How God Views Us
By Juan Baixeras
This paper deals with the subject of our relationship with God. How does God view us and what does he expect from us. Of course this paper is purely conjecture, for no one can know what God is thinking. But the opinions that are shared here are based on the personality and character of God that he has shared with us through his word and through his Son Jesus the Messiah. It is also based on the most obvious clue to our relationship with him which most of us miss completely. I am referring to our children.
In the Bible God is commonly called our Father and we are referred to as his children. I do not think this is a coincidence. I think that studying our relationship with our children is the best way to understand our relationship with God and how he views us. God did not have to create the relationship that we have with our children in order for mankind to survive. He did not have to make humans so utterly helpless in our infant years when we depend solely on our parents for every aspect of our survival. He could have given us the instincts and ability to survive right after birth like most animals do if he so wished, but he did not. And the reason that he did not is for our benefit. So that we can understand a little more about him and how he views and deals with us.
Let us first attempt to explain why God created us in the first place. To answer that question ask yourself "Why do people want to have children?" It is a very unselfish reason. When you break it down, we have children because we have an innate desire to love and be loved. This is why people who do not have children usually have pets, because pets provide them with a substitute love for the absence of children. Having children is a very unselfish act. When you have children you give to them not only emotionally, but also financially and socially. It drains you emotionally, financially, and almost completely destroys your social life. Everything that was first in your life is now second to your children. When they are young they break things, urinate on themselves, wake up in the middle of the night, etc. etc. Yet, we love them just the same. All we ask in return is a smile. We love them unconditionally. Our desire to love them and to be loved in return is greater than our desire for self-gratification.
This I believe is the main reason that God created us. To have children to love and to be loved in return. In other words, to have a loving relationship with man.
Now that we have a reason, let us try to figure out how one would go about creating this relationship. Yes, God could have created people that would obey him and love him automatically. But is that a mutually loving relationship? Absolutely not. These people would have been basically robots. In order to have a loving relationship, both parties have to make a conscious choice to love one another. In order to make a choice one has to have free will. One also has to have more than one choice in order to choose something using your free will. Having only one thing to choose from is not actually choosing. This is why I believe that God created the devil. God did not create the devil and then one day was shocked to find out that the devil had rebelled against him. That is not a trait of omnipotence, which God surely is. God created the devil knowing that he would rebel against him. Now do not mis-understand what I mean by this statement. God did not create the devil with a built in program that would cause the devil to rebel at a programmed time. But God knew that this being would rebel by his own free will and he allowed it because he was necessary for God’s plan, just as he has also allowed millions of people to be born that have rebelled against him. You see, the devil provides the other choice. We now have at least two choices:
Choose to love and follow God.
Choose not to love and follow God and just love and follow our own desires.
So why does God create man knowing that man will fall from grace? The answer lies in God’s desire for a loving relationship with man. Remember that it is a two way street. How is God going to show man that he truly loves man? By allowing man to turn against him over and over again and yet giving man the opportunity to redeem themselves. By never leaving us alone even when we choose the world over God. The proof of real love is not when everything is going smoothly. We have all heard the expression. "You know who your real friends are when things are tough". It is the same with love. God’s proof to mankind of his love for us is that even though we rebel against him over and over again, even though we do things that are abominable in his eyes, even though we choose things that he has given us over he himself, he still leaves the door open for reconciliation. He leaves the door open for us to come back, if we choose to. He never stops loving us. He never closes the door. It is man who sometimes chooses not to enter. This is how God demonstrates his love for us. By forgiving us. Without man ever sinning, there could be no demonstration of God’s unconditional love for us. We demonstrate our love for God by willfully following God’s ways. Not out of fear, but out of love. Thus, there is a loving relationship.
Now let’s examine our relationship with our children for some insight. This is actually me speaking about my own children, but if I had not told you that it was me speaking of my own children, you would have assumed that it was God speaking about us. Is it a coincidence? I don’t believe so. God created it this way intentionally for our benefit.
When my children ask me for things, and they are always asking me for things, I never get upset. I actually enjoy that they rely on me so much. They do not always get what they ask for because sometimes it is not in their best interest. Of course, they do not understand at the time that it isn't in their best interest. Because of this, they sometimes get mad at me because I do not give them what they think they need, but in reality do not need it. I do not give my children things expecting something in return of equal value, I just give it because I love them. When my children ask me for things and I do give it to them, a simple "thank you dad I love you" is more than enough.
Everything I do for them I do for their well being. Sometimes though, I do let them see what happens when they do not listen to my advice, but I never let it get out of hand. Although I must admit, it really upsets me when out of arrogance they think they know more than I do. Or even worse, when they give more value to someone else’s advice whom they have just met over me, their father, who only has their best interest at heart.
I even find it cute when my children fall asleep as they lie in bed talking to me.
My children are constantly fighting among themselves, which drives me crazy. They constantly break things by mistake that I value. They disobey me quite often and sometimes they do things in public that embarrasses me. I try to teach them by reasoning with them if they are old enough to understand, or by punishing them for their act when they are too young to understand. I discipline them because I love them and I want them to learn right from wrong, not out of revenge. And just because I have disciplined them, it doesn’t mean that I have stopped loving them. I always love them. I think I feel worse when I have to punish them then they feel being punished. I always wish I could let them off the hook, but I know that in the long run it is for their own good.
From a father’s point of view, there is no greater feeling then when your child runs into your arms for absolutely no other reason than they just want to be with you. That is the ultimate feeling. Your child’s love in return. A love that is returned not because of what job you have, or how big your house is, or what kind of car you drive, but a love that is returned simply because you showed them love first.
This is basically our relationship with God. He is our Father and we are his children. He is raising us to be loving, responsible individuals. He is preparing us for that great family reunion when family members from all over the world come together to celebrate the return of our older brother whom we have not seen for many years.
Now let’s see how this relationship helps us to understand some aspects of the Bible. Such as why there was a need for two covenants?
The reason that there was a need for two covenants is clearly seen if we look at the development of our children. When our children are very young we give them rules to follow. At this time in their development they clearly do not understand the reason behind the rules. I have tried to explain to my 2 year old why it is wrong for her to take away her sisters toys from her hands. I then say, "Do you understand?" She says, "Yes," and two minutes later she does the same thing again. Clearly she does not understand the reason why. So then I say to her, "If you take your sisters toys I will put you in the corner." She knows what going to the corner is, and she knows that she does not like it, so she obeys. She obeys me because of the fear of the consequences, not because she understands that it is inherently wrong to take other people’s belongings.
This is the state in which Israel was in when God gave them the Law. Spiritually they were young and not ready to understand the will of God. They worshipped multiple gods, etc. So God gave them the Law. Since they did not understand the reason behind the Law, he basically gave them the consequences. Either follow the Law or suffer the consequences. The First Covenant is referred to in the Bible as the Law of the letter. They followed it because God said to follow it or else, not because they believed in their hearts that the Law was good. The Sabbath was basically given so that the Israelites would learn to follow the will of God one-day out of seven. It is equivalent to a parent saying to his child, "Just behave good one day a week, that’s not so hard is it son?" The New or Second Covenant is equivalent to a spiritually mature Israel (Israel now being the body of believers, not the actual nation). The Second Covenant is based on love. In other words, people will follow the will of God not because of fear of the consequences but because they truly believe it to be good. This is why the Second Covenant is called the Covenant of the heart. In regards to the Sabbath, as spiritually mature adults, we should follow the will of God every day. This is why there is no need to maintain the Sabbath in the New Testament. When our children become adults we expect them to behave correctly without our supervision every day, not just one day a week. We expect them not to steal because they truly believe that stealing is inherently wrong, not because they are afraid of being caught.
Now let see how this relationship affects salvation. This is a very complex topic. There are many religions including Christianity that believe that if you do not believe what they say that you will not be saved, period. There are even different denominations in Christianity that say that if you do not believe their specific beliefs you will not be saved. So basically, according to these views, there are going to be very few people who are saved. If you get one piece wrong you are doomed. This does not sound like a father and child relationship. Let’s look at our children for a better understanding. For arguments sake let’s say that Christianity is correct and that inside of Christianity the trinity is false and there are two resurrections as is stated in Rev. These are my beliefs, but you can substitute your own.
Let’s understand one point first. There are inherent laws in man. I think every known society has had similar laws such as do not kill, do not steal, etc. they also have this innate instinct that there is a Supreme Being or beings. I believe God created us with them, for without them mankind could not exist.
Now let’s pretend that I have four sons.
Son #1 is very bright. He goes to school and does wonderful in math. He puts forth a lot of effort and excels in math. I am very proud of this son. I love him a lot. He is in my will.
Son #2 tries really hard in school. He does all his homework, he puts forth maximum effort, but he just is not very good at math. He just doesn’t seem to be able to get a solid grasp of it. I love him very much and I am very proud of him for trying so hard. He is also in my will.
Son #3 was very sick and missed all the days when they were explaining how to do math. By the time he came back to school it was time for his math test and he had no idea how to do it. He is a good kid, puts forth a lot of effort in school and does well in all his other subjects. It wasn’t his fault that he missed school. I love him a lot. He is also in my will.
Son #4 is terrible. He never obeys me. He says I am no one to tell him how to behave. He skips school. When he does go to school he does not pay attention and disturbs the class. He gets Fs in all his classes. I have disciplined him. I have tried to reason with him. Nothing seems to work. For him there is only one way, his way. I love him, but I cannot accept his behavior. I offered him everything, but he coldly rejected anything that came from me. He chose his own path. I cannot keep him in my will. He does not deserve it. It would not be fair to the others.
Son #1 is the Christian that understood the Bible correctly. He was not led astray by false teachings. He led a good life. He helped his fellow brothers whenever possible. He tried to teach others the word of God.
Outcome: He will be raised in the first resurrection and he will enter the kingdom of God.
Son #2 is the Christian who did not understand the Bible correctly. He had his doctrines all wrong. He believed in the trinity when there was no trinity, etc.etc. But he tried really hard to understand the word of God. He studied the Bible constantly. He treated his fellow brothers as himself. He tried to share the word of God as he knew it with others. He just never understood it correctly. He thought he did, but in actuality he didn’t.
Outcome: He will be raised in the second resurrection and he will enter the kingdom of God then. This is how I would react to my children. If I knew that my child had really put forth the effort to learn math, but was just not able to grasp it, I would not punish him. I might not send him to medical school, but I would not punish him. I would not take away his inheritance.
Son #3 is the native on some remote island that has never heard of God nor Jesus. It is also the Muslim or Hindu or whatever other religion that has never been exposed to Christianity. A person has no control where they will be born. There are many people in Muslim countries that have no idea what Christianity is about, they have maybe heard of the name "Jesus," but that is about it. In many places neither Bibles nor Christian churches are allowed. Even the Muslim who has heard of Christianity, why would he think that it is correct over Islam in which he has been raised from a child. Do you know anything about Islam. Do you think that it is the correct teaching? What if it was? Wouldn’t you feel like saying at judgment day, "But how was I to know?" Son #3 is that person who was truly devoted to his religion. Who helped his fellow brother. Who lived a good life following those innate laws of God that are in us. He was just never shown the light. But he showed effort in following his God. He truly tried.
Outcome: He will be raised in the second resurrection. He will enter the kingdom of God then. I would not punish my child over something in which he had no control over.
Son #4 is the individual who hears the Christian message but rejects it completely. He is also the atheist who said I was no one. He is also the Muslim, or Hindu, or other that did not follow those innate laws of man. He was out for his own gain at other people’s expense. His only concern was himself. He did things that I whole-heartedly disagree with. He hurt people knowingly. He will have no excuse come judgment day.
Outcome: He will go down to the second death, eternal death. This is how I would treat my own child. I would not reward him for doing everything wrong intentionally. I would stop contact with him if he refused to change his ways. It would hurt me tremendously, but I would remove him from my will.
This is how I think that God will view us come judgment day. Our salvation will be based on the effort that we showed in trying to do God’s will. I do not think it will be based on getting it all correct. This does not take away our responsibility from trying to show others the truth of God’s word. If my 10 year old child did not know how to read I would still love him, but I would certainly try to teach him to read. But I do think that understanding how God views us gives us a new way of understanding God’s position, and how we look at each other. We are not enemies because we understand God differently, we are all still brothers. We should start acting like it.
Remember this, if there is anything that bothers me the most, it is when my children fight amongst each other, when they do things to intentionally hurt each other. This is what hurts a father the most. When I see them happily playing together I feel joyful, everything is as it should be. They are living in love.