Many who have a general belief in the personal God of the Bible hold Him responsible for being God. They consistently expect Him to be all powerful, to help in times of need, and to be merciful.
But what some have not understood is that He also holds us responsible to do certain things in order to make the whole equation work. So what does He require of us?
- To believe in Christ for redemption
- To turn away from the worldly model of living
- To worship Him and not money
- To love one another
- To exercise forgiveness in relationship
- Preach the gospel
I am not saying we must be perfect by conduct in order to earn Salvation, but after salvation the favor of God can be hindered if we are not in right standing. For example: if someone is expecting God to speak to them and reveal a solution to a present problem, yet are living in sin and using grace in vain the next morning how can they expect God to be on their side? In this case the person has actually made themselves an enemy of God by practicing sin and not turning.
Cause and Effect
Many people are mad at God for supposedly not doing His part, they see God as partial towards them, forgetful, unmerciful, even hateful. This mindset will always lead people astray from knowing the true God and often turn in to doubt of the very existence of God. But have the question they need to first ask themselves is “Have I done my part?”
Perhaps when things in life do not work out how we hoped or prayed we have not done our part of the deal. This is not always the case. I do not believe that even if we have perfect faith that God will sculpt our lives in to a perfectly comfortable cocoon to suit our every need. I do believe that God allows some attacks from the enemy and unfortunate circumstances to come our way for our own good and growth.
But I want to bring up the importance of obeying God first and fulfilling our side to the covenant before we expect God to do all of the work regardless of our lawless behavior.
The Smallest and Biggest Word
One of the smallest two letter words in English makes the biggest difference is the word: ” if “. It places responsibility on someone, it presents a requirement that must be met in order for the action to follow.
I have found that John’s epistle of 1stJohn is very “if & then” based. If you read the verses contemplatively with this new insight you may discover something new and challenging to compare your current walk with the Lord with.
- 1Jo 1:6 – If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
1Jo 1:7 – But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
1Jo 1:8 – If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
1Jo 1:9 – If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1Jo 1:10 – If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
1Jo 2:3 – Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.
1Jo 2:15 – Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1Jo 3:13 – Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.
1Jo 3:20 – For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.
1Jo 4:11 – Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1Jo 4:20 – If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?
1Jo 5:14 – Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
- 1Cr 7:8 – But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am;
1Cr 8:3 – But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.
1Cr 11:31 – For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.
2Cr 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Rom 6:8 – Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
Gal 3:29 – And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Gal 5:25 – If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Col 3:1 – If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.
1Ti 2:15 – Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.
Hbr 3:14 – For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,
Here are some other scriptures that place the responsibility in our hands.
If (no pun intended) we do not meet the requirement of what is called the “if statement” then we will not see the fulfillment that is promised int he “then statement”. For instance God says to us through Paul “IF anyone loves God, this one is known by Him”. Therefore if you do not love God than you can simply conclude that you are not known by God. It seems very elementary but all to often these scripture resonate wrongly with our mind in wanting the benefits without paying the price.
I Want Benefits
Imagine locating a large business head quarters such as Microsoft, Walmart, or American Express and you arrange a meeting with their Human Resource worker. You calmly inform the HR person that you’d like to receive their benefits beginning next month, you give them all your information and state that you are thankful of the services they are offering you. They respond “Ok, what is your employee number”. “I don’t work here!” you explain. “Well you can’t get the benefits this company offers until you work here for 6 months, if you want the benefits then work for the company.”
How many Christians everyday struggles with God look like this dialog? This results when we apply worldly thinking to spiritual things. Even under grace there are consequences to actions. Similarly there are things that God expects us to do in order to do our side of the job.