By ETHELBERT Okere.
With so much economic hardship and physical insecurity around, it has become fashionable for preachers to tell their congregations that God is visiting his anger on man. Beloved, reject any such teaching because it goes against the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Be careful of what you submit yourself to hear about God. Some preachers paint God in the image of an angry old man always wielding a stick to hit you each time you commit an offence.
If you take that as the truth, then you are in for it: You will never be able to get the grace that comes through our Lord, Jesus Christ and you will remain miserable. If all you hear about God is that he visits people with calamity because of their sins, then how can you look up to him for healing, financial breakthrough or miraculous escape from an accident. If all you hear is that God wants you to be poor so that you can remain humble, then you will forever be wretched. If all you hear about God is that of his condemnation and fearful judgment, then how can you trust him to do any good in your life?
Beloved, that is the fate of many Christians today. God is always portrayed
as judgmental and even destructive, contrary to what he really is: “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy”. Yes, God also has anger. Some people will even refer you to scripture where God is referred to as a “consuming fire “, as in Deuteronomy 14:23, Deuteronomy 14:24 and Hebrews 12:29.But none of these contexts that God was making a threat to His people. The scripture were in the context of making us to believe in God’s love and grace. Take Hebrews12:29.Before the verse (29) which says,” for our God is a consuming fire “the Bible in the immediate two preceding verses (27&28) says, “And this word yet once more signified the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved (shaken) let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear”. Beloved, notice that there is first a mention of God’s gift of grace before the mention of “consuming fire”. What this means is that for those who receive the free gift of God’s RIGHTEOUSNESS through grace, there is no fear of a consuming fire. Which do you want: fire or grace? In other words, would subject your self to the teaching on fire or on grace?
Yes, God has anger also but the Bible defines him as “love “(1John4:8, 16). The Bible tells us that Jesus ” went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him “(Acts 10:38).What this tells us is that God wants to do good, not evil, to us; otherwise God would not have been with Jesus while he did all the good. In John 14:9-10, Jesus himself said:” He who has seen me has seen the Father… Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not on my own authority but the Father who dwells in me does the work”. Beloved, if you want to grow in faith through grace (and it is only through grace that faith can grow), endeavour to hear only the right thing about God. It is only by so doing that you can believe rightly and subsequently, summon the courage to come out from your hiding to embrace Him. The practice of depicting God as only out to judge and condemn is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Say Alleluia.