Head First: The God of the Quid Pro Quo.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The God of the Quid Pro Quo.

I received the same forwarded email from about six different people, and I'm not entirely certain of everyone's intent in sending it. The subject line read "What If...?" Ok, actually it read, "FWD: FWD: FWD: FWD: FWD: What if...?"

-What if God decided to stop leading us tomorrow because we didn't follow Him today?

-What if God couldn't take the time to bless us today because we couldn't take the time to thank Him yesterday?

-What if God took away the Bible tomorrow because we would not read it today?

-What if the door of the church was closed because we did not open the door of our heart?

-What if God stopped loving and caring for us because we failed to love and care for others?

-What if God would not hear us today because we would not listen to Him?

-What if God answered our prayers he way we answer His call to service?

-What if God met our needs the way we give Him our lives?

Now, before you go crazy on this, I think I understand that many people would forward this message with a great big "Thank God we don't serve a god like that." But this message also bears a certain tone that says, "It would serve us right if..." A great many people would forward this message with the attitude that "You had better shape up! Jesus is coming, and boy, are you gonna get it!" All around us, there are people who offer us a god who expects us to perform in a manner worthy of his blessing. It seems as if we've beaten this subject to death, but my inbox continues to fill up with this kind of thing. At what point do I give up talking about it and just write those folks off?

Don't dismiss me as a do-what-I-wanna-do-God-loves-me-anyway type. It is my desire to do and be all those things--listen to Him, love and care for others, answer His call, give my life, etc.--but not because I'm afraid of what He'll do if I don't. There's a story about Abraham Lincoln that's recounted in "A Scandalous Freedom" by Steve Brown (buy this book or God will rightly turn His back on you.).

Outraged and helpless at the sight of a slave girl being sold at auction, Lincoln did the only thing he could. He bought her. Seeing the hatred in her eyes at her expectations of abuse at his hands, he turned to "his property," handed her the bill of sale and told her "You're free."

"What do you mean?" she asked, puzzled.

"I mean, you're free."

"You mean I can say whatever I want to say?"


"And I can do whatever I want to do?"


"You're telling me that I can go wherever I want to go?"

"You're free. You can go wherever you want."

"Well, then," she said, tears in her eyes, "I think I shall go with you."

Ours is a Christ who says, "Nothing you've done or will do changes how much I care for you. There's no way you could repay me, so I won't require it. But, if you love me, just do the things I said--Love God, love each other, even if it hurts." Now that's a God I want to follow. And He's a far cry from the god that keeps showing up in my inbox.

If you're not ashamed of Jesus, send this to ten people. (heehee!)


BruceD said...

It has been said that Lincoln was a Universalist (proponent of Universal Reconciliation). The following link lists him as a "diest", but many of his writings/comments pointed to the idea that he felt God's love included everyone.


BruceD said...

Oh, that's right. Blogger chops off long URLs. If anybody's interested, I'll post the link on my blog.

nathaniel adam king said...

'If you love me, you'll keep my commandments'.

Who said that?

I agree with what you have said. You are focusing upon the intent of the obedience, rather than only a requirement for an obedience.

I just got done reading the freegrace blog. I think I know what the guy's problem with 'Lordship Salvation' is.

He thinks that Calvinist and LSer's are attempting to posit this kind of 'forwarded email' theology. That the Christian MUST be as the slave girl and devote herself to the one who freed her.

That is not the focus of the LSer's. We are rather saying that the Christian WILL do so. We see it as a tree that does produce fruit. Apple trees don't have to produce apples to be apple trees, but it is hard to find an apple tree that doesn't and is not VERY sickly and/or messed up in some way.

The same. Christians don't HAVE to produce obedience to be saved, but it is almost impossible to find a genuine Christian that has been redeemed and yet is living as a rank pagan.

I don't see how anyone can disagree with that.

nathaniel adam king said...

Interesting. That Bruce guy makes 'universalism' equivalent with 'God's love included everyone'.

I LIKE! ;)

Zeke said...

Bruce, Google the "a href=" tag. It will change your life.

Bruce Garrison said...

A few weeks ago our church housegroup made an attempt at an Ignatian exercise, by putting ourselves in the place of all three major players in the story of the prodigal son. Every single one of us had to admit that we had the most trouble being the prodigal son who received total acceptance and even celebratory parties without deserving it at all. We somehow wanted to justify our position as a "loved child", wanted to do something that proved we were worthy of the father's love. I guess finite minds have a hard time grasping infinite love.

nathaniel adam king said...

Zeke, that is funny.

Debbie said...

Love it!!!!!
hilarious and edifying
I agree growing up I served got because I was afraid not to Now I serve him because of who He is

trent@ gracehead.com said...

"If you have sinned, what do you accomplish against Him? And if your transgressions are many, what do you do to Him? If you are righteous, what do you give to Him, Or what does He receive from your hand?" (Job 35:6-7)

Answer: NOTHING!

God is wholely unchanged by anything we do whether "good" or "bad."

Kris said...

Great post Dorsey!

I have nothing to add.(shock)LOL

I lied...I have a question.

Why do some Christians seem to want to portray a God that wants to pour out His "hateful" wrath on people above a God that wants to pour out His love in hearts of people?

dorsey said...

Good question, Kris. Sadly, I think it's because we tend to form God in our own image, as if God wears a "What Would (yournamehere) Do?" bracelet.

Luke Britt said...

"All around us, there are people who offer us a god who expects us to perform in a manner worthy of his blessing."

Good post, Dorsey. My Grandmother sends me these sometimes-annoying emails. I finally responded the other day and it was actually a delightful experience. But, hey, I should be blessed to have a Grandmother who is able to use a computer, let alone email.

The reason for the quotes above is that I believe our God is the same God as described above. Maybe this is a mistype or a quick-post, as we all have and do. Maybe this is a legitimate opinion.

The reason the gospel is so powerful is because "God did what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."

The "performance that is worthy of his blessing" is the law. But the law is weakened by the flesh because man is full of sin and loves every minute of it. So, in this sense, God requires us to fulfill the law to become righteous, which we know we cannot do by looking at our own sinful lives.

So, we deserve a curse, which is deserved for us breaking the moral covenant with God. That being the case, we need someone to make up for our failures. If this does not happen, we are dead men. So, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith."

This was the plan all along. We are still held accountable to uphold the law, but God sees us in Christ at salvation and declares us righteous.

The purpose of my too-long comment is to show a God who is both full of wrath and full of love. Wrath towards the unbeliever and love towards the believer. So maybe we should just tell the people who forward us those emails to read the Bible and send us emails that tell us what they have learned from it.

Kris said...

oh dorsey you had to bring up that awful WWJD thing didn't you.

Its,.. not what would Jesus do.
Its,.. what IS Jesus doing thru us

the goofy WWJD thing puts Jesus back 2000 years ago like He never ascended and sent us His Spirit to live in us.

We are to try to figure out what He would do in a given situation now?

NO, Jesus is alive now working in and thru us NOW.

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