Devotional 8/2

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. John 3:18

I have noticed that even people who believe in predestination, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before crossing the street.
Stephen Hawking

If God expects us to choose between placing our faith in him or in going to hell, are we obligated to believe? The bible says that if we believe in the one who God sent, then we will be saved and if we do not we are condemned to hell. Faith is ultimately a choice, but it is actually an obligation. We owe the God of the universe our acknowledgement and trust.

Last night, I was reading Trusting God in Hard Times, Lessons from the life of Elijah by Bill Crowder and although we may have faith, faith is not enough. If our faith is not placed in the God of the universe, Jehovah and the Messiah He sent, Jesus Christ… then we are condemned to eternal fire. My faith was placed in a higher being and in myself. I was spiritual but I was dealing with divination, astrology and familiar spirits. I believed in the energy of precious gems, fortune telling and creative visualization (now known as the law of attraction), and I had confessed Jesus Christ as Lord. I definitely had faith, but it was not placed solely in Jesus Christ.

God knows everything, so is it really up to us to believe? Even if we believe we have no faith; everyone has been given an amount of faith. And we choose where to place our faith. If we do not place our faith in the One He sent, then we are condemned already. He doesn’t obligate anyone to believe but He does expect us to take the first step: seek Him. When we seek God, He reveals Himself. And when He makes Himself known, then we are without excuse before Him. When we reject the message, then we are condemned to hell.

It is our obligation to place our faith in God through Jesus Christ, as in we owe it to God, the Creator of the universe and everything in it. The Lord is selfish but He is God after all. As a good friend of mine put it, “we don’t go to work because we are forced to. If we choose not to work, we know the consequences that will eventually follow. So we go to work in order to avoid those consequences.” He makes demands and has expectations of us (His creation) because He is God after all.

Why believe in God? The truth for many Christians is that if it were not for the existence of hell, there would be none who seek God. The mention of hell in the bible, drives people to God and to do right by Him. And I do not believe this is trusting faith, this is fear driven faith which leads to works for love, salvation, blessings, etc. Our love for God is what truly defines sustaining faith. It is similar to the way we are changed when we are in love or feel loved in human relationships. Trust, acknowledgement and forgiveness are vital parts of any relationship, and it is also true with our relationship with God.

Knowing the love of God begins with humility: go ahead and recognize God’s goodness in your life. Once we encounter the goodness of God, His forgiveness, His undeserved favors and His attention to our small and insignificant lives then we are drawn to repentance, and to please Him. It is not a matter of preaching on God’s love or reading it, it is rather the experience of God and the love of God.If you want to grow your relationship with God, check out this other book by Bill Crowder: Let’s Talk: Praying Your Way to a Deeper Relationship with God. May the love of God change you.

Let’s pray:

Lord Jesus, I admit that it is a challenge to not wonder if you are fair, or truly just. It seems evil that a “good God”, could send millions of souls to hell. And a “good God” can allow so much evil and confusion in this world, including the ridiculous division of the church and all the religions in this world. It is a challenge to still believe you after being disappointed, deceived, used and even discarded as some people are from relationships with others, and even from churches. I simply ask you to increase our faith, draw our hearts to you and open our eyes to discern between your truth and the lies of Satan. In Jesus name, Amen.

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