God IS righteous, God IS holy, God IS true, God IS just.
We who are Christians have read and accepted these declarations as foregone conclusions. We have been taught (hopefully) and have learned (hopefully) that these statements offer a basic understanding of who, and what, our God is. And just to be clear, I am talking about JHVH (Jehovah), the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the one true god, the god who is worshipped by Jews and Christians the world over.
Knowing who, and what God is, based on the description given to us in His Word about His character, provides a better understanding of Him, as well as a basis for building the relationship and establishing a fellowship with Him. This knowledge provides the guidelines for the way we are to live our lives considering our relationship to Him. We are the children of a loving and protective Father. It certainly helps to wholeheartedly believe that God loves us just as much as He loves His only begotten Son, Jesus of Nazareth. And, since we have accepted the Son, we are privileged to be called God’s sons and daughters. What a wonderful privilege this is! Having been given that privilege should make us always want to please Him
Pattern for the Human Family
I was raised by parents who exhibited much the same love to me, as their son, that God exhibits to all His children. However, that does not necessarily mean that I always pleased them; in fact, I was rebellious at times, wanting to go my own way and do my own thing. They let me know that those acts of rebellion displeased them immensely, and they followed them up with appropriate punishment. Did they punish me for their own pleasure?
Sometimes it seemed so, but, in retrospect, I realize that they knew what was best for me, and their requirements for me to conduct myself in a certain manner was for my own good. In short, they knew that my rebellion would lead to huge problems for me in one way or another if it was allowed to continue. Being good Christians, my parents used the model of God and His family for raising my brother and me. By raising us in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, they were “writing their rules for our behavior into our minds and hearts” so that we would remember and live by them for the rest of our lives (Proverbs 22:6 KJV).
Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child
However, when my brother and I failed to follow those guidelines, my father was very adept at administering the necessary punishment for my failures to obey him and/or my mother. He had a unique way of introducing pain to my rear end that caused me to rethink my rebellious actions. It also made sitting down a little difficult for a short time. After all these years, I can still remember his spankings, using only the palm of his hand applied expeditiously to my buttocks. He was a large man, around 6’ 2” weighing around 230 pounds, and was exceedingly strong. But, he knew just how hard to apply that strength to get my attention without leaving any scars or doing any permanent damage.
The good thing about his spankings, even though it did not seem so at the time, was his words to me after the crying had ended. He would sit down next to me, put his huge arms around me and tell me how much he loved me, letting me know that the punishment was only intended to change my behavior for the better. I had known in advance that if I was disobedient and rebellious there was a chance I would be caught and punished. That alone should have made me stop and reevaluate the decision that led to my rebelliousness, but it seldom did, at least not until I reached a higher level of maturity.
God is like my father in many ways, or to be more realistic, my Dad was a lot like God. Our Heavenly Father provides the requirements for us to live by in His Word, and expects us to be obedient to them. When we succeed, we are able to approach Him and seek His favor, or just commune with Him. However, when we fail, we have shut ourselves off from His presence and must take the responsibility of repenting of our sin and failure in order to reestablish the lines of communication with Him.
I have at times wished He would just give us a swift spanking for our disobedience, as my dad did, but God chooses instead to allow us to recognize our sin by the prompting of the Holy Spirit through our consciences. If our consciences are functioning properly, that will usually be enough to bring about the desire to repent and ask for His forgiveness.
God knows that rebellion in our lives, and especially continuing and prolonged rebellion will produce serious problems, with potentially fatal results. When we know that we are being convicted of sin, the best thing we can do is to stop, drop to our knees and repent immediately. The longer we do not, the larger the gulf that can develop between ourselves and our Father.
God and the World
Our Father has already provided the eternal solution to the problems of every human being. He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to be the sacrifice for all our sins, once and for all time. In God’s eyes, the sin problem is solved, there is only the waiting for each human to be told about the solution and encouraged to accept it and begin to live in the fellowship He desires for everyone. One of the most recognized scriptures in the New testament is this: “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” (John 3:16 KJV).
How wonderful it would be if everyone would hear, receive and accept this marvelous salvation offered freely by our Father. All the problems of the world would simply cease to exist and the world would be a utopia. But, we all know that we are not living in a utopia. In fact, the world appears to be getting worse on a daily basis. We are witnessing rebellion on a never before seen scale. This rebellion is being fueled by Satan as he attempts to steal souls from God, and he is not particularly choosy.
After all, he is only being what he always has been—a thief, a killer and a destroyer (John 10:10). Unlike our Father God, who clearly states His love for us in His Word, Satan hates every person on this planet, even those who have already given themselves over to his work. This hatred is spelled out in a warning to all believers by St. Peter:
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8).
This warning to be vigilant is a reminder to believers that Satan desires to destroy them in any way he can. Peter knew by the unction of the Holy Spirit that if Satan can kindle a small fire of rebellion in our hearts, and continue to fan the flame, he will soon be able to do with us as he pleases.
However, this does not mean that Satan is to be feared. In fact, there is a very simple method to make that old serpent leave you instantly. The Word plainly states through James, the half-brother of Jesus: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7). This almost sounds too easy to be true, right? So how can a simple act of resistance on our part have such a huge impact on a powerful angelic being like Satan? God knew that Satan fears an obedient son of God.
Jesus was always totally obedient to His Father, so when Satan tried to get Jesus to worship him, offering Him great wealth and authority, Jesus only spoke the Words that God had already spoken and recorded, saying “It is written”. In short order, Satan, seeing the obedience of Jesus to His Father, became terrified and he fled the scene.
You might say, “Yes, but that was Jesus, the Son of God”. Correct, but we are also sons of God if we have accepted Jesus as Lord! We have been given the same authority to speak the same words Jesus spoke and expect the same results. Satan will recognize the Jesus in us and he will flee!
Family is the most important part of God’s creation. He made Adam, but then decided that a man alone is not good (Genesis 2:18). The loving Father then took a part of Adam’s own body and skillfully crafted his lifelong mate, Eve. Those two formed the first family unit and began to reproduce sons and daughters. But then, as now, sin was already in the world, and raising those sons and daughters was not an automatic success.
In fact, in a fit of envy, their oldest son, Cain, murdered his younger brother Abel. How heartbreaking this must have been for Adam and Eve. God was also very displeased and punished Cain for His wickedness. Sin always brings a reckoning and an accounting. Just as God the Father, in a loving show of grace and mercy, disciplines and corrects His children, He expects them to provide the same nurturing to their children as well. After all, this is what being family is truly about.