What Does God Want From the Human Race?

What Does God Want From the Human Race?

Does He want us to believe the right things or act the right way?  Is His primary concern that we believe the right doctrine or that we behave the right way?  Does He want us to hold to and defend until death the “correct” teaching about Him?    Or is God more concerned with how we choose to live our lives?

Does it please God more when we give ourselves to study every facet of his character, diving into the deep end of the pool to contemplate God in all his glorious ways or when we devote our lives to living according to those ways?  Put another way, do you think that God was more pleased with John Calvin (or Luther or Arminius) or with Mother Teresa?

What matters MOST to God?

The easy answer might be to say it’s both.  God wants us to know the truth about Him and then to live out that truth.  But that answer is not allowed in today’s post.  I am asking which one takes priority in God’s economy.  Which one comes first?  I am not asking us to discuss this in relation to soteriology.

I have been thinking about this one for a while and was moved to write about it after I read this question on a “Christian” forum:  “Can I continue to practice witchcraft and be a Christian?”  One of the answers quoted Paul, saying “Of course you are allowed to do that, Paul said ‘everything is permissible’, it’s just not a good idea.”  This made me say out loud ‘IS everything permissible?”  Essentially, the writer was saying that as long as you believe correctly about Christ, you can live anyway you want to and it doesn’t matter.  What matters most, is that we believe the right things, not that we live the right way.

I find that this is what many people actually think and I am finding it harder and harder to agree with it.  When Jesus was asked to sum up God’s entire moral code into one command, he answered with two.  They both deal with how we live:  Love God and love your neighbor.  God wants each one of us to be eager to have Him as our king and then to treat every person around us the way the King wants us to.  Both of those broad categories have behavior as the key component.  When we read the Epistles and the early church fathers, we get the exact same picture.  God want’s us to live according to his standards.  We are told over and over again what those standards are.

In our day, it seems we are more concerned with making sure we understand things correctly.  Not just the basics, but the deep things of God.  We want to examine all facets of every doctrine, searching for more and more insight into the very deepest corners of the infinite mind of God.  Of course we will NEVER get even close!  It is as if God has drawn a line in the sand an posted a sign that says “No Trespassing!”  We often fall into the trap of amassing more information about God.  But is that what He wants?  Is that the object of the Christian life?  Does God want us to have more information about who he is for the sake of having the scooop?

I heard a missionary tell a story one time about a primitive culture they were working in.  When a new convert came to Christ, they would teach them to love their neighbor.  They taught them what that meant and then they sent them out to do it.  The people of the church would then ask the unbelieving neighbor if the new christian was treating him like he would want to be treated.  If the answer was “NO!” then they would go over the lesson again with the new convert, and send him back out to live his faith.  When he finally got it right, they would move on to the next thing.  How’s that for a discipleship course?  As simplistic as that sounds, I think this primitive people understand God’s heart on the matter more than many of us who are more cerebral.

Don’t misunderstand me.  I LOVE theology!  But if everybody lived their lives according to God’s plan, I think there would be a lot more Mother Teresa’s than their would be theologians.

What do you think?

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Not For Itching Ears is a blog dedicated to discussing the serious issues that exist within the American Evangelical church. It is a place for like-minded people to share their thoughts on a host of issues relating to this subject. Jim is available to speak at weekend services, and retreats at no cost to churches in Florida. Contact us for more information.

Posted on October 6, 2011, in Christianity, Contemporary Church Culture, Early Church History, The Christian Life, Theology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I agree with your frustration in seeing this thinking everywhere – I think its based on false grace teaching and the once saved(i.e said a prayer some night with my mouth but didnt really mean it and conitinue to live in Him) always saved.

    “Essentially, the writer was saying that as long as you believe correctly about Christ, you can live anyway you want to and it doesn’t matter. What matters most, is that we believe the right things, not that we live the right way.”

    To this I would say – if you have to even ask a question like they did or if you answer this way then you don’t think correctly about Christ. many people who are athiests and have no desire to change that, believe in the man Jesus walking on this earth and some even believe He was crucified – does that ‘belief’ make them saved? eh, no!

    I think if the TRUTh of Gods Word doesnt get back into the majority of churches in this world today that seem to be veering off – there will be a lot of suprised faces on judgment day, and that makes me very sad indeed.

    (am I too harsh?)

    But to your Question, I think loving God first – being filled with the truth of Him from that love relationship and being filled to overflow = we will naturally love our neighbour – and not in a good works of self righteousness way – but love the unlveable, love unwaveringly even when its not accepted or down right rejected- forgive, forgive, forgive; pray, pray, pray…for their salvation and for a touch from God of the love from Him we experience personally… to want for them everything God wants for them becasue you’re close enough to Him to know His heart and becasue the Word or the ‘studied theoligy’ is in you

    It has to come from that wellspring otherwise it is just works – and the antichrists harlot will most likely be a ‘good work, helping the poor and sick’ type organization too… but that will be the lure not the heart of the organization

    It seems like a fine balance but; seek first the Kingdom and all these things will be added’ comes to mind. When we go to the Lord first, in spirit and in truth, when we love Him and believe Him for who HE says He is… then we will drop our mixture, love our neighbour, and look to purchase the gold refined in the fire from Him as He advises us – becasue He will be enough for us

    (sorry for the long answer!)

    Lisa

  2. A very wise man once told me the unspoken Beatitude is “Blessed be the Balanced.” James would say, “Faith without works is a dead faith.” Luther said, “We are saved by faith alone… but not by a faith that is alone.” But then, you’re asking your readers to choose… which if only one?

    It’s easy for us today to have a difficult time with this decision. Because we have resources never before afforded to the generations past. A humbling thought to consider is that most of the Saints in Heaven today never even held a Bible in their hands, much less the abundance of tools we have at our fingertips. This makes it much easier to be make-believe theologians (I describe myself). In my library there are tools to research any topic of Scripture, resources that allow me to understand the Greek language (even though I can’t pronounce a single word), and on and on and on.

    But at the end of the day, all of this information is just head knowledge if it doesn’t find itself working out in my everyday life.

    So if I must choose, I am thrilled by the missionary example, and say let’s love God with every fabric of our being, and let’s love our neighbors as ourselves. Then, lets study to show ourselves approved. Thanks for stretching our faith as always Jim. God bless.

  1. Pingback: What Does God Want From the Human Race? « Christian Counsellors

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