When I was growing up in the church, I was given the impression that God was a vindictive being sitting in the heavens waiting for me to mess up so he could set me straight. I always wondered if he needed a vacation since he was always angry. After all, this worked well for dad when life was getting the best of him and causing him to have anger issues. This religious stuff made no sense to me, and I longed for the day I could distance myself from religion and everything connected to it. God, however, had other plans, and at the age of 16, I invited him into my life and became born again (my testimony).
At this point in my life, my ignorance was exposed. Everything I knew about God and the Bible was WRONG. He is not a vindictive being waiting for me to mess up so he can punish me. This is how God felt about me:
- For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
(John 3:16-17 KJV)
Think about this. God loved me so much that he sent the best he had (his son, Jesus) to pay the price for my deliverance. God doesn’t condemn us, for we are already condemned; rather, he sent Jesus into this world to deliver us from this condemnation. He did this when he died on the cross for our sins. All I had to do was believe on him (become born again), and I could have eternal life instead of eternal death. Here is what the Bible says about this:
- For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 KJV)
Why did God do this? Did he need some new slaves to work the Maintenance department in heaven? The answer is no. He wants to have a relationship with us. Consider these verses:
- And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
(James 2:23 KJV)
- Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
(John 15:13-15 KJV)
- The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.
How important is this relationship? In the last day, some will stand before the judge and profess a relationship that does not exist. They, however, will be condemned:
- Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
(Matthew 7:21-23 KJV)
First, they professed to know him. Second, they tried to prove this by presenting their good works ( notice it says MANY will try this, but fail). In the end, Jesus cast them away because he does not KNOW them. The word “know” in this instance is the Greek word “ginosko” which means to know intimately (such as with husband and wife). This requires a very close, intimate relationship with him. Do you have this relationship? Want to know how? Click here