Posts Tagged ‘ Jesus ’

God’s Conditional Love

Yep. God’s conditional love.

Perhaps you have heard the arguments:

Deuteronomy 7:12-13 shows that God only loves the people who follow His laws!”
John 14:21 clearly states that Jesus only loves those who obey his commands!”

For the record, here are those respective verses (NIV):

If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the LORD your God will keep his covenant of love with you, as he swore to your forefathers. He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb, the crops of your land—your grain, new wine and oil—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks in the land that he swore to your forefathers to give you.

… and …

Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.

What if, however, these verses do not actually show conditional love? What if “God will keep his covenant of love with you” does not mean “if you do this, I will love you” but “if you keep my covenant you will see the benefits of my love. If you do not keep my covenant you will not see the benefits, but I still love you!” What if “He who loves me will be loved by my Father . . .” falls in the same vein. How do we know this is more likely?

Jesus Christ.

Do you want some Scripture to back that up? Okay:

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Romans 5:6-11, NIV

I am pretty sure not all people will be saved in the end. Sorry universalists. I just see too much biblical evidence against that. However, it does not mean God does not love all people (these arguments are all for other posts!).

I do think God’s love is conditional, however. How can I say this?

For God to love us, He must exist. God exists. God is love. Therefore, He loves all people. Easy condition to meet. It is not dependent on human behavior or faithfulness.

I could argue this all day and night, but I think others should be involved. In case you are wondering, I kept this simple and relatively short to try to inspire further dialogue.

What do you think? Is God’s love conditional in any way? When have you felt God’s love when you were certain you least deserved it?

Weekend Words and Sunday Stanzas – 07/03/2011

In honor of tomorrow, I say …

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

This is generally a time of pride of country and national heritage. I am not going to argue either way if this pride is good or bad … at least not today.

Today I only offer a poem based on Galatians 6:14 (and other passages, too!) which explains where our pride should lie as believers in Jesus Christ.

pride
daniel m  klem

the pride i feel is for my God
He sent His Son to die on a cross
Christ Jesus came and saved my soul
so that i know it is not lost
from now on  i will not be ashamed
to tell the world about the day
that Jesus died upon a wood cross
just so that your and my souls are saved
i will repeat what i have said
to make sure you heard me say
God sent His one and only Son
so that He could keep us all safe

Taken from simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page  48.

Expectant Religion

So …

ARE YOU READY?

There are some who claim that Jesus Christ is returning about 24 hours from the time I type this to rapture His Church. Family Radio (not Family Life Radio, mind you), founded and run by Harold Camping, is the entity putting forth this information.

Of course, going against them is Jesus’ own words in Matthew 24:36: “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

A note in the NIV says that some manuscripts do not have “nor the Son,” but that does not change my next point.

They could be right.

A friend and I agree they could, in fact, be right, but it would be ironically funny if God used someone who has been wrong before about the date of Christ’s return. It would also be sad since part of the claim is that many who live relatively righteous lives but follow two false teachings from their churches – confessing members are safe and that no man can know the day or hour – are doomed. It is also sad in that we know all people who do not attend church or believe in Jesus Christ, which is about two-thirds of the planet’s population, are doomed. I am not arguing those numbers.

However, I have heard some great teachings about this that make quite a bit of sense.

God has not revealed the day or hour of the end, because He wants us to work hard the whole time until the end. See the parable of the ten virgins, for example.

God has not revealed the day or hour of the end, because He knows most people would have sat back until the last few days or even moments doing whatever they like. If most of us know the time something is going to happen, we tend to not worry about that event until we need to. See the parable of the talents, specifically the last guy given one talent. He did not do anything wrong, per se, but he did not do anything right, either.

Between Jesus telling us no one knows (other than God) and these parables, it seems rather clear to me that we cannot know the day or hour.

What Harold Camping and his followers got right

I am going to go out on a limb and say that these people have it wrong. Tomorrow is not the day of the Rapture.

What they have right is that they have been living their lives attempting to win over as many people as possible. They have attempted to warn everyone. They have tried to bring as many as possible into the loving fold of God’s mighty hand.

They have lived expecting Christ to return soon!

The early Church lived this way. There are some people living this way today. How do we know we have not been doing our job?

Europe used to be almost entirely Christian. The United States of America was founded on biblical principles, yet less than half of us attend church regularly if at all. Most people I know say they believe that Jesus is returning, yet the vast majority of them know little to nothing about what the Bible says about it.

Harold Camping has gotten people to get excited about winning people over for the Lord, and many of us sit and debate about why he is wrong or right or how it will happen. This is not bad in and of itself, but it is wrong when most people do not reach out to others with our knowledge.

I am not saying everyone needs to become biblical scholars. I am saying we need to find that love for God and others that we evidently lack. I know I am personally lacking!

What do you think? Are we within a day of seeing Christ’s return, or are we within 36 hours of knowing we do not know? How are we doing as the Church? Am I way off base, or do we seriously need to work on our relationship with God?

Weekend Words and Sunday Stanzas – 04/24/2011

HAPPY RESURRECTION SUNDAY!

How do you know this day is important? As Chuck Swindoll says “What other event do we celebrate 52 times a year?” We remember the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth every Sunday, but this week commemorates the actual day (even if it is usually off slightly, it is like communion … in remembrance).

and so It begins
daniel m  klem

Jesus is on the cross
held with my sin
but i am forgiven
for He is risen
the Father revived
the Son to live
and He loves us
even after His strife
He gave His Son
so we may live
and now through Christ
God will forgive
Jesus is the one
that set us free
and i can love
because of He
who died on the
cross for the world
that we can praise
God and His Word

Taken from the book simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m klem, p. 99.

risen

daniel m  klem

the curtain torn
the tomb now sealed
God watching as
His angels work
the lights flashing
thunder clapping
the joy surrounds
all in heaven
explosions  cheers
lightning  thunder
flashes  novas

on earth  Jesus
taking a breath
opening eyes
He sits straight up
removes the cloths
folds them neatly
rises and leaves

Taken from the book simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m klem, p. 132.

HE IS RISEN!

Special Friday

For this Friday, I posting two of the poems from my first book. You will catch the reason why I posted these.

crucifixion
daniel m  klem

the bottom of the hill
the sun goes black
in the eighth hour
three structures
one man per structure
each with his arms outstretched
the One in the middle did nothing
closing in on the ninth hour
the Man asks for a drink
i place a sponge soaked with vinegar on a stick
offering Him His drink as He dies
i break down grief-stricken

Taken from the book simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m klem, p. 61.

it means something
daniel m  klem

i remember the death
and remember suffering
but i can see more
than just the bad things
the cross gave freedom
when He is burdened
He carried all this sin
and will until the end
the cross reminds me
He died to save us
and that i can trust
in the living Jesus

Taken from the book simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m klem, p. 159.

I pray you remember what our Lord has done for us on the day we celebrate today. I pray you remember that He is indeed alive again!

Grace and Peace.

Daniel

Merciful Death

Cross Walk 2008

Me doing the Cross Walk in 2008

If we honestly looked around our world, we could see plenty of good reasons why people would want to take their lives. Sad? Definitely.

Sorry to be gloomy and maybe even a bit sick, but what if they are on to something?

Sweet Death

I read an article recently in Christian Research Journal (Vol. 34, No. 2, 2011) titled “A Christian View of Human Nature“. The author, John S. Hammet, had this to say about death:

Moreover, may not the end of life in this world be a severe mercy from God? True, death entered the world as the punishment for sin, but a punishment that opened the door to mercy. For once humans had fallen and become like God in knowing, not just good, but now evil, God intervened: “He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and live forever” (Gen. 3:22). It was the mercy of God that established the limitation of life as a fallen human; as redeemed persons, we are welcomed to the tree of life (Rev. 22:3).

Not only could God have allowed death as a mercy to get away from the suffering we brought upon ourselves (and for the record, I am not making any arguments today about the afterlife for all people; this is just about this life), but He used death to defeat death!

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.

But:

Since the children have flesh and blood, [Jesus] too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

From the beginning, God showed us mercy through death. Even if you do not hold to Hammet’s take, here are some examples:

What do you think? Is death God once again showing His grace in the midst of our punishment?

The Gospel of Nothing

Nothing to offerWhat are we able to give God?

What is it that we can give God to get closer to God?

Creator of Everything

God is the Creator of everything. All things we are able to measure. Almost all things we are not able to measure.

God created light. God created atoms and molecules. God created mass. God created single-celled organisms. God created plants. God created animals. God created us. God created emotions and infact has emotions. God created and is goodness. God created and is truth. God created and is Life.

God did not create lies. God did not create hurts. God did not create pain. God did not create hate. God did not create evil. God did not create sin.

What we give God

This last line is what we can give God … at least at first.

This is the gospel: We have nothing to give God but our filth, our hurts, our lies, our hate, our evil, our sin.

In other words, nothing.

But we also give God our choice to follow.

In other words, we choose to love God.

God takes all this and gives us in exchange grace, forgiveness, grace, the Holy Spirit, grace, a new car new life, grace, and hope for a future in Eternity.

God also does not want us to continue living as we have. That is why there is new life with the Holy Spirit. This is also why there is so much grace: we will continue to mess up.

But God wants more.Empty to receive

After clearing us out of all of our nothing, God knows we need something.

If we present ourselves as ready and willing for whatever, God fills us with Himself – the Holy Spirit – to go out and perform good works for the benefit of others to bring glory to God.

After giving God our nothing, God gives us the ability to give our very lives, to give the Love given to us, to give forgiveness to ourselves and to others, to give our all.