My God is a God of love and wouldn’t do that…
When one uses the phrase my God is a God of love and wouldn’t do , what they almost always invariably mean is that their conception of God is as altogether loving as they conceive love to be. Statements such as these have a profound way of revealing one’s beliefs. While the statement is true, it seldom finds usage within a conversation unless one is seeking to define God differently than the Scriptures do. It is often a retort to dismiss any claims to Biblical fidelity on the sexual ethic, or more appropriately, claims to fidelity on the whole of Scripture’s ethical commands, save those the person subjectively chooses.
In other words, their beliefs about God don’t match up with the “unloving” God of Scripture who judges, condemns sinners to hell, and so forth. Yet again, the statement is true. The statement is true because the person saying it is correct. Their god doesn’t send people to hell. Their god doesn’t place demands upon their lives, nor does their god expect holiness, sexual purity, worship, and bringing Him the glory He is due – because their god doesn’t exist.
The God of Scripture has existed forever – He is the very One through whom all things consist, that is, in Him – all things hold together. The word used by Paul in Colossians 1:17 actually depicts this as a continual aspect of Creation, meaning that at this very moment in time, Christ is continually working by His power and might to sustain created order. From the molecules to the vast expanses of space, Christ orders them in such a manner that they continue to operate as they should and we continue to operate in our feeble existence.
The very fact that you and I continue to have functioning lungs and experience the existence of gravity, is the pure, undeserved mercy and grace of our Lord. He is utterly sovereign in all things; there is nothing beyond His grasp, sight, and interaction with. This is precisely why Christ can make such incredible claims upon our lives. This is why He can tell us to pick up the means of our execution, the cross, and follow Him, or that we must love Him more than our parents, siblings, spouse, children, and anything else within creation. There is not one bit of created order, immaterial or material, in all of time and space, that Christ has not looked upon and declared, “Mine.”
The God that Is
He is the Supreme One whom we order every bit of our lives around, because all things were created by Him and for Him, so that we might demonstrate His glory. For the Christian, this is particularly why we are to become slaves to righteousness, which entails our sexual desires, lustful passions, sensual proclivities, and more, come under His jurisdiction. It requires that we live in recognition that our entire life is not our own to live as we see fit and that God has established the means and the end of our redemption. In all of this comes a proper recognition of our alienation from Him on all of Scripture’s accounts.
The shocking reality is that we see these things as burdensome when the plain truth of the matter is that when we order our entire being around glorifying Him in all things, we maximize our joy and pleasure. He is the God of this universe, who created all things and holds the keys to death and Hades in His hands; who has the power to give and take life. He is the God whose voice thunders and brings all beasts into submission, who turns the seasons, who gives the horse its strength and commands the eagle to fly. Were you present when He brought form to the earth, or when He caused the flood-waters to rise from the deep?
He is the God who can cause mountains to fall into the sea, whose voice can calm the fiercest of storms, whose hands can multiply a meager meal for five into a feast for thousands. He is the God who marked out the dimensions of the universe and causes the star to burn – or cease in giving its light. He is the God who opens or closes the womb. Are you, O feeble man, capable of such things? Can you see into the corners of the universe and call out each start by name? Can you bring the barren one to the birthing ward, if it is in your good pleasure?
Yet He is also the God who sends the plague, blacks out the sun and turns the moon to blood, causes fresh water to turn bitter, and can open the earth to swallow a rebellious people. He is the God of vengeance, He is jealous for His own glory and honor – and He shall undoubtedly bring the wicked to ruin as He treads the winepress of His wrath. Dare you stand before Him and shake your fist? Dare you claim to know better, or to rise as a mite and seek to block the sun?
He is not what many would call a safe God – but He is incredibly good and a refuge for His children.
God is Love – but God Defines “Love”
This is the God the Scriptures boldly declare is love, which is revealed to us through the giving of His only begotten Son. This is the God who calls you “son” or “daughter” if you reside in Christ and obey Him. Yet God’s unchanging character demonstrates that He will not yield to the changing cultural ideals of love. Rather, it is God who defines love in all its fullness, as the origin of love is God.
Far too often what we find today is the desire to uphold one virtue of love rather than develop a comprehensive understanding of Scripture’s teaching on the matter. Perhaps no greater exposition on the nature of genuine love exists than is found within the epistles of John, wherein the apostle teaches that loving God involves loving one’s neighbor, the brethren, God Himself – yet also the commands of God.
The penultimate expression of this love in the believer culminates in a right doxology; proper worship involves the focus of living to the praise of God’s glory by walking in truth. It encompasses a correct conception of God and His decree, a life marked out by proper obedience to God and His decree, and jubilant praise flowing to God in recognition of His supremely excellent decree. In other words – it is wholly God-centered and born out of God’s thoughts about Himself; His goodness, holiness, and ultimately – love.
This is particularly why we must start, continue, and end with God if we are to properly understand the doctrine of love, or any other doctrine for that matter. We know that no man loves God without God first loving them. Therefore, the man without God cannot genuinely love, but can only express a marred shadow of genuine love upon the object of his desires. It is nothing more than a semblance of love, yet a semblance that is bound within the folly of unbelief, and thereby, it is not love at all. A concocted god form this type of love only yields a false god.
The End Result: Proper Worship
The seas and all that is in it roars; the rivers clap their hands and the mountains sing together for joy; for the Lord has made know His salvation even to the ends of the earth. He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations. Shall we not praise Him instead of this puny god of your own conception? Shall we not praise Him in the means He has granted and come to live with Him in paradise for all eternity, delighting in His supreme majesty and kindness – the likes of which we can’t even begin to comprehend?
We will never run the well of Scripture dry. We shall never find ourselves knowing too much about the Lord, only too little. We shall never find ourselves thinking too highly of our Creator and Lord. We shall never exhaust the extent of His grace nor the richness of His love! We shall never praise Him in all the fullness of what we should! Some hear such things and grow weary or feel condemned, but don’t you see that this is the very thing, which demonstrates God is utterly inexhaustible?
However, this very same notion demolishes the belief that one can hold as a contrarian. It is in Christ that God has been pleased to reveal Himself to us, through the testimony of the Scriptures. When you jettison the truth of His Word, obfuscate the clarity thereof, diminish its authority, relegate its meaning to a particular time and place – as if it has no significance to our own culture and time and doesn’t carry universal meaning that transcends such things, you create your own, personal god.
Sure, you may be correct in stating that your god is a god of love and doesn’t do x, y, and z – but your god can’t do anything. Your god doesn’t exist, save the false conception held that merely reflects yourself, as you fancy yourself to be God. All such praise will end with only one result: the unending, unyielding, wrath of God. It will more and more profound which each conscious moment of their incredibly bleak and miserable existence. Those in hell shall remain His possession, yet a possession, which shall experience nothing but the everlasting, fierce, and full retribution of the Lord. In other words, they too shall experience the God that is, is utterly inexhaustible.