“My god’s not like that!” is a response I hear increasingly to sound doctrine, particularly concerning God’s judgement of the unrighteous.
If your god’s not like the God described in the Bible, then you serve another god. You’re violating the 1st of the 10 commandments, which God thundered from Mt Sinai to millions of Jews before Moses received these on stone tablets:
1 And God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods besides me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.
5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
When Noah walked off that ark in Genesis 8, all humanity served and feared God – all 8 of them. They had experienced God’s power to judge the wicked and his power to spare the righteous. However, just a few centuries later, in Genesis 11, while Noah and his sons were still alive, the whole world again conspired against God. They built a tower that would reach the heavens and provide refuge from a second global flood, even though God had promised this would never happen – as he sealed with the sign of the rainbow.
So what happened? Our God-given freewill is so sacred that God will not violate it – not even to protect us from its hellish consequences. Each person must choose their own way – to embrace or to reject God. Even our godly granddad Noah cannot choose this for his descendants. We, the people, didn’t like this aspect of God’s character – that he will punish us for our rebellion. Like insolent children we rejected our Father’s attempts to keep us from the allure of harmful influences. We deluded ourselves that our Father loves us so much that he’d not punish us. We rejected our Father’s pleas to stay away from harmful influences, spitting in his face “You’re just being a killjoy”, and storming out of his house. We wandered away from him and invented our own Father – a more convenient one. But ultimately we created a god of our own imagination – a false god, with no more power than a placebo. We gave up our sacred free will to the tyrant Nimrod, who enslaved us to the delusion that we can all work together to make the world a better place and avoid God’s judgement. Nimrod reiterated the serpent’s lie that we can be as gods and again brought upon us hard labor and death as when we were cast out of the garden of Eden. In rejecting the true infinite God, we invent a new god to fill the void. In rejecting the truth, we don’t believe in nothing, but rather anything – whatever captures our particular fancy. This is the essence of all those other religions and philosophies out there.
The Bible is a faithful witness, which speaks the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth – so help me God … to also be such a faithful witness.
There are many aspects of the Bible, which are hard to understand. Corruption delights in distracting us from the truth by appealing to our selfish desires. Jacob wrestled with God to receive his blessing. So too must we wrestle with these difficult aspects of the Bible – so that we too might receive God’s blessing. If instead, we reject even parts of the Bible because of our lack of understanding, we will incur the curse.
Choose wisely. This ain’t no computer game – you get but one life. You can’t resume from a previous save, but you can be saved by Jesus’ sacrifice to be empowered to win the endgame.