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Is God a religious nut?
|Created by Gerard de Vos|
Category: Bible related
The question we would like to address is: ‘how should we understand God’? The church (His creation) is often severely under attack. It is accused of spreading ‘religion’ and being oppressive and controlling. Is that the character of God? Is He impractical and ceremonial? The truth is that nothing God does, or expects of us, is in any sense ‘strange’ or ‘religious.’ God is logical and precise, and He never subjects us to something strange or incomprehensible. His Kingdom is the prototype of the laws and institutions that we find in society. We are not confronted by things we have no idea about.
- Utopia. Most governments are interested to give their law abiding citizens a life of safety and prosperity. Through the ages many leaders and people had ideals that their county would be a place of peace and happiness, a real Utopia. Even the Communists promised the workers that, but this ideal has always escaped man. It is God Himself who will make an Utopia a reality, because He has proven that He is a reliable leader. God’s Utopia is still in the future for a wonderful and logical reason. Every person on earth lives this temporary life to make a decision: does he\she want to become part of God’s eternal kingdom? The invitation is free, but the consequences for accepting or rejecting it are eternal.
- A legal system. Most developed countries have legal systems to protect their law abiding citizens and incarcerate criminals. For that purpose there are constitutions, laws, courts and jails. God was the originator of such systems. He has a constitution and laws (the Bible), a court of justice (at the end of the age all people will appear before God to be judged) and transgressors will be confined in jail (hell). What is the difference between God’s system and that of a country like the USA? None, except that God’s country (His kingdom on the renewed earth) is eternal, so the jail sentence will be eternal. God demonstrates His system in daily legal practices.
- Respect for authority. We are told in the Bible, to fear and reverence God (after all He is the One with the power to save us from, or condemn us to hell). This exact replica is enacted in everyday life. Our boss, the owner or manager of the concern we work for, is treated with reverence and respect (after all he has the power to give us a raise or fire us). Reverence and respect for the owner of a business or leader of a country is normal behavior. Nobody goes to the queen of England or the president of the United States and addresses them in the same way as you would your friend or fellow country men. Because of their positions they are entitled to respect. Similarly God is entitled to awe, reverence and holy fear.
- Obeying the law. People cringe when they hear we must obey the Lord God. But it is normal daily practice to obey traffic rules, the laws of the country, or the business man’s rules in his factory. If we do not, there are consequences. Do we really live as free men in a country? Can we drive like we want, park where we want, disregard laws concerning other people’s property? Are we really free? Those who live in the fool’s paradise of thinking that there are countries where you can do what you want, should wake up to reality. Anybody who lives in a country with a law is not free to do what he likes. He has to obey the rules.
- Immigration requirements. God has standards and requirements for people who want to ‘immigrate to His eternal Kingdom.’ This is clearly seen when ordinary countries do not allow free access for immigrants. One of Europe’s problems is to stem the tide of people coming in illegally (God also has border control, namely repentance and to be born again). Those who are legal immigrants have to apply for entrance, and must have no criminal record. (Application for God’s kingdom requires praying the sinner’s prayer, so that He clears your criminal record through Jesus, without cost.) You have to have a passport to enter a country (the name of Jesus Christ, is the only Way to enter God’s kingdom).
- Probation period before citizenship. You have to live in a country for a few years, before you can apply to become a citizen. You are expected to know, obey and respect the laws, and to pledge your loyalty. In what way does that differ from God’s system, where anyone who has accepted God’s offer of free salvation lives on probation, while he is tested for loyalty and obedience?
- The family is important. God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit who gives spiritual re-birth, is the prototype for the families of the earth. God is also preparing for the marriage of His Son (the Bridegroom) to His bride (the church consisting of the billions of individual ‘cells,’ the believers). God, the Holy Spirit is preparing us in the same way a future bride is prepared for her marriage.
- Freedom to choose a marriage partner. God gives people the same freedom to choose if they want to marry the eternal Bridegroom: will they love and obey Jesus or reject Him? He will not influence us against our will, as that cannot lead to a good marriage.
- A player can only be successful if he/she obeys the coach. God expects us to obey His commands. It might sound terrible to some people, but it is quite normal in every day life. The coach of the athletic, soccer or golf team expects obedience from the players. He has a goal and a mandate to train them to do their best and win the prize. God also expects us to obey Him as He coaches us to win the prize of eternal life in heaven.
To follow God is not a set of religious rituals carried out at certain times on specific days. It is reality and life. We cannot say that God’s kingdom is strange or myth as we see it demonstrated around us.