"Toast"

Dear Pastor Lawyer,

In one of your postings, you told us how your worship service differed from many others in the community, but you didn’t give us much information about the differences in what you think about God, man and Salvation. Could you enlighten us a bit more on some of these things? Thanks,

Barny

Dear Barny,

Thank you for continuing to read “Fat Souls.” Hang in there with me as I try to explain what we believe and why. There is not space in this venue to answer all of your questions right now, but perhaps I can give you a glimmer of our distinctives.

Let’s start with who God is: First, he is the creator of all that is. He created all those things you see around you. Men create things from other things, but God created the mechanism, the ability to copy, and the people themselves. Not only did God create everything we see around us, he keeps everything going. It is he that keeps the atoms from flying apart and the solar system from careening out into space. God controls the weather, the rising up and the falling down of nations.

God knows everything, not just because he is really smart (he knows the possibilities), but because nothing happens outside of his creating it. Everything that has ever happened, is happening, or will happen happens because he speaks it into existence. It starts in his mind and happens as he speaks it. It is not that he sees history unfolding because he is outside it (though he is indeed outside of history); it happens because he causes it to happen. He is not an observer of things the way we are.

Because God is God, everything that happens ultimately happens for his glory and honor. This means that all the love we experience and all the pain we go through in our lives, in the end, will bring honor to him.

I know what you’re thinking about now, “What about all the evil in the world? Does that bring God honor and glory?” The Bible’s answer is that it does. Do I understand it? Not entirely, but I do know that when we realize that he is indeed God, we are acknowledging that we aren’t going to understand everything about him. We also realize that because we are not God, only his created “friends”, we aren’t entitled to know anything (let alone the deep things of God). Because he is infinitely above us in every imaginable category, we can only marvel that he includes us in his life at all.

But I digress… We also understand that God is love. He is love in that not only does he love or act in a loving manner, but his character is love. This means that God does everything with the highest good of the object of his love in mind. When he tells his people that he loves them, he is declaring that all his actions are for their highest good.

God is also holy. Everything God does is done with absolute purity and moral perfection. When he creates, it is done perfectly and completely with no flaws or mistakes.

God is righteous. In everything and in every way God expects and will stand for nothing less than absolute perfection in his creation, for which he himself conditionally provides the power. He is the judge of every person and all actions. Nothing is left beyond his scope of righteousness.

When you get to thinking about it, unless God intervenes, mankind is in a desperate spot. We cannot live without being in front of God. We cannot function without God’s favor. We could not even breathe, if God were to turn against us for some reason. We are not perfect; we are not holy; we are not righteous; we are in deep trouble. With all of this in mind, we understand that apart from the grace of God, we would be “toast.” It is only because God intervened in history and in our lives that we are able to stand before him justified and clean. I hope this helps.

Pastor Lawyer

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