I hear you. I understand the confusion. The ways of God are difficult for us to wrap our brains around.
But that’s biblical faith, isn’t it?
Not understanding it all, and trusting Him still.
This is where He invites us in to know Him. He invites us to open up the words He strategically placed in the Bible so that we may understand Him more, even though we STILL will never understand Him fully until we enter the gates of heaven.
I have so often heard many statements questioning the goodness of God. And so often I want to point directly to scripture. And hear me say that I have been there. I have had doubts and questions. But as I seek to know Him more and actually read His word and read books or articles ABOUT His word instead of just guessing, I understand Him more.
“A loving God would not allow bad things to happen to good people.”
Not believing that God would allow bad things to happen to people that love Christ, is not believing that God is the God of the Bible.
This one is hard. I have heard this when people are suffering. I have heard it when people die.
First, you have to understand that no one is really “good”. We are all sinners that fall short of the glory of God, which I’ll address in a minute.
Secondly, you have to understand that we will all experience death and suffering. Last I checked, no human has been alive since the beginning of time and is still going strong. You’re going to die. Your loved ones will die. It’s tragic and hard. Death is our disease from the devil. And YES God allows it to happen to us. But for the believer, we know that life under the sun is not the end. Death is not our end. We celebrate the earthly lives and eternal lives of our loved ones that know Him. Our ending is that we get to be with Jesus! And our pain and suffering on this earth are meaningful and we can still see the sovereignty and goodness of God through it all.
If you read the book of Job, you can see that Satan has to ask God for permission to bring death, pain, suffering, and misery into the life of Job. And God says yes.
And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. – Job 1:12
YES. A loving God DOES allow bad things to happen to those that love Him. Maybe our perception of love has been distorted by Hollywood. Maybe we need to look deeper into what the love of God actually is.
God allows “bad things” to happen to Job and these things knit Job’s heart closer to God in the end, because God loves us and wants our hearts. God was after the heart of Job the entire time. God is after our hearts when pain and suffering surround us. God is with us in our pain. He makes us long for a day when there will be no more sickness and disease in heaven with Him.
Here is Job speaking AFTER God allowed “bad” things to happen to him.
I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. … Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know… I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; – Job 42
And as Christians, we experience the sufferings of this world, knowing that our God is infinitely greater and working for our good the entire time.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28
“I believe in God, but I think as society changes, God changes too.”
Let me just stop you there. Because no. This does not happen.
God is the only constant amidst all chaos on earth. He is, was, and will be.
He doesn’t look back and think, “Oh man, I shouldn’t have let them write that in the Bible. If only I could find a way to erase it! I know I’m God and all, but I just can’t figure out how to delete that part.”
No. Nope. His promises stand. He is unwavering and unchanging.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8
God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? – Numbers 23:19
What He says still stands today. And your opinions on how God should adapt to our society actually won’t affect Him at all. Your ideas are not better than His. Sorry. And if you believe that God changes with your society and your “profound” ideas, then you aren’t believing that God is the God of the Bible.
“I’m a pretty good person and don’t think I need anything to cleanse me of my sins, since I don’t really have any big ones.”
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. -1 John 1:8-10
Back to all people sinning and falling short of the glory of God. You might absolutely be a morally “good” person according to societal standards. You probably haven’t murdered anyone or committed adultery, right?
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him 1 John 3:15
‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:27-28
God goes deeper than what looks “good” on paper. He digs down into your heart. We are told that even if we have hated or been angry at another human, that we have committed murder in our hearts.
I HAVE BEEN ANGRY AT PEOPLE.
This is what He means when He says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
We have all lied. Been angry. Some of us have LITERALLY murdered people. The sin lists are endless.
We are all on an equal playing field here.
And Jesus so lovingly died on the cross to offer all to believe that His blood will wash away even the smallest of sins and largest of sins.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. –Ephesians 2:8-9
God doesn’t place us all next to each other and compare our “good deeds” with one another. He doesn’t say, “Okay. Top 25 people that have done good things will get into heaven, the rest of you are out of here!”
He offers His blood for the literal murderer and the person that has murdered in his heart. His compassion, and grace, and mercy wash over us and He offers us beautiful forgiveness through our faith. THAT is a loving God.
And He teaches us the sweetest lessons daily as we walk with Him and try to be more like Him.
Believing that you are not a sinner and that God doesn’t need to save you, is not believing in the God of the Bible.
“Okay. So if all of your sins are forgiven, can you just go sin and sin and sin for your entire life and then just ask for forgiveness on your deathbed?”
Kind of, but no. The only way that situation would work would be if God actually saved you on your deathbed and that was the moment that you believed or it was a genuine confession.
As believers, we are constantly being molded and changed by God. We are becoming more and more like Him. It doesn’t happen overnight. But it slowly happens. When someone is saved by Christ, we slowly start to see them yearn for more of Him. We see them desire to be more like Christ. We slowly see their lives change. While they still may be struggling with sin, it slowly trickles its way out of their lives. They are sifted. They are no longer slaves to their sin! They live under the grace and mercy of God and trust in His forgiveness. They become grateful for His love and desire to live a life for Him. We can recognize them by their fruits.
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life… 6 We know that our old self[a] was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin… 15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves,[c] you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness – Romans 6
“I believe some things in the Bible, but not all of it. A lot of the things in the Old Testament are hard to believe.”
Well, it doesn’t matter what you “think” about the Bible. Because the Bible just is what it is. You can’t wish things out of it. Did you just think that you can pick and choose which things God meant and which ones He didn’t? Do you think He is going to listen to your opinion and change things up a bit?
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. – Isaiah 40:8
I don’t know about you, but I serve a big God that knows EXACTLY what He wanted written. He is sovereign even over the tiniest details.
This is where actually taking the time to sit down and try to understand God’s word comes into play. If you took the time, you would understand how the Old Testament is the old covenant and that Christ came to fulfill the laws and give us the new covenant. If you have no idea what I am talking about, maybe it’s time to delve into scripture.
All this to say, try to understand Him more. Get to know Him more. Be cautious of making your own God instead of believing in the God of the Bible. Get to know your God. Get to understand the way His love works. Trust in Him, even when the world around you is collapsing. Your God is steady. Your God is faithful. Your God will not abandon you. Your God is constant. Your God is steadfast. Your God is everlasting. Your God is the alpha and the omega. Your God is the beginning and the end. Your God’s kingdom will not be shaken. Your God is sovereign over all. Your God is powerful.
Your God is love.
Even when it doesn’t make sense.