John 3:16

Two versions of John 3:16 by two grandchildren, one in JK and the other in pre-kindergarten. The second one was accidentally cut off early.

SEL:

NCP:

This is the reason for the season. Merry Christmas.

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Is God Judgmental? (3 of 4)

God intolerant 1

(Continued from yesterday)

Yesterday we saw that God’s people did not keep their covenant with God. Did He in His wrath strike them down right away? No, He was slow to anger and forbearing, giving people time to repent so they won’t perish:

Neh 9:17 They refused to listen, And did not remember Your wondrous deeds which You had performed among them; So they became stubborn and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But You are a God of forgiveness, Gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness; And You did not forsake them. (Also Ex 34:6; Ps 103:8; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2)
• Rom 3:25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;
• 2 Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

But if He is so gracious and compassionate and abounding in loving-kindness, why can’t He lower His standards and just forgive people as they are? He can’t, for two reasons. First, it won’t work. Sin is lawlessness (1 Jn 3:4), any deviation from God’s law. Let me use cancer as an analogy. Cancer cells are cells that grow and divide at an unregulated, quick pace. They are a deviation from normality, just like sin. If you have cancer, you would want to get rid of it as quickly as possible. Now how much cancer cells would you tolerate to remain in your body without removing them by surgery, or killing them by radiation or chemotherapy? 10%? 5%? 1%? No, you want them completely eliminated, or you die.

The so-called “tolerant” believe that God is love and should cut people some slack. They think if God didn’t set the bar so high, they would make it on their own. Actually they have too high a view of themselves, and too low a view of God. For the sake of argument let’s just say God concedes to their request. What they don’t know is whatever concession God makes, that sin will kill them, just as that trace amount of cancer cells left behind will kill them. Tolerance to sin just doesn’t work.

Let’s use another illustration. You love your spouse and want him/her to be faithful to you. Would you tolerate your spouse to be 90% faithful? 95%? 99%? No, only 100% will suffice, anything less is adultery. It’s all or nothing.

(To be continued)

Is God Judgmental? (2 of 4)

God judgmental 2

(Continued from yesterday)

Yesterday we saw that because God is absolutely just He is the only standard there is. So what does God require of man?

Deut 10:12-13 “Now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but
o to fear the LORD your God,
o to walk in all His ways and love Him, and
o to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and
o to keep the LORD’S commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?
• Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But
o to do justice,
o to love kindness, And
o to walk humbly with your God?

What God wanted was for Israel to have a loving relationship with Him, serving Him and keeping His commandments, and being just and kind to others. Now ask yourself, are these requirements onerous, or fair and reasonable? As Creator who gave His people everything, does He have the right to require these from them?

Why does God require such from man?

Lev 11:44-45 For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. … For I am the LORD who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.’”
• 1 Pet 1:16 because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”
• Mt 5:48 Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
• Lk 6:34 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

To be just, kind, holy, perfect, and merciful are God’s attributes. He required these for one reason – He loves us and wants the best for us, which is to be like Him.

What about the charge that God is harsh and does not cut any slack? He made a covenant with His people but they did not keep up their end of the deal – they sinned and disobeyed. God sent prophets to warn them to repent, but they killed and persecuted the prophets and kept on sinning:

Lk 11:49-51 For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute, so that the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation.’
• Acts 8:51-53 You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.”

(To be continued)