Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Have you turned away from God? Here’s what to do about it

A good foundational article from Kevin Alan Lewis. It explains what Christians believe about how people who turn away from God can be reconciled with God. The Bible calls turning away from God “sin”, and it also talks about how to fix the sin problem, and so be saved from God’s anger.

Summary:

While the means of biblical salvation includes many concepts such as justification, adoption and regeneration, the objective of biblical salvation is easy to understand: to enjoy a loving, mentoring relationship with our Creator, the one true God. As Adam walked with God, so should we. But how can one restore a broken relationship with God?

The requirements for restoring a broken friendship are easy to understand but difficult for most to do. To restore a lost friendship, the offended person must be willing to forgive by bearing the harm caused by the transgressor, electing not to hold it against him if certain conditions are met. The conditions for forgiveness are that the offending party must repent, confess his sin and want to restore the relationship with the offended party. Since the goal of forgiveness is the restoration of a genuine friendship, the offending party must begin with repentance. When the sinner genuinely repents, confesses and receives the offer of forgiveness, the estranged parties reconcile, walking together again in righteous harmony. If anyone has ever lost and genuinely restored a meaningful friendship, they know this is the only way to do it.

One purely hypothetical illustration may help. If I screamed at my wife, calling her unmentionable names, my wife would rightly be offended and our intimate fellowship would surely be broken. So how would I return to a genuine state of e-harmony with my wife? First, my wife must be willing to bear the harm I caused her and not hold it against me. But to restore the relationship in any meaningful sense, I need to realize that what I did was wrong, repent, and confess my sin to my wife — preferably with symbols of my repentance in hand, such as flowers and candy! When these conditions are fulfilled, my wife will forgive me.

So how does this relate to Jesus Christ as the only way? Simple. To restore the broken relationship with the one true God, the offended party, God, must be willing to bear the consequences of our sin. God accomplishes this by means of the Second Person of the Trinity assuming a full human nature, living a sinless life, and satisfying our penalty for sin on the cross. Sinners, the offenders, need to repent, confess and trust God’s offer of forgiveness. When we do, we are reconciled to God for the purpose of fellowship with him as his beloved children. This is biblical salvation.

Very often, people don’t reflect on how they treat God. Many of us are born in wealthy countries, and are relatively free of pain and suffering, with many years of leisure in which to puzzle about things. Yet many of us are content to go through life without giving any serious consideration big questions; does God exist? what is God like? what does God want from me? People know that the answers to those questions can mean the end of our autonomy, so we just don’t ask them – or we ask them and don’t answer them honestly.

God certainly provides enough evidence in nature and conscience to cause us to puzzle about his existence and character, but many of us don’t We want to do our own thing, and can’t be bothered to care about what anyone else thinks about it, including God. Maybe, especially God. This is not the way that we should be treating the person who created us and who has designed us to know him. This turning away from God is not good. There is a way for us to be reconciled with God, but we have to be reconciled with him in a way that is on his terms.

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9 Responses

  1. Dmitri says:

    Where was GOD when my child was starving? Do not give me this BS about footprints in the sand. I used to cling to HIM with every fiber and then where was HIS provision?

    Go ahead, preach to me, but rest assured I am doing my utmost be be like Saul.

    Have a nice day

    • It’s hard to answer questions about specific evils that we have to deal with emotionally. I don’t think that I have suffered anything as bad as seeing a child starving in my life, so I wouldn’t know what to say to you about that specifically.

      However, I can point you to a philosophical response to the problem of evil and suffering in general:

      http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/why-does-god-let-people-suffer-why-is-there-so-much-evil-in-the-world/

      http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/if-god-has-a-reason-for-allowing-evil-and-suffering-should-we-know-what-it-is/

      And here’s a good debate featuring both sides:

      http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/william-lane-craig-vs-walter-sinnott-armstrong-evil-suffering-and-gods-existence/

      I don’t think that will be very comforting for you with your suffering, but it does answer the general question about why God allows suffering.

    • Mbelina says:

      Dmitri, thank you for commenting. I don’t always understand why God lets terrible things happen and there’s no simple answer. I remind myself that there are things he knows and understands which I will never know or understand in this life.

      It’s difficult to know what to say to you from my point of view because I also haven’t experienced anything nearly as hard as what you’ve experienced. That is a terrible thing to have gone through, and while it makes me very sad to hear of it, I can’t imagine what it must have been like for you.

      Perhaps it might help to read the book of Job. He also lost children and experienced terrible suffering. He asked the hard questions you are asking.

      Perhaps it might also help to read the writing of Josh McDowell or to watch this film about his early life..

      Here’s the trailer:

      http://www.dbmfilm.com/undaunted/trailer.html

      Here’s a description, from http://www.echolight.com/undaunted/

      “Josh McDowell was born into the harsh realities of a cruel world. His father’s violent alcoholism coupled with his own childhood molestation filled McDowell with shame. Over the years, that shame drove him further and further from Christ, until it finally turned to rage. Eager to rail against the existence of a loving God, McDowell sought out conflict with the Christians he encountered in college. He mocked their beliefs and scorned their faith until they issued him a challenge: prove God doesn’t exist. Obsessively, McDowell travelled the world scouring sacred historical texts for evidence contradicting Christianity. What he found instead was truth — and a faith that led to grace and redeemed a broken man.

      Undaunted is the true story of how Josh McDowell set out to prove Jesus Christ never existed — but ended up on a journey that brought him face to face with God’s love and transforming power. His ministry with Campus Crusade for Christ has allowed him to share the good news of his Savior to millions people around the world, and he’s published over 120 books in the field of Christian Apologetics, including More Than a Carpenter and Evidence That Demands a Verdict. He is living proof that a life can be transformed.”

  2. Dmitri says:

    I was on fire for GOD, but I have made the decision to turn away. No-one else. It is my eternal damnation and my choice alone. He allowed her to starve. He is guilty not me. Her suffering is on HIM, not me.

    So much for a loving GOD.
    PS. I have read Job and I know the bible

    • Rebecca says:

      I do not know why people die and why they suffer. But your little girl is in heaven and is with God now.

      Are you so focused on being angry at him that you would loose your chance to see her again? If she is in heaven, she would want her daddy there with her when the time is right

  3. HE>i says:

    Dmitri you haven’t completely given up on Him otherwise you would not have made the search to be on this site making your comments. If you truly knew God as you say you do then you would know that in all things He has a purpose. Sometimes it goes beyond our understanding and we are hurt and confused because of this lack of understanding. But if you truly knew and trusted in Him then you would have the faith to know that regardless of the situation there is a reason for it.
    I am saddened to hear for your loss and I can see why you would want to give up. But know that by you giving up on Him you are allowing satan to win power of you. His son was beaten and bruised and died on a cross for you so you could have everlasting life and a relationship with your Father in heaven. As horrible as it is to be without your little girl realize that she is where we were all meant to be, a place where she will never have to experience pain or grief, and one day you have the chance to join her as well, if you fight against your hurt and turn back to the one who truly loves you.

    Don’t give up Dmitri, you know you are better than that.

  4. Rochelle says:

    yes, Dmitri. God see where you are at the same time He sees your daughter. There is no disconnect for HIm. This position will be forever a reality for God. Even until you are with them both. I believe this. And God will not let go of you. I been in some faraway lands since I became a Christian 32 years ago. He never lets go. We think of God every day… everyday. I learned to just enjoy the Presence since He will not leave. That is what called off my rebellion… His goodness.

  5. JUSTWRONG says:

    i though i made it–i thought i became god’s disciple and warrior. but then because of a lot of circumstances and questions, i’ve turned away.and i can’t regret it. i needed it–for so i believe. now i can’t come back and i don’t know if he wants the idea of me coming back too.if he does, in the first place he should have prevented me or supplemented me what i needed or corrected my beliefs.now it’s painful to pray, to even talk to him.i felt betrayed when i know what he did was right. i just want to come back because i need him and i know i need him.but, guess i’ve been lost really far.

    • Katrina says:

      I have been down that road before. Knowing the way, but not really knowing how to get there and like you, I have turned away because of circumstances and questions. But don’t believe for a second that He doesn’t want you to come back to Him. If you listen hard enough, He’s calling out to you. No matter how many times we turn away, He will always be there just waiting with His arms wide open. Let go and let God.

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