The Nature of God

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The Nature of God

Hard Questions: How do YOU see God?

Do you see God as a strict judge?
Or do you see God as a Loving Father, Loving Parent, and Loving Guardian?

Do you see God as legalistic judge? Are you always on trial?
Or do you see God as a compassionate, forgiving God filled with grace?

Do you see God as a judgmental condemning god?
Or do you see God as a loving and forgiving God?

Do you see God as a harsh judge demanding justice?
- “Justice” is getting what you deserve.
- “Grace” is receiving God’s Gifts that you did nothing to deserve, earn, or merit!
- “Mercy” is not receiving the punishment you deserve.
OR
Borg suggests we exchange the word “mercy” for the word “compassion”: this word does not pre-suppose a situation of wrongdoing.

"MERCY" Marcus Borg

Or do you see God as a just judge seeking Restorative-Rehabilitative Justice; a forgiving God that wants to bring you back into a right-relationship with Him?

Do you see God as a god of judgement, condemnation, and damnation?
Or do you see God as a loving forgiving God always seeking your return no matter what you have done – no matter how undeserving you may be?
See the Prodigal Son

Is your relationship with God distant and impersonal?
Or is your relationship with God a close, personal, intimate relationship?

Do you feel as though you are an orphan to God; not a part of God’s family? Do you feel insignificant to God? Just one of many insignificant and worthless.
Or do you feel like you are a part of God’s loving family – the Adopted Children of God?



The way we view the Nature of God, the way we see and identify with God, determines much about our nature and how we see the world, and it has much to do with how we treat other people in the world. Indeed the way we view God has an impact on every relationship in our lives.

If we see God as a strict, harsh, legalistic judge, then we too will judge people harshly. We need to remember the harsh way we judge other people that we will be judged by the same harsh standards!

Judgmental
“Do not judge or you too will be judged.
For in the same way you judge others,
you will be judged,
and with the measure you use,
it will be measured to you.
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust
in your brother’s eye
and pay no attention
to the plank in your own eye?”

Matthew 7:1-3 NIV




If we see God as a condemning god then we are more apt to codmen others.

But when we see God as a Loving, Forgiving God which bestows many Gifts of abudant Grace and blessings overflowing - We should see God clearly as a Loving and Caring Father that has good plans for us. When we see God as a loving parent, a loving Father, then we too should strive to be more loving and forgiving to become more "Christ-like."

16"For God so loved the world
that he gave his one and only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in him
shall not perish but have eternal life.

17For God did not send his Son into the world
to condemn the world,
but to save the world through him.

John 3:16-17


God is a Forgiving God

I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions,
for my own sake,
and remembers your sins no more.
Isaiah 43:25


46He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. Luke 24:46-48



What is God Like?

To Know Jesus is to Know God!

What is the Nature of God?

The Nature of God
is found in Jesus Christ!




To know Jesus is to know
the Nature of God.

Jesus the Way to the Father
John 14:5-14 NIV

5Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"

6Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you really knew me (have known me), you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."

8Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us."

9Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?

10Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.

11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

The Message: John 14:5-14



The Nature of God

We are made in God’s image; (not our physical appearance but our spiritual likeness) God’s Character, God’s Nature. We are called to be Christ-like.

· Loving
· Gentle
· Kind
· Tender Loving
· Patient
· Slow to Anger
· Full of Grace
· Loving Parent
· Loving Father
· Merciful
· Unconditional Love
· Everlasting Love: Love through all time, love from the beginning,love at the present time, and love through all eternity.
· Unfailing Love
· Faithful
· Trustworthy
· Heals our brokenness.
· Restores our broken relationships.
· Gives us abundant gifts.
· Gives us Grace, Gifts from God, which we did not deserve, earn, or merit.
· Answers our prayers.
· Gives meaning to our lives.
· God gives us a reason for living.
· God gives us a purpose in life.
· God gives us a ministry to the church and a mission to the world.
· God is always with us.
· God has a good plan for our lives.
· God is in control of every situation.
· God is our Advocate.
· God is our Comforter.
· These are just to name a few examples.

Open Hearts * Open Minds * Open Doors





God is Love!

1 Corinthians 13 gives a detailed definitions of the Nature of God!

What is Love?

1 Corinthians 13
Love

1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast,
it is not proud.
5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
6Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth.
7It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres.

8Love never fails....




Yes, God is patient, God is Kind, God is NOT easily angered, God is forgiving in keeping no records of wrongs ("I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. - Isaiah 43:25), God's Word always speaks the Truth, God is our Protector, Advocate, and Comforter, God is Trustworthy, We can put our Hope, Faith, and Trust in God, God perseveres - SALVATION! Through God's Grace alone we are SAVED! SALVATION is a "Gift of Grace" from God,
our loving Holy Father.



God of the Old Testament
and of the New Testament

Often we have the misconception of a harsh judgmental judge of the Old Testament and a more loving and kind God of the New Testament. But God’s Nature has always been the same in the past, in the present, and in the future. So why all of the confusion? God’s Nature has been/is/and in the future will continue to be the same – what has changed and will continue to change is our understanding of God!

Relationship with God

For ages man has had a relationship with God. But like any good relationship man’s relationship with God through the ages has grown. Through the ages we have a closer and closer relationship and understanding of God. Are we as a people all of the way there of understanding God? No! We still have a long way to go, but God will always continue to reveal himself to us.

First we have a relationship with God, as a child.
Later we have a relationship with God as a youth.
Later we have a relationship with God as an adult.
Later we have a relationship with God as a mature adult.
And later we have a relationship with God as a senior adult.
We may even have a relationship with God with a terminal disease.

Remember that God has had a relationship with us long before we were born and this loving relationship continues “Eternally” (past-present-future) long after our death here on earth, but this relationship continues as citizens in the Kingdom of God.

Our relationship with God is not stagnant; our relationship with God is a growing experience of knowing God. With a better understanding of God we begin to have a closer and closer relationship with God.

11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:11-12



Our relationship with God is a “learning experience” that continue to grow. Think of how the disciple’s relationship with Jesus continued to grow throughout Jesus’ ministry of preaching, teaching, and healing. The disciples understanding and relationship continued to grow dramatically after the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Their relationship and understanding continued to grow for 50 days until the Ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven.



Evolution of Understanding God

Let’s explore some of the stages of Understanding God!

· Originally people were: Polytheistic – worshipped many gods.

· Also the people were henotheistic – they worshiped their god or gods, but other people have their own gods, but one should not worship them.

In Old Testament times the Jewish people believed in “Yahvey”/“Yahweh” (the Jewish word for God) was the God of Israel. But they also believed that other countries and peoples had their own gods. The people were henotheistic – they worshiped their god or gods, but other people have their own gods, but one should not worship them.

There was also a mix of pantheism, believing in gods of the oceans, lakes, rivers, fertility gods, harvest gods, gods of the mountains and tress, sun gods, moon gods, and even individual family gods! (Genesis 31:19 Rachel and Jacob: 19 When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father's household gods.) The concept of monotheism was not a part of their understanding.

· Eventually the Jewish people became monotheistic –
THE BELIEF IN ONLY ONE TRUE GOD.
See: Affirmation of Faith

"You shall have no other gods before me.
Exodus 20:3


This is the first commandment given of the Ten Commandments

But still the Jewish people and the Pharisees had trouble understanding that God was God not just of the Jewish people, but that God was also God of the gentiles; that God is the God of ALL PEOPLE! And somehow even to this day, many people have a hard time understanding and believing that God is a God of ALL people, that God loves ALL people, and that God IS a God full of Abundant Love, Grace, and Forgiveness.



Understanding God is a growing process.

11When I was a child, I talked like a child,
I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror;
then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully,
even as I am fully known.

1 Corinthians 13:11-12

Understanding God is a growing process; “when I was a child….” But as we grow in Christ, our understanding of God evolves. This evolution of understanding holds true for humanity; our relationship, our understanding of God evolves through the ages. Mankind’s relationship with God has taken generations for us to better understand God. Again God’s Nature has never changed – just our understanding of God has changed!



God in a Box

The Jewish people had God in a box*. They believed that God’s home and residence was in the Ark of the Covenant, which was in the Temple (Tabernacle) a traveling tent that went with the Jewish people wherever they traveled. This was God – To Go – In a Box*.

Later King Solomon the son of King David built the Temple in Jerusalem and the Jewish people believed that God lived and resided in the Ark, in the Temple, in the Box.

Later the Babylonians destroyed the Temple in 586 BCE and Nebuchadnezzar II sent the Jewish people into exile into Babalon. When the Temple was destroyed and when they were exiled to Babalon the Jewish people thought that they had no more acess to God; that they were litterally separated from God because God was “in the box” - “in the Temple” – and the Temple was destroyed!

The Jewish people felt that they were litterally “cut-off” from God. The Temple was where God lived and resided. The Temple was the only place where they could be forgiven by God, and the Temple was the only place they could bring their sacrafices to God, and the Temple was the only place that they could worship God. And again - the Temple was destroyed!

But later the Jewish people realized that God was still with them; even in exile, that God was with them in their worst and darkest of times. God was with them in their sufferings.

Return from Exile: After the overthrow of Babylonia by the Persian Empire, in 538 BC the exiled Jews were returned to Israel from exile when the Persian ruler Cyrus the Great gave the Jews permission to return to their homeland.

When the Jewish returned to Israel and rebuilt the Temple, the Jewish people understood better that God was not in a box – that God was with you wherever you went!



Placing Limitations on God

*In the Box – by no means is there any disrespect meant here! “In the Box” is just an expression to emphasize that the Jewish people and that we also need to look “outside the box” in our understanding of God!

When we place God “in a box” we are placing limitations on God! (Limitations on God that do NOT exist!)

Many people and churches today place “limits” on God’s Love and Grace. When we place limits on God’s Grace we are obstructing other people seeking God. When we place limits on God’s Love we are placing obstacles in the way of people seeking God. When we place limits on God’s Love we are making Christianity “Exclusive” not “Inclusive!”

Often we today place God in a box without realizing it! We try to limit what God can or can’t do. When a church places restrictions on people seeking to find God:

· Only their beliefs are authentic –

· Only their traditions of baptism, communion, music, scripture, are the only legitimate authentic methods of being a true Christian, they are placing limitations and restrictions on God – “God in a Box.”

· Some people put God in a Box and they place restrictions on people seeking God by keeping these people OUT of their box!

· God’s love is NOT exclusive!

· God’s love is Inclusive!

· God loves ALL people!



I. Understanding of God


Genesis 34, Dinah and the Shechemites is a story of a heinous rape followed by overwhelming revenge and injustice. Dinah was the daughter of Leah and Jacob. When, Shechem saw Dinah he raped and violated her.

What Shechem did was WRONG! But he loved her and asked his father, Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area, to make arrangements for Dinah to become his wife.

Jacob’s sons, Dinah’s brothers heard of the rape they were outraged!

Hamor made an appeal for his son Shechem to marry Dinah. Then Shechem said, 11 Then Shechem said to Dinah's father and brothers, "Let me find favor in your eyes, and I will give you whatever you ask. 12 Make the price for the bride and the gift I am to bring as great as you like, and I'll pay whatever you ask me. Only give me the girl as my wife."

But Jacob’s sons, Dinah’s brothers answered deceitfully!
15 We will give our consent to you on one condition only: that you become like us by circumcising all your males. 16 Then we will give you our daughters and take your daughters for ourselves. We'll settle among you and become one people with you. 17 But if you will not agree to be circumcised, we'll take our sister and go."

Hamor and his son Shechem agreed to these conditions in good faith and every male in the city was circumcised.

25 Three days later, while all of them were still in pain, two of Jacob's sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male. 26 They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword and took Dinah from Shechem's house and left. 27 The sons of Jacob came upon the dead bodies and looted the city where their sister had been defiled. 28 They seized their flocks and herds and donkeys and everything else of theirs in the city and out in the fields. 29 They carried off all their wealth and all their women and children, taking as plunder everything in the houses.

31 But they replied, "Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute?"



In no way am I trying to diminish the heinous crime of rape, but the “Revenge” far outweighed any sense of Justice:
· Shechem was killed and his father Hamor.
· Every male in the city was killed.
· The entire city was looted.
· They seized all of the crops, flocks, and livestock.
· They carried off all of their wealth.
· They looted and plundered all of the houses.
· They carried off all of the women and children.

Shechem did a terrible wrong. To a degree he tried to atone for his sins. He could not take back what he had done but in his own way he tried to make things right. Again what Shechem did was terribly wrong, but what Dinah’s brothers did was much worse of an injustice.

· The son’s of Jacob did their revenge without consulting the patriarchal father. This was a great dishonor and disrespect to their father.

· One “wrong” and one “terribly wrong” do not make a right!

· It seems that the brothers actually profited from their sister’s misfortune. They looted the city, carried off crops and livestock, plundered all of the houses, and carried off all of the women and children.



Dinah and the Shechemites
Genesis 34:1-31

1 Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land. 2 When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area, saw her, he took her and violated her. 3 His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob, and he loved the girl and spoke tenderly to her. 4 And Shechem said to his father Hamor, "Get me this girl as my wife."

5 When Jacob heard that his daughter Dinah had been defiled, his sons were in the fields with his livestock; so he kept quiet about it until they came home.

6 Then Shechem's father Hamor went out to talk with Jacob. 7 Now Jacob's sons had come in from the fields as soon as they heard what had happened. They were filled with grief and fury, because Shechem had done a disgraceful thing in Israel by lying with Jacob's daughter—a thing that should not be done.

8 But Hamor said to them, "My son Shechem has his heart set on your daughter. Please give her to him as his wife. 9 Intermarry with us; give us your daughters and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 You can settle among us; the land is open to you. Live in it, trade in it, and acquire property in it."

11 Then Shechem said to Dinah's father and brothers, "Let me find favor in your eyes, and I will give you whatever you ask. 12 Make the price for the bride and the gift I am to bring as great as you like, and I'll pay whatever you ask me. Only give me the girl as my wife."

13 Because their sister Dinah had been defiled, Jacob's sons replied deceitfully as they spoke to Shechem and his father Hamor. 14 They said to them, "We can't do such a thing; we can't give our sister to a man who is not circumcised. That would be a disgrace to us. 15 We will give our consent to you on one condition only: that you become like us by circumcising all your males. 16 Then we will give you our daughters and take your daughters for ourselves. We'll settle among you and become one people with you. 17 But if you will not agree to be circumcised, we'll take our sister and go."

18 Their proposal seemed good to Hamor and his son Shechem. 19 The young man, who was the most honored of all his father's household, lost no time in doing what they said, because he was delighted with Jacob's daughter. 20 So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate of their city to speak to their fellow townsmen. 21 "These men are friendly toward us," they said. "Let them live in our land and trade in it; the land has plenty of room for them. We can marry their daughters and they can marry ours. 22 But the men will consent to live with us as one people only on the condition that our males be circumcised, as they themselves are. 23 Won't their livestock, their property and all their other animals become ours? So let us give our consent to them, and they will settle among us."

24 All the men who went out of the city gate agreed with Hamor and his son Shechem, and every male in the city was circumcised.

25 Three days later, while all of them were still in pain, two of Jacob's sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male. 26 They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword and took Dinah from Shechem's house and left. 27 The sons of Jacob came upon the dead bodies and looted the city where their sister had been defiled. 28 They seized their flocks and herds and donkeys and everything else of theirs in the city and out in the fields. 29 They carried off all their wealth and all their women and children, taking as plunder everything in the houses.

30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, "You have brought trouble on me by making me a stench to the Canaanites and Perizzites, the people living in this land. We are few in number, and if they join forces against me and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed."

31 But they replied, "Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute?"



So in Genesis 34, Revenge for a crime was out of control.

Later we have the understanding of: An eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth.



II. Understanding God
An eye for an eye; A tooth for a tooth


23 But if there is serious injury,
you are to take life for life,
24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

Exodus 21:23-25


19 If anyone injures his neighbor,
whatever he has done must be done to him:
20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.
As he has injured the other, so he is to be injured.
21 Whoever kills an animal must make restitution,
but whoever kills a man must be put to death.

Leviticus 24:19-21




What does all of this eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth mean? The punishment had to be equal to the crime – Justice! If someone knocked out another’s eye or tooth, he was only entitled to knock out an eye or tooth of equal value:
If a bad tooth was knocked out… justice would not allow you to knock out a good tooth.

Justice now became a system of compensation equal to crime; not a system of blatant revenge.

Now the perpetrator of a crime paid for his crime by compensation, incarceration, and even death for the crime of murder. Only the criminal perpetrator is punished… not every male killed, city plundered, women and children carried off as in Genesis 34.



III. Understanding God
Jesus gives us the fullest meaning of the Law.
Jesus gives us the fullest meaning of Justice.

Jesus takes Justice a far step further!

An Eye for an Eye
38"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Mathew 5:38-42



Murder

21"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, (Some late manuscripts enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you) and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.

23"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

25"Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

Adultery

27"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery. 28But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

Divorce

31"It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.' 32But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.

Oaths

33"Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.' 34But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; 35or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

An Eye for an Eye

38"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.

41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Love for Enemies

43"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Mathew 5:21-48

We get the conception that we are NOT to wipe out God’s enemies by killing them; we are to wipe them out by converting them.
William Barclay – Introducing the Bible




Jesus brings us the True Meaning
of God's Nature

Jesus brings us the True Meaning of God’s Nature and of God’ Loving Restorative Justice. Are we there yet? No! Not completely, but the Kingdom of God is being revealed to us continually through Jesus Christ.



An Eye for an Eye
38"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. Are we really at the point of love and forgiveness that we can actually turn the other cheek?



40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. Are we really willing to give someone not deserving the shirt off of our back?



41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
Are we really prepared to go the distance, to go the extra mile for others?



42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. Do we turn away from people in need? Do we wash our hands of responsibility of caring for the poor, the sick, the hungry....



43"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you… Are we really willing to love our enemies to have compassion for those who persecute us?



I. Dinah and the Shechemites from Genesis 34:1-31
II. An Eye for an Eye from Exodus 21:23-25 and Leviticus 24:19-21
III. An Eye for an Eye from Mathew 5:21-48

These all demonstrate an evolution of mankind’s understanding of God!
Do we have a full and clear understanding? Not yet!

11When I was a child, I talked like a child,
I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror;
then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully,
even as I am fully known.

1 Corinthians 13:11-12




A Lesson in God’s Grace:
God’s Restorative Justice

If a person commits a heinous crime, we want Justice! We want the criminal to be caught and punished justly; for the punishment to be equal to the crime. (And sometimes we want the criminal to suffer even more.)

God’s Restorative Justice goes far beyond our sense of justice, our sense of fairness, further than our comprehension and understanding.

God’s Restorative Justice pays back “evil” with “goodness.” We all fall short of the Kingdom of God, and God loves even the criminal. That doesn’t mean that God loves the criminals words, actions, and deeds, and in no way does it suggest or imply “Universal Forgiveness” even though that is God’s prerogative. And in no way does it suggest or imply that there are not consequences for disobedience and sin. But it is suggesting and implying that God’s Love transcends and surpasses all understanding. Thanks be to God.

But God does NOT want the criminal (the sinner/us) separated from Him by sin. God woos, calls, and beckons us back to Him. Coaxing and encouraging us to repentance. When and if we make our free-choice to honestly and sincerely with all our heart repent (convicted of our sins) and ask God for forgiveness – we are forgiven (Saved) and we are shaped into a right-relationship with God - Salvation! Salvation through the Loving, Forgiving, Restorative Grace from God that we do NOT deserve, that we did NOT earn, and that we did NOT merit!

Love, Forgiveness, Grace, and Salvation are ALL FREE GIFTS FROM GOD that we do not deserve, earn, or merit.

The worst example of being judgmental is when we become self-righteous and condemn others!



What are we called to do?

...And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8




1 John 4

1 John Chapter 4:1-22

On Denying the Incarnation

4 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit[a] of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

God’s Love and Ours

7 Dear friends, let us love one another,
for love comes from God.
Everyone who loves has been born of God
and knows God.
8 Whoever does not love does not know God,
because God is love.

9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.

18 There is no fear in love.
But perfect love drives out fear,
because fear has to do with punishment.
The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us.

20 Whoever claims to love God
yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.
For whoever does not love their brother and sister,
whom they have seen, cannot love God,
whom they have not seen.

21 And he has given us this command:
Anyone who loves God
must also love their brother and sister.




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New Paradigm for God’s Justice

This "New Paradigm for God's Justice" BLOG is not a soft cozy place to be comfortable! This "New Paradigm for God's Justice" BLOG is to purposely make us uncomfortable; to challenge our Faith, to challenge our thinking, to encourage us to walk into deeper waters, to get out of our cozy "comfort zone," and "to do something!"

We are NOT called to be complacent, lethargic, luke-warm Christians! We are called to go out into the world, to "tell the 'Good News' of Jesus Christ," to make a difference! God does NOT place people in our paths for us to ignore and to walk-around like they do not exist. God puts people in our lives for a purpose!

This "New Paradigm for God's Justice" BLOG is NOT going to be politically correct! In many respects you may disagree with what I am saying (no problem)... I am NOT trying to tell you what to think... but I am trying to make you think... to challenge your thinking. Sometimes we need to be able to defend our beliefs, (even if we only need to defend our beliefs to ourselves), to review, renew, and to reaffirm our beliefs.