When Loving God Is Not Enough
by Dinora Garza
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Some time ago I had a dilemma; I loved God but Jesus didn’t seem to fit into my relationship with Him. I knew that He claimed to be the Son of God, and died on the cross, but I didn’t understand why I didn’t love Him as much as I loved God. Little did I know then, that what Jesus did on that cross would become for me a matter of life or death, and how precious Jesus would come to be for me.
To have a meaningful relationship with God, we first need to know God’s true character. Many people claim to love God, yet some have constructed in their minds a God that suits their ideas and preferences. Some say God is so good that He won’t punish anyone, and hell does not exist. Others say that God permits everything, and you can be a Christian and live a sinful lifestyle.
According to the Bible there is only one true God: the God of the Jews. His name is Yahweh (or The Lord). In the Bible we learn that God is Spirit (possess a personality, but not a physical body), Eternal (He has always existed and He always will); Jealous (He won’t share His glory with anyone) ; Almighty (nothing is impossible for Him), Omniscient (He knows everything), Omnipresent (He is everywhere), Holy (He won’t tolerate sin), Righteous (He won’t leave sin unpunished), Loving (He loves us), Merciful (He forgives us), and Gracious (He gives us things that we don’t deserve).
Once we understand the true personality of God, we know that God is not too good to punish sin, because He is also Holy and righteous, and that He will not tolerate sin, because He is Holy. God is not the way we imagine Him, we cannot have our own God “à la carte” and He will not adapt to us in any way. Knowing who God really is, gives us the possibility to have a relationship with Him based on truth, yet we still need to discover that we are not who we think we are!
If you ask people how they see themselves, almost everyone will tell you: I am a good person; but what does it mean to be good in the eyes of God? When someone called Jesus good, he answered: “Why do you call me good? Only God is good!”
God defines “good” in a completely different way than we do. We think we are good because we only lie occasionally, or just stole one little thing, once. We dishonor our parents but we think that that doesn’t make us sinners. We don’t feel we are sinful when we covet someone, but in the eyes of God, every time a man looks at a woman with lust, his sin is considered adultery.
You may be thinking, “That is an exaggeration! Who can live by that standard?” The answer is: only God. That means we are not able to balance the scales. We have been found guilty of committing sin and fallen short of the glory of God. We will never match God’s definition of goodness! It is hard for us to realize that we are not good, that we are sinners deserving of going to hell, but it is true.
If you have been paying attention, by now you know that in spite of your love for God, you will most probably end up in hell. Our sins have separated us from God and we have become His enemies. “The wages of sin is death” says the Bible. We need a Savior and that Savior is Jesus Christ.
Jesus said this: “Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.”
According to Jesus, if we worship the true God, He will lead us to Him because Christ is the only one who can help us to be clean of all unrighteousness, so we can approach God freely. He is our only chance of going to heaven.
God ordered the Jews to sacrifice an animal each year in order to be forgiven. This animal had to be blameless. Lame or blind animals were not accepted by God. In the same way, our sinful intents to “earn” heaven are of no use. Good deeds, an honest life –you name it –are simply not good enough for gaining a ticket to heaven.
While God rejected those imperfect lambs, He accepted those who were blameless. Jesus Christ represents that perfect lamb because He is the only blameless man who has ever lived. The moment Christ died on the cross, His sacrifice was accepted by God and the only thing we need to do is repent (want to change), ask God to forgive us, and accept Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. Then God cancels the penalty for our sins.
Accepting Jesus’ sacrifice comes with the acceptance of Jesus’ Lordship over your life. You have been bought with His death, and your life now belongs to Him. You are also accepted in God’s family. God will put His Holy Spirit in you, and the sins that you enjoyed so much will become unappealing. You will learn God’s will through the study of the Bible.
Pornography, even the most “artistic, elegantly made” kind of pornography, offends God because He is Holy. Drugs and alcohol are not God’s will for you, because addictions enslave you. Sleeping with boyfriends or girlfriends is not acceptable to God, because your body is for His glory now. You are still a sinner, but you won’t need those sins or addictions to have fun or be fulfilled anymore. God will change your heart and mind, and will give you new desires. You won’t suddenly be free of trouble, but the Lord will always be with you and help you. The closer you are to God, the more wisdom, peace and joy you’ll have. Your new relationship with Christ will give you, for the first time in your life, a purpose.
In a way, I feel bad to burst your bubble, but Christianity is not something you can take lightly, because your spiritual life present and future is at stake. There is not easy way to Christianity. Anyone who claims to be a Christian and lives in sin is trying to fool others and himself; he will end up in hell.
You can take it or leave it. It is up to you because God has given you freedom.
Judgment Day will come and while you are alive you have a choice to do: you can present yourself before God and be judged based on your deeds to see if you are able to earn heaven, or you can decide to accept Jesus’s sacrifice for you and enter the presence of God blameless. Will you be able to stand the test? What will you do?
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