Wednesday, July 01, 2015

The sign of Jonah, gay marriage, and other fleeting thoughts

The sign of Jonah is more than the three days in the belly of a whale and then being barfed on the beach. It is about the message to the Ninevites that Jonah gave to repent or experience the wrath of God. Jonah delivers this message and then sits on a hill over Nineveh to watch God pour out His wrath. Jonah sits so long a weed grows over him and shades him. Jonah is happy about the weed until it withers and then he became angry. He curses at God, as Jonah knew God would have mercy. Jonah is angry that the weed withered… here is the sign. God asks Jonah why he is so angry over a withered weed instead of seeing God forgive and bring salvation to the Ninevites. Jonah, who was chosen by God by Grace, wanted wrath instead of Grace to his enemies. Instead, God, who is merciful, gives grace.

This message is for today. Jonah was under a sad delusion that God is wrathful and desired that kind of God. Instead of delivering the delusion, God reveals His mercy and love for Gentiles… worse Gentiles that were the enemy of Israel.

We read in the Gospels of a man who owes a great debt. He is called before the king and begs for forgiveness. He is forgiven his great debt. The man then goes out and finds a man who owes him money. Instead of forgiveness, the man shakes down the other man to pay back the debt. When the king hears of this, he calls the first man back and tosses him into prison until he could pay his own debt. [1]

Now, I believe that God does not take away salvation from us. However, if you received forgiveness freely by grace you are in no position to demand others receive grace by doing anything but receive it as you did. If you place on another person rules and regulation for salvation, you are NOT preaching the Gospel of Jesus. You are preaching a perverted gospel that is NO gospel at all.

Recently, I have heard people talking of God sending a grand delusion over gay marriage and other issues.[2] Interestingly, when you read the passage in Romans about this delusion, it is in regards to believing in a false god made of sticks and stones out of the vain imagination of humans. I might add that we do not need sticks and stones to have false ideas of God. Those that choose an image of God as a lightning bolt throwing, wrathful, God miss the very end of Paul’s passage in Romans. In fact, if you read Romans one without finishing Paul’s thoughts in Romans 2 you do a great injury to the passage. Paul ends the thoughts by saying that while the pagans do such horrible things, the moralistic Jewish people also do these things so have no room to judge others --- and worst, by judging the pagan as they have dishonor God whose kindness leads to repentance.

I think that maybe there is a grand delusion happening. However, instead of it being given to those who think they serve God by crying out for His wrath to fall on others, it is given to those very people as they follow their sad imagination of such god. This delusion as 2 Thes. 2:9-12 describes:

9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

What if the lie is not about believing in gay marriage, but deeper -- the belief in the lie that God is something or someone He is not? What if it is believing in a god that does great signs and leads people away from the kindness of God? What if when we desire God to pour out His wrath on “others” we are crying out to a god of lawlessness and are forsaking the One True God? What if we have chosen to not believe the truth in that God is a loving, kind, giving, God who is willing to even suffer our sin and even greater, take that sin upon Himself and die for us? What if we instead are crying out for Zeus and not Jesus? That is the delusion I see. I see many forsaking the kindness of God for a lie. I see the US as becoming more and more self-righteous instead of displaying the image of Jesus in the Bible. We forget the truth in what Jesus stated, “If you know me, you know the Father.” [3]

[1] Matthew 18:21-35
[2] Romans 1-2
[3] John 14

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