I have been listening to Mike Miller’s series, “What About Judgment?” I have heard a lot of things that go against the traditional teachings of the church. But I’m not worried about the traditions of the church. I am in search of the truth. And I agree with probably 100% of the teaching I have heard in the series.
Throughout the series, Mike points out that the crucifixion did not change God in any way. It didn’t enable God to forgive us. It enabled us to receive his forgiveness. It didn’t cause God to accept us. It enabled us to realize and receive his acceptance, which was already a fact. That’s just a couple of examples.
In the last 2000 years, the church got the message turned around somehow. It was, at least partially, done purposely since the scriptures were taken away from the common man for a long period. People didn’t have access to the scripture and were plunged into darkness as a result. The leaders of the “church” began to use fear to control the people. The “church” began to use the law as a means of control. In the process freedom in Christ got lost, and pretty soon people were trying to keep the law as a way to get to God, or at least to be obedient to the church. Over the years the church grew into more and more bondage.
That is a just a quick gloss over of church history. So if you are diligent in your studies you should find out about church history for yourself. It is your responsibility to search for the truth where ever it may lead you. But never stop looking for truth. As far as I am concerned all truth, if it is the truth, leads to Jesus Christ. He says in John 14:6
I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
So What About Judgment?
When I first became a Christian I really felt the freedom that I was supposed to feel. It felt like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. However, as I became more educated under the authority of the church I found myself growing in bondage instead of becoming freer.
For nearly 15 years I lived life trying to be good enough to please God; trying to keep the law. Of course the harder I tried the more I failed. And the more I failed the more I believe that God was not pleased with me and that judgment was imminent. I was expecting something bad to happen to me because I couldn’t seem to live right.(Read Romans chapter 7)
Living this way, I believe, is partially responsible for my marriage failing; not that it wouldn’t have failed anyway for other reasons. The point is that I thought, “ If I just do the right things, say the right things, live the right way, things would work out.” Life doesn’t work that way though. There is not a formula that you can follow for a successful life. And that is the impression I came away with under the teaching of the church.
What I have come to realize (long before Mike’s teaching on, “What About Judgment”) is that God already accepts me, loves me, and likes me even, just the way I am, right now in this moment. And believe it or not, knowing these things is the key that actually unlocks real change your life.
Once a person realizes (for real) that God loves them no matter what they relax. I found that once I stopped trying to live by the law, and stopped trying to please God life became a breeze. Pleasing God is easy because I now do everything out of love for Him. Just like knowing my parents are proud of me no matter what caused me to want to do well, the same is true with God. He truly is our heavenly Father.
What about judgment? God has already judged us in Christ to be worthy of His love, grace, forgiveness, and all that is good. This is what the Apostle Paul was trying to get across in all of his letters to the churches, and even those who were not a part of the church yet. God is for us and not against us.
I’ve found myself on a path that has led me to know better who God is. And I’ve found that he is more loving and accepting than most Christians give him credit for. In discovering for myself how God feels about me, whether I’m “good” or “bad” it brought a peace and comfort that I had not known for most of my Christian life.
Mike Miller, like other free thinkers, asks some hard questions. For instance, “Could it be that the men and women who lived before the crucifixion, who penned the words of our bible have gotten a few things wrong because of the darkness in which they lived at the time?”
As Christians today we seem to assume that the men and women back then were somehow infallible, and didn’t make any mistakes and that they understood God perfectly. They didn’t. They were men and women just like those of today. The difference I think is that they depended on the spirit of the Lord to live their lives. They actually lived by faith in the Lord. They didn’t have personal copies of the scriptures like we do today. The only time they heard it was in the temple reading. We today live by faith in the written words of people who experienced God thousands of years ago, instead of faith in the one about whom those past experiences were written.
I am not saying that the bible wasn’t inspired by the Spirit of God because it was. But let’s not forget that God had to use men and women who were under the influences of the world just like everyone else. Why do you think He had to warn them in the first place about worshiping other gods, and why they actually had trouble heeding that warning? They were men, and men get things wrong sometimes.
Isn’t it possible that since the crucifixion and the Holy Spirit coming to live inside the hearts of men, that there is more understanding to be had beyond what people wrote a few thousand years ago? Could we be getting a clearer picture of who God is today as a result of Christ death and resurrection, and the Spirit’s outpouring at Pentecost? What if, throughout the years, men have misunderstood the nature of God because they were trying to live by the written past experiences of people who did the best they could, but missed some things?
I believe this is the truth of the matter; God is love. He is gentle, kind, and patient. I also believe he is nonviolent. If God is “the same yesterday, today, and forever,” then I believe we have to go by the nature of Jesus Himself. He is loving, kind, accepting, and most of all nonviolent. If that were not true I believe he would have proven otherwise at the time of his crucifixion. However, I believe he was trying to show us the true nature of God even as he was dying.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I have begun to see things differently. There are things I believe about God today that I couldn’t even fathom 5 years ago. When I realized how much he loved me it opened my eyes to a new way of thinking about Him; a different way of looking at things. It also gave me the confidence I needed to think independently.
It takes courage to be a free thinker and a free believer. My faith lies firmly in the fact that I have the Holy Spirit in me as a guide.
But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him. 1John 2:27
I have had to remind myself of this verse on occasion. I have to trust that the Spirit of God is with me, leading me into all truth. And some of the things I have encountered have been scary for me because they have been contrary to some things I have learned in church. This sometimes happens when you follow the Spirit.
I believe God wants us all to be free believers and free thinkers. It is scary sometimes, but it is worth it to get to know Him on a deeper level. The truth is the truth. I don’t think it matters where you find it. That doesn’t mean I’ve moved away from the foundation of Jesus Christ being the Son of God who died in order that I may have life more abundantly. It does mean that I am willing to think freely and believe freely and do so outside the box or traditions of men.
I encourage you to listen to the series, What About Judgment? If you are willing you may find new understanding that will help you.