What Does God Want?
By: Joe Dennison
Every religion in the world, from Spiritism to Islam, from Hinduism to Catholicism, shares one common principle: We must do something to win God’s approval. At the core of every religion is the motto, “Do something to please God.” Just what God requires from us, however, depends on whom we ask. Everything from pagan rituals to life-long penance to simply “doing the best you can” is proposed as a way to please God.
In spite of this confusion, the Bible consistently and clearly teaches what God is seeking from us. It is not a life of good works or self-denial. It is not church membership or baptism. It is faith. God wants us to believe Him.
God has always desired faith. “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). From Genesis to Revelation, from Noah and Abraham to Peter and Paul, the great men and women of the Bible have had this in common: They believed and relied on the promises of God! God does not want blind, irrational faith but informed, intelligent faith in Himself and in His Word.
Many of us claim to be Christians, but do we really believe God? When we examine the Bible we find that God says things we may not want to accept. However, the Bible is not a smorgasbord from which we can pick and choose only the truths we like. Either we believe God or we don’t!
The Bible paints a very unflattering picture of us. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “There is none righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10). We would prefer to think of ourselves as basically good people who have made a few mistakes along the way. But according to God, we are such complete sinners that even our best deeds are tainted by our sinful nature. Do you believe God?
In our society, belief in judgment for sin or in a literal Hell isn’t fashionable. However, the Bible clearly states that “it is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Jesus frequently spoke about a real place of torment called Hell, a place for everyone whose sins have not been forgiven. Eternal punishment for sin is a reality!
The list of good deeds which people are counting on to save them from God’s wrath is endless: penance, confession, baptism, rituals, good works, sincerity, etc. But God is looking for faith, not works. “For by grace are ye saved through faith…not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8).
God understands our predicament. He knows we are sinners who can never live up to His requirements. He knows we cannot undo past wrongs or pay for past sins. But God loved us and sent His son, Jesus Christ, into the world to die for our sins. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Do you believe God? God has given you the option to choose. Whether you believe God or not will determine your eternal destiny. We often blame our sin on our circumstances, our upbringing, or our society. However, there is one sin that we can never attribute to other factors. It is the sin of not believing God! The Bible says that “anyone who does not believe God has made Him out to be a liar” (1 John 5:10).
We challenge you to take God at His word and receive eternal life today!