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God is Good

September 18, 2012

Guest post by Gerry Wakeland

 

What stories did you hear about God when you were growing up? Or as an adult?

What messages about God did you glean from sermons? Or from friends?

 

I was raised in a church where sin was talked about a lot. If we sinned we would not go to heaven. Jesus was the answer to sin. If I had Jesus in my heart then I would not sin. So as a small child I accepted Jesus as my savior so I would not sin and end up in hell.

As a seven-year old, little did I know that accepting Christ and having Him in my heart was just the tip of the iceberg. I still had to work hard at not sinning. My vision of God was skewed because I thought if I was not good and had sin in my life, God would punish me in some way.

I carried this philosophy with me for years. Through some very difficult teen years, through a challenging first marriage that ended in divorce and into a second marriage that had its share of rocky spells.

And then one day I discovered the truth. God is not a punishing God! He’s not out to get me for the things I do wrong. In fact, He expects that I will stumble and fall. But He is there to gently pick me up and set me on the path of correction, giving me another chance, a do-over.

This week in our study of “The Good and Beautiful God” author James Bryan Smith addresses the false narratives of the angry punishing God. Smith says, “Jesus clearly abolishes the notion that we ‘get what we deserve.’ According to Jesus, God is not in the business of balancing some eternal checkbook. God treats all people the same: ’He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.’ (Matthew 5:45) Just as sunshine and rain are given equally to saints and sinners with no distinction, so God gives blessings to all without regard to their behavior.” Good news for a sinner like me!

In this world terrible things happen to good people. I know this first hand. This is life not punishment. John 16:33 clearly states: “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer’ I have overcome the world.” (KJV)

It is because of this promise that we can, with confidence, say:

 God is good; all the time. All the time; God is good.

Gerry Wakeland is a member of Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church. She currently serves as President of CLASSEMINARS, Inc., a training and equipping ministry for Christian communicators based here in Albuquerque. Contact her at gawakeland@aol.com

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