Friday, February 6, 2009

God is not Father Christmas

A traditional representation of God is of a benign, grandfatherly figure smiling at everyone and "handing out the presents" as it were. 

But the God of the scriptures is much more than that. Yes, He is kind and loving but He can also be angry and severe.

The Israelites were God's chosen people to whom He kindly "stretched out His his hands all day long" yet they were "disobedient and obstinate" (Rom 10:21). 

Paul likens them to an olive tree which has some of its branches broken off "because of their unbelief".  In their place some new branches were grafted in: non-Jewish people or "Gentiles" who believed the gospel and proved obedient to it (Rom11:17, 20a).

But Paul warns his Gentile readers that they should not become conceited by this but rather "fear, for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you either" (Rom11:21).

Paul's conclusion?

"Behold the kindness AND severity of God. To those who fell, severity but to you God's kindness if you continue in his kindness otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief will be grafted in for God is able to graft them in again" (Rom11:22,23)

God's kindness is immense -  but so can be His wrath. Which we experience is entirely up to us. Choose life (Deut30:19).