Saturday, February 9, 2008

Guarantee #10: Because I Have, He Will

The next guarantee that many believers read into scripture and claim: If I am a good Christian and do everything I think God wants me to, He will always take care of me and mine; I am safe and will not suffer.

Have you every heard questions like:
  • What is God trying to teach me?
  • Why is God letting this happen to me (or mine)?
  • Why do good people suffer?
  • Couldn't God have prevented this bad thing from happening to me?
  • Why should I serve God? Look what's happened to me.
  • I've been faithful to God all these years, and look what He's done to me.
  • I gave up everything to serve God. Why is He allowing these things?
Many teachers, preachers, and believers think, say, and teach that IF you do this, this, and/or this, GOD WILL (fill in the blank). And they quote many verses to prove this. 

Two of my personal experiences helped me learn this from the inside out.

One was our experience at a church. We had always been fairly popular at our pastorates and enjoyed a wonderful ministry. We came to a very large, prestigious church and the ministry went well, but the leadership was antagonistic. This threw me for a loop. And I began to ask many of the questions listed above. How could this happen to us?

The second experience was a question asked me by a friend when a mutual friend's second wife died. My friend asked the above questions about our mutual friend. I was able to write back to him what I had learned.

Where in scripture are we promised health? Where are we promised wealth? Where are we promised anything except that God loves us and will not leave us? Where does it say that our mate will not die? Where are we promised our children will be healthy? God does provide and God does care for us and God does watch over us, but does He guarantee? Does it mean you are favored of God if nothing bad ever happens to you?

Seems like many believers have a really hard time realizing that there are no guarantees in scripture for believers other than the two basic ones that God loves us and will never leave us.

And one of the major shifts that many do not make is realizing that we are living under the New Covenant, not the Old. The Old Covenant (Old Testament) has many instances when God says." If you will, then I will." But the New Covenant emphasis is, "Because I (God) have, you can..." That's an entire paradigm shift.

I can what? I can love others, I can trust God, I can have confidence that God loves me, I can know that He will never leave me, I can do what He asks of me.

Many of the questions I listed above are on the basic premise of because I have, then God will. And how many times have we heard, "I've been faithful to God. I go to church every Sunday, I read the Bible, I pray. I'm a good, moral person. Why would He let this happen?" Or, how many times have we heard someone tell another, "If you would just get back in church, God would bring good things to you." Many parents longingly wish that for their children thinking that church attendance will guarantee good things in life for their loved ones. 

Some might ask, "Why should I become a Christian or live to serve God if He's not going to do for me all the things I've been told He will do?" Good question. That brings to light why many people have confessed Christ, and then it also shows why many leave the faith. They become disappointed because they don't get what they expected. 

I'm beginning to sound like a broken record, aren't I? Wonder what it would be like if we got back to the basics: share the simple gospel of Christ; i.e., God loved us and sent His Son to pay the price for our redemption, and He calls us to follow Him and tell others of His Gift of His Son. What else? Well, that He loves us with an everlasting love and that He will never leave us. Go forth with that knowledge and assurance to live your life. No more, no less. 

Fun to think about. What an interesting group of believers that would be. 
MB



3 comments:

Debbie Kaufman said...

These posts are well needed among Christians Mary. The things you have pointed out were things I was taught and thought for years. My view of the Bible was more a superstitious view, than what the Bible actually was saying. It was no different than the black cat under the ladder thinking,but Christianized. As you have pointed out it leads to a warped view of God, the Bible, and who we are.

DT Boy said...

I think for many of us we want God to give us and those we care about good things. I think for the vast majority of people this does not come out o selfish ambitions but rather a true longing to see others blessed and for that matter to be happy. I know how much I love seeing my wife happy and blessed. I love to see that look in her eyes when she is doing the things she loves to do. On the flip side I also hate to watch her suffer because of things that she had not control over (like the loss of a child).

I have asked some of those questions many times and God has gently showed me that I simply needed to rest and trust in Him. He is control and that is really all that matters. He loves me and that is His choice. He initiated my redemption by sending His Son.

You know I have no idea why I became a Christian other than to say that God made it clear that I need to become one. I did not understand it and in fact I could not have hardly articulate what sin was or why I needed a Savior. Bottom line is when I heard the story of Christ's suffering on a Cross and that for some reason He did that for me, I had to respond. And respond I did. I have since come to a deeper understanding of God and His sacrifice.

I am living proof of how lives can be changed when someone is willing to share the Gospel in its simplicity and truth.

I am sorry if this seems a bit rambling.

Gary said...

Mary:

1. Great blog (in general).
2. Some people think God owes them stuff.
3. I used to (and sometimes still do) think God owed me stuff.
4. We probably need more discussion in some of our churches (mine excepted) of why a Christian doesn't need to earn his rewards - and more discussion on the meaning of God's unmerited favor.
5. It may be that if #4 is kept in sight, "prosperity gospel" folks, or rewards-based Christianity adherents, will have a more difficult time in selling the doctrines they endlessly propound in our popular culture.

Looking forward to the next post!

Gary Corey