Definitions are very important when we study theology. For example, when we talk about the Trinity, we are talking one God but three persons. This concept best describes for our human brains to grasp, how God can have three roles, but be one God. Some people describe the Trinity as three Gods, each operating independently of each other. That is not correct. God is one God with three personalities, yet the same God.
Why is this important? Recently, I had a conversation with a person who could not justify that Jesus was the same God in the Old Testament as He is in the New Testament. So, when the judgments on Israel's enemies were swift, killing even women and children, in the quest to enter the Promised Land, Jesus, being God, was there. Some would argue that the judgments of the Old Testament were of a different God … not the God of the New Testament. Yet, the Book of Revelation is the Book where the judgments of God will be exacted upon humankind and it is orchestrated by Jesus. Was this the same Jesus who orchestrated the judgments in the Old Testament? Well, if God is one, I would say yes.
Now you can argue that He wasn’t the person of the Trinity that carried out the orders to destroy Israel’s enemies. But, I would say that God is not a split personality … God is still one. It might not be popular to teach this kind of God, yet, it is the God of the Bible. What we often hear today in Western Christianity is not about this kind of God. We hear a message that God is love, He is forgiving, merciful, and beneficent. He is all those things, yet, He is also the God of the Old Testament and the God of the Book of Revelation.
This is a huge factor that is missing in the preaching and teaching in our churches today. Why? It’s simple. God must be marketed to a culture that needs hope and positive reinforcements that God is a good God, He is a kind God and is a God that does not judge us. He is a God whose mercy gives us second chances. His forgiveness is complete, and His promises will never go away. All of this is true, but it is still only one side of God that is presented. God will judge the world based on what we did with Jesus. Did we make Him into a cultural icon of good fortune and blessings? Or, is He the Savior of the world and the Judge who will condemn people to hell? Again, not the message we hear today. Jesus condemning people to Hell … how can this be? Isn’t He the God of love, mercy, and forgiveness? In our Christian culture today, Jesus would never be this cruel to people, and He certainly didn’t participate in the killing of women and children in the Old Testament.
Yet, if you read the Biblical account, you get another take on who Jesus is. If we are not hearing what I am explaining, it would be reasonable to say that the Christianity that is preached today could be a cult. Why? A cult has some truth, but it leaves out the parts that define truth as the Bible defines it. So, if God is only a positive marketable entity in our churches and part of His story is missing, then, in my mind, we are no different than the cults we say are wrong. Hard to hear? Yes, but that's truth. Truth doesn't soften itself because our tender personalities can't take it. Truth penetrates the core of life and reveals areas where we are falling short.
Here is proof that what I am referring to as Biblical teaching:
Revelation 19 11Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. 12His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. 13He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. 14The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses. 15From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. 16On his robe at his thigh[a]was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords.
This is the Jesus from the Old Testament and the New Testament, the same God Who never changes. This is the Jesus that needs to replace this marketed message of Christianity that Jesus came to give us our ‘best life now’ nonsense and how we can prosper if we just have a prosperity perspective. This is the God we fear, honor, revere, and worship. He is not a split personality … this is the God of the Bible. This is the God Who hung on the Cross because of His love for us, but He is also the God who will come to judge the living and the dead.
Yes, Jesus is tender and caring, but He is also a warrior of God’s wrath. You cannot escape these words that prove the point of this writing so I leave you with these words to ponder:
Revelation 19:15 He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler