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Jackie Hill Perry on What We Believe About God

Jackie Hill Perry on What We Believe About God

Not many people would dare call God a liar out loud, lest they be guilty of blasphemy and kept from forgiveness. What the mouth doesn’t say, though, the heart still reveals. How we live is the evidence of what we believe about God. If Lord, we serve. If Creator, we’re humble. If Savior, we trust.

All of the above wasn’t discerned without help. It was communicated through the world and the Word. The problem with our nature is that it corrupts our minds, inflates our ego, meddles with our vision, and darkens our understanding so that when God decides to tell us anything, we determine its integrity by how we feel over who God has revealed Himself to be. That is not to say that all unbelief is emotional, but it is to say that our decision-making in regards to what we believe about God is never isolated from our affections.

‘Holier Than Thou: How God’s Holiness Helps Us Trust Him’ is available now.

Before we are unchained from sin, as slaves and lovers of it, truth is resisted because it demands something from us. It tells the heart what the heart refuses to acknowledge. That it is not as happy as the smile it manufactures or as full as it claims to be. It is a scary thing to hear the truth and actually believe it as that. If through the power of another’s resurrection, we actually decide to finally agree with God, that He is the Creator of everything and therefore has claim on everything, including the heart, mind, and body, then we are obligated to give to God what He rightly deserves: our entire self. This is an impossible thing if in fact you believe what the devil has told you. That you are all the god you need. That every gift given to men, including everything from sex to the sun, is yours to exploit. To squeeze the beauty out of everything until it is no longer good but god. The inevitable consequence of not believing what God has said about Himself is to take what God has made and call it Lord. Among other things, not believing that God is telling the truth about sin and death must mean that there are no consequences, no hell, no judgment. If He is just love and not judge, which is no love at all really, then we can rebel without accountability. This is the pseudo-freedom that sinners prefer. Life on their terms. Heaven and hell at the same time. If we are brave enough to actually believe that God is who He say He is, we are left with one choice: worship. But if we want to be the center of attention, the source of our joy, and the final authority of our lives, then, in our minds, God cannot be holy; he must be just like us. A sinner.

It is good news that the maintenance of God’s righteousness is independent of our faith in it. Whether we believe He is holy or not, He will always be what He’s always been. God’s eternal sinlessness means many things, but in the simplest terms, to us, God cannot lie. He is “not a man that He should lie” and He is the God who “never lies.” (Num. 23:19; Tit. 1:2). As holy, God sees things as they are. The ultimate realist who will never distort the truth or be ignorant of it. The one who provided Eve with an alternate reality said, “You will not surely die” (Gen. 3:4). The words might’ve sounded sincere, as in, true. Authentic. Liars are like that though; good ones, that is. Able to lie without breaking their smile. Being at ease with deception is suitable for Satan because according to Jesus, he is the “father of lies” who “doesn’t abide in truth” and when lying, he speaks “out of his own character” (Jn. 8:44). There is a world of difference between Satan and God, you see, but in our struggle to believe God, it’s as if we sometimes suspect that God assumes a different, darker nature. That when He says that “nothing can separate us from the God’s love” (Rom. 8:38), we refuse the notion as being real towards anybody and especially us. How many of our sins began with the belief that God didn’t love us truly? Who is it, then, that we believed on those days? Not God…

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