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road leads to our good

Do all things really work for our good?

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28

One has to wonder whether God really does make all things work out for our good? The sovereignty of God has always been an area of vagueness generally amongst the body of Christ vaguely. If a single Christian mother of three children loses her job and becomes unable to provide for her family, how does that work out for her good? Bad things can happen to good people, but does it always lead to a happy ending? (more…)

“Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner” Except if the Sinner is a Legalistic Bigot?

Legalism

“Hate the sin, love the sinner”

This is usually what we have to say when met with a legalistic believer that attacks a person who struggles with a certain sin issue. We preach the grace and love of God, and ridicule, mock and attack people who act against it, but in the process forget that these “Pharisees” are sinners just like us as well who need “love” not hate. Ultimately, we fail to address this little loophole in our belief system- “If I hate legalistic people and attack them like a rabid dog of the love revolution, what makes me any different than them?” (more…)

Is God ever unfair towards us?

unfair

It has been said by many Bible critics that our God is a God who can sometimes be unfair because He plays favourites. Claiming that God’s special favour over Israel all throughout the Old Testament and His conditional grace that abounds only amongst Christians are proof, these people assert that God is an exclusive God who blesses only whom He pleases.

It must be made clear that whether God is a God who shows favouritism or not, it does not make Him less or more God than He truly is and it certainly does not make Him unfair and unjust. If God had favourites, it doesn’t mean that His love would be limited because His love is so immeasurably abundant that even if you got the smallest portion, you’d still be overwhelmed.

But I for one am not to agree with the notion that God is a God who has favourites. God loves each and every one immeasurably and equally. His grace abounds and overflows to everyone and we all have the same access to God’s love and grace- sinner or saint.

Here are three reasons that prove that God is not a God that plays favourites.

God blesses non-believers too

If God played favourites then there would be no rich non-Christians, but we all know that the world abounds with tycoons and millionaires who do not believe nor ascribe to God’s laws. That is because God’s grace has an aspect to it called common grace that allows even those who do not believe in God to experience His grace and blessing.

Matthew 5:45 says, “so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” God loves everyone and allows everyone to experience His goodness by blessing them with life, provision and even abundance.

God punishes believers too

The Old Testament is not only highlighted by God’s blessing over Israel, but also His justice over them when they disobeyed His laws. Many people- Christians and non-Christians alike- believe the myth that God only blesses Christians and curses non-believers. That is far from the truth.

God may have destroyed Israel’s enemies, but it was also He who blessed them. God brought up Babylon so that it would teach Israel a lesson for abandoning His decrees. But it must be remembered that God brought justice to Israel, Babylon, Jericho and Ammon because He is a loving God. As much as He loves people, He also loves His laws and must keep them.

God extends His grace to all the world

You’ll be surprised to know this, but there are times that God is unfair actually. Yes, He’s always fair to us, but He is never fair to Himself. The only time God is ever unfair is towards Himself. Why? Because He constantly gives and gives and gives. We can do nothing to return back the favor to God for all He has done for us. If there is anyone who is unfair it’s us, but God still loves us anyway.

John 3:16 is the ultimatum of God’s love: ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The scripture did not say “For God so loved the Christians” or “For God so loved those who obeyed Him,” but it says that God loved the whole world and gave Jesus up for the whole world.

If God had favourites, everyone would be on that list. God’s love abounds immeasurably and infinitely upon all people of any race, background, economic class or educational attainment. God loves everyone the same.

Facing the criminal that killed my lola: A lesson on grace

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It was two days before Christmas when we received news that my grandmother had passed away. We just finished a pre-Christmas service at church and we were racing to the hospital. When we got there our Lola Betty was already wrapped up. She had died as a result of a hospital error resulting to an overdose of Insulin because a nurse hadn’t read the prescription properly.

A few days later, my mother goes up to meet the nurse who had killed my grandmother and her mother who had been hospitalised due to the trauma, fear and regret. My mother did not come to the woman who murdered our lola to express hate or file charges, but instead to extend forgiveness.

My mother shared to me that she forgave that woman because the truth was that that woman was not a murderer. She was a mother who had kids to feed and a family to take care of, and we chose to see her that way.

I have a confession to make. I’m a murderer myself. I have killed an innocent man. And guess what? So are you. In fact, we’re all murderers, and we’re all responsible for killing one innocent man who did nothing except love and care for the sick, broken and hurt. We have all killed a man named Jesus.

It was our sins that drove those nails into His wrists and heels and that scourged His back with whips. We killed Jesus- God’s only Son. And what have we gotten in return? We have received life and life to the full.

What scandal! When I deserve hate, rejection and punishment, God extends His grace and love. Looking back at how my mother chose not to see the woman who murdered my grandmother as a killer, God has chosen to do the same to us. He looks at us and He does not see the people that killed His one and only beloved Son, but as His new sons and daughters redeemed by the blood of His own.

John 3:16 is a verse we all know, but don’t get blown away with enough: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

When we were sinners, liars, cheaters, murderers, God chose to love and chooses to love us still, and offer His grace and pardon when we never deserved it from the beginning. He does this not because of who we are, but because of who He is- our Father, our Savior, our God.

The Biggest Lie in the World Today

big lie

The biggest lie in the world today is the notion that there is nothing wrong with us, and we’re fine just the way we are. I have been freed of this lie because now I know that there is something wrong with me- and that is sin.

I’m a sinner. I can be selfish, prideful and arrogant at times. I sometimes judge jeepney drivers, explode on the inside (and sometimes on the outside) when my 3-year-old daughter throws a tantrum and get tempted to tell my wife that I can’t afford a new pair of shoes when I can.

This truth is foundational to understanding what it means to be a Christian. This truth points to three realizations:

We are all sinners. (Without Jesus)

It is not being sinless that makes you “more Christian.” I am not a Christian because I do not sin (though God’s enabling grace transforms me by the renewing of my mind) or because I know everything about the Bible (though I read it day and night to understand as much as I can).

The Bible is clear that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. It doesn’t matter how you did it, but you broke God’s heart at some point and probably might continue to do so.

We are all sons and daughters. (Through Jesus)

We are all sinners, yes, but we are all also considered to be sons and daughters.  The lovingkindness of our Abba Father calls us back to Him even when we have maligned Him by desecrating His laws. God looks at us and He does not see criminals, but looks at us and sees children.

We are called by God by name.

God does not call us according to our sin, but rather according to our name. This speaks of a God who longs to redeem us not through hate, but through love (sometimes in the form of compassion, other times through loving discipline). Love will always beget love, and will never beget hate. God has always hated sin, but has always loved us and His law.

That’s why Jesus found a way to fulfill both His Law and our freedom by dying on the cross and paying the price for us. God has said it is finished, and that finished work is the reason we are in Christ and are therefore called “Christians.”

Does that mean we should just accept our sinful nature? By all means, we should be liberated from it by the power of God’s in-dwelling Spirit! But we must never forget who we really are without God- sinners, and who we are in the eyes of God- sons and daughters.