Many of us have been taught growing up in the church that Jesus came to save us from Hell. I have written a great deal about the myth of Hell. Like a loving God is going to sadistically torture people forever for their beliefs while here on earth a short time! Salvation in the Bible is not about dropping to your knees and saying a one-time prayer to avoid the wrath of God.
God is often portrayed as caring only about their reputation.
Jesus didn’t come to save us from God’s wrath. Did God really need Jesus to die in our place so God could love us and save face? This view suggests God loves themselves more than God’s loves their children. Earthly parents aren’t more loving than God. When our children disobey our guidance we aren’t most concern how their actions make us look but that our child is heading down a path of destruction.
The fact that the Bible talks about being saved (Rm. 8:24), we’re being saved (I Cor. 1:18), and we shall be saved (Rom. 5:10) suggests salvation is not a dropping to your knees, bowing your head, one-time experience.
I am focusing on what God is presenting saving us from, but I will suggest saving in the past in the Bible relates to what God intended to do if we used our freedom to hate rather than love ourselves and others. God can’t control our decisions but God is always prepared with a loving response.
God only cares about saving us from ourselves.
God continually seeks to encourage taking actions that lead to true joy in a free but imperfect world. When we don’t act in our best interest, of course we hurt God. But, God isn’t offended because we simply disobey. God hurts because we are hurting ourselves and those around us. All God’s actions are about trying to convince us that God’s unselfish ways are in our best interest in the long-run.
God doesn’t encourage us to fear God as if they will keep all on the straight and narrow.
God like any parent knows that fear of possible consequences isn’t what changes hearts. Loving parents only try to put the fear of God in their children to deter them from going down the wrong path. Fear doesn’t inspire love and respect so one will want to follow one’s guidance. Fear and threats of punishment can only deter one from evil choices. Love is what inspires one to make real changes. God’s continual love, encouragement, and mercy – not fear – is our necessary nourishment for true changes of the heart. There is no fear in perfect love (I Jn. 4:18).
Jesus came to inspire following in His footsteps through expressions of radical love.
Punishment doesn’t restore that which has been taken away. Jesus encouraged mercy, forgiveness, and going the extra mile in relationships when possible. We can hope our betrayers seek to understand our pain, accept the harmfulness of their actions, seek forgiveness, and make amends when possible. Jesus sought changes of the heart for the good of the world. If you don’t forgive there may be no possibility of healing in certain relationships.
I am convinced when we know God the way Jesus knew God, we will sense God’s love and support and pursue God’s desires for us that lead to less regrets while here on earth.
I don’t know what to say to those who believe a life of not loving others like you want to be loved isn’t worth living. Striving to love family and friends in such a way can inspire them to live lives worth living. God seeks only to earn your love for a perfect God knows loving God is loving others to the fullest.