Is God really a Loving God?

People accuse God of being the chief cause of our problems and blame him for everything that goes wrong, but the worst thing they say about him is that he keeps the criteria for eternal life a secret until we are dead, when it’s too late for us to do anything about it.

They never put it that way of course, but when someone says you have to be good to get to heaven they are actually saying there is no way you can ever be sure of meeting God’s standards. If it’s goodness you need, then how good do you have to be? At what point have you made the grade?

Imagine how you’d feel being rejected eternally because of an old lady you didn’t help across the street or a busker’s hat you refused to drop a coin into. It would be worse than being one off a first prize in a lottery!

We expect those we love to make clear promises to us and stick to them. A groom does not say “I might’ or mumble something incomprehensible at his wedding, he says ‘I do’ – he makes a definite, unconditional promise because fundamentally love is about commitment and fidelity. No bride with self respect would expect anything less. You can’t be happy in a relationship where it’s impossible to know the rules of engagement. A person who keeps arbitrarily changing the rules is not a lover but a manipulator.

God is not like that. He has determined the criteria for salvation and communicated it to us clearly so no one need be in doubt. In addition he has also made it possible for you to meet those criteria. And here is the great news – once you have met the criteria God makes sure that you know you have. You can know for certain one way or the other where you stand with God and where you will spend eternity.

This is what the Bible is all about. In it God tells us firstly that he loves us like a father and wants us to be with him for ever. Then he tells us that the reason we are separated from him is that we are rebels who by nature don’t want him as God and do shameful and selfish things that deserve punishment. However, in his great love for us he came to earth as a man in the person of Jesus to show us just how much he loves us. Jesus then takes the blame and the punishment for what we have done – he settles our account for us so we can be friends with God. So we can now meet the criteria for salvation, not by being good but by trusting that Jesus was good and that he paid, once and for all, the price for our sin. Jesus didn’t come to help us earn salvation – he earns it for us!

All that God asks of you is that you accept that he has the right to rule his universe. Stop trying to pay your way into his heart by being good and accept his free gift of forgiveness and eternal life in a world that is worth living forever in. Ask him to help you to become one of his children and he’ll adopt you. Then he’ll connect you through his Spirit and convince you that you are adopted. Once adopted you will be good, not to earn his favour but because you really want to be. If you have any questions and have the courage to pursue – this website would be a good place to start.

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