Galatians 6:10

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    Join date : 2011-01-30
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    Post  Chelsea on Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:25 pm

    In Chapter 11 (Part 3), Ortberg writes:
    You see, God doesn't want forced compliance. God is so immense that if he were "too visible," people would give forced compliance without expressing their heart. So God makes it possible, in enormous love, for us to live as if he were not there.

    I've been chewing on this one all day, and I still can't get my mind to settle on anything. I'll spare you the extensive bit that I wrote in my comp book, but I was wondering your reactions were to this (or are, if you didn't have any when you first read it).

    To me, this sounds logical. In the book, Your Own Jesus by Mark Hall, he tells a story of a pastor who didn't find out until he was an adult that he and his twin brother were adopted. In fact, his biological mother had tried to give herself an abortion (he and his brother were the product of an affair and their mother's husband was coming home from his deployment earlier than expected) first through use of alcohol and then with a coat hanger. The only reason they survived was because their aunt came in in time to rush them (covered in blood and one - the subject of this testimony - with a coat hanger through his chest) to the hospital. While his twin brother (who unfortunately acquired fetal alcohol syndrome) was unable to take the news and spiraled even further downward into alcoholism until he finally wound up in prison, the man (who like I said is now a pastor) had a different reaction. He said that when he found out he was adopted (actually, I think they were just foster parents), it did change the way he viewed them. However, it was for the better. He said how they were not legally bound to him (as a biological parent would have been) but made the conscious decision every day to love him. He related this to God. God owes us nothing, but it says in the New Testament that were are "adopted as His own" (In fact, under Roman law an adopted child took on the benefits of the families first born child - even if they already had a firstborn).

    So when I think about this idea of "forced compliance," I think how God makes a conscious decision in every moment to love us. Romans 5:8 says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Augustine put it well when he said, "Thus in a marvelous and divine way he loved us even when he hated us." That's insane love. And it shows that God chooses to love us, because there is really nothing lovable about us to a God who is perfect and righteous in every way. With that in mind, would He really want His people to follow His will because we feel like we have too? This is why what Ortberg proposes makes sense to me. If God remains just barely in the background - though always accessible - it is up to us to choose, in every moment, to love Him (or not to).

    At the same time, this all sounds nice, but I have trouble finding Biblical backing for it. I'd like to hear your thoughts and if you have Scripture to back up or to oppose Ortberg's proposition, it would be much appreciated.

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