Chapter-4.4   Seven Lessons On Judgment

4. The Greatest Misconception About God

Our earliest memories of childhood include warnings that if we are ‘naughty’ we will suffer the worst of consequences — did you ever get coal in your ‘stocking’? Or perhaps less severe, if you misbehaved, you wouldn’t get dessert after dinner? Or, if you disrupted the class you wouldn’t get to go out for recess. Basically, a person is innocent until they commit the crime, then they do the time. Thus, these notions synchronize with the concepts that form the very foundation of our judicial system in America, that an individual is considered innocent until proven guilty.

Is it any wonder we get confused when we project these notions upon God and then try to make sense out of divine judgment? If we try to tuck ‘hell’ into the equation, our puzzle piece just doesn’t seem to fit.

Let’s reason it out. Charlie is basically a good guy. He gives to the United Way, he helps at the local food bank and walks for cancer research. He occasionally swears, but who doesn’t? So is Charlie going to hell? And if so, on what basis? Now the Bible says in John 3:16 that, “…God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” *1*.

So based on this verse, if Charlie doesn’t believe in Jesus, when the last whistle blows, though he is a nice (and seemingly good) guy, will God have second thoughts based on the belief thing and all of a sudden (in a fit of rage) say, “You loose, Charlie!” And throw him in hell?

No, when we read the next two verses (John 3:17+18 NIV) it all becomes crystal clear: “17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” *2*.

While in American Courts, a party is innocent until proven guilty, in God’s justice system, a person is born into a state of condemnation, and they are declared ‘righteous’ only by placing their faith in Jesus, God’s appointed man to bring salvation to those who would receive him!

John 3:19-21 NIV, sums it all up:

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” *3*.

There is no ‘hissy-fit’ or ‘knee-jerk’ reaction by God. In the end, he simply, and calmly gives people what they desired all along. If they suffer, it will be because they refused to come to him and make the great exchange as outlined in 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV): “God made him [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” We are justified in God’s sight when we have traded our sins, for the right standing of Jesus!  The promise is given in Matthew 7:7-8: “7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” *4*. The time to ‘ask’, ‘seek’ and ‘knock’ is now!

So dear reader, have you asked? Have you sought? Have you knocked? What about you, America?

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References

*1* John 3:16 (NIV) Bible Gateway https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+3%3A16&version=NIV

*2* John 3:17-18 (NIV) Bible Gateway https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=John%203:17-18&version=NIV

*3* John 3:19-21 (NIV) Bible Gateway https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=John%203:19-21&version=NIV

*4* Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV) Bible Gateway https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Matthew%207:7-8&version=NIV

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–©️2018, Dale Petersen, all rights reserved. Published for Non-profit by Pleasepraywithus.info

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