God Is For Me!
#1 WHO IS GOD?
God is SomeOne who is way better than you ever imagined! SomeOne who is totally for you! SomeOne who loves, likes, adores and delights in you and who wants you to enjoy being with Him 24-7…and who has already made that relationship not only possible…but real! God is totally for you now and forever…without you ever having to do anything!
You’ve heard the expression “this is the best thing that ever happened to me!” – Well, God is that feeling!
King David, described as a “man after God’s own heart,” was so enthralled by how good he found God to be, that he encouraged people throughout the ages to “Taste and see that God is good.” Then he stated, “This I know, God is for me!”
I too, encourage you to join me and countless others to “taste and see how good God really is,” and my hope for you is that you will change whatever thoughts you may have previously had and come to know the eternal truth that “God is for you!!!”
Think of this as a huge buffet, always available, served fresh every meal, and each delectable morsel whets your appetite for the next tasty treat that continually fills you…and there’s always room for more!
The main staple offering of this bountiful feast is a one-of-a-kind delicacy prepared by God Himself…specifically with YOU in mind! He can’t wait for you to taste it…It’s called “Agape.” Agape not only is the best tasting thing ever, but it leaves a permanent after-taste with you that is always sweet and pleasant and desirable.
The Goodness of God is evident in his Agape love. Agape was a Greek word that those who knew Jesus Christ (the eternal Son of God) personally used to differentiate and identify God’s unique love for every human being ever! Just like even the world’s best food critic can only use words to describe what a wonderful meal tastes like…but can’t convey the actual taste to you, Agape must be personally tasted to be fully enjoyed! However, we’re going to give it our best shot in describing the truly un-indescribable!
In addition to SO much more, Agape is self-sacrificing, unconditional love. Agape is love which is only from and only of God, whose very nature is love itself. Jesus’ closest friend on earth, the Apostle John, stated (in 1 John 4:8 and 16) “God is love.” God doesn’t merely love, He’s not just a loving person, HIS VERY ESSENCE, HIS DNA…IS LOVE!!! And everything he thinks, says, and does flows from His unconditional love for YOU!
When you start to grasp that foundational truth, literally everything changes (for the better) for you!
God loves you…and every person you have ever locked eyes with, not because you might be lovable, or deserve to be loved or somehow merit His love…but because it is His nature to love you. He loves you because love is what love does!
Malcolm Smith, pastor and author says: “I may tell you that I have a glass of water or a reservoir of water, but it is an entirely different category to say that “I am water!”
To have water means my possession of it is subject to change whether by increase or decrease, but to BE water means I am never subject to change because that is what I am! God is the definition of love…that is what He is!
God wants you to KNOW BEYOND A SHADOW OF DOUBT THAT YOU ARE THE OBJECT OF HIS LOVE!
God actually dreamed you up in His mind before creation and chose to love you forever before He ever made you…and He has never changed His mind and never will!
God is love of another kind. You will never fully experience His kind of love anywhere but from Him.
God is unconditional love. His love for you is free, and TOTALLY without conditions. Anyone who tries to tell you that God’s love has any conditions, limits, exclusions, boundary, or restrictions or requirements…does not understand the truth about Agape. Agape has already been given you continuously…for all eternity and will never be withdrawn!
God is love that has no conditions! Really think about that. NO…NADA…ZIPPO…NEVER A SINGLE CONDITION!!! Sound too good to be true? Hey, this is God we are talking about…and He is good. He wants you to really taste and see for yourself that He’s good!
- God is love that always does what’s best for the other person.
- God is love that loved you before creation.
- God is love that chose to create you (before creation) to be in relationship with them (Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit).
- God is love that will not take no for an answer. You can say “no, I don’t want your love,” but with God, it’s like He doesn’t hear you. He just keeps on loving you.
- God is love that has always and will always pursue you.
- God is love that gives you the very best of himself.
- God is love that has already taken care of everything possible and necessary for you to enjoy and experience the best possible relationship and communication with Himself now and forever.
Many people like to have the words from the “love chapter” (1 Corinthians 13) read at their marriage. In this familiar passage “love” is “Agape” God is love and so it’s consistent with scripture to say “God” or “Jesus” instead of “love” in this chapter. When considering anything about God, we start with the filter that He is love and everything else He is and does flows from His unconditional Agape love.
God wants above all for you to know that He is love and He relates to you only in and as His pure love. 1 Corinthians 13 is not a prescription for how humans should strive to relate to each other in a marriage relationship. Rather, it is a description by The Holy Spirit of God, of part of what you taste when you taste Divine Agape Love:
- God/Love is patient (with you and everyone) and does not give up.
- God/Love is kind (to you and everyone).
- God/Love is not jealous and does not envy and thinks no evil (of you or anyone);
- God/Love does not brag or boast and is not arrogant or proud.
- God/Love does not act unbecomingly or dishonor others.
- God/Love does not seek its own…is not self-seeking.
- God/Love does not insist on its own rights or its own way.
- God/Love is not provoked and is not touchy or irritable and puts up with anything.
- God/Love does not take into account a wrong suffered—keeps no record of wrongs.
- God/Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness and is not happy with sin (because of how it hurts His loved ones).
- God/Love rejoices with the truth.
- God/Love bears all things and always protects.
- God/Love believes all things, always trusts, and is ever ready to believe the best of every person.
- God/Love hopes all things.
- God/Love endures all things and always perseveres.
- God/Love has no limits, no requirements, no exclusions, no boundaries, no restrictions, never fails and never comes to an end.
Starting to get a little taste of how good Agape is? The following are either direct quotes or summaries of scripture describing God/Love:
- God is love that neither you, nor anyone can ever possibly be separated from.
- God is love that always builds you up.
- God is love that always affirms you.
- God is love that has already, in advance, forgiven anything and everything that you may believe keeps you from Him.
- God is love that delights in you.
- God is love that always convinces you of how much he loves you and how loved you are.
- God is love that always convinces you of who you are in Christ.
- God is love that never condemns.
- God is love that has already taken away all the sins, past present and future of YOU and everyone who will ever live.
- God is love who has already declared that He does not hold anyone’s sins against them.
- God is love that has already made everyone pure, holy, blameless, innocent, righteous, right with God and without fault.
- God is love that is fun, exciting, adventuresome, exhilarating, abundant LIFE that is beyond comparison or imagination…He has to be “tasted” (experienced) to be believed!
- God is love that is always for you!
#2 HOW CAN I BE SURE THIS IS TRUE?
Let me give you a musical analogy since that’s my background, and since music is said to be the “universal language.” If you were take a guitar and hold it next to a piano (assuming both are in tune), and play a “D” – one note above middle “C” on the piano, the “D” string on the guitar will vibrate without your touching it! That’s called “sympathetic vibration.”
In the same way, when you hear the truths about God’s love as listed above, Something inside you resonates. Something says “that’s true”…even if the voice is soft and faint. Even if you hear other voices trying to drown it out by saying “NO! God’s not that good!” You know there’s Something in you resonating with the Truth of God’s love. That Something is the Spirit of God speaking to your Spirit. It sounds “mystical” because…it is! You’re starting to communicate, to relate…to the God of the universe…who loves YOU!
As you renew your mind with these truths by reading and hearing them regularly, especially from friends, that voice will be stronger and clearer. Then will come the day that you know that you know that you know!
#3 WHAT DOES GOD WANT?
God wants you to hear from Him…to communicate with Him…to relate to Him…to be personal friends with Him. He wants you to tell him your doubts and concerns and questions so that you can know Him personally and taste and see how good His is.
When you do, God wants you and everyone to enjoy and experience the Triune circle dance of love, life, grace, joy, peace and everything good that comes from being in unbroken relationship and communion with the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Once we first start to intimately know and experience and enjoy God’s love for us, then He wants to love others as us and through us. Don’t speed-read that last sentence. Don’t gloss over it. Look again.
God doesn’t ask you to somehow work up supernatural divine love that only He has.
God doesn’t demand or command you to love unlovable people.
God doesn’t insist that you try your best so that you can somehow be loving to people who treat you miserably!
No! Whenever God asks for something…HE PROVIDES…ALWAYS!
Yes, He wants you to love others…even hard-to-love people (ESPECIALLY HARD-TO-LOVE PEOPLE!) But He does the loving! Jesus gave the parable of the Good Samaritan as an example of sacrifice for the sake of others, even for those who may care nothing at all for us, or even hate us, as the Jews did the Samaritans. Sacrificial love is not based on a feeling, but a determined act of the will, a joyful resolve to put the welfare of others above our own.
But this type of love does not come naturally to humans. We are incapable of producing such a love. If we are to love as God loves, that love—that Agape—can only come from its true Source. This is the love which “has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us” when he made us His children (Romans 5:5). Because that love is already in our hearts, we can do what Jesus asked when He said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. As I have loved you, you should also love one another” (John 13:34).
The key here is “AS I HAVE LOVED YOU” – He does the loving!!! Only God can generate within us the kind of self-sacrificing love which is the proof that we are His children. “By this we have known the love of God, because He laid down His life for us.” (1 John 3:16). Because of God’s love toward us, we are now able to love one another. IT LOOKS LIKE US LOVING OTHERS…BUT IT’S ACTUALLY JESUS…LIVING IN US, AS US AND THROUGH US…WHO IS DOING THE LOVING. With our permission, He uses our bodies, our personalities, our actions, our speech…and HE loves others. We, and they, enjoy the benefits.
Jesus literally already made YOU His friend. He did that and He considers you as His friend forever! You might not yet know Jesus…or you might not like Him or even be against Him. Jesus knows that. He still chose you and already made you His friend.
Jesus made The Apostle Paul His friend! Paul (then known as Saul) was originally a Christ-hater, (certainly not friends with Jesus). He was a mean-spirited proud religious authority, angry persecutor and killer of Christians. One day Saul was on his way to persecute and kill more Christ-followers when God appeared in a brilliant light, knocked Saul off his horse, and God the Father revealed Jesus who was already IN Saul! Jesus chose Saul to be his friend before he was even born!
Then, Paul who was totally changed for the better by God’s Agape love, described this mystical experience as follows in Galatians 2:20 (Distilled Bible Version):
“I consider myself as having died and now I’m enjoying a new existence which is simply Jesus using my body!”
Like virtually anything we enjoy, our friendship with God is especially fun when it’s experienced with friends. You can enjoy visiting and laughing with a group of friends reminding and encouraging each other how you’re learning and experiencing a new life as Jesus actually lives in and as and through you. You’ll laugh together and good-naturedly kid each other with phrases like “Wow, that was Jesus, wasn’t it!”
#4 WHAT DOES GOD DO?
God continually—without a break---does everything possible to reveal His great love for you to you. He continually reveals to you and everyone, ever greater extents, depths, heights, widths, and lengths of His pure Agape love for you and everyone.
God reveals His love to us through the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ who lives in you and communicates to you in the following (and other) ways:
- Speaking directly to you
- Enabling you to see scripture through the lens of Jesus
- Enabling you to see Jesus’ life through the Books of the Gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)
- Revealing His Truth to you as you read what the Holy Spirit inspired those who knew Jesus personally to write in the New Covenant scriptures – primarily the Apostle Paul, whom Jesus appeared to and taught after Jesus completed His Finished Work at the Cross (along with Peter, James and John and Jude)
- By speaking to you through other people today who write, teach, and proclaim the love, life, joy and grace of God for you and everyone
- By communicating to you through music, art, beauty, joy
- By communicating to you through everyday life
Everything good comes from God!
At the end of the day, my family and I revel in how He has revealed through a wide variety of experiences even more of how good He is and how He is for us!
#5 WHERE IS GOD?
God is in you and in everyone. The Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit – three personalities with one essence, live in you. You are In Christ and Christ is IN you. God communicates to you directly. God is present everywhere.
#6 HOW DOES GOD’S LOVE AFFECT OUR LIVES?
Contrary to what I was taught as a kid, life with God is really fun. Seriously! C.S. Lewis once wrote that “Joy is the serious business of heaven.”
As we come to know that we are in Christ and Christ is in us, we start to embrace, experience and enjoy God’s love for us and the truth that He is for us (and not angry, distant, aloof, separate, judging, etc.) We see more and more how the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit relate to each other and to us, and their love compels us to relate to them and others the same way. We experience His life as we rest, relax, trust and let the Holy Spirit of Christ live His life in us, as us, and through us. Christ IS our life!
Jesus literally changes our “wants” … we no longer want to embrace destructive behaviors and attitudes. As He lives in us, we experience Him using our bodies and personalities and speech to minister His love and grace to others as us and through us. We find ourselves becoming more loving, patient, joyful, peaceful, kind, good, gentle, faithful and under the control of the Holy Spirit. As He is in this world, so are we! We find ourselves making allowances for other’s faults…even in advance. We find ourselves forgiving others when they wrong us…without their asking. We find ourselves not holding things against people and not bringing up past mistakes to others…just the way God relates to us! We find ourselves not judging others, but seeing them through God’s eyes!
This is a process that takes time, especially for us to see the many lies we have believed about God. We find ourselves relating to others as Jesus relates to us. We learn that the same spiritual action is true in Jesus relating to us, as is true with us relating to others: “grace is the face love wears when it comes in contact with imperfection.”
#7 HOW DO WE LET GOD’S LOVE AFFECT OUR LIVES?
“Growing in grace” is the continual process of our hanging out more and more with Jesus and letting Him live His life in us more and more rather than our living selfishly and self-centeredly. We are literally participating in Christ’s life – the life of the Triune Dance of life between the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Growing in Grace is learning more and more every day how infinitely high, deep, long and wide God’s love is for us and everyone!
I love this quote from one of the great grace men of the 20th century:
The Reformation was a time when men went blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellar full of fifteen-hundred-year-old, two-hundred proof Grace–bottle after bottle of pure distillate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us single-handedly. The word of the Gospel–after all those centuries of trying to lift yourself into heaven by worrying about the perfection of your bootstraps–suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home before they started…Grace has to be drunk straight: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale; neither goodness, nor badness, not the flowers that bloom in the spring of super spirituality could be allowed to enter into the case.
― Robert Farrar Capon, Between Noon & Three: Romance, Law & the Outrage of Grace
#8 WHY DID GOD CREATE US?
Most of us don’t know that the Trinity (Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit) envisioned US dancing with them before they ever created us!
God – the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit have existed forever in community – in relationship (God is ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIP!) in their perfect Triune dance of love and everything good that flows from their unselfish, perfect, unconditional love: joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness…always under control. They couldn’t improve on their perfect relationship, but they could expand it to include others…so they dreamed about us – they had visions of us dancing with them!!!
They decided to create a family, in their image, with whom they could relate and enjoy being with. They knew that for love to be reciprocated, it would need to be free and without conditions or restrictions. They chose each of us in advance, to be in their family (In Christ), before they created anything.
They knew in advance that we would ultimately not trust them, that we would try to get our needs met apart from them, and that we would make poor choices. They knew the result would be that we would come to believe lies about them, including (but not limited to):
- The lie that God was angry at them because of their behavior;
- The lie that God couldn’t stand to be in the presence of sin, therefore He separated Himself from us;
- The lie that God required things for us “to do” to regain a right standing or relationship with Him;
- The lie that God kept an ongoing list of their “bad behavior;”
- But even though God knew what would happen, He had visions of us dancing with Him in His head – and He never gave up on that vision!
As a part of His ongoing desire for us to experience and enjoy His love, He started implementing the plans He made before creation:
- Continually demonstrating His love and grace to us;
- Continually providing for us;
- Giving us the Old Covenant of the Law and it’s commandments to show us beyond any doubt that we could not live up to its standards by our own desire and efforts;
- Coming Himself in the form of Jesus Christ--fully man and fully God--to be one of us and in relationship with us (thus dispelling forever the lie of separation);
- By Jesus revealing the Father to us;
- By Jesus being the exact representation of God. In so doing, He shows us that any idea or concept conveyed that God is not good, not for us, not love, not forgiveness, not grace…is a lie.
- By taking away the sin of the world (both inherited sin from the first man and woman and personal acts of missing God’s mark of perfection), forgiving us totally and unconditionally, not holding any sin against us, choosing not to remember our sin or ever bring it up to us again. He did this to totally dispel and refute the lie we had believed that our sin affected God’s love for us and our relationship with Him.
God does hate sin, because of what the effects of sin do to his children…but neither acts of sin not the effects of sin ever have any bearing on His unconditional love for us or His desire for us to be in relationship and communion with Him always.
Jesus took all the sin of the world on Him and in exchange gave us His righteousness.
We were supernaturally crucified with Him, we died with Him, we were buried with Him, and when the Father raised Him from the dead in the power of the Holy Spirit, He raised us with Him as new creations (literally a new species) In Christ. Our old Adamic sin nature died (along with the old sin nature of everyone who ever lived --Jesus took away the sin of the world and God the Father was in Christ Jesus reconciling the world to Himself, not counting our sins against us).
By means of Jesus’ finished work at the cross, Jesus also fulfilled the old covenant of the law, made it obsolete, set it aside, died to it, and then proclaimed to us that we have no more relationship with the old covenant of the law. The Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, at Jesus’ death, instituted their New Covenant of Free Grace, which all mankind is now under forever.
By their Grace, they have done everything for us to have, experience, and enjoy forever-- a right relationship with God in their Triune Circle Dance of love, life, joy, peace, and everything good that comes from God. We have it all. There is nothing we can do to add to it or take away from it. Nothing can ever separate us from their love!
The object of God’s Agape love never does anything to merit His love. We are the undeserving recipients upon whom He lavishes that love. His love was demonstrated when He sent His Son into the world to “seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10) and to provide eternal life to those He sought and saved. He paid the ultimate sacrifice for those He loves.
God continued to have visions of us dancing with Him even when we had two left feet and were far from the dance hall!
God most clearly displayed his love at the cross, where Christ died for the unworthy creatures who were “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1), not because we did anything to deserve it, “but God commends His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). The object of God’s Agape love never does anything to merit His love. We are the undeserving recipients upon whom He lavishes that love. His love was demonstrated when He sent His Son into the world to “seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10) and to provide eternal life to those He sought and saved. He paid the ultimate sacrifice for those He loves.
Our new selves – the real us – our true identity, In Christ, is now and forever (because God made us this way and decreed it) pure, holy, without fault, innocent, right with God and One with the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit forever. We are in Christ and Christ is in us.
Our new spirit ascended to the right hand of God the Father when Jesus ascended and we are there In Christ forever. Christ is also in us…in our body and soul (mind, will and emotions) here on earth. He is in us and we are in Him.
Since then, God’s dream of us dancing with Him–Father, Jesus and Spirit, has been possible. All that’s left is for us to believe that we literally are God’s dream and accept His invitation to dance!
#9 IS THERE ANY OTHER POSSIBLE WAY TO GET RIGHT WITH GOD?
The old saying that “Food is the way to a man’s heart” is really true! Jesus – the bread of life – is the Way to the Father’s heart.
No one needs another way, this Way is already accomplished, in place forever and is for everyone. Jesus is The Way, The Truth, and The Life!
No one other than Jesus, who is God, was ever able to do this.
Jesus is the way that enables us to really Taste and See that God is good!
#10 WHY HAVE I NEVER HEARD THIS BEFORE?
We have an enemy who wants us to believe in him and follow him instead of the Only True God (as Jesus refers to God the Father). The enemy (diabolos, the deceiver, the evil one, the devil) lies to us about what God is like. His goal is to steal, kill and destroy our relationship with the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. He is a defeated enemy, however we can effectively give him power over us when we choose to believe his lie.
He portrays a fictitious god (the product of his imagination) to us with lies, deception and distortion. He will use a shred of truth and then distort it with lies.
He attempts to convince us (primarily through “religion” – any attempt by mankind to gain or maintain a right relationship with god by what we do) that god:
- Is angry
- Is punitive
- Is vindictive
- Is distant
- Is uncaring
- Is disinterested – except to keep a record of our wrongs
- Is not for us
- Does not like us
- Can’t stand to be in our presence
- Has decided that people who live certain lifestyles cannot ever be in right relationship with him
- Has separated Himself from us
- Decided in advance to damn most people to eternal fiery punishment in hell separate from him and only give a few, select people the opportunity to go to heaven with him
- Wants to condemn and punish forever people who:
- commit even one tiny sin
- never find out about Jesus
- don’t believe the “right things” about him
- don’t sincerely say the right thing the right way in the right language to admit how they have wronged god
- don't ask god to forgive them and come into their hearts and then commit to follow god.
The result of believing these lies has had the cumulative effect of darkening people’s minds, and has caused them to believe the lie that god has made then enemies with him!
This was the state of mankind when Jesus came to earth in roughly the year 0, to show us the Father’s love and reveal the truth to us about the Only True God. Unfortunately much of mankind still believes these (and other) lies about a fictitious god who isn’t real.
Tragically, these lies have been perpetuated and promulgated in and by much of the church via the “Christian Religion.” Jesus didn’t come to help us keep the laws of the Jewish religion. He didn’t come to start a new religion. He didn’t come to give us a new set of rules or commandments. He didn’t come to give us doctrines that state “the only way.” Rather…Jesus came to seek and save the lost (everyone…we all had darkened minds). He came to reveal his Father to us. He came to show us first hand, in the most graphic way possible, His unconditional love. He came to give us His abundant life. He came to set us free from religion…not give us more or a different religion!
Many people are bound up in the bondage of trying to get right with this god when the truth is they are already as right with the Only True God as it is possible to be!
What about all the rules and “do’s and don’t’s” and things I’ve been told you have to give up or quit if you “get religion.”
God isn’t talking about “getting religion!” He loves you just like you are. He makes no demands on you…only religion and religious people do that. As you experience His love and get to know Him and communicate with Him, in His timing He may lovingly show you how certain actions or words from you hurt His other family members and how you (and they) are able to experience His love life better when you’re not hurt and hurting. Then He will live His love-life not only in you, but as you and through you as you relate to others. He will never condemn you, never shame you, never guilt you, never put you down. He always relates in unconditional love!
What about the “Old Testament?” Doesn’t it say that God is angry and punitive and arbitrarily punishes people in awful ways?
First: the “Old Testament” contains the Hebrew Scriptures which were written only to the Jewish people through the time that ended with Jesus’ crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection and ascending to the Father (His Finished Work at the Cross). They were not written to any other people group. We can learn some things from them but they were not written to us. We are not under the law of the Old Covenant, and never have been.
Second: Jesus is the exact representation of the Father. Anything in the Old Testament that portrays the Father in any “dark” way other than how Jesus lived while He was here on earth, is not an accurate picture of the Only True God.
Jesus told the religious leaders of His day (many of whom had huge portions of the Old Testament memorized and who were teacher of the law): “None of you knows the Only True God, or Jesus, His Son.” (Matthew 11:27). The “fruit” of living by the Old Testament, reached at its zenith, was a nation of people (including and especially it’s religious leaders) who did not know the Only True God, and who, were in fact, so far from recognizing Him because of their darkened minds, that they were threatened by and decided to (and did) kill Him when He showed up among them.
Isn’t the Bible the inspired and infallible word of God?
The Christian “Bible” is a book that contains the Hebrew Scriptures (not written to Christians), and the New Testament “Christian Scriptures.” Other religions have books that they also call their “Bible.”
The Christian Bible contains words that God inspired people to write, but Jesus Christ is The Word of God who has existed from the beginning (the “Bible” hasn’t existed from the beginning).
The Holy Spirit of God spoke to select people to write the “books” of the Bible. Those people who wrote the Hebrew Scriptures didn’t know Jesus, didn’t have the Holy Spirit of Jesus living in them, and in fact, had darkened minds that prevented them from knowing the Only True God as we are able to today. They lived under cultural conditions and biases and traditions that affected how they wrote what God told them to write.
Jesus hadn’t yet done His Finished Work at the Cross, so they had no reference for what He would accomplish for all mankind or what that would fully mean. God used them to record His love and mercy and faithfulness and grace. God used them to write predictions of the coming Messiah…but those were like shadows of the real thing which was to come.
We do not have any original documents that were written by those whom God inspired to write. In fact, differing sets of Greek and Hebrew texts are used by different Bible translators.
We know now from church and secular history that there have been some deliberate mistranslations (primarily from the early Catholic Church translators (Jerome and others) where the original meanings of words were ignored and new Latin (and later English, et al) words were coined specifically to fund the church (ie: the Greek word metanoia which meant “to change one’s mind” was translated “repent” specifically to promote “penance” – the paying of money to “get one’s sins forgiven by the church”, and “re” was eventually added to “penance” to add even more emphasis.
We also know that different groups of translators have had different man-made theological doctrines and bents that have influenced how words have been translated into English and other languages.
Those who have written Bible Commentaries also have specific theological bents and, in some cases, have come up with “biblical” meanings for original Greek and Hebrew words that do not seem to have any historical validity.
Yes, the Old and New Testament Scriptures were initially inspired by God. The translations we have today are not without error as evidenced by the many differences in the translations themselves…they can’t all be without error.
Conclusion: For someone to say “I just believe what the Bible clearly says…” indicates a lack of understanding of the above.
What about God’s “anger and wrath.” Doesn’t the Bible depict him as being angry and full of wrath.
The most basic, foundational truth about God is that He is love and everything He does and says flows from His pure, unconditional love which always does what is best for the other person. Ask these questions about scripture that could seem to portray Him in a different light with the mindset of:
- What does the original text actually say?
- Who was this written to? (ie: Jews only—who were chosen by God for a specific period of time to reveal Himself to so they would be blessed and so they would in turn bless the rest of the world with the truth about God, etc.)
- When was this written? (Old or New Testament)
Many times the original word will have a different meaning than what the English word seems to convey. For example “wrath” comes from the Greek word “orge” which means “any violent emotion.” It could mean anger…but knowing the foundational truth that the only true God is love and loves everyone…must indicate a different meaning. I believe God’s violent emotion to be His “white hot love” for everyone and His anger against anything that keeps any of us from experiencing that love.
What about “theology?”
“Theology” simply means “what one thinks or believes about God.” I believe God is unconditional love for everyone and that because of their love, the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit decided before creation to create mankind – their family – to enjoy and experience their life of love with them. They knew in advance the challenges that would come from giving us freedom to not love them, freedom to live as we chose, but they had a plan from before the beginning to take care of all these challenges…and Jesus did.
What about all the different “doctrines” or beliefs? What about the doctrine of “predestination,” “end times,” the “rapture,” or “(insert your favorite doctrine here)”?
Doctrines are beliefs that the more than 41,000 current different “Christian” denominations and countless tens of thousands of additional churches and groups have put together from their own logic and understanding of the Bible and human traditions and rituals. Any doctrine that detracts from or adds conditions, limits, boundaries, restrictions or regulations to God’s free grace as coming from His pure, unconditional love for everyone that was consummated by Jesus’ Finished Work at the Cross for all mankind, changes the meaning of “free grace” and “unconditional,” and is not true.
God is for you. Please read the love letter to you from God below to help you remember who you are:
You are IN CHRIST because I put you in Me! I did it all because of My great love for you!
It gave Me great pleasure to choose you – I chose you before the foundation of the world (before creation) to be adopted and included in Me!
I made you pure – right – innocent—in Me! I totally took care of your sin. I took it all away (past, present & future!) I have forgiven you unconditionally! Sin is not now and never will be an issue between you and Me!
You are in Me and I am in you! We are one! We can’t get any closer!!!
Any time you feel distant, feel separate, feel like you are not close to Me, you are feeling a lie and you can just give it to Me immediately. I take those lies away, as far as the east is from the west! I dismantle and disintegrate them to nothingness (without form) to have no part in or with you.
I am in you and around you and with you. You are in Me. We are one!
I have already given you, as a gift, (free – from Me) EVERY spiritual blessing there is! You need never ask – just thank me!
By My divine power, I have given you everything – all things—you ever need for abundant life and godliness! You partake of My very divine nature!
I am 100% for you! You have My very Life – My DNA! You are My very-much-loved child whom I delight in and love to be with and am so very fond of! I think loving thoughts about you always and forever.
Nothing can ever change our relationship or separate you from My love! My love is higher, wider, deeper and longer than you can ever imagine. You won’t ever comprehend how very much I love you – but you can experience and enjoy My love…and I so very much want you to!
In Christ – YOU are
Pure, Holy, Loved, Chosen, Sealed, Radiant, complete, Cleansed, Innocent, Accepted, Redeemed, Justified, Glorified, Sanctified, Never alone, triumphant, A New Creation, Without fault, Right with God, Completely forgiven, One with the Father, Son and Spirit
In Christ – you are
LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENT, KIND, GOOD, GENTLE, FAITHFUL, UNDER CONTROL OF THE HOLY Spirit, Forgiving, Grace Giving, Encouraging, Triumphant, More than a Conqueror.