The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Taking Advantage of a Merciful God: Can it really be done?

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

God says He hates rebellion, but then He offers us instant, eternal forgiveness for our sins and eternal life in Heaven if we just call on the Name of Jesus. Wow, talk about a dope. You’d have to have the intelligence of a turnip not to see a juicy opportunity in this set up. If salvation is ours for the taking anytime we want, then let’s spend our lives spitting in God’s face and then use His own foolish rules against Him to gain passage into Heaven with our dying breath. Obviously God is some pathetic pushover who is so desperate to save us that He’s willing to eat any amount of abuse from us. Just look at Jesus standing there letting His own creations beat and spit on Him—if that doesn’t say “spineless” what does? If God is such a mercy loving masochist, then why should we bother with submitting to Him before our dying moment? He’s not a King, He’s a fool, and One who we humans can easily take advantage of. Or can we?

In the world today, there are many souls who have dreamt up clever schemes for how they’re going to best God. Their motivation is always the same: they don’t like how God runs His game, so they’ve decided to go around Him. Maybe there is some particular crime they want to get away with—such as murder—and they want to make sure Jesus is going to be there for them after the grisly deed is done. Or maybe there’s some juicy prize they’ve got their heart set on—like a sexy babe, or a fat promotion, or the contents of another man’s bank account. Can we really get away with whatever we want in this world, suck up to Jesus, and then get off scot free for willfully defying God? Is it true that God will totally forgive our sins any time we ask? Is His forgiveness really as far reaching as we think it is?

Before you get too excited about the idea of pulling one over on God, there are a few things you need to understand. First, there isn’t just one God, there are three: Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Second, these three Gods require more than some simple prayer before They will grant you salvation. Third, when They talk about forgiving you, They don’t mean what you think They mean.

So, what exactly is required to get saved? Well, it’s definitely not just a matter of schmoozing Jesus. Jesus has no use for schmoozing, and since He can see your core intentions with perfect clarity, there’s no way you’re going to con Him into thinking you care more about Him than you actually do. Jesus is not as easy to impress as many believe. He hardly finds it flattering when you just acknowledge historical events like His death on the cross. Jesus demands a certain degree of soul submission from you, and that submission has to be sincere. It’s impossible to come up with sincere submission when you’re secretly trying to manipulate God. You see, Jesus doesn’t care about what you say with your lips—He is judging you by the attitude of your soul.

Ever pretend to like someone who you secretly despise? Polite smiles and phony compliments work on humans, they don’t work on Gods. Jesus knows when you’re just talking to Him because you’re freaked out about going to Hell. Screaming “God save me!” in the middle of a crisis doesn’t qualify as sincere soul submission. When it comes right down to it, Jesus is a bit of a nitpicker. He receives a ton of requests for salvation, yet He only accepts a small fraction of them and He rejects the rest as lacking in sincerity. How do you know if Jesus has thrown your request into the reject pile? You won’t know unless He tells you, and He isn’t going to tell you when He can see that you don’t really care about pleasing Him. Here is one of the biggest mistakes people make in their attempts to manipulate God: they assume that He will align with their judgments of themselves. This world is filled with souls who have decided that they have sufficiently submitted to God. Many of these souls go around calling themselves born again Christians, and it never occurs to them that God might disagree with their assessment of themselves. What a shock they’re in for on the other side.

Not only is Jesus far more particular than most people realize, He’s just one of three Gods who you have to contend with. Yahweh (aka God the Father) is also a real stickler when it comes to your soul’s sincerity. Yahweh despises hypocrisy and He has a particular pet peeve about His creatures thinking they can outsmart their Creators. Yahweh hears all of your thoughts and sees everything you do. He’s already well aware of how long you’ve been trying to cook up a way to outsmart Him and all of your stupidity has just gotten you into hot water with a God who holds your atoms together. Yahweh is big on things like revenge and discipline. When He’s willing to be patient, His patience is mind-blowing, but He’s not always willing. Yahweh often decides it’s time for action—let’s remember that He’s the Guy who came up with the ten plagues on Egypt and a worldwide flood. Testing the patience of a God who likes to turn water into blood and bludgeon people to death with ginormous hailstones—is this really wise?

And then there’s the Holy Spirit—He’s the really mysterious One. You’ll won’t get much of an education about the Holy Spirit by reading the Christian Bible. He wasn’t even acknowledged in the Old Testament—back in those days the Jews only talked about “the Spirit of Yahweh”, which is the same as talking about Yahweh Himself. In the New Testament, you’ll find dingdongs like Paul making comments about the Holy Spirit groaning for us when we pray. Well, no, He really doesn’t groan. Paul didn’t have a clue about who the real Gods are. He thought Jesus was just a man who got a lucky promotion from Yahweh for services rendered on earth. Paul taught that Jesus’ rule is both limited and temporary, and that one day Jesus would step down from His throne and bow down to Yahweh as the only true God in existence. Paul was a fool (see The Great Offense of Paul: Rejecting the Divinity of Christ).

The Holy Spirit is an amazingly complex personality who has an insatiable appetite for glory and zero tolerance for Jesus and Yahweh being disrespected. The Holy Spirit is the last Guy you want to be screwing around with and yet He’s also the One controlling your relationship with your Gods. You see, you can’t possibly succeed with your Creators until you know what They want, and the Holy Spirit is the One who controls your access to spiritual understanding. The Holy Spirit can manipulate your soul easier than you can shape a lump of soft clay. In the blink of an eye, the Holy Spirit can wipe all spiritual wisdom and understanding from your mind and reduce you to an ignorant bumpkin who wouldn’t recognize Jesus if you tripped over Him.

The Holy Spirit is a huge fan of revenge, and He is all for the idea of eternally torturing souls who refuse to properly submit to their Creators on earth. If you get on His good side, you will find the Holy Spirit to be the most gracious, kind, gentle, encouraging, loving, and amazing Being in existence. Once you’ve spent enough time with Him, you can’t imagine life without Him. He’s simply irreplaceable—as are Jesus and Yahweh. All three of our Creators are endlessly fascinating and utterly addictive to be around. But They are zealously devoted to Each Other. If you offend One, you offend Them all. If you defy One, They all retaliate. There is no way to divide and conquer, and before you can even get to square one with any of Them, you have to deal with the Holy Spirit. He is the Gatekeeper—the One who controls your access to both salvation and spiritual maturity. If you irritate the Holy Spirit too much for too long, He will write you off as permanently damned, at which point it will be impossible for you to obtain salvation. Here’s a second major mistake people make about God: they assume that salvation will always be available to them.

Salvation is not like the automatic door to a grocery store that slides open the moment you come within view of the motion sensing camera. Salvation is more like a private party that you don’t even know is happening until you receive an invitation in the mail. Without that invitation, you don’t know when or where the party will be. The Holy Spirit is the One who sends out the invitations, but they’re a special kind of invitation. The Holy Spirit is like the captain of a ship who comes to rescue you from a desert island where you are stranded. When the Holy Spirit calls out to you to come aboard His ship, He expects you to hop to it. If you ask Him to wait until you’ve finished your lunch or to come back at at a more convenient time, He leaves, and that might be the last you ever see of Him. Don’t fall for the popular lie that your Gods are always willing to take you. They most certainly are not. The Holy Spirit will only give you a limited number of chances to come and get right with your Gods by sufficiently submitting to Them. You have no idea how many chances the Holy Spirit will give you, and you won’t get any help with this mystery by looking around at how He deals with other people.

The Holy Spirit treats us all differently. Look around at the world, and notice how everyone’s dying at different ages. While we spend enormous effort tracking causes of death, there’s only ever one real explanation for why someone died: God killed them. Death is when the Holy Spirit decides to separate your soul from your body and transfer your soul on to a different dimension. He could decide to do this with you at any time. Maybe He’ll kill you tomorrow. Maybe He’ll kill you thirty years from now. Maybe He’ll take you tonight in your sleep. You really have no idea, nor do you have any control over how and when He decides to end your tour of earth. Your diet, your health, the quality of your genes—none of these factors determine when God will decide to kill you. He’ll kill you when He’s in the mood to do so, and there’s nothing you can do to speed Him up or slow Him down. Many souls fall for the ridiculous notion that they’ll control when they die by committing suicide. Do you know how many suicide attempts God botches every day? You are not in control of the length of your life, the timing of your death, or God’s receptiveness towards you. This is why the idea of trying to manipulate God is so utterly ludicrous. You can’t manipulate Someone who controls every aspect of your existence.

The typical plan to take advantage of God goes like this: “I’ll do what I want for as long as I want. Then, after I’m done having fun, I’ll simply call on God to save me before I die.” Such a plan is based on all kinds of ridiculous assumptions. You assume that you’ll actually see your own death coming and that you’ll have the time, resources, and opportunity to obtain salvation before it’s too late. How on earth can you justify any of these assumptions? God could strike you down before you even finish reading this post—then where would you be? Or perhaps the Holy Spirit will tire of your rebellion and simply block you from coming to Him. Should He do this, you won’t even realize what’s happened.

How often in a day do you crave a reemer melon? You never crave it, because you’ve never heard of it, thus you have no desire to taste it. In the same way, once the Holy Spirit eternally damns you, you aren’t going to find yourself chasing desperately after Jesus and begging Him to save you. You won’t even be thinking of Jesus. You’ll coast through your life in a state of fearless spiritual oblivion, having no interest in pursuing God and no concern for the state of your soul until you suddenly find yourself in Hell. The Holy Spirit doesn’t play by your rules, He plays by His. When He cuts you off, you don’t even realize what just happened. So when you count on salvation being available to you up until the last minute, you’re putting your trust in a guarantee that doesn’t exist. There are many souls in the world today who are walking around eternally damned and they neither know nor care. Some of them even call themselves Christians, and they tell themselves that they are going to Heaven. They’re not going to Heaven, but unless the Holy Spirit does them the courtesy of telling them this, they’ll never be able to correct their dire situation. The Holy Spirit is far less courteous than people realize.

So let’s consider what we have so far. You can’t control when or how you die. You can’t control your Creators’ willingness to accept you, and even if you are given the opportunity to get saved, you’ll still have to meet Their requirements for salvation. All of this means that you’re pretty stupid to choose the route of willfully defying Them. The only thing willful defiance will do is burn through Their patience with you that much faster and shorten a window of opportunity that might already be very small. But if, given all of this, you still want to try and get away with rebelling against Them, go for it. Hell always has room for one more.

Now what about those of you who are already saved? There’s a very common pattern of souls legitimately submitting to their Creators, obtaining salvation, and then choosing to live a life of willful defiance after that. If the eternal rewards will be the same for all of us, then where’s the incentive to obey God? Well, who told you that the eternal rewards would be the same? They’re not going to be the same at all. Our Gods’ love of revenge doesn’t evaporate the minute They decide not to chuck you into Hell, nor is eternal torment the only form of Divine discipline that They have waiting for us on the other side. There will be major consequences for willfully defying your Creators on earth. Whether you get saved with your dying breath or you got saved early on and squandered your time after that, if you were intentional in your defiance of God, you’ve got some nasty surprises waiting for you in eternity.

Christians spend way too much time talking about the forgiveness of sins and hardly any time on what really matters. When people talk about sins, they’re primarily talking about actions. God doesn’t judge you by your actions, so to go on and on about His response to your actions on earth is an epic waste of time. Aborting, murdering, cheating, lying, stealing, molesting, raping, bombing, drinking, fornicating—all of these things are actions. It’s not your actions you should be worrying about. Your soul’s response to your Gods is what you’re going to be judged by. You can act righteous on the outside, but if your soul is full of snarky bratittude, you’re going to be in for some serious discipline in Heaven. No, Heaven really isn’t the place where God pretends not to remember what defiant little punks we were on earth. Heaven is the place where we get a faceful of just how serious God was when He said that there would be eternal consequences for getting attitudinal with Him on a soul level.

While God is certainly generous with grace and blessings, such generosity is only going to be shown to those who sincerely pursued God on earth. Sincerely pursuing God has nothing to do with slogging through daily devotions, regularly attending church, and helping out at the local charity. Forget about your actions for a minute and think about your bottom line attitude towards God. How important is His approval to you? How much do you value Him in your life? The answers to these questions have nothing to do with how you behave. We can find people warming church pews on Sunday morning who utterly despise God, we can find people who couldn’t care less about His existence, and we can find people who desperately want to please Him. It is the desperate ones who are going to be richly rewarded in Heaven, and they come in all kinds of packages. Some of the souls who are pleasing God the most right now look like train wrecks of carnality on the outside.

We humans and those foolish New Testament apostles constantly promote the idea that God is judging us by our actions, when in reality He is judging us by our soul’s desire for Him. It is the souls who desperately long to please God who are succeeding at doing so, regardless of what they’re doing with their bodies. It is our souls that we are judged by, not our actions, and not our carnal desires. Only God knows how serious you are about pleasing Him. If you’re intentionally defying Him so that you can have things your way down here, obviously your soul attitude is foul. In Heaven, souls who willfully rebelled against God on earth are going to reap the consequences for their defiance.

The big shocker in eternity for all of us is going to be realizing how seriously our Creators have been taking our response to Them all this time. While we go through life content to ignore Them, They take great offense at our shunning. Heaven will be a place of revenge as well as rewards. Souls will have vastly different experiences of eternity based on how they responded to the illumination they were given by the Holy Spirit. The more illumination you receive, the greater your potential for rebellion, and the greater your potential punishment. There is both a great reward and a great risk in pursuing God, for He will not allow us to toss Him aside like so much garbage without retaliating against us. The popular theory that we can live for ourselves on earth and still reap glorious rewards on the other side couldn’t be more wrong. But the Holy Spirit keeps that rumor circulating in the Church because there are many rebels who He wants to be deceived about the dangers of the game they are playing. You cannot spit in God’s face without consequence. There are always consequences for how you treat your Makers. This is why the only wise choice is to fully submit to Them, sincerely revere Them, and plead for Them to have Their total way with you.

FURTHER READING:
The Eternal Cost of Defying God: A Warning for Christians
Emotionless Submission: Why You Don’t Need Tears to Get Saved
Divine Judgment Q&A
Behind the Scenes with God: Human Variation, Lifespans, and the Mechanics of Salvation

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