Have you ever met someone who is good at twisting the truth? If you twist the truth, it is actually no longer the truth but a lie. Teenagers are pretty gifted at twisting the truth. I have also noticed many “Christ followers” have a knack for this as well. Truthfully, I think the Evil One is behind every twisted lie, but many Christians easily fall for his schemes.
One common twisted truth is in regards to God’s love and grace. There is actually no more powerful truth than the love and grace of God. These are transforming realities when we come to embrace them. Let’s see how this gets twisted though. Are you ready for the twist? “If God is loving and forgiving, then my lifestyle choices do not really matter. I can sin and get away with it because God will forgive me anyway?”
If you are a Christ follower, does God care if you drink too much? Does God care if you are sexually active outside of marriage? Does God care if you seek a divorce simply because you are not happy? I see people often act in unbiblical ways thinking they can just lean on God’s forgiveness for the willful sin and disobedience.
Could it be that many are twisting the truth about God’s love and grace to fit their lifestyle choices?
I am grateful that God is a God of grace. None of us would have any hope apart from the love of God. God is also a God of truth and judgment though. We are told in Romans to “behold the kindness and severity of God” (Romans 11:22). We love to look at his grace and kindness, but we do not often like to look at his judgment. If the reality of God’s character contains both grace and judgment, then it is a loving act for us to share not only the promises of his blessing and kindness but also the warnings of his judgment.
We live in a pretty soft culture here in the West. While COVID-19 has rocked us, we still do not have to deal with the harsh realities that are in many other parts of the world. We are shocked to hear of mass murder and terroristic threats, and yet many other parts of the world live in this constant reality of atrocities. We are used to comfort, and therefor we do not like to heart tough messages. The Bible is not silent about things such as judgment though: “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries” (Hebrews 10:26-27).
Do you see what God says will happen for the willful deliberate sinner? First, he has the fearful expectation of judgment. This is like a legal declaration that a holy God has against an unrepentant sinner. The writer spoke of God’s emotional response to the willing sinner as “fury of fire.” We think that God is not bothered by sin, that God tends to wink at sin. This is not so. Sin is what put Jesus on the cross. It is a passionate subject to God. When God sees people commit adultery, steal from others, lie to people, take advantage of others, etc., He is not pleased. His anger is like a fury of fire.
The verse from Hebrews says God will consumer his adversaries. I know this is tough, but if you do not have a view of God’s judgment then you do not have an accurate picture of the God of the Bible.
Is he loving? Yes, and then some. More loving than you could ever hope or believe. His love is not something to dismiss though. His grace is not something to take advantage of either. Embrace the love of God, but do not twist it. And that’s the Word.
The Rev. David Yarborough is pastor of St. Simons Community Church. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 912-634-2960.