God of different views
Virtually every spiritual problem can be traced back to our view of God.
“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” (A.W. Tozer)
Church culture has various forms that present God in different ways. Some present God as a comforter, provider, and fulfiller of dreams. While others present God as the all-powerful judge, whose anger burns against sin and who calls us to a life of self-denial. Often the problem lies in elevating a particular divine attribute at the expense of another. The danger is that in so doing, we risk creating a God of our own making.
Pastor Timothy Keller states…
“The only way to avoid the true God is to fabricate a false god that’s controllable.”
We have formulated a cafeteria concept of God, taking qualities that we choose, and rejecting those that we disdain. A church with a low view of God is also likely to have a high view of culture, and will have consciously or subconsciously absorbed its values. A church with a cold view of God will have a low view of grace, while having disdain for those in sin. The only remedy for a church that has gotten off track is to return to a more complete understanding of God.
Jesus our homeboy?
The answer to revitalizing the Church is not better music nor more fear-evoking sermons. We need to rediscover the fullness of who God is—not just the palatable parts nor the attributes that neatly align with culture—but the view of Him as the all-powerful king of the universe, who invites us to approach His throne of grace.
We assume that since Jesus is all loving and abounding in grace, and since he already died for sin, we can live and let live and tell the holy homeboy to put any slip ups on our tab. Yes, Jesus is our friend, and yes he abounds in grace, but he is also our authority—the one we answer to, the one we obey, the one we surrender before—and to abuse his grace by using it as a license to sin is to cheapen it and miss the big picture all together.
His kindness leads us to repentance, not to exploitation. He is not only our friend, He is our King!