I was reviewing an interesting post on our Stand Up For the Truth Facebook site this morning that I think points to the problem we have ourselves in as a Church in America these days.  The man who posted it pointed out what he refers to as the schizophrenic state of American Christianity because Jonathon Edwards referred to the pending wrath of God in one statement, but pointed out the loving mercy and grace of God in another through the death of Jesus Christ.

I believe this in a nutshell is what is causing serious problems in the theology of American Christianity these days.  We seem to have difficulty understanding that God is both merciful and just—we think those two qualities are mutually exclusive, when in fact they are perfectly compatible.

God’s mercy and grace for those who truly trust in His Son as Lord and Savior knows no bounds.  When we do sin as true believers, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin and through our repentance washes us clean.  In spite of our occasional sin, God sees as beautiful and righteous because of our true faith in His Son.

But these days a growing segment of Christianity in this nation teaches that God no longer judges people and that His righteous wrath has suddenly disappeared.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Listen to Jesus’ own words in Luke 12:  “I tell you my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.  But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell.  Yes, I tell you, fear Him!”

Unfortunately we don’t hear that message preached much any more.  We all want the loving, merciful God full of grace and forgiveness—but none of us wants the God who will judge the wicked and who will allow many to suffer eternal punishment for their rejection of Him.  That message just doesn’t sell very well to a narcissistic people who think it should be all about them, instead of all about God.  And heaven forbid, if we did teach the complete, unchanging nature and character of God, well that might just offend some people.  And heaven help us if Christianity would ever seem offensive to people—our weak, fragile egos just couldn’t handle it if someone sees us as unaccepting or judgmental.

With each passing generation, as the church waters down the character and nature of God, more and more fall into narcissistic Christianity, where God becomes who we think He should be instead of who He tells us He is in His Word.  And with each successive generation, we drift farther and farther away from God, worshiping ourselves more and more.

Do not make the mistake of thinking it is fine to pick and choose which characteristics of God we choose to worship—and those we choose to ignore.  God shares His glory with no man and will not tolerate us redefining Him into an image more compatible with our sinful human nature.  We either choose to worship Him in His entirety, or we worship a false god.

Jesus told us the path to eternal life is narrow and that only a few find it.  Have we become so arrogant as to think we can remain on that narrow path when we discount part of His stated nature as irrelevant?  Stand strong, anchored in His Word, and learn about the great God we claim to worship.  The more you know Him, the more you will see that His qualities of perfect love and perfect justice are completely compatible.  Do not allow yourself to fall into the trap much of Christianity is falling into in our nation—the belief that we can pick and choose what to believe about God and what to dismiss.

He is the only game in town—the one, true God.  He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  He has judged in the past and He will judge again.  His love, mercy and grace are boundless—and His justice is perfect.  Sorry folks, but you can’t have one without the other.