Airbrushing God


    I remember once hearing an actress, in a surprising moment of honesty, tell about a conversation she had with an admiring female fan concerning a recently published photo of herself.  The photo, featuring of course a great deal of exposed skin, caused the fan to lament that she didn't have a body like the actress, to which the actress replied that she also lacked such a body, that the photo had been airbrushed to present her in the most desirable way possible.  What people saw was what he who held the airbrush wanted them to see, not who she actually was.  I wonder to what extent we have done this with God?  To what extent have we "airbrushed" Him in order to make Him more acceptable, more "user friendly" to the masses?  What aspect of Him have we sought to enhance, while at the same time covering up those parts of Him that many find "hard to take?"  When the Father looks at our finished portrait of Him, does He, like the actress, say, "That's not who I am."
     We make much of the love of God, and everyone loves to hear of it.  Yet we are so reluctant to speak of how His love is tempered by His holiness, that indeed, He cannot perfectly love apart from His holiness.  As Randy Alcorn writes, " Many modern Christians have reduced Him to a single attribute God.  Never mind that the angels in God's presence (Isaiah 6:3) do not cry out day and night 'Love, love, love,' but 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty."  He goes on to say that we're right to rejoice in His mercy and love, but we can't forget that He is "relentlessly holy, righteous, and just."  Our version of His love seems to make mankind totally deserving of it.  He should love us because after all, we're good folks.  The true beauty of His love is that we're not deserving of His love at all, that we're a fallen race, born with a bent towards sin, and with hearts that want to run from Him, not to Him.  The wonder of His love is that in our sin, He loves us, but His holiness demands that our sin must be dealt with, and in Christ and His cross, in they alone, it is.  In Christ, it is dealt with, without Him, it will be dealt with still.  To try and get around this reality with a watered down God, Christ, and Gospel, is to present a God who not only isn't, but never was or ever will be.  The airbrushed version of Him, so popular today, can save no one.  Will never save anyone.  
     One way or another, we who are His, will paint a portrait of Him with our lives, our message, our church.  Will that portrait be one that displays Him as He truly is, or an airbrushed version that has wide appeal, but no power to save or transform?  One is painted in the blood of Christ.  The other, in the artificial colors of the culture we live in.  Which is ours?

Pastor O 
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   May 2019   
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