankind believes that Hitler and a few serial killers are in hell but almost no one else is. All sins are absolved by this god because those who know the deceased have forgiven him. Their forgiveness is the basis for entry into heaven.

This god is one who obeys mankind's will. People only need to "speak" something into existence for this god to comply and make it so. Of course this means people must do some things correctly to get their god to perform as they wish. So, they give him a coin so they will receive ten back. They believe in "faith" so that things will become like they believe. They do not have to agree in what makes their god perform. It only matters that the faithful believe; what they believe is irrelevant.

How is this really different from what the Pharisees did in Jesus day? They had the concept of a Messiah who would cause everyone to return to the Law in the same manner as the Pharisees. He would, no doubt, recognize the righteousness of the Pharisees and commend them. He would lead the nation back to its former glory by recreating a religious nation in which God would defend and avenge. He would give them the power to dominate other nations.

The Pharisees dogmatic belief in the messiah they had created kept them from seeing the true Messiah when He stood right in front of them. They knew that both images could not be true so one would have to be killed. They chose to keep their messiah and crucify the One who conflicted with their belief.

Can you see why people are often bothered by the truth of Jesus? He does not allow them to create the god of their choice and accept Him at the same time. Either their image of god or the God of the Bible can exist. They are incompatible.

The easiest way to destroy the conflict is to attack those who believe in the God of the Bible. This is why the God of the Bible is not allowed in schools while other religions have very little resistance. This is why believers are ridiculed for their beliefs. They are said to be ignorant, delusional or charlatans. They are laughed at and taken to court.

So, what kind of God are you looking for? Are you creating this god or is He creating you? Do your beliefs come out of what you want to believe or are they anchored in the Bible? Are your beliefs created so that you can relate (get along) with others or are they changing your life because of  your relationship with Him? Is this a god who obeys you or you obey Him? Does your god have any sense of justice or does He have a standard of righteousness and payment for sin?

I once tried to walk across a frozen lake because I believed the ice was thick enough to hold my weight. One year I did so without any problems at all. The next year I fell through the ice. It didn't matter what my belief was. It only mattered whether the ice was thick enough. I was never safe in walking across the frozen lake because I had no basis for my belief. I would have been no safer if I asked for the opinions of my friends. They didn't know any more than me. I would have to have some measurement that stood beyond my own opinions or those of others to have any safety in walking across the frozen lake.

The Bible is that measurement when it comes to who God is, what He expects, what is righteous or sinful and what the payment of violating His standard is. It is definitive in who God is and we do not create the God who created us. He is firmly established.

Sure, you can believe anything you want. I can choose to believe the ice is thick enough to hold my weight every year. My belief will not make it true and more than my belief in a god who will give me ten coins because I gave him one. Circumstances will dictate that I will sometimes have windfalls which I can choose to attach to my actions. In other words, I can say that my giving resulted in receiving ten more but that will not make it true. These circumstances have nothing to do with my belief.

What kind of god are you looking for?

Matthew 12:22-30 (ESV) 22 Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. 23 And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” 24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” 25 Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. 26 And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house. 30 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.


Anthony Chia said...

Why is there a word, “faith”, instead of just the word, “belief”? The simple reason is that the word, faith, as used in Christianity is NOT just a belief. Ps Prentis believed the frozen ice (on a lake) was strong enough to support his weight; that is a belief. Some belief is rooted in almost nothing, some, in our experience solely, some in self-pride.

The first time, Ps Prentis encountered the stretch of frozen ice, and he believed it would hold his weight; that belief was almost based on nothing. The 2nd time round, it was certainly based on his experience, for he tried it the previous time, and it held well. The self-pride part is NOT difficult to understand; often we overestimate ourselves, and we think we can do it, and so, we say we believe we can do it.

Then belief can be rooted in knowledge of any kind. For example, we have knowledge that doctors graduated from the study of medicine, and so, when we are sick, we believe when we go see a doctor and then take the medicine prescribed by the doctor, we will get well.

In all of the above, the word, faith cannot and should NOT be used, although sometimes we say we have faith in so and so (a man), but even that, it is NOT correct. It is more appropriate to say, we trust so and so. Faith is uniquely used with God and his righteousness. Until you can understand the distinction between belief and faith, chances are that you will willfully walk in ways NOT pleasing to God, or you will be attributing to God that which is NOT Him/of Him, or I prefer to say, “You will be making your own version of God!” It is pertinent we ask ourselves if we have a belief or we have a faith!

Faith is NOT based on nothing or almost nothing! Faith is NOT based on our experience, and faith is NEVER based on self-pride.

Is faith blind? No, our faith is NOT blind; it is based on something, NOT nothing. It is based on who God is, His will and desires, and His Word.

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Anthony Chia said...

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Many Christians often go by experience, but they must NOT push it too far, for faith is NOT based on our experience (experience only testifies). When I blew my breath onto a sick person, and he got slain, and he got healed of his sickness, it does NOT mean that I can say that I have faith that if only I could get to this other sick person, and blow my breath on him, he will get healed. It is wrong use of the word, faith; at most, such is just a belief, NOT faith.

Then, faith is NOT rooted in our self-pride; in fact, it is NOT rooted in us, but in God and His Word. Faith is premised on who God is and what He desires (His Word, an expression thereof), and nothing to do with anything else. Faith is submission to who God is and what He desires. Faith is about who God is and what He desires.

The moment we get away from who God is and what He desires, we are moving away from faith. The moment we get away from who God is and what He desires, we are superimposing unto God, that which is NOT Him; in other words, we are creating our own version of God. So, what kind of God are you looking for? Your own version of God, or God as He is?

You may be tempted to ask, “What is wrong if I have my own version of God?” The point is that your own version of God is NOT called God; it is called idol; and when you are calling for help, you cannot be surprised that God does NOT answer, for to Him, you are calling to your idol, NOT to Him. You must also know that God acts according to who He is or according to His desires; He is sovereign, He answers to no one, and is NOT accountable to anybody; the relevant issue is whether or NOT a matter is what He desires.

“I don’t care, if He cannot dance to my tune, then I will NOT have Him as my God! I will just substitute Him with another!” Yes, you can say that and do what you like, but God is still out there, and He will do what He will do or has desire to do. It is either you are with/for Him or you are NOT, and if you are NOT, you will be scattered (Matt 12:30). You have only yourselves to blame for it. In other words, if you want to do your own things, don’t blame God for anything, for He is just doing His things.

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Anthony Chia said...

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Faith is having conviction of a matter as being in agreement with God. Faith is a belief but it is NOT any belief; it is a belief of what God is having in His mind. What God has in His mind is governed by who God is. Therefore, faith is about being right about what is God is thinking, wanting to act, and his timing. In other words, faith is about being right (getting it right) with God; and that is why faith is said in Scripture as countable as righteousness, for righteousness is being right with God. One can only be doing God’s things, when he has faith or when he “got” it right (it is still a belief, for we are NOT God) as to what God desires. God does what He desires, and so, if we did NOT get our faith wrong, we are doing what God would be wanting to do, and we see our prayer answered, for that is exactly what God would like to do; and we will NOT be guilty of doing our own thing, and we will NOT be caught on the wrong side of things or should I say, wrong side of a war between God and Satan.

We cannot determine what kind of God we want; what kind of God is already fixed, there is only one God Almighty, one Commander of Host, one Leader. Sorry, we do NOT get to MAKE the Leader or INSTRUCT Him; we have to FOLLOW Him and OBEY Him, if we want to be on the winning side.

How can preachers teach that there is no Satan or object to reference to Satan, in matters of salvation or struggles of Men? The Christian understanding must be that there is a war between God and Satan going on, and men have to choose side, so it is either you are on God’s side, or you are on Satan’s side; it is either you are operating according to the will of God, and He will back you up, or you are NOT. There is only one true faith, all the rest, are beliefs, and they are of the other side. So, if there is particular resistance against our faith, it is because there are many beliefs in one camp, and only one faith in ours; the many beliefs belong to the same house, and you know whose house is that!