I was talking to a Christian a few years ago about his commitment to God. He said he didn’t go to worship services much because God had “touched him.” He stated that he takes his granddaughter to services, but he had not been in three weeks. He was raised in the church; however, the church wasn’t what he expected? I then asked him what did he expect?
What do you expect from God?
Some expect God to put a stamp of approval on their lifestyle and accept them without any change on their part. Perhaps this group would say everyone is going to heaven, just by different routes. Yet, God commands all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30, 31). Some get upset when someone tells them what they must do to be saved. Others object if they are asked to prove anything about the religion they profess. Yet the Bible tells us we should give an answer for what we believe (1 Pet. 3:15). So, again, the question is: What do they expect from God?
Perhaps some men think too little about God’s perspective and too much about their own. Remember, God doesn’t think like a man does (Is. 55:8, 9). Man lives in a physical world. Often what he expects in the physical, he expects in the spiritual. When excitement, entertainment, and pleasure are the name of the game in the physical, some expect some of these in the spiritual realm as well. They may think that any church that doesn’t provide one of those is not meeting their expectations.
Sometimes a man thinks God’s ways are unfair (Ezek. 18:25). Yet, who is it that sets the standard of fairness? Is it not God? Therefore, whatever God does is fair and just; it is man’s way that is not fair (Ezek. 33:17).
Some may expect God to do what man is supposed to do. God cannot save a person who does not want to be saved. God cannot change His law of pardon to save someone who has not obeyed Him. We must obey from the heart the doctrine of God (Rom. 6:17).
When the rich man was in torment in Luke 16, he wanted someone to go to his brothers on earth. The answer given to him was “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (Luke 16:30). Those who would be saved had to do what God wanted. They had to follow the revealed Will of God written by Moses and the prophets. Anything else was not acceptable. Today, we must follow what Christ says (Jn. 12:48).
We cannot expect God to do for us what we must do. We have to work at obtaining the knowledge we need. It takes study on our part (Acts 17:11). We must receive it and make it part of us (James 1:12). We must obey the gospel that God has given us and heaven will be home one day (Rom. 10:16,17; 2 Thess. 1:8) The revealed Will of God for salvation has been given to us (2 Pet. 1:3; 2 Tim. 3:16,17). We can know what God expects of us. Let us strive to do what God expects and always have a good conscience toward Him (Acts 24:16).
– Bill Brandstatter preaches for the Marion Church of Christ in Marion, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation’s website: http://marionchurchofchrist.com/