So often, in my discussions with philosophers or “believers” in the real world, I come up against this common phrase: “My God … (fill in the blank).” Of course, the blank is usually filled with something sweet and comfortable and completely contradictory to even a most cursory understanding of scripture. Such things as “My God would not send anyone to Hell” or “My God just wants us all to love each other and not be so condemning” or “(My) God wants us to prosper financially, to have plenty of money, to fulfill the destiny He has laid out for us.” Let’s face it, there are a lot of things we would want God to be about if we had it our way.
But we don’t.
Let’s look at the Bible on this (novel approach). When Paul is speaking to the church in Galatia, he is dealing with a congregation that has been suffering under the teachings of a false gospel where they are being told as new converts to Christianity to come into subjugation of the Jewish covenant law, specifically to the act of circumcision as an ordinance, of which he deals with in chapter 5. This may not register with us in modern times, as most infant males are circumcised shortly after birth, but for these first generation Christian believers, men of 20,30 or more years of age, they were being told that in order to be fully covered by the blood of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross they must get circumcised. That would take some serious belief to do, as a circumcision, one could only imagine, is not something that can be taken too lightly (especially with 1st century medical technology!). Yet, these early Christians, in a desire to be in full obedience, went through with what the teachers proclaimed.
Because of this, Paul was enraged. In Galatians 5:1-12 he blasts the false teachers and their message, proclaiming again to the Galataians that no work of man is sufficient for the grace of God, and capitulating it at the end with a statement, in verse 12, that he wished the false teachers were cut off. But even more than “cut off”, Paul wishes that the false teachers would amputate there own private parts! That is an awfully strong fate for one man to wish upon another.
We also see this sentiment in Christ’s own teachings, as in Luke 17:1-2 where He says, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.” In essence, Christ says, it would be better for a false teacher to chain himself to concrete blocks and jump off a bridge than to have others believe his false doctrines. Again, not such a good fate.
So, it appears clear to me that one should be careful before they talk about what “my God” is like and make sure that they know the TRUE God first. The gospel is not about us, our lives are not about us, and as such, the character of God is not about what helps us sleep best at night or gives us the most glory, but instead is about what will bring the most glory to Him.
I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth,
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for MY glory,
whom I formed and made. – Isaiah 43:6-7