4/19/15 Paris about 30
Is God legalistic? A common perception of the God of the Bible is that He is like a traffic cop, looking to make his monthly quota of tickets, just waiting for us to do something wrong so He can nail us. Or that he stands clipboard in hand, watchfully taking notes like a supervisor conducting an annual review. He seems petty to many, being concerned about the smallest of sins, adding them up as we commit them like He has nothing better to do. That’s how the God the Bible seemed to Paris, a young man we spoke with at the park on Friday. Rather than rely on God’s revelation of Himself through the pages of the Bible, Paris has his own ideas about God from his imagination, and prefers to think that God is all about love and not judgmental about sin, a God who is more like a benevolent force rather than the ultimate authority over good and evil. Paris said “I can’t believe that God would be so concerned about the details, about judging us for all the mistakes we make.” How could I answer that – to maintain a biblical perspective on God’s holiness without making Him seem legalistic? “He would be legalistic if He were like a human being, having to keep lists in case he forgot and use a calculator to add things up, and having to judge us on outward appearances because He is not sure about our motives. But God is all-knowing, and knows all the details about our sin in a moment. We can’t hide anything from Him – He doesn’t have to stop and think or figure it out. All the truth about our sin is plain to Him every moment” – yet I had the joy of being able to tell Paris how through Jesus God chooses to count us innocent. We always run into problems when we think of God in human terms and judge Him as if He were a created being like ourselves. I don’t blame Paris for rejecting his mistaken perceptions about God. As our society drifts further and further from biblical truths we need to be ready to correct misconceptions such as this.