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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Reading the Bible with White Out

Sometimes I wish I could read my Bible with white-out. The Bible is a very unpredictable book and it seems like the moment I begin to "figure it out", I read something that blows it all up. It would just be so convenient to white-out those verses that make believing the Bible so difficult, to cover up those statements that make knowing God so challenging. This morning, I had one such moment.

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God. Hebrews 10:31

I have read this verse before. The first few times I skimmed over it with the same glaze I skim over the the Old Testament monologues about God's wrath towards the Ammonites, or the Amorites, or any other 'ite' God may have destroyed. But finally this verse ate through me, surfacing in my conscience like a worm surfaces on a perfect red apple. Every time I read this verse, it bothers me for a while, deeply.

This morning, I had to face this verse again. And as much as I would like to white this verse out and move on, I can't. This verse convicts me of a deep sin, and I'm afraid it's a sin shared by many of my fellow believers. It convicted me that I worship and serve a neutered god. I worship a god who doesn't mind when we sin and is tolerant of those seeking there own path to redemption. I worship a god who only dislikes sin, who only prefers holiness and is only capable of love and compassion towards the human race. And by worshiping this god, I worship a god that doesn't exist...and that's one of the greatest sins of all.

God minds when we sin, He sends to Hell anyone who doesn't find redemption through His Son, and will judge the majority of the world for damnation. Even though I would rather believe in a God less dangerous, I can't. In Jonathon Edwards famous sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, he says,

"There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God."

Every man, eventually, will fall into God's hand, and the only thing that will stop God from delivering us into Satan's torment, is Christ. And even if we are saved by Christ, there is nothing keeping God from disciplining His child. As I let this truth sink in, the commandment to fear God takes on a whole new meaning. I usually take 'fear God' to mean 'respect God.' But the commandment to fear God literally means to fear Him, because when all is said and done, God can do whatever He wants. God is a dangerous God and it is only by the pleasure of His will, shown by grace through His Son, that anyone is saved from the fury of His wrath and power.

"I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do to you. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell." Luke 12:4-5

I need to put my white-out away and start living like I believe in a living, dangerous God, because someday, I will fall into His hands.

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