If you listen too much to what is preached today, you could conclude that God is one-dimensional. He has a few themes He likes to be preached because that is what is often done in many churches today. He is always positive, always has our backs, and He always wants the best for us. Well, He is all of that, but, is He just that narrow in scope? How can an eternal being be so one-sided? Is God ever negative? You would think that if we wanted to teach about God in His entirety, at least what the Bible reveals, we would teach that He is never one-dimensional.
Let’s talk about the time when God had Noah build an ark and a flood killed the entire world's population at that time. Where was God's positivity at that point in Biblical history? What about the time where He told Israel as they were storming the land God gave to them, to kill all the inhabitants, all men, women, and children? Where was God's "I got your backs" then? What about Ananias and Sapphira when they lied about what they sold their land for, and God killed them? Was this His best for them?
I think you get my point. We preach a one-sided God today because we want people to think of God as a loving, holy, and positive God … not one who is negative and judgmental. The Bible teaches us that God is not one-dimensional, but that He is sovereign and acts accordingly to what He has told us in His Word. So, if we honestly look at His Word, it reveals a God who in person and character goes beyond what we hear preached today from our pulpits.
I have heard Christians say that prophecy, or more specifically the Book of Revelation, is scary because there is so much destruction and carnage on humanity. I remind them that the same Jesus who died upon the Cross for our sins is the same one who is overseeing the judgment that is happening in the Book of Revelation. We see the Lamb of God at Calvary, and we see the Judge in the Book of Revelation … it is the same Savior, the same Lord and Savior doing both. God is not a one-dimensional God.
So, the question remains: “Why are we hearing only a one-dimensional God from our pulpits today?” Let me suggest a couple possibilities:
1. The leaders don’t know God:
Jeremiah 2:8 The priests did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord?’ Those who deal with the law did not know me; the leaders rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied by Baal, following worthless idols.
Do the leaders who preach about God know Him? Perhaps they know Him in part. They know the part of Him they like and ignore the rest. If preachers are preaching the cultural norms and trying to insert things that are so-called relevant into their sermons, are they not preaching Baal? Relevancy is often passed off today as making Christianity relatable to the culture. I have said it before and I will say it again, "There is nothing positive in culture that doesn't want to be worshipped or accepted as truth." Christians worship the one true God, and He is the only truth. There is no more room for the culture to weasel its sensual, earthly, ways into our fellowship with God. Listen to the words of the Apostle James who tell us about the wisdom of the world or culture:
James 3 15Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
Then James compares it to heavenly wisdom or what the citizenry of heaven is displaying:
James 3 17But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
There is such a difference … it is that difference that sets us apart as believers in Christ. We are not to be like the world around us, yet the goal of the evil one is to lead us down that path. That is why Jesus ended His prayer, "Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one."
2. People do not fear God:
Jeremiah 2:19 Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of hosts.
“The fear for Me is not in you.” God is a nice theme and everyone celebrates the religious holidays, but God is not in their hearts. They don’t honor Him as God. (Honor is another way of translating the word fear.) We treat God as a coach or a mentor, but that is far from who He is. God has the last say in everything, and He is the first stop we make following death and He has the power to cast us into the lake of fire.
God is not a one-sided or one-dimensional God. God's goal is to teach us about His mercy and grace in Jesus Christ, while at the same time teaching us about sin and the judgment sin will bring without Jesus. The wages of sin are death, and that message must resonate within us as deeply as the message of mercy and grace. God saves us from the consequences of sin and brings us into His kingdom forever.
If you are without the provision of the salvation that Jesus Christ provides, then the wages of your sin will be paid out to you in death. This is not a physical death … it is a spiritual death described by Scripture as the second death. All will die a physical death, but those who enter eternity without Christ will experience a second death that will be punished in hell without the hope of ever being released.
The message of Christ is so important for us to grasp while there is still time. Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord? It is an easy prayer to accept Christ, and God will lead you as you sincerely follow Him into the fellowship of believers who will help you get started in your new life with Him.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler