Why do we accept that God is always angry? With every storm or natural disaster we hear the same familiar voices begin to tell us that it is our fault and that God is judging America. Even insurance companies refer to these tragic events as the finger or hand of God. Christianity is not the only religion that conforms to the belief of God being angry and ready to take out whole groups of people who do not line up with His standards. All major religions throughout human history have their own brand of the angry God syndrome.
Placed within the hearts of men there has been a desire to be at peace with God; whomever one believes that to be. That is the reason we have so many religions in the world. All of them are searching for the same form of peace that the heart was created to live with. Each one of them developing over the years different beliefs full of rules, creeds and traditions that one must keep and fulfill to find peace with God.
David the Psalmist sheds light on this need of the human heart with the stroke of his pen thousands of years ago, writing, “…I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.” (Psalms 17:15) What satisfies the heart? Peace! What empowers the heart to have peace? Acceptance! On the flip side, what causes the heart to fear? Rejection! Because we believe that we are so different than God and far removed from his likeness, our emotional response is rejection, creating fear of Him instead of peace within our hearts. As a result, religion has been formed to try to fix the difference gap between God and us. We hope we can keep the religious rules in our attempt to bring us into His likeness where we can finally have acceptance and peace with Him. This leaves the responsibility solely on us to gain peace with God, never knowing if we have performed well enough or not. There is little hope in this religious approach but plenty of self-righteous judgment and pride that will come with it.
How would I define religion? To me, religion is defined by a belief system of rules one must keep. It’s attempting to better oneself and to try to meet a God standard to become more like Him in order to find acceptance with Him. Again, religion is driven by the need to find peace in ones heart with God. Simply put, religion is a moral standard we must keep for God to accept, love and bless us. Not only does religion govern us by what we must not do, but also by what we must do. Religion sends people into a life-long struggle to perform, hoping they can do well enough to find acceptance and peace.
Think about how crazy this relationship would be with your spouse or kids? Would you even want this kind of relationship with your own family? Would you want your spouse to always fear you and only love you because they were trying to win your approval? How unfulfilling would that be and what kind of atmosphere of peace or lack of it would your home be filled with? Yet, we believe this is the kind of relationship God wants to have with us! Even though religion has promoted this idea to be true, it is not what God has ever wanted or revealed to us through scripture.
What if God was already at peace with you and you didn’t have to fear Him? How would that change your approach towards Him? Wouldn’t you go from a place of performing and working to win His approval to resting in His approval? God would rather we be aware of His goodness and love, responding back in our hearts with gratitude and love towards Him, instead of fearing and trying to earn His love. Let me write this boldly, God is not angry at the world, nor is angry at you. He already is at peace with you and accepts you! He has already made a way for you to wake up not only every morning in His likeness, but go to bed every night knowing you see his face in righteousness. Here is the key, it has nothing to do with your performance or goodness. It has everything to do with His grace and mercy.
Look at what Isaiah reveals to us about God’s mood towards us. “For this is like the waters of Noah to Me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, so I have sworn that I would not be angry with you, or rebuke you.” “For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has mercy on you. (Isaiah 54:9 & 10)
Let’s break this down. Isaiah first prophecies that this is the same type of deal God is making with humanity that he did with Noah. Think about this, did God put any conditions on Noah to keep in order for Him (God) to not flood the earth again? Did God tell Noah that only if he or humanity after him would live up to a certain standard that He (God) in return would not destroy the earth again through a flood? The answer is no! God promised Noah that He would, no matter what, not flood the earth again. It was a covenant made without conditions, completely reliant on God’s grace and mercy. Now God is saying this promise He made to us out of Isaiah is also without conditions. It too, is completely based on God’s grace and mercy. He even goes as far as to say that the mountains would depart and the hills would be removed before He would break this promise to us. What was this promise? His kindness shall not depart from us and His covenant of Peace would never be removed. God is at peace with you! This is the reason why the day the angels announced the birth of Jesus, they declared, “peace on earth and goodwill towards men.” They were not declaring that there would be peace between mankind, but there was now peace between God and mankind. The fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy came to pass through the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ.
So, today we do not have to cry out like David did when he penned, “I will see your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.” Today through Christ’s death, burial and resurrection we can see His face in righteousness and awake with His likeness. As a result, our hearts are filled with peace toward God. Why wouldn’t it be? He is already at peace with us, He promised! By the way, this is the fundamental difference between Christianity and all other world religions. We do not have to earn God’s favor and acceptance through our good works, we were gifted it through God’s grace and mercy. A Christianity that is proclaimed that one must earn God’s favor and acceptance is as powerless as any other religious belief that practices the same thing, regardless of what label or tittle you put on it.
Changing the way the world views God,
Pastor Brian Essary
Are you looking for a Gospel of grace church that preaches the finished work of Jesus? Do you enjoy ministries like Joseph Prince, Andrew Wommack and Lynn Hiles? If so, Reveal Church might be the perfect fit for you. Come join us Sunday mornings at 10 am. We meet at Copper Stone Executive Business Center at 3632 Land O Lakes Blvd. Land O Lakes, FL. 34639. Children’s church is provided for all ages. Pastor Brian has been ministering the gospel of grace message since 1999, with powerful truths that will continue to empower you to walk out God’s best for your life as you stay at a place of rest in Christ. Come be a part of this powerful start up gospel of grace church and help us reach the Tampa Bay area with the message of the finished work of Christ. We look forward to seeing you this Sunday!