I hate it when God is made to look cruel!
Let me give you the backstory. We were prepping for evangelism and the template we were using said to explain to people we spoke to that sin separates us from God’s blessings.
The group leader gave an example which just didn’t sit well with me. He said, sometimes as a father if you had a disobedient child you might be inclined to withhold his school fees until he got back on track.
Let me just stop here.
There is absolutely nothing about that statement that I relate to.
Apparently a lot of people work on the premise that God is a God who withholds based on sin, but that picture is contradicted by Jesus and his relationship with sinners.
Paul asked whether we realized that it is the goodness of God which leads us to repentance1 and that was lived out in our Savior's life. Zacchaeus, the woman at the well and the Mary who poured out her perfume were all people who would be considered sinners in every generation. None of them got chastised into submission in their encounters with the Lord. Their encounters with Jesus was a pretty good template of God’s relationship with the people we would consider sinners.
In this same prep, the leader wanted us to refrain from mentioning to potential converts that their sin was causing God to withhold his blessings from them although he believed this to be true.
It’s the classic bait and switch.
If you watch the Voice, you know what I mean.
The voice is a music talent search where different singers audition in front of a group of judges in the hope that at least one judge will like them.
After weeks of sing-offs and systematic elimination, a winner is finally chosen. The coach who mentors that winner is considered the winning coach. It thus stands to reason that whenever a great singer auditions, the coaches fight each other to get the singer on their team. In that bid, let’s just say the truth is stretched a bit. Singers are promised a smooth ride to the top if only they pick one particular coach. I’ve watched singers get serenaded by coaches, record deals being promised and after a week these same singers get dropped by the coach who promised them heaven in favor of a better singer.
Apparently some kinds of evangelism has a similar twist
God is good so come to him.
When you come He will turn your life around.
He will give you everything you want and He will “Bless you”.
The person gets converted and then doesn’t get everything they want and then those of us who converted him start with our explanations
Well… maybe you’re not praying enough.
You should fast more.
Your church attendance leaves a bit to be desired.
We convert people by telling them the sacrifice of Jesus was enough.
Unfortunately once they come to Christ we don’t consider the sacrifice of Jesus enough.
No wonder people wonder whether the news we carry really is good news.
If the sacrifice of Jesus is only good until our next sin what kind of security can we ever have in Christ?
The gospel is not good news because we follow a list of rules that keep us justified. The gospel is the good news because Jesus’ sacrifice cements our standing as righteous and that gives us boldness with God.
The new covenant gives us a standing in Christ that sin cannot defeat.
The new covenant doesn’t primarily look at us, it primarily looks at Jesus.
The big argument is that if grace is preached, sin will increase. The reality is when people realize how much they are forgiven, their love for the Lord increases and that does not lead to more sin, it leads to what the rest of us consider a godly life.
The gospel is not good news.
The gospel is pinch- me- I’m- dreaming amazing news.
Now who wouldn’t want such a Saviour?
1 Romans 2v4
Afra Opoku is a Christian Writer who delights in painting word portraits of a tender hearted King.
Her book “He Restoreth My Soul” is available in the Kindle store on Amazon.com