Monday, February 11, 2013

Insulting God

What did you think of when you read those words – "insulting God"?

For most of us, it conjures up someone screaming out curses at God or maybe someone forcing out wrathful words as they deal with a hurt in their life.

That's not quite what I'm talking about here. You may not have ever yelled angrily at God, but you've still probably insulted Him. Here's how.

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When you give a gift to someone, what do you expect from them in return?

If it's actually a gift, you really shouldn't expect anything, unless it is a "thank you" and their enjoyment of it. How would you feel if, part of the time, they constantly followed you around doing things for you because they had to repay you, while, the other part of the time, they ignored the gift and treated it carelessly?

They never screamed at you or cursed you, but more than likely you would feel insulted and offended.

Either they are treating you as if you were requiring them to work for the gift or they see the gift as something essentially useless to them.

How do we treat salvation? The same way those in the church at Rome did when Paul wrote to them.

In Romans, Paul is writing to a mixed audience of Jews and Gentiles, who have differing religious tendencies. The Jews misunderstood the Old Testament to teach that salvation was earned through outwardly moral actions.

The Greek influenced Gentiles saw the gods as essentially unconcerned with our moral behavior as long as we observed the right holidays and made the right sacrifices. Often times, when both groups were present, there was a mix of both.

In Romans 4:22-25, Paul tells the Roman believers that God has credited their belief as righteousness. God's gift of Jesus' death for our sins and resurrection mean that we can enter into a relationship with Him. We have been granted justification. Unworthy sinners are made right before a holy God.

You didn't earn it. You can't earn it. It is a free gift from God and can only be given by God, who does so as we follow Him in believing in the sacrifice of Jesus.

When you behave as if your salvation as something you earned because of your works, you insult God. You are telling Him that you can buy His gift with your behavior. You are telling God that He's wrong and salvation is not as special as He believes it to be, after all, you worked to get it.

That's only part of the message to the Romans, and us. In Romans 6, particularly Romans 6:1-4, Paul confronts those who have lied about his message. When he teaches salvation through grace, he is not teaching cheap grace that requires no behavioral change. He is teaching free grace that results in a new life.

Simply because you didn't pay for your gift doesn't mean it was cheap. Our spiritual freedom cost God the Father the death of His Son.

When you live your life as if if your salvation matters so little to you that you refuse to allow God to make changes, you insult God. You are telling God that you'll take His gift, but you don't really care about it. It is essentially worthless to you, unless you feel like using it.

Sure, people verbally insult God with things they say, but the more immediate temptation for those who claim to follow Him is insulting His gift of salvation through treating it as something to earn or ignore.

Are you insulting God with your life?

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