God Is Misrepresented (1)

  • Why is that? Why is it that God is being misrepresented? It’s because many in the Christian community know the God of the law, but not the God of grace, peace and love. The problem with that is you will become what you are, based on the God that you know.

    Religious people think they have to help God to make sure that people act right, talk right, walk right, go to church, give, pray and perform other religious duties. They think if God’s not going to do something about people’s failures, then they will. Those people have been falsely taught that the law governs their life and that God is an angry God. They are of the belief that He is just waiting to pummel you when you screw up. These people become the type of person that will judge others based on their failures to keep rules and regulations that man has made.

    Another trait of those who are falsely taught about the law is that they will criticize you for challenging their beliefs, while at the same time chastising you for your beliefs. If you oppose their wrong believing concerning having to beg God for things, they will attack you. If you challenge their wrong believing concerning enduring suffering, because God is teaching you a lesson with that current sickness you have, they will vilify you.

    These are the people who will laugh at you and mock you when you present the truth of the gospel of grace to them. When you say to them that God loves you as much as He loves Jesus (John 17:23) the hair on the back of their neck will bristle and they will show their teeth and claws and attack you. Legalists are the meanest people around. These people with their erred belief system are actually in direct conflict with the true gospel of the kingdom and are enemies of God because of it.

    The problem is that religious people or legalists believe if you don’t worship God the way they believe you are to worship God, than you are not doing it right. You obviously need correcting or punishment and it’s their job to deliver on that.

    This actually happened to the Apostle Paul before he literally “saw the light” on the road to Damascus and began to realize the truth about the grace of God. Let’s start by looking at Acts 9:1,2.

    1 Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers. So he went to the high priest. He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking for their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains.

    Saul was in a place in his religious/legalistic life where he was saying “I better do something for God that He is not doing for Himself”. He was zealous for God, but he did not know the God of love. He knew the God of the law and he knew the law inside and out.

    Those who know the law live by the law and think the law is applicable to everyone. So they believe everyone should live by the law and if they don’t, they deserve punishment. The law dictated that if you do not conform to the commandments of God, then God’s justice would be to kill you.

    Paul knew the God of the law and he knew the law, but not the God of grace. He was a Pharisee learned in the law, not a saint saved by the grace of God. Scripture says he was “asking for their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way” because he wanted to bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.

    He thought those who were “in the way” were enemies of God and if enemies then they deserved death. Now the problem was those who were “in the way” knew the true Jehovah of grace and love. They had it right. Paul had it wrong.

    He thought he was helping God by getting rid of his enemies by killing believers, but truly it was Paul who was the enemy of God at this time of his life. Why would Paul kill people who were in the way? Because he believed that’s what God would do, so he became the God he knew.

    Here’s the powerful encounter Paul had with Grace. Acts 9:3,4.

    As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”

    The powerful grace anointing will knock you down. The Lord ask Saul, why are you persecuting me, harassing me, resisting me. Saul got a revelation. He believed he was in trouble, or at least thought he was in trouble based on what he believed. So he says in verse 5 “Who are you, Lord?” I mean that’s an immediate revelation. One minute he’s rejecting everything about what “those in the way” are saying, but in an instant he’s calling Him Lord. Wow!

    Paul was expecting judgement in the form of death, because that’s the God he knew. Just look what happened instead. Oh, don’t miss this next part. Don’t miss the answer here. Saul is expecting execution, but look at the answer to his question. Scripture from verse 5 to 6 says “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting!

    Then in verse 6 we see Paul “Trembling and astonished” saying, “Lord, what will you have me to do”? In other words, what position do you want me in? On my knees, standing up, leaning? How do you want this execution done. Because of his wrong believing, Paul was ready for judgment. Here comes the grace filled answer at the end of verse 6.

    Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

    Wow. Saul expecting God’s wrath to fall upon him has an encounter with the grace and the love of God that so affected him that he never recovered from it. It changed his whole life. It ruined his religion. That’s what a revelation of God’s ridiculous, radical, inexhaustible grace will do. How? By the renewing of his mind. He had wrong believing/wrong thinking about who God really was. All of a sudden he has an encounter with the true God. The God of grace, love, peace and favor and it “renewed his believing”. That’s why Paul wrote Romans 12:2.

    God doesn’t even mention Paul’s bad behavior. He only deals with his wrong believing. Again this is proof God pays more attention to your wrong believing than he does to your poor behavior.

    Why was this such a profound event in Paul’s life? Because everything in the kingdom of God deals with the finished work of the cross. I didn’t say the cross, I said the finished work of the cross. Why is that important? Because “until you understand the finality of the cross, you’ll never experience the power of the resurrection”.

    Study John 3:16,17 in the Amplified version. This is what Paul experienced when he collided with the person of Jesus. Verse 17 reads that He did not send his son to people to judge or to pass judgement, but instead for salvation. Safe and sound through Him. Protected, safe place, safe from harm. This includes everyone, not just Christians. It doesn’t say just Christians, it says people, lost or saved. God did something that works for everyone. The word “sound” in that passage means not diseased or damaged.

    I'll stop here, but we'll pick this back up in part 2 with Paul's experience and the truths surrounding the grace of God upon him and upon us. Grace and Peace.