As we look at this image of the Red Sea, it’s a beautiful reminder of God’s goodness and faithfulness toward His people as they followed and put their trust in Him. At the same time, it’s also a reminder of His severity towards Pharaoh and his armies as they refused to listen and instead rebelled and chose to pick a fight with God himself – Not a good idea!
Therefore consider the Goodness and Severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, [a]goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. – Romans 11:22
PUTTING GOD IN A BOX
It’s amazing to consider that in His infinite wisdom; God used the same Red Sea to bring both life and death, a blessing and a curse. It reminds us that we cannot put God in our little nice guy box where we feel we can manage Him! – as His word says, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay (Duet 32:35). It’s true that God is great in mercy, but when the situation calls for His mighty arm to strike against the enemies of His Church… He will carry out His word.
GOD’S DESIRE IS SALVATION:
God’s desire is always salvation, healing, and restoration. This was displayed even in the Old Testament as Moses, on God’s behalf, gave Pharaoh multiple opportunities to do the right thing and let God’s people go. Yet, Pharaoh chose to rebel against God’s voice and plan. He rejected God’s goodness and instead allowed PRIDE and rebellion to destroy his kingdom.
SODOM AND GOMORRAH:
In Genesis 19:1-28 we see the account of Sodom and Gomorrah, two cities destroyed by God. The wickedness of these cities and the outcry against them were so great that God responded by destroying them with fire and brimstone. Their account parallels the Genesis flood narrative in its theme of God’s anger provoked by man’s sin.
GOD’S CHARACTER HAS NOT CHANGED
We must all remember that God’s character has not changed. Yet, if you would listen to many teachings from the Pulpits of America over the past few decades, you would think He had, but No! God is not and will never be sin friendly because sin destroys lives, families, cities, and nations. Our God is still the All-Mighty One, holy, just, righteous, and loving, all at the same time. He is still the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. – Hebrews 13:8
JESUS DISPLAYED THE HEART OF THE FATHER
In the New Testament, we can still see the goodness and severity of God at work. We saw the compassion of Jesus on display as he saved, healed, and set men free. Yet, we also witness Him dealing severely with those in His Father’s house as He takes out a whip and overturns the tables of the corrupt money changers. He was and is still very passionate about His Father’s House!
Another astounding account is in Luke 19:41-44, where we see Jesus weeping over Jerusalem in anguish as He prophesies its destruction.
As He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” – Luke 19:41-44
GOODNESS & SEVERITY IN THE BOOK OF ACTS
In the Book of Acts, we again see both the goodness and severity of God. We see His goodness in the miracles, healings, and deliverance of many broken and hurting people. At the same time, we see His severity as Ananias and Sapphira are struck dead on the spot by the Holy Spirit because they lied. As the Church, we must be careful in how we present God, the Almighty One, from the Pulpits of America! The Church and America need to know and understand both the goodness and severity of God if she is to be saved!
You will also see this displayed in the America! America! Prophecy, given in December of 2007. In it, God is warning America over and over again about what’s to come if she does not repent and turn from her wickedness! Read it Here.
CHAPTER 6: THE STATE OF THE AMERICAN CHURCH:
Following is an excerpt from Chapter 6 of our book, God’s Answer for America, Wherein we address an unbalanced teaching on the character of God. As the Church, we must stop allowing the fear of man to drive us and instead return to a healthy fear of God if we are going to see our nation saved!
EXTREMES, UNBALANCED, AND DISTORTED TEACHING
When we see abuse or extremes in the church, our first response is often to turn and run all out in the opposite direction. We all have probably been guilty of this at some point in our lives. But we must be careful not to “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” We must not abandon the pure truths of God’s Word because someone mixed them with error or excess or manipulated His Word for their gain.
When the Word of God is compromised, it often leads to extremes and throws the church and lives out of balance and into a danger zone. Scripture tells us: “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Tim. 4:16, NIV). We must all be careful (especially in the days we live) lest we be deceived, confused, and blown around by every wind of doctrine (Eph. 4:14).
ASSAULTING THE CHARACTER OF GOD
To know and embrace God as both a loving Father (His goodness) and an all-consuming fire (His severity) is an amazing reality (1 John 3:1; Heb. 12:29; Rom. 11:22). Yet, as we mentioned in chapter 2, many in our pulpits are guilty of presenting a false and shallow view of who God is. In an attempt to make God, Himself “seeker-friendly” and an easy sell, many have stripped away many facets of His character that might challenge us or make us feel uncomfortable.
Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. Romans 11:22
WHAT WE DESPERATELY NEED…
America and the church desperately need the true and living God, not a stripped-down version of who “we think” the world might like. Everyone needs to understand both “the goodness and severity of God” (Rom. 11:22). God has not changed (Mal. 3:6).
The world needs to see God in His glory and fullness—the One who is an all-consuming fire; the One whose eyes are like flames of fire and out of His mouth comes a two-edged sword; the One who judges and makes war; the One who has conquered death, hell, and the grave; the One who came to give life and set the captives free; the One who is both the Lion and the Lamb! We need to bow in fear (reverence) and stand in awe of Him, His beauty, His power, and His majesty (see Hebrews 12:28–29, Exodus 24, Psalm 29, 104, Daniel 7, Isaiah 6, Ezekiel 1, Revelation 4)!
Indeed, we cannot truly understand and know the depths of God’s love, goodness, mercy, and grace apart from understanding and knowing His holiness, justice, judgment, and divine wrath.
DISTORTED GRACE MESSAGE
A primary reason we see rampant sin in the church (pulpits and pews) is that there is little acknowledgment of the consequences of sin. This is mainly due to an extreme and distorted grace teaching, often called “hyper-grace.”
The true message of grace is life-changing (not limited to salvation alone). Yet some popular teachers today significantly distort the message of grace—teaching Christians will no longer reap what they sow, even though God’s Word makes it clear not to be deceived, for we will reap what we sow to the flesh (corruption)or to the Spirit (life) (Gal. 6:7–8).
Some even teach that asking God for forgiveness or repentance is no longer necessary, even though Jesus’ last message to the church included the command to “repent” repeatedly (Rev. 2 and 3). Although not intended, this distorted grace teaching has caused many to adopt a casual view of sin within the delusion that “under grace,” they can live any way they want without consequences. This dangerous deception must stop!
THE RESULTS OF “DISTORTED GRACE”
Now we see things such as worship leaders having drinking parties and using profanity and believers partying at nightclubs Saturday night and attending church Sunday morning as if nothing is wrong. Or a pastor divorcing his wife to marry a younger one and justifying it with “God wants me to be happy.”
One more example of this dangerous “distorted grace” mindset is an account told by a well-known minister: When talking to a young group of prominent leaders in the nation, one of them said, “I don’t have to worry about sin. I could have an adulterous affair and return to the ministry in two months.” And this attitude is beginning to permeate . . . and that’s very concerning to me. They see righteousness or holiness as legalism because that’s what they told me.
This mindset is absolutely unbiblical and contradicts numerous scriptures throughout the New Testament, such as:
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age. —Titus 2:11–12
A SIN-FRIENDLY CHURCH
As we have already shown, it seems many in the church have become sin friendly, taking it lightly and feeling no need for repentance. Yes, Jesus was merciful to those like the woman caught in the sin of adultery; but then He said, “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11). And He said to the healed man at the pool of Bethesda, “Sin no more, lest a worse thing comes upon you” (5:14). There is little fear for the consequences of sin in our churches or nation.
An Important Note: The New Testament Greek word translated as “grace.” does not just mean “unmerited favor”; that is only half the truth (depending on context). God’s “grace” is just as much His divine power to empower and transform us. We are empowered with God’s divine nature to overcome all sin and walk as He does (2 Pet. 1:2–4).
We have much more we could say about this “distorted grace” subject, but instead, we point you to a more detailed resource by Michael L Brown titled Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message.