Continued Missing Parts,
5. The Fear of God and the Judgment Seat of Christ.Instead of the awesome majesty of Jehovah, today the Lord is presented as a sort of “ice cream man-Santa Claus.” And the Church is the “candy store” where you can get “every goodie your heart desires.” Jesus Himself is portrayed as “a sweetie pie,” so good, so loving, so forgiving, and so gentle, that you can almost hear the preacher whisper, “Aw, He wouldn’t hurt a fly…” But what happened to “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31) or “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’? (Proverbs 9:10)10
The wise, new editors of modern preaching rhetoric have conveniently wiped out every reference to the Almighty’s severity while emphasizing only His kindness. This they do, ignoring the balanced, biblical view of Paul, “Behold then the kindness and severity of God.” (Rom. 11:22)
6. Repentance as Necessary for Forgiveness. Ithas always amazed me how the Church could have evolved to such a state as it is in now, with such clear, direct teaching from the Lord Jesus as to what is necessary to be right with God. Please read the first five verses of the 13th chapter of Luke. Here, Jesus is told the news about some Galileans who were executed by the Romans. He then says, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Using another example, He then repeats the same exact sentence.
I cannot conceive of conversion without repentance. The teachings of Jesus and the apostles are full of commands to “repent and be saved!”11 Repentance is not just “being sorry” – that is only conviction. Repentance is not merely a change of heart and a change of mind, it is a change of action! God requires that if we are sincerely convinced that sin is wrong, then we will turn from it to God, and commit ourselves to not take part in sinful deeds any longer. God blesses such decisions and commitments with abundant grace. And it is by that grace that we can fulfill the desires of the Spirit within us.
But because there is so little real conviction of sin brought about by the preaching of our modern gospel, we cannot truly require repentance anymore. If we did, no one would “come forward” at all. For repentance is easy to him who sees how ugly and horrible sin is, but repentance is impossible where the Law does not convince the sinner of his wicked heart, compelling him to turn from his sin into the arms of a waiting, compassionate God. You see, all these removed parts of the Gospel are connected. In God’s wisdom, every aspect of the appointed way of salvation is irreplaceable.
It is true that without God loving us first, we could not be saved. He made the first move, He always does. But He will not do what He requires of the sinner himself to do – and that is to repent!
7. God’s Sorrow and Broken Heart Over Sin. The picture of God as presented today by evangelists is that of an optimist – a positive-thinking good ole boy who lives in heaven, high above the trouble on earth, where everything is rosy, “and the skies are not cloudy all day.” Why, how could anything bother the living God? He isn’t really troubled by all the mess down here, He has everything under control!
But again, the Bible paints a different picture of our King. Just look at Jesus weeping over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41), or the pleadings of God with the nation of Israel through the prophets Isaiah or Ezekiel.12 This God, the one in the Bible, is continually striving with men through His Spirit. It says in Proverbs, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3)That means that God saw every rape committed today, He saw every murder, every person that starved to death, every pornographic film and book, every abused and battered child. How can anyone believe that He sees this and does not grieve? Of course God can grieve. Doesn’t the Bible implore us not to “grieve the Holy Spirit of God”? (Eph. 4:30)
You see, God is the most hurt and dishonored being in the universe. He could stop all this mess, all the perversion and crime and corruption any time He wishes, but He doesn’t! Why? Because He waits for the souls of men and women. “Regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation,” Peter said. (II Peter 3:15)But the Church, which doesn’t have one millionth of the compassion that God has, has turned around and created a god in its own image and likeness. A carefree, cheerful, above-it-all God. And then the Church has conveniently removed from the “gospel” it presents all reference to the pain and sorrow in God’s heart. The Church doesn’t want a God who’s grieved with sin, because then this God would be grieved with them… (and He is!)13 To Continue
10) See also Deut. 5:29, 10:12; Joshua 24:14; II Kings 17:39; Psalm 2:11, 15:4, 19:9, 25:14, 31:19, 33:18, 34:7,9,11, 52:6 60:4, 67:7, 72: 5, 85:9, 86:11, 103:11,13,17; 111:5, 112:1, 147:11; Proverbs 8:13, 10:27, 13:13, 14:26-27, 15:16, 16:6, 19:23, 23:17, 28:14, 31:30; Isaiah 8:13; Jer. 32:39-40; Malachi 3:16, 4:2; Matt. 10:28; Luke 1:50; Acts 10:35, 13:26; II Cor 7:1; Eph 5:21; Phil. 2:12, Heb. 12:29; I Peter 1:17; Rev. 14:7
11) Psalm 7:12; Isiah 30:15; Ezek. 18:32; Matt. 3:2; Mark 1:5, 6:7,12; Acts 2:38, 3:19, 8:22, 17:30, 26:19-20; Rev. 2:5,16, 3:3,19
12) Isiah 1:18, 54:7; Exek. 18:23,32, 33:11; Hosea 11:8.
13) Psalm 78:40-41; Mark 3:5.