God is not a Christian

COPYRIGHT WARNING

If you have been hurt, offended, or disappointed by someone who claims to be a Christian—this article is for you.

It is important to distinguish between God and the people whom He is seeking to save. Jesus came to save sinners, not the righteous. It is the very worst of the world—those who know they are sinners, that are most often attracted to Jesus. Therefore, the people who follow Him, are far from perfect and still need a lot of help.

When Jesus comes into the life of a person who calls upon Him for the forgiveness of their sins, He immediately begins to change their life. The problem is that these changes do not all occur at the moment a person is saved. It is by the lifelong process of following Jesus that a person becomes more like Him.

We should not attribute the behavior of those who are seeking to follow Jesus—with His character and nature. Just as a son or daughter cannot adequately tell us what the parent is like—so also, Jesus is far superior to those who follow Him.

The mistake that many people make is to look at the people who follow Jesus—rather than to Jesus Himself. The problem with this is that people are always fallible—Jesus is not. If you examine the words, deeds, and manner in which Jesus treated people, He is always kind, gracious, and merciful. This is of course, with the exception of phony or pretentious religious people. Those who claim to know God, while grossly misrepresenting Him and His word, are always scolded by Jesus and told to change their behavior, or stop referring to themselves as followers of God.

Any person who examines the person of Jesus Christ, as He is described in the narrative of the New Testament, will never be disappointed in Him.

God is not a Christian—in the sense that many of those who call themselves “Christians,” do not properly represent Him before the world. God is always good, perfect and absolutely attractive, when we truly come to know Him for who He is. People are not perfect and they never will be. We should not think that God is like the people who claim to believe in Him, although they should be.

Does God change?

Those who assert that the God of the Old Testament is mean and spiteful, while the God of the New Testament is kind and loving, have misunderstood who He is.

In order for God to be properly referred to as “God,” and retain this title, He must be perfect. If God was once mean and spiteful, but today He is kind and loving, this means that God has been learning and changing. In order to be God—He must be perfect. If there is anything that God must learn, He is not God. The Bible is very specific in describing God as knowing all things.

Acts 15:18 “Known to God from eternity are all His works.

When we speak of God “testing” a person, this is a misuse of the word “test”, or at least, a misunderstanding of the correct context of this word.

God does not need to test anyone to see what they will do or how they will respond. Again, God knows us already. It is we who do not know ourselves, and so, God places us into various circumstances where we will have our nature tested. The test is for us, not for God. When we see how we respond to our circumstance, it reveals to us—who we really are. Then we have the opportunity for humility and change. If we will be honest with ourselves and do not blame God or other people for our bad manners, mistakes, and difficulties, we can change and become better people.

Can people change?

I often hear Christians pray for God to change their hearts or their actions. We should understand that God cannot change us. It is we who must desire change, and then take the necessary steps to change ourselves. The Lord will help and encourage us, but He does not use force on anyone, at any time.

When a person calls on the name of Jesus, His promise is: He will come and abide with us—to dwell within us. This is often referred to as being “filled with the Holy Spirit.” The Bible defines this as God taking up residence, within those who fully commit themselves to Jesus as their Savior. In this manner, He begins to work in us and through us, not by force or compulsion—but by lovingly changing our hearts, little by little.

There is not a single example anywhere in the New Testament, where Jesus used force on a person—in order to cause them to change. He simply pointed out the areas that needed to be adjusted, and explained why these changes were necessary. When the Lord had finished explaining what should be done—he allowed each person the opportunity and time to chose.

The Old Testament God

One of the difficulties for many people in believing in the God of the Bible, is their misunderstanding of His wrath. God’s anger has been falsely described as unfair and unleashed upon innocent women, children and the elderly. These examples are most frequently from the Canaanites—who were the most bloodthirsty and vile human beings, to perhaps, ever inhabit the earth. For nearly 1,000 years, the Lord warned the Amalekites to stop offering their newborn babies upon the fiery hot arms of their god; “Molech.” These people continued to ignore God, for almost 1,000 years; as they frequently murdered the innocent, the women, and children of Palestine.

The Amalekites and the entire Canaanite culture were amongst some of the most evil people who have ever lived on the face of the earth.

The Word Amalekite means “A People that licks up”.[1] This gives us a clue as to the kind of people we are speaking of. The Amalekites were a populace who literally “licks up,” or “drains away,” the life of other people. The Amalekites had no permanent home; they were nomadic, roaming from place to place in the Sinai desert. They were descended directly from Ham, whose son Canaan was cursed by God because of his sexually perverse character. The Amalekites were the specific tool used by satan, to try and destroy God’s people—before they ever departed Egypt and arrived into the land God had promised.

Deuteronomy 25 contains a direct statement from the Lord, that the Amalekites did not fear God.

Deuteronomy 25:17-19 Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you were coming out of Egypt, …and he did not fear God.

The Biblical definition of the term; fear God is defined as “did not honor or respect God.”

The Amalekites attacked the helpless, the sick, and the old, when Israel first came out of Egypt. They attacked Israel a second time, at Hormah, without being provoked, as described in Exodus 17. They joined a third time with Eglon and attacked Israel in the days of the Judges. Whenever Israel planted their crops, the Amalekites along with the Midianites in Judges 6, destroyed Israel’s animals and crops.

Since the Amalekites attacked Israel from the rear and slaughtered the children, the sick, and the helpless, as well as destroyed Israel’s animals, crops, and dwellings—God’s judgment on the Amalekites is equal to their crime. The Lord, here in 1 Samuel 15, is going to tell King Saul to “destroy their weak, their helpless, their animals, their crops, and their dwellings.”

…utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey. —1 Samuel 15

The Amalekites were well known by the Lord as a people completely given over to evil, totally debased, and perverse from their infancy—onward. Known as eaters of raw meat, having no house, having the instincts of an animal, and living like wolves.”[2]

These debased people practiced child sacrifice, which is confirmed by archeological artifacts discovered in the remains of Amalekite villages.[3] In 2 Kings 23:10 and Jeremiah 7:31, there is a vivd description of how the Amalekite children were offered to one of their most blood thirsty gods, Molech.

2 Kings 23:10 And King Josiah defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter pass through the fire to Molech.

Molech was a great cast iron god that sat upon a stone throne above the people. His body was hollow, with an area at the lower section of the statue where a fire could be kindled. The flames of the fire would superheat the cast iron—at times—develop such high temperature, that fire was said to shoot out from the outstretched arms of Molech. A newborn baby from a willing family was placed live on the outstretched arms of this vicious god, where the infant would be burned to death. This was one of many horrible gods that the Canaanites worshipped.

Paul G. Mosca, in his Greek thesis describes a similar type of child sacrifice:

There stands in their midst a bronze statue… its hands extended over a bronze brazier, the flames of which engulf the child. When the flames fall upon the body, the limbs contract and the open mouth seems almost to be laughing until the contracted body slips quietly into the brazier. Thus it is that the ‘grin’ is known as ‘sardonic laughter,’ since they die laughing.”

Molech[4]

Archeologists have uncovered the ruins of Canaanite villages and found the remains of clay jars that were used in their ritual worship.[5] Newborn babies were dismembered, and their body parts were placed inside these jars and sealed inside the walls of newly built homes—to bring the blessings of their brutal gods.[6]

It is not necessary to list all the horrendous acts that were perpetrated by the Canaanites. It is sufficient to say—if all the facts were known by people today, the horrific deeds carried out by these cruel people, we would likely commend God for ending their lives.

The patience of God

God is very loving, kind, and patient—but His patience with evil people, does not last forever. God is the judge of the whole earth. All people whom He has made, are subject to Him. This is only right, since He is the only person who is completely impartial and always judges according to the facts—knowing the hearts and minds of every person. If God, or any judge, would refuse to adjudicate the evil acts of men—He would be thought; “unjust.” God must punish evil. As every institution of Human government demands: Judges and courts, must punish those who commit evil acts which hurt and destroy the lives of human beings. God must also execute justice, or no person would ever trust Him.

Those who condemn God for His judgement of the Amalekites or see a different God in the Old Testament from the God of the New Testament, have not correctly understood Him. God displayed an amazing duration of patience with an evil and debased group of people, who rightfully deserved a much swifter judgement than they received. God waited because He is loving and kind and does not take any pleasure in destroying even wicked people.

Unknown and misunderstood

When I read the posts of those who have evaluated the words of the Bible, it is clear that their comments originate from a place of misunderstanding. Just as we are often misunderstood by those who do not truly know us—God is frequently maligned by those who do not really know who He is. People can twist our words and turn them into something that we never meant—the same is true of God. The things that are written about God, which incorrectly portray Him as angry, vengeful, desiring to send people to hell, and changeable at any time—are false.

God is described as the same yesterday, today, and forever, He does not change.

Malachi 3:6 “For I am the LORD, I do not change

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

I began following Jesus about 40 years ago, at the age of 19. In the beginning, I didn’t know much about Him. The message that I had heard, when I went to church for the first time, was that God loved me. Then I observed the other young people who were in this church, and they were also very loving. These Christians of the 60’s and 70’s, seemed to reflect the Love, which God had poured into their hearts. During those early days of the “Jesus Movement,” it was the love of God, poured out in the hearts of people, and expressed to the world—that most often drew people to Jesus.

Today, as we live in the last days described by the Bible, people are much different. The Love that once was so visible in the lives of those who were trying to follow Jesus—seems to be missing.

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of religion but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” —2 Timothy 3:1-5

It is my opinion, that what has changed today, is that pastors are no longer teaching through the Bible, to educate those who want to follow Jesus—how God has loved us, and how we must love each other—as well as those who are in the world.

During the beginning of the Jesus People movement, we talked a lot about being “a good witness.”

The idea which was constantly taught to new believers was: “you are following Jesus—now show that you are truly His follower by exhibiting the same type of behavior and words that He exhibited for the world. If you cannot, or will not do this—then just stop referring to yourself as a Christian.”

Those who claim to be followers of Jesus, today, have left behind a plague of bad examples that the world sees as hypocritical, phony, and distasteful. I don’t know presently, that if I should be searching for answers in my life, that by the examples I see today, of those who claim to know God by Jesus Christ—that I would become one of His followers.

People are leaving the Christian church today in astonishing numbers, because of the behavior of those who claim to follow Jesus. Some Pastors committing adultery, others—full of pride and arrogance. Leaders in the church who are mean spirited, lacking care and concern, for the very people whom they are supposed to be helping. There are many organizations today who place themselves under the label of “Christian,” who do so primarily for financial gain.

No wonder that the world is full of angry young people who write and speak in great opposition to God, the Bible, and those who claim to follow religion.

In a recent survey by the Pew Institute Center, the age group of the largest percentage of atheists, is: 18-29. Many of these young people have grown up in Christian churches and have seen the hypocrisy of those who claim to believe in God.

Unless Jesus does return soon, there may not be many true followers of Jesus, who genuinely are like Him—in future years. The Lord knows that I have such a very long way myself in becoming more like Jesus. I am a most fallible man who has often transgressed the Lord—who I claim to love. I must constantly work on my own heart and seek to be a good example of Jesus, to whom I have followed for most of my life.

If you are one who has been harmed by Christianity—please forgive the foolishness of our errors. Go back and look at Jesus and you will find that He is far superior to any religion of man. He will love you unconditionally and help you with your life. He begins His greatest work at the moment any person simply calls on His name and says: “Lord Jesus, please help me…”

Please do not allow someone who is a poor example of a follower of Jesus—stop you from apprehending the most wonderful gift you will ever receive. Everyone of those whom I have had the privilege of leading to Jesus, have told me later that their one regret is that they did not come to Him earlier in their life.

I too am very disappointed in the manner in which some people represent Jesus. I know that He is not like the people who often fail in portraying Him. I understand that they are just human beings, and continue to need a Savior, even after they surrender their lives to Him. I try to be as patient with people, as Jesus has been with me and love those who are often very hard to love—because He has loved me so fully and unconditionally.

It is very likely that you are not really mad at God, but instead—those who say they believe in Him. Look to Jesus, who will never let you down or fail to be everything that you are searching for.


NOTES:
[1] Expositional Commentary on the Amalekites of the Old Testament.
[2] Myth of the Wedding of Amru, Inscription of Shu-Sin
[3] From the Expositor’s Bible Commentary on 2 Kings 23:10, regarding child sacrifices to Molech by the Amalekites: “An eighth- century b. c. Phoenician inscription speaks of sacrifices made to Molech before battle by the Cilicians and their enemies. Topheth was the cultic installation where children were offered to the god Molech. The word is thought to signify the hearth where the child was placed. The Hebrew term has parallel terms in both Ugaritic and Aramaic with the meaning “furnace, fireplace.” Scholars have thought that Topheth was at the edge of the valley of Ben Hinnom before connecting with the Kidron Valley. The valley of Ben Hinnom has been identified with Wadier-Rahabi southwest of the City of David. Many consider Molech to be a netherworld deity featuring rituals with Canaanite origins focusing on dead ancestors.”
[4] Graphic Art by Rob Robinson
[5] J.B. Hennessey, Palestine Exploration Quarterly (1966)
[6] “There is archaeological evidence that the Canaanites of the second millennium BCE followed the custom of child sacrifice owing to excavations of a shrine near the city of Gezer which has yielded clay jars containing the charred bones of babies.” Retrieved from: http://www.baal.com/baal/about/divine_overview.shtml

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