This is the first part of a six-part series that investigates eight major ways that ungodly beliefs are formed in our lives. Part one shows how ungodly beliefs are formed through a wrong view of God.
How Ungodly Beliefs Are Formed
Now that we have a full definition of ungodly beliefs (click here to read post), it is time to consider how they are formed in our lives. We’ll examine eight major avenues through which we receive ungodly beliefs. There may be more, if you think of one send me an email, but this will get us started in our search for understanding.
Through a Wrong View of God
J.B. Phillips wrote a little book called Your God is Too Small. In it he describes twelve wrong views people have about God. He believes that people have created false images of God which hinder them from coming to a true knowledge of God and His ways.
These views of God make Him too small and in some cases overly human and weak. A wrong understanding of God can hinder us from responding to Him as He deserves. The twelve views Philips presents are God as:
- Resident Policeman
- Parental Hangover
- Grand Old Man
- Absolute Perfection
- Heavenly Bosom
- Managing Director
- Second-Hand God
- Perennial Grievance
- Pale Galilean
- Projected Image
Even without understanding Phillip’s definition of each view of God, you can see that God is pictured in a huge variety of ways. Each of these views is incorrect and blinds the mind of the one believing. A wrong view of God will block a true understanding of who He is.
If you have a wrong view of God, you will have a distorted view of what He thinks. You will put words in His mouth, so to speak, and hold things as true that God does not say.
In order to understand how this works, let’s consider two examples of wrong views of God that give place to ungodly beliefs.
God is an Angry, Vengeful, and Hate-filled God
There are groups of people who believe that God HATES SINNERS. Maybe you have seen them at work on the news. They are the ones with big signs saying “God hates fags.” They are the ones with rage-filled faces screaming at the woman entering into an abortion clinic, “Murderer. Baby killer.” They are convinced that God hates these people and takes joy in sending them to hell.
Now just so you don’t go ballistic on me and think that I’m soft on sin or approve of homosexulaity or abortion (God considers both to be sin and so do I), I want you to understand that what I am attacking above is the incorrect view that people have about God hating sinners.
God does not hate sinners. He loves them. One of the best known verses of the Bible verifies this:
For God so loved the world [of which each and every person is a sinner], that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16).
There you have it in black and white (in red if you are reading it in a red-letter edition of the Bible), God loves sinners. He really, really does, That it why He sent Jesus.
Yes, God loves sinners, but God HATES SIN. He will hold people accountable for every sin they commit on earth and, if they fail to receive Christ, send them to hell. Just because God hates what a person does in no way means that He hates the person.
Let’s consider what kind of ungodly beliefs a person might form who believes God hates sinners.
- The one sinning against God
- God hates me.
I just said it, but I will say it again. God loves sinners. God proved His love by sending Jesus. Jesus loves sinners and proved it by dying on the cross to save them. If you ever wonder if Jesus loves sinners, consider what He went through on the cross.
- I am unacceptable to God, so I can’t go to Him for help.
The truth is that you can go to God. Jesus died on the cross to make a way back to God. He died so we might be reconciled with God. Sin separates us from God, but Jesus will cleanse us of our sin and make us acceptable to God if we come to Him and trust in His sacrifice on our behalf.
- God is against me.
God is for you. He made a way for you. He is calling you to Himself. He has done everything necessary for you to come to Him. All you have to do is believe.
- God rejects me, so I reject God.
God is not rejecting you. It’s your sin that separates you from God. It’s your choice to reject God’s grace that keeps you from enjoying friendship with God. Reject the lie that God rejects you and turn to Him.
- I’m already going to hell, so what’s the use of trying?
You don’t have to go to hell. God never takes delight in the death of the wicked. He has come to save you from the judgment of hell. Jesus saves you from the wrath of God. If you go to hell, it’s by your own choice.
- God hates me.
- God hates sinners.
We’ve already seen that this is not true.
- I have to hate sinners, because God does.
If God hates sinners, it makes sense that you have to hate sinners. Therefore, you can’t show compassion, mercy, or grace to a sinner. But you already know God loves sinners and extended His grace to them. We must minister to sinners with mercy, not judgment.
- I can’t make friends with sinners or it will displease God.
Jesus blows this lie out of the water by His actions. He went to seek and save the lost. He ate with sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes, etc. He did it so much that the Pharisees called Him a friend of sinners.
Being friendly to a person does not mean that you accept his or her lifestyle. We are to love people, no matter what their sin, and extend the grace and mercy of Jesus. Don't forget that it is the kindness of God that leads to repentance (Romans 2:4).
- I have to constantly show my displeasure for a person’s sin or I will not be standing for the truth.
No you don’t. It is no wonder that people say that Christians are judgmental. If you feel that you have to show your displeasure every time you see someone who is a sinner, they will run when they see you coming.
Jesus did not come to the world to condemn it and He is not asking us to do so either. You are to love the lost and seek to bring them to Christ.
- God hates sinners.
God is Love
This is one of the major truths revealed in Scripture. God is love. Knowing this should cause us to run to Him for help. He loves us and has our best interests at heart. God does not hate sinners, as stated above, He loves sinners and proved it. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
God’s incredible love was the motivation behind sending Jesus to die for us. John 3:16 reminds us that God so loved the world, that is each and every person ever to exist, that He sent Jesus. God’s love is massive. He loves all people equally. He has made a way for every person who is willing to come to Him.
The trouble comes when people misunderstand God’s love. Let’s look at some of the ungodly beliefs that relate to God’s great love.
- I am unlovable. God loves others, but He doesn’t love me.
If you feel unloved or unlovely, you are convinced that God does not love you. How could He? Other people don’t love you and you don’t love yourself. It is so easy to project your feelings onto God and believe that He does not love you. The proof of His love is Jesus on the cross.
- God can’t love me, I _________.
FIll in the blank. You think God does not love you because of something you are, you did, or was done to you. You believe you sin is too big for God to forgive, but it isn’t. Jesus died for all the sins of the world, all of them. Even yours.
- A God of love would never send someone to hell.
If God does not judge sin, He is not a loving God. God’s love requires that He hold people accountable for what they have done. Sin always harms others. If God were to dismiss someone’s sin against another person without just cause it would not be loving.
As you can see, believing any of the above lies would definitely impact the way you view God and others. That is why is is vital to have a correct understanding of who God is as revealed in the Scriptures.
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