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DO YOU HAVE AN ACCURATE VIEW OF GOD?
by Philip Owen

          We live in an era when emotions trump reason, when feelings are regarded as more valid than facts, when personal impressions pass for hard reality. Small wonder, then, that the predominant idea of God (among the diminishing number of people who even believe in a literal God) is that He is a gentle, grandfatherly figure whose sole moral or ethical quality is love. He overlooks sin or unilaterally forgives all evil behavior regardless of repentance on the part of the one who has misbehaved (because the concept of sin or the idea that someone is a sinner before God is considered antiquated). But God does not change because the concept of His fallen creatures has changed. Believers must guard against yielding to the prevailing view that a God who judges sinners is uncharitable, if not absolutely misguided and downright harsh. No honest reading of the Bible (the only source for accurate information regarding God), will allow a reader to escape the realization that the essential element of God’s character is holiness, the attribute that separates Him from all created beings and especially all that has to do with sin. Such is His nature that He must and He will judge sin. Furthermore, neither His attitude nor His actions toward sin and sinners are sources of shame and embarrassment, something to be covered up, de-emphasized, and forgotten; something to be whispered and dismissed if mentioned at all. On the contrary, the testimony of God Himself is that He is exalted in His dealing with sin and sinners. Consider one example.

            You will remember God’s deliverance of His people from Egyptian bondage. The “Song of Moses” (Ex. 15:1-18) commemorates that occasion. In that song, Moses praises God with these words (vv. 3-6).

The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is His name.

Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea;

And the choicest of his officers are drowned in the Red Sea.

The deeps cover them; they went down into the depths like a stone.

Your right hand, O Lord, is majestic in power,

Your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy.

The song continues in this vein for nine more verses. Crass, bloodthirsty, the unenlightened words of a primitive man in an uncivilized culture? Words not worthy to describe the actions of a loving God? Then we must dismiss the testimony of God Himself. No fewer than three times in the preceding chapter God declares that the killing of Pharaoh and his entire army glorifies Him.

“Thus I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after them [Israel]; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord” (v. 4).

“As for me, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in [to the sea] after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen” (v. 17).

Then the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord, when I am honored through Pharaoh, through his chariots and his horsemen” (v. 18).

            Does your view of God comport with the holy, righteous, just God revealed within the pages of Scripture? If not, then you have a false god, manufactured by your fallen mind, an idol. Are you ashamed or embarrassed by a God who unapologetically judges sin? Then you have fallen prey to the syrupy sentimentalism of our age. Man’s view of God will never change the reality of who He is. So it is essential for our salvation and for our ability to glorify God to establish and maintain a biblical understanding of His nature. It is a holy and praiseworthy thing that God hates sin. It is our salvation that He judges it.

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