MY God Wouldn't do that!
I was reading the Book of Amos yesterday and my Bible's intro for this describes it as: God announcing His certain judgment on a people certain He would not judge. What a fitting description for much of the modern day church.
There has been an extremely successful effort underway to repackage what the Scriptures call "the world" and rebrand it as being of God. Under this brilliant marketing campaign, religion has fashioned "another Jesus" (II Corinthians 11:4). This new Jesus provides people with an alternative to following God's ways while still being able to consider themselves "Christian". It produces a "Christian" who names the name of Jesus, but stands diametrically opposed to everything that Jesus is.
No matter what your proclivity, there is another "Jesus" just for you (with another "Gospel" to go along with it). If you do not personally know God for yourselves, you will be deceived into thinking that this false presentation of God is true.
Under this new Gospel, eschewing evil has been replaced with accepting evil. Having no fellowship with darkness is replaced with tolerating darkness. Being not of this world is transformed into being just like this world. Salvation is no longer about conformity to Christ but appreciating the diversity of man. Establishing judgment has been replaced with dismissing judgment. And all of this is okay because it is done under a banner of Christianity with the name of Jesus tacked on for good measure.
"Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph." Amos 5:15
Have you ever spoken of God only to be told by another professing Christian, "My God would not do that!" Without any further conversation, you can know one thing for sure: you two do not serve the same God.
A co-worker of mine once said, "God simply wants everyone to know and trust each other." I responded, "That is not true. God says that cursed is the man who trusts in the arm of flesh. That is not what He wants from us at all."
Do you know this man's response? "You cannot say what God wants!" Yet, ironically, that is just what he had been doing, saying what God wants. Oftentimes, speaking of God does not become an issue until you speak for God. As long as everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion about who God is, everything is lovely. Yet as soon as you speak God's words with no equivocation, you become an offense.
Both in and outside of the church, people are making presentations about who God is, but what is the basis for these presentations? How can anyone say with certainty who God is...and who He is not?
If God is real - which He is - then He has a distinct personality, a definite character. There are things He likes and things He dislikes. There is that which He loves and that which He hates. We cannot claim to love or even serve God without understanding the nature He possesses. This is why He has given us His words, that we might know Him and His ways (Psalm 119).
If the word of God offends us, then it is because we do not belong to the God who wrote it. If the god we serve is at odds with the God of Scripture, it is because we serve another god. Yet, there are many doing just that; serving other gods, but claiming to serve the True & Living God. Because they claim to be serving Jesus, people take what is said as being in authority, often to their own detriment.
In the Book of Amos, God is not only meting out judgment on those who fight against His people, but He is judging those who claim to belong to Him, but are filled with idolatry.
"I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream." Amos 5:21-24
No stronger language could likely be used. He hates the days they dedicate to Him as feasts. He will not dwell in the presence of their gatherings. He does not accept their offerings, their prayers. He turns a deaf ear to their songs. He rejects all that they have to offer Him because there is no judgment!
These people were certain that judgment would not come to them. Certain that God was receiving the works done in His name. Certain that righteous judgment was not as important as their other offerings to Him (Matthew 23:23). But they were wrong. God was looking at their divided hearts; He was looking at the "little leaven" polluting their sacrifices.
"All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us." Amos 9:10
Our sincerity before the Lord matters. We cannot honor Him with our lips while our hearts are far from Him. He requires us to worship Him in Spirit and in truth. It is only then that we can be sure to know Him and be known by Him.