A Just or Unjust God?

“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach. So you get what we had here last week – which is the way he wants it. Well, he gets it. I don’t like it any more than you men.”

Most of us have heard this famous quote from the movie, Cool Hand Luke.  The person, the warden is talking about, is Luke, a rebellious prisoner who will not follow the rules no matter what punishment has been delivered.  He is dead set on doing it his way.  I thought it would play nicely to what  a friend shared with me the other day when he was asked this question;  How can a just God condemn a man to hell?

Well, is God condemning the man or is the man condemning himself?  Many people, while trying to trip us (Christians) up, will paint a picture of a punishing God, depicting God sitting on a throne giving the preverbal thumbs up or down.  Man is just a helpless soul, whose intentions are always good, doing the best that he can, under the circumstances God put in motion.  How can a god do this to man, when he put him in this mess to begin with. The only conclusion you can make is that God might be an unjust God.  They don’t say God doesn’t exist but they throw it out as a reason not to worship God.  The ultimate fist in God’s face.  You see the picture;  the question is asked upon a supposition.  The story is started somewhere in the middle and not the beginning.  From this depiction, God should not be revered because he will treat you the same way as the helpless schmuck out there under God’s thumb.

To further my assertion, G.K. Chesterton in his book, The Everlasting Man made an interesting observation.  Consider how you have been programmed to think about cavemen, pulling women around by the hair, club in hand.  No one ever witnessed it, but it is used to show “how men really are”.  The best we have seen from old pottery and cave drawings are pictures where the deer and the buffalo roam, fending off bears and people who cooked food. However, that doesn’t stop the depiction. Not one person ever met a “caveman” but we have been told what “really” happened.  So when the question of a just god is asked, in my opinion, it seems based on an illusion of  God, someone wants you to believe in, never having been in relationship with God.  If they did have some semblance of a relationship, the question might not be asked.  You really can’t describe something unless you are acquainted with it.  So as my friend said, ” Let’s put that on the clothesline for right now.”

Now, most people believe, there is a God out there somewhere, and it is a historical fact, that there was a man named  Jesus who was crucified on a cross.  Unfortunately that is where most of the facts end and the opinions begin.

Last month I borrowed a phrase; My Life, My Rules.  However, there is another phrase I would like to use this time; My House, My Rules.  I personally have offered this statement to my son and experienced it myself growing up. When this phrase is spoken there are two options, obey to stay or leave.   When faced with this choice I will choose the easier softer way, whether I agree with the rules or not. If the house rules seem like the viable option, I will grit my teeth, obey  until I am ready to make my move and get around the rules somehow.  When I am placed in these situations where I must choose to obey the house rules or consider options that satisfy me;  I am at conflict with my desires.  What are those desires?  Anything I want more than Jesus.   When my desire to satisfy myself is greater than obeying God and submitting to Jesus Christ,  I am at odds with the house rules.

One of my character defects is that I like to help when it is convenient to my timetable.  My needs will usually get taken care of first, then I will help.  BUT His House’s rules cramps my style and my agenda in how I want to accomplish GOOD DEEDS. Between this and abiding the rules God gives us to keep us from hurting ourselves, spiritually and physically (I still try to dictate the fulfillment of His rules).  The same sort of rules your employer lays out for you when you start a new job. They say, if you want to work here and get paid follow these rules.  If you follow them you will benefit from all the perks this job entails.  Even during the interview, they may say, this job will challenge you.  Some companies have their employees affirm the rules on a yearly basis.  I guess that is OK for employers, to lay out rules but not for God. Also if you do not agree with your employer you can resign and go elsewhere for employment and if you do not follow the rules you will end up escorted out of the work establishment.  Most people accept this practice and say it is just.  But apply this to God and He is unjust.  You can put this on the stove and  keep it warm for later.

OK sometime around Eve’s five day birthday, she was bored looking for some excitement other than help name the animals and basking in the Glory of God’s visits,  Satan lured her away tempting her with the suggestion she could be like God.  What an offer!  Finally after all this time to have the knowledge and freedom that was promised. Satan convinced her that what she had was not enough and could have more.  Even after Adam had been warned by; My House My Rules, thusly.

16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17 NKJV

Now, God told Adam what he could eat, we assume that Adam told Eve, being the head of household and all of that.  Therefore, when Satan got a hold of her, he convinced her to question God’s spoken words through Adam.  She never said God told her, only that, God said.  This is our first instance of he said or she said.  There is no record God saying don’t touch it either, but there it is.

1 The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”2 “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied.3 “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”4 “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. 5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” Genesis 3:1-4 NLT

“So you get what we had here last week – which is the way he wants it. Well, he gets it. I don’t like it any more than you men.”

The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. Genesis 6 NLT

Temptation is defined as the act of tempting; enticement or allurement.  Temptation is the moment we decide, if we will submit to God or to ourselves.  This is point where we  place our trust in God or in our desires.  We weigh the facts, listen to our spirit or soul and make a decision. However, our emotions many times yell louder than the small voice inside.   The issue is, we all think we need to make a decision at that moment.  How many times have you shared a juicy, little piece of information with someone or ask a prying question to get in on a little secret, or spread one?  It is that moment, I hear NO and continue anyway.  As with my addictions, if I do not act on the impulse, in that vast area between my ears, I think that I will surely die and be left holding the bag and miss out on something if I do not act NOW.

Now Eve could have said, “Un Momento Por Favor, I should check with the big guy first; Because after all, everything we see around us He gave us. ” However, her desire for more, outweighed her obedience. She thought she was missing out on something and she had to have it and experience it. You only live once.

 So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. Genesis 3:6 NLT

Sin is defined as any act regarded as a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle.  I will say that Eve sinned.  She may not have heard God personally, but she sinned and was somewhat aware of the gravity of the sin.  SHE CHOSE TO BE INDEPENDENT OF GOD.  Sin removes us away from Him spiritually.  What I don’t get is Adam,…what was he doing?  Was he watching this exchange between his wife and Satan. Was he so infatuated with Eve that he just couldn’t say no.  I know for me, women were my downfall, I guess the same held true for Adam, we just can’t think straight around them.  How could a just god do that me?  As you can see, anything that goes against my desire is the basis for a unjust god discussion.

We know God told Adam not to eat it and if I might add in my opinion this is actually worse than a sin.  Why, because this was Adam’s transgression. Transgression is the act of going beyond the limits imposed by (a law, command, etc.); violate; infringe.  He knew it was wrong and did it anyway.  Jesus spoke about this sort of behavior himself, speaking of lust, coveting and the true nature of the motives that lie in our heart.  I wonder what would have happen if upon being questioned by God,  Adam and Eve repented instead of pointing the finger at each other or the serpent.

At this moment when the gig was up, the Fear of the Lord was instilled, not out of reverence but out of judgement and anger towards God. This is where the question, “Why would God do this?”, begins.   From that moment forward, man willingly choses death over life and hopes he can get away with it.  That was the gift, God gave His creation, free will.   And, whether anyone wants to acknowledge it or not, EVERYONE ENJOYS THIS GIFT ABOVE ALL OTHERS REGARDLESS IF WE USE IT TO GLORIFY GOD OR NOT.

With all the shootings happening in schools, everyone is jumping on the “guns kill people” band wagon.  If we can just keep guns out of the hands of people, the guns won’t convince them to pull the trigger.  This is not a issue of laws, it is an issue of obeying God in His House.  A God, people do not want to acknowledge, because it will get in the way of their own selfish will.  So they keep complaining about things going to hell in a hand basket, and try to deal with it by encouraging rules that keep innocent people in the sights of those that listen to Satan and not God.

It is just baffling to me, how much easier it is to choose death over life, spiritually and physically.  Spiritually we think, I have time to get my act together and still enjoy one more piece of the forbidden fruit, just one more time and I will stop, I promise.  Physically, we think it is now or never and we have a right to put things right in our house.  Even Lucifer wanted more than what he had and Lucifer was in the presence of God’s Glory.  Instead of being in awe, Lucifer was envious, thus wanted to keep from man what he felt was rightfully his.

God did not want man to experience death, but because of God’s gift of free will, death soon arrived.  So we all need to be careful when we run around saying we want more of God, that was what Lucifer wanted and received it and what Satan offered to Eve.  You might say Lucifer (prior to the downfall, a magnificent being with a unique ministry) and Satan are the same being, why not use the same name. You see once you make your choice,  you become a new creation and it isn’t always positive.  When Adam and Eve sinned they were downgraded with only one choice in front of them.

So, is God a just God because He gave us free will to make our own choices?

OR

Is God an unjust God because He gave us free will to make our own choices?

That is the question my dear Watson.  We can’t have it both ways, but that will not stop the self-indulgent among us to posit the just/unjust question to rationalize, ignore and disrespect Him. God actually offers us a means to an end with everything at our disposal to fulfill our destiny, simply by turning to Him, live by his rules with a Fear of the Lord in your heart.  Not because we are afraid, but because we recognize His awesome power and believe it.

BUT….. the issue is, WE want what God offers only if we can obtain it our way. It is not until we see our true motives through methods of exposure that God uses (chastisement, the feelings of guilt and shame) that we will willingly turn to the Father. For some it takes longer than others.  You should be grateful God hasn’t given up on you yet, as a great theologian told me once in an AA meeting,  “Don’t give up even if your ass falls off.”  This too can go on the clothesline.

Now God saw all this happening and we know the biblical narrative.  Man continued to be corrupt and his own desires drove him as far from God as possible.  Man has a way of trying to get what he wants by killing whatever is in his way and taking what he wants through schemes and mayhem.  God eventually destroyed  everything on the Earth except for Noah and the Ark’s passengers.  His House, His Rules.

This is where Iniquity comes in.  Iniquity is a gross injustice or wickedness;  God judged the Earth because of it.   Man became lawless, prayed to other god’s, idols and sacrificed children in Noah’s day.  Today unborn children are sacrificed to the god of selfishness and individual choice. My life above all others, Planned Parenthood calls it “preventative care” REALLY????  I think the proper description would be “preventative birth”.   I heard President Obama say one time (I will never forget it), that he supported a woman’s right to choose (I paraphrase). Heaven forbid if one my daughters got into situation, made a mistake that jeopardized her future.  According to that statement, He wanted the ability for his daughter to make the “right” choice  The right choice begins by obeying God. In his argument for continuing support of abortion, President Obama started the story in middle.  For many the “right” choice happens after the sin not before.  People want to brush sin under the rug and not attempt to figure out how we got there.  While man will write laws to make lawlessness lawful, God will not change His definition.  As our iniquity increases to satisfy our desires, God’s hand of protection will be removed, the Bible is very clear about this.

There are three things here that push this narrative.

  • We can’t control ourselves,and our lives are too precious to deny ourselves.
  • If we can’t control ourselves, we need a get out of jail free card when a mistake happens.
  • The lesser of two beings is conveniently disposed of.

You see abstinence is not a choice in certain circles, it is a death sentence.   It would diminish your ability act out your natural desires.  The forbidden fruit must be eaten, we shouldn’t be denied, after all God made us this way.  In that speech, President Obama basically said we can’t control ourselves, we should be expected to relent to our natural desires and not have to live with the consequences.

Yet many forget or choose to ignore that God can exercise His rights too, His House His Rules.  Willful debauchery, at any level, diminishes the sanctity of marriage.  Lawful disposal of human life diminishes the wonder of life.  Earthly laws that fly in the face of God’s will demand judgement at some point, He is the author of life.  Free Will is not Free Choice.

If we are to learn from history, when our God has seen enough he wiped  clean the face of the Earth. He kicked people out of His house, opened the earth to swallow them, sent the angel of death etc…..  For all the naysayers that say God is unjust, I pray that they come to appreciate that, man condemns himself.  I pray they get right with God instead of a means to run from Him.  There is a time when enough is enough. I hope that they find Christ before time is up.

As we continue to ask simple questions how about this?

  • Are you an unjust and abusive parent:
  • If you tell your child they can’t have any more candy?
  • If your child starts to throw a temper tantrum and cries louder?

Does the emotional volume used in refusing to accept the boundary increase the magnitude of how unjust it is?  Is the person who yells the loudest right?  This is what we are dealing with in today’s society.

As a parent, you understand that if they eat too much sugar they will get sick.  God also has the same insight on all the “candy”, as adults, we want to partake.  But for some strange reason, we think we are above God in this respect, but really we are no different than the willful child.  As a child we think our parent is unfair and pout when we don’t get our way.  You know I am right.  The candy for an adult is just in a different form, (fill in the blank_________________.)

Furthermore, are you an unjust parent if you ask your young adult to leave your house if their behavior is unacceptable?  They might be bringing in strange inappropriate friends into your house, staying up all night making noise and being disrespectful,  and you just can’t watch them throw their lives away.  We want the right to set boundaries, but we don’t want God to set similar boundaries on us.  God wants a little order in His house and man tries to maneuver himself out of obeying the rules.  However, man will use the same yardstick to maintain order in their own house.  More than likely we will ask our kids to change their ways, plead with them to get their life back together and if they don’t, kick them out after you have tried everything.  So how different is that from God who will press upon your heart and say please turn to me and I will guide you.  God puts up with a lot more than we do and yet He is the bad guy.

Please note: The Devil didn’t make you do it, the Devil asked if you would do it.  Let this simmer on the stove.

Lastly, God then told Moses, if I am going to:

  • be with you as fire by night and cloud in the morning,
  • meet you in the Holy of Holies,
  • protect and sustain you;

Then you must follow these simple rules, the Ten Commandments, also known as the Mosaic Covenant.

Now let us reason together.  Is it so much for God to ask for these in return for all that was being offered.  Would you as a parent expect the same; All of us would say yes.  God provided for the Israelites all along their march to the Promise Land, proved time and time again His awesome power.  It wasn’t until after sending all the plagues, Passover, the splitting of the Red Sea and daily manna that God said,  ” All righty then, I have a couple rules you need to follow if we are going to continue this relationship.  I will protect you but you must just do these ten things. The first four of which tell you how to relate to Me and the last six how to deal with your family and friends.”

 26 He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.” Exodus 15:25-26

What a promise, but yet what did the people do, because they were not comfortable or patient, they grumbled.  God having heard enough sent the Fiery Serpents to inflict pain and death on them.  Moses intervened again on their behalf.  God once again gave pause and told Moses to craft a brazen serpent and place it on a pole.   Why would  God make this request?  Well let me tell you. God requires obedience and if they wanted to be healed, he wasn’t going to heal them and remove the snakes. He was going provide them a way to obey in the midst of the snakes.

“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life.” (John 3: 14– 15)

God has not changed, look to Him or die.   OUCH! OK, let’s put this in the crock pot and let it simmer.

If we are an expressed image of God and His creation:  Is it a leap to say we live in His house?   If it is His house these are His rules not ours.  The difference is, many expect to always benefit from decisions in the here and now. We don’t believe, it really will work out as God/Jesus has said and many live with that doubt as they walk out a Christian or Non-Christian lifestyle.  Satan has convinced them; This is all they have and will ever get.  The Cup of Iniquity is building in this world;  there is coming a time when enough will be enough.  That iniquity is our refusal to acknowledge that God is above all others.  God will call in His loan, the payments must be made.  Those are the conditions of his loan we took out on our lives.

“A man planted a vineyard, leased it to tenant farmers, and moved to another country to live for several years. 10 At the time of the grape harvest, he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop. But the farmers attacked the servant, beat him up, and sent him back empty-handed. 11 So the owner sent another servant, but they also insulted him, beat him up, and sent him away empty-handed. 12 A third man was sent, and they wounded him and chased him away.

13 “‘What will I do?’ the owner asked himself. ‘I know! I’ll send my cherished son. Surely they will respect him.’14 “But when the tenant farmers saw his son, they said to each other, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’15 So they dragged him out of the vineyard and murdered him.“What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do to them?” Jesus asked. 16 “I’ll tell you—he will come and kill those farmers and lease the vineyard to others.”“How terrible that such a thing should ever happen,” his listeners protested.17 Jesus looked at them and said, “Then what does this Scripture mean?‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’18 Everyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.” Luke 9:9-18 NLT

When we build our relationship with Christ above all others, it needs to be build on a firm foundation, that can weather any storm. When we respect what he has provided, no matter how big or small, joy will be experienced.  A firm foundation requires a cornerstone, we place our trust in.  Jesus came to establish that foundation once and for all.  Not as a building for all of us to enter but to stand on the cornerstone, which resides in our heart.  God gave us the ultimate gift and we have a responsibility to use it properly.

It comes with a promise and a warning spoken by Jesus himself as he describe us as servants of God’s House.

45 “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. 46 If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. 47 I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. 48 But what if the servant is evil and thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ 49 and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? 50 The master will return unannounced and unexpected, 51 and he will cut the servant to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 24:45-50 NLT

We live in His house and we have been given charge of it.  God sets the rules from the alpha male in a wolf pack down to the smallest atom.  As I said last time, the depth of our relationship, determines the depth of our spirit walk and how we relate to those around us.  When we have a relationship with Christ and acknowledge:

  •  The sin we have in our lives;
  • That we need Christ moving forward not backwards;
  • And place our faith in Christ,

goodness will surely follow. When this happens, our house will be in order and so will God’s. That is where His house begins and your house ends. Fear of the Lord is the feeling you get when you are afraid to disappoint God. That is what you should feel when you are about to disobey God, while you are living in His house.

It still boils down to these famous words.

“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach. So you get what we had here last week – which is the way he wants it. Well, he gets it.

So is God unjust?  If you would get with program you might find out that God loves you, will communicate with you and provide a joy you have rarely, if ever, experienced.  When you place your trust in and follow Him, you will realize how just God really is.

From the book, Telling God’s Story by Preben Vang and Terry G. Carter, I believe history is repeating itself one more time and when I read this the other night I knew I had to share it with you.

Judges 17: 6: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did whatever he wanted.” That included the neglect of the covenant and the law. This is why this period is generally referred to as the Dark Ages. In the end the Hebrews became like the Canaanites. They thought like them , lived like them, and worshipped like them. The unique people God wanted to create passed from the scene with a few exceptions . Things were so bad that the Hebrews wondered if God was doing anything . However, God was at work and out of this bad situation brought forth the family that would eventually give us the lineage of the Messiah. He was preparing to bring forth David.

Do you think that God might be preparing the way again?  So while you might be debating if God is just or unjust, by condemning a man to hell, if you willingly separate yourself from God, He will honor your wish by punching your ticket.  Bon Voyage.

I love you all and there is nothing you can do about it.

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