God is holy, righteous, and glorious. He has no beginning and no end. He rules and reigns in the splendor of His sovereignty. In the Bible we find sixty six books that describe God’s dealings with man in great detail. God’s word is literally brimming with the person and presence of God. He describes Himself, others describe Him, and of course we see the fullness of God in the person of the Lord Jesus while He was here. True Christians have a realistic view of God because they realize His word is accurate, He doesn’t change, and the Holy Spirit bears witness to the truth, and in this case….the attributes of God.
It’s no surprise that many people in the world have their own concept of what and who God is. We are living in a day where some ‘professing Christians’ are trying to market God in a user friendly package. We will now look at some reasons for their religious marketing scheme and their bent on remaking God in 3 easy steps.
Here is what the Bible says about the unchanging God:
Malachi 3:6 “For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: has he said, and shall he not do it? or has he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
There is a growing rift I see taking place within the evangelical church. I’m referring to a rift between ourselves and some who we worship next to, attend a small group with, or perhaps some who’s sermons we hear or books we read. This growing rift is none other than the rift that separates those of us who believe God’s attributes are unchanging and those who would rather pick and choose the Character of God based on the prevailing cultural winds of the day.
Why would a professing Christian ‘cherry pick’ the parts about God they think are palatable to today’s culture? I believe there are as many answers to that question as there are marketing ideas about how to fill a church, youth group, or sell books. I personally believe there is a crisis of truth that presents itself when some want bring in attendees or readers so much that they are willing to do almost anything……including compromise what the scripture clearly teaches us about the nature of God.
That brings me to an important point: What are we really trying to do…….fill seats, sell books, gain fans, or see people come to a saving knowledge of Christ? It’s an unfortunate reality that many are now trying to grow their organization by peddling a different version of who God is.
Growth at all costs is market driven religion: not biblical Christianity. The game plan in some ‘ministries’ is to make God more like us. I am only one among millions of believers I’m certain who are also in shock by the makeover God is receiving in a many churches & ministries today.
Here is how they are remaking God in 3 easy steps:
One: They attempt to diminish God’s holiness.
God is holy, separate, and the fact that He is God and we are His creation….sets Him apart. In Revelation 4:8, we read that the four living creatures are around the throne proclaiming that God is holy, holy, holy continually. Moses encountered God in the burning bush and the Lord told him to remove his shoes because he was on holy ground. Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up…..he saw God in the splendor of His holiness.
When Isaiah saw the Lord and the worship of the seraphim who were covering their faces because of the glory of the Lord….his response wasn’t to casually walk into God’s presence and think about the ways God could improve his life or make him a better person. On the contrary, Isaiah was floored and became immediately aware of just how undone and wretched he was. His heart was contrite, open, and in awe because he encountered God’s holiness.
2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
People won’t understand the need for repentance if the don’t understand that God is holy and we are wretched sinners in need of a Savior.
When some remake God’s holiness and replace it with something else, they reduce him down to a cosmic buddy and not the God of the universe. The peddlers of this cosmic buddy are marketing the genie bottle who will give us the lifestyle we want instead of the repentant heart we need.
Two: They largely ignore the Old Testament.
Psalm 145:8 The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
This is a precious verse and often quoted in praise of God’s wonderful mercy. A few verses later we still read about the love of the Lord (and) His divine wrath on the unrepentant:
Psalm 145:20 The LORD preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.
How many times have we heard the catchy children’s song….Joshua fought the battle of Jericho? The simple songs goes like this: Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho….Joshua fought the battle of Jericho and the walls came tumbling down. The victory at Jericho was great indeed, but that is not where the story ends. Jericho was like all of the other Canaanite cities in which the citizens were worshiping false gods, Cosmology, and other pagan rituals. Once inside the city, the Israelites destroyed everyone except for Rahab and her family. God used the Israelites to bring judgement to the inhabitants of Jericho. Teachers should stop cherry picking their way through the Bible to find sermonettes on life enhancement and start teaching the whole word of God.
Joshua 6:20 So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city. Then they devoted (all in the city) to destruction, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys, with the edge of the sword.
God is loving and merciful, but there is a time when the door of opportunity for repentance closes and then swift judgement.
Genesis6:5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.
We know when Jesus came….He provided the atoning sacrifice for our sins and we are made clean in God’s sight. The person that sees his or her sin in light of God’s holiness is compelled to repentance. When the whole word of God is taught…including the Old Testament, we see that man’s sin is an affront to a holy God. Seeing our heart’s condition before a righteous God puts things in proper perspective. Why shouldn’t we expect people to see God as a winking Grandpa if that’s the only likeness they are taught about in their church?
It’s a prideful, man made, marketing approach to selling the christian ‘lifestyle’ instead of presenting the Christian life that derails people from the truth. Some teach people that God wants them to have their…….best life now. Some teach people that it doesn’t matter how you live because we are under grace. Some people run after every new teacher that puts his own spin on what the ‘Bible really means.’
All of this nonsense does nothing but water down the need for repentance and the saving gospel.
They neglect the fact that He is the same God at the flood and the one who held the children on His lap when He taught the multitude.
Three: Bible prophecy isn’t taught or it’s distorted by dominion theology.
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
A growing number of Christians in ‘leadership’ roles are faced with a dilemma regarding end time teaching. Many will not even touch the subject and ignore it completely. I can’t imagine sitting in a church year after year and not hearing one sermon on the Lord’s return. How or why could this happen? There are a number of reasons and some are covered in an article I wrote in 2014 called: Is Bible Prophecy Relevant? I believe the main reason Bible Prophecy is ignored or distorted is because it brings us face to face with an inconvenient reality:
It is a reality that God is going to bring judgement to this unrepentant world.
This reality is diametrically opposed to the soft selling of the ‘Christian life’ that’s going on in many evangelical circles today. The so called ‘Christian life’ that’s being presented in many churches in our day is not the life of brokenness before God. It’s not one of a repentant person who weeps because of sin. It’s not the life that cares less for the frills of surroundings and production and more of God.
Instead of telling people that judgement is coming and today is the day of salvation…..if you hear His voice, they are told something different. They are fed the message of the ‘contemporary Christian life.’ Many people coming are looking for:
A great weekend experience people will return for.
A wonderful 5,7, or 10 step program for a successful family life.
A comfortable facility to fundraise for every good cause that will better the community.
A great place where my kids love the youth group and exiting children’s program.
Many fellowships, churches, and ministries have become nothing more than…..life enhancement centers. The worldly thinking behind this is that if the conditions are right and we make the message comfortable, then we will increase our attendance.
Bible prophecy and healthy end time teaching is largely ignored in ‘ministries’ like these because: the message of Bible prophecy is a message of: God’s plans being fulfilled to the letter. It means we need to set aside our silly programs and teach that God is going to judge this world. It’s not a popular message and one many folks including many religious folks would rather ignore. The mindset is that (we) are going to make this world better and (we) are going to win the world back. The current focus is on improving society rather than winning souls.
Don’t be so busy going through the religious motions that you don’t see the world around you. One look at what is happening in our day should be a warning that we are close to the Lord’s return. If the message of God’s holiness, the whole Bible, and of course eschatology were taught, we would have more truly repentant converts……not just attendees or members. People don’t need to hear about life enhancement, they need to hear about the saving gospel.
Teachers and pastors, let me lovingly exhort you to not ignore Bible prophecy. To do so runs the risk of attempting to remake God to fit the contemporary message of the day that sells a different God.
Words like grace, love, and mercy are music to the sinner’s heart when words like judgement, eternity, and repentance are understood. Contrary to what many are teaching, this world is not getting better. We need to focus on the eternal things….not the temporal things. Here is what the Bible says about the days ahead:
2 Timothy 4:3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
1 Thessalonians 5:1 Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.
Regardless of the reasons some try to remake God……..He won’t be remade. He is the holy one of Israel. He is the God of the Old and New Testaments, He is our merciful Savior, and He is the soon returning King who Judges and makes war, Revelation 19:11
Come quickly Lord Jesus
All for Him,