The God Jesus Reveals.
Why is it that a lot of religious people do not like the God revealed in Jesus Christ? They are more comfortable with the way they see the God of the Old Testament. A killing, waring, revengeful, man hating and a punishing God that is watching your every move to beat you back in line with a big stick.
Why people recoil from the God who tells them to love their enemies and to overcome good with evil as Jesus (the express image of God reveals) is ironic indeed.
Many religiously influenced believers believe in retribution. They want a God who tells them that there should be an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life and they become upset when anyone suggests a God who asks them to be merciful, loving, compassionate and forgiving. The God of grace is not to their liking. Instead, they want a God who punishes people beyond a just punishment for their wrong doings, they want a God who will provide infinite punishment for limited sin.
The God of grace revealed in Jesus Christ is far too generous. He gives His all in love for others, so we could do the same. Such a God is too sissified for most believers. They want one that only requires a tithe and a one hour time slot on a Sunday and then live for self the rest of the week with a spot of Bible reading and prayer here and there. Ultimately, they want a God who declares as an abomination all of those who offend their religious traditions. They don’t like the God who touches lepers, embraces Samaritans, declares women equals, and has the audacity to say to gays, lesbians, transsexuals, and bisexuals, “Whosoever will may come.” They don’t like the God that Jesus reveals because He embraces those whom they want to reject and disrespect. They prefer the God viewed in the Old Testament, the God who declares certain races unclean and would render women who are menstruating as unacceptable in the temple.
They want a God who, when they march off to war, will be on their side and they reject the God revealed through Jesus who warns that those who live by the sword will die by the sword.
When people promote the grace gospel, the rejection that is so strongly realized should have been expected because most believers feel more comfortable with a God that is like most people...vengeful, judgmental, and ready to mete out torture to those who do not conform to expectations...torture that goes on forever and ever. The God revealed in fullness in the Jesus is not to their liking at all.
The Bible says that God created us in His own image. Unfortunately, George Bernard Shaw was correct when he said, “We have decided to return the favor.” There is no doubt that most Christians want a God of their own making, but that’s not the God who is revealed in Jesus Christ.
With all due respect, He is not the God of Jonathan Edwards, who preached “Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God.” Instead, He is the God of love and mercy found the Beatitudes, the God Jesus reveals!