I am sometimes awestruck at how unbending God’s will is—- in terms of obedience—-and how little we talk about it. Is the idea we have of God the same idea of God that is recorded in the Bible; have we turned God into some sort of benevolent being that never gets angry or punishes His children? Has our 21st century idea of God morphed Him into some sort of politically correct Being that winks and smiles at us no matter what we do?
I don’t think so. But there is a real danger of reading only selected verses from the epistles of Saint John, or selected verses from Paul’s epistles and risk not seeing and understanding the big picture of how holy, perfect and utterly unlike us God is.
Consider Joshua and the city of Ai (Joshua, Chapter 7). You probably recall how the Israelites easily defeated the people that lived in Jericho (the walls fell in, just by walking around it and blowing horns and yelling several times, etc) and how all the people that were living in the promised land were scared to death of the Israelites. But then one Israelite, Achan, broke God’s direct command by stealing a robe, some silver and gold bar from the plunder of Jericho.
The point is that one man defied God and the entire nation suffered defeat the next time they went to battle. God told Joshua that He would not protect and fight for Israel until they dealt with the thief and liar—-Achan. Quickly the Israelites removed Achan and his family from the nation (they stoned them and burned all that he had stolen) and then God blessed the Israelites again.
Yikes! That’s what God expects from us! Comprehensive obedience; praise God that Christ was bruised, bloodied and executed for our disobedience; and yet that does mean that God no longer expects from us obedience—-nor will He put up with us making excuses or for pointing the finger at someone else for our own wantonness. We’ve been restored to our Heavenly Father…forgiven….redeemed…..adopted——for the purpose of being well-behaved sons and daughters! Make no mistake: Christ’s suffering and death does not make it possible for me to do anything that I fancy and at the same time expect God to smile or chuckle at me! Jesus' sacrifice means that I no longer have to sin (I have been reborn) and I can choose obedience over disobedience!
Because of Jesus I can be sure that He will never let go of my hand and I need not fear judgment after I die. But woe is me if I deliberately sin and disobey Him once I have been made fully His! He won’t “un-adopt” me, but “the hand of God will weigh heavily upon me. I am now His and He expects obedience from me comprehensively.