When God is Misunderstood


I have always maintained that too often the God that is presented is not at all like the God of the Bible. Let me soften that a bit … what I hear people saying are things like, “God has your back, and will never turn away.” They paint God as if His greatest desire is to serve us, yet nothing is further from the truth. Let me illustrate this by what Jude says:

Jude 1:5 Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.

God’s mercy and forgiveness are always available. Yet, God does not give us a license to accept His grace and then ignore His requirements to ‘go and sin no more.’

This idea has permeated American Christianity … where God has a destiny for you and that destiny is yours in Him. Yet, repeatedly the Bible teaches us that God is looking for a holy people, a people without spot or wrinkle or blemish. This is our destiny from God’s perspective.

Ephesians 5:27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.

It isn’t about you finding your destiny … it’s about you being God’s destiny, he desires that you find Him and become a servant who is holy and righteous.

Jude gives us some insight as to why we may have drifted from the original intent of God’s message:

Jude 1:4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

Notice the license for immorality and the denial of Jesus. Now, this doesn’t happen blatantly, it is a barely noticeable, subtle shift to incorporate or accept teachings that slowly move the ship in short, incremental ways to change direction. Jude goes on to define some of the ways that are used to bring this about:

Jude 1:8 In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings.

It all starts by a person’s dream becoming the direction of a ministry. It is that dream that becomes the foundation that draws people into it, yet in the end, the dream is exposed for what it is … a personal obsession with power, influence, and the recognition of accomplishment. The immorality can be as subtle as covetousness … a desire for someone or something you do not have, but want. Some scoff at the supernatural by teaching a Christianity that trades in its supernatural nature for a psychological one. I have often said we act more like a Dr. Phil show than we do a church modeled in the Book of Acts. The point I am trying to make is that we have shifted off course within the American church. Jude says that people often resemble the characteristics of people from Israel’s history:

Jude 1 11Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam's error and perished in Korah's rebellion. 12These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; 13wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.

Jude is telling us that there are people among us that represent these characteristics:

• Murderous/slanderous ways/Cain

• Greedy and self-preserving

• Rebellion against God

People like this are the hidden reefs … they are even shepherds who take advantage of people who are described as waterless clouds whose direction shifts with the wind. They are fruitless trees that are twice dead and uprooted. They act as the wild waves of a turbulent sea and as lasting as a shooting star. These are those hidden among you whose destiny (and eternity) will be hell.

So, destiny isn’t about finding your groove … it is all about finding and following God’s ways and commands. Let us not misunderstand God’s calling in your life. His calling starts with self-examination and repentance. His calling is about self-denial and surrender to Him without compromise and turning away from the standards of culture. His calling is about self-awareness on how we serve God by serving others.

It is too easy to slip into the mode of coasting with the non-scriptural models of God in our heads and hearts. God is both a God of promises and a God of warnings … they are inseparable. The promise that God is with us is real, but His warning to do things His way is also real.

Remember what Jude says:

Jude 1:5 Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.

He gives us the escape, but He expects our obedience. Don’t misunderstand the God of the Bible.

Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler