“And God said, “have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from? What do you think we should do about it?” And the man and the woman both said, “we think that we should just let it go and see it it ever happens again.” And God said, “sounds good.” (Genesis 3:11, PMV* 2020).
My Musings: Consider the modern day fable concerning what “itching ears” want to hear about God and Christ.
Once upon a time, (let’s call it the Old Testament days), God was faced with a people who habitually disobeyed Him. Time and again they were punished by God, repented of their wrong-doing (let’s not call it sin — that’s offensive to us) for a time, but eventually returned to their old ways. And the cycle began anew. After centuries of this predictable pattern, God the Father grew tired of always being the “mean” disciplinarian. So He sent His Son Jesus into the world. “You talk to them for a change,” was His Father’s parting instructions. After three years of “talking to them” (let’s call it the New Testament days), Jesus asked this question of the crowds — “What do you think we should do about it?” As expected, the crowd replied, “We think you should just let us go and see if it ever happens again.” Then they crucified Him. And they all lived happily ever after doing their own thing without fear of any consequences. Sound good?
How far-fetched do you think this fable is? Clearly it misrepresents God and Jesus, but what about the people? We don’t like to think about consequences, punishment or least of all God’s wrath. That was the God of the Old Testament, right. That’s merely allegory, that’s the real fable, isn’t it? Our God is a loving God (that’s true). Our God is a God of grace (also true). We are living in New Testament days (still with you). There is no longer a God of wrath, if there ever was one (and you were doing so well).
I don’t like to think about God’s wrath either. Certainly not hell. But ignoring the truth doesn’t make it go away. God certainly did not ignore it. He could not ignore it because He is also a just and righteous God (would we want one who wasn’t). So He sent His Son to die on that cross for our sins (oops I said that word) so He could make it go away for us. He shifted the wrath, the consequences, the punishment onto Jesus. The only solution that could satisfy both His loving grace and His just and righteous wrath. That might sound like a fable, but it is not. It’s a gift. What’s the “fine print” you ask? The gift is available only for those who choose to accept it. If we reject or ignore (same as rejecting) the gift, we accept the consequences. Consequences that are so easily avoidable.
“Be sure of this: The wicked [those who reject Christ] will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous [those who accept Christ] will go free. The desire of the righteous ends only in good, but the hope of the wicked only in wrath.” (Proverbs 11:21–23, NIV 1984).
My Advice – There is another fable that is very popular today. The fable is that there are many paths to God. If there were, why did Christ have to die? If there are, Christ cannot be one of them. Choose the only right path. All other “paths” are dead ends.
“For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?” (Hebrews 2:2–3, NIV 1984).