I have used this phrase in the past. In one sense, it is good, if you are saying, “I wouldn’t worship a god who is not God. But that’s not what this post is about. I am referring to those who like myself, have ever used this phrase in reference to the God of Scripture.
Before I became a believer in the doctrines of Grace, I said that I wouldn’t worship a god who would choose to send some people to hell and only choose some to go to heaven. I reasoned that that wasn’t fair, despite Paul’s admonition in Romans 9:14-15, “Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For He says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” Why would God have mercy and compassion on some, but not others? I will honestly tell you that I have no idea because I do not know the mind of God. But I will say that I believe that the question of why God would have mercy and compassion on some but not others is not the right question to ask and is completely missing the point. The point is, rather, why would God have mercy and compassion on anyone at all?
Most recently, I have heard teachers who claim that God will one day save all people say things like, “I wouldn’t worship a god who would send people to Hell,” or “If God isn’t going to save all, then He’s either not loving, or He’s not all-powerful.” I don’t necessarily have a problem with wanting to believe that all will be saved. I myself would like to believe that and would be more than thrilled if it were true. But I just cannot find any solid evidence in Scripture to back that idea up. What I do have a problem with is when people make such statements as those aforementioned, which I consider blasphemous and arrogant.
Paul poses the question, “What if God, desiring to show His wrath and to make known His power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of His glory for vessels of mercy, which He has prepared beforehand for glory-even us whom He has called, not from the Jews only but also from the gentiles (Rom. 9:22-24)?
This seems like a rhetorical question, but that’s not the point. The point Paul is trying to make and the point that I have come to realize that I need to be able to accept is,
Can we worship God for all that He is, in spite of the fact that there may be things about Him that we do not like?
You may have noticed that in the title and in most references to the statement “I wouldn’t worship a god who…” that the ‘g’ is not capitalized. That is because I believe that if you are not willing to humbly accept all that God says about Himself in Scripture, but continue to insist that He is a certain way, you are worshiping a god made in your own image and not the God of Scripture. If I were to say, “I wouldn’t worship a god who would save everybody,” I would be making the statement that I completely know the mind of God and if by chance it is true that He is going to save all, in spite of what I believe Scripture clearly states, I am worshiping a god made in my own image. Therefore I will not utter such a statement because I believe that that would be blasphemy and arrogance.
What I have come to understand about God is that He is perfect in every way and everything He has ever done and will ever do is perfectly just and good and right. Since I do believe that there is a Hell and that people’s natural choices and desires send them there, not God, I am obligated to obey Christ’s command to “preach the Gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). If I didn’t believe that there were eternal, and not just temporal consequences for sin, I would see no point in sharing the truth, because if all were going to be saved, then there is no danger to not repenting and no danger to living however you want.
I believe, rather, that God has shown His kindness in some way to everyone who has ever lived and that that “kindness of God leads (people) to repentance” (Romans 2:4). I completely agree with John MacArthur’s idea: “Without exception, every person who has ever lived has experienced the kindness and forbearance and patience of God. Every breath a person takes and every bite of food he eats is by the kind provision of God. God is the only source of goodness, and therefore everything good and worthwhile a person has is from the gracious hand of God.”
He continues: “Rather than asking why God allows bad things to happen to seemingly good people, we should ask why He allows seemingly good things to happen to obviously bad people.” And expounding upon that idea, and kind of along the lines of what I said earlier, “The crucial question is not ‘why do certain people suffer or die,’ but ‘Why does anyone live?'” And finally, “The purpose of the kindness of God is not to excuse men of their sin but to convict them of it and lead them to repentance.”
I don’t claim to know everything, and I realize that I could have a lot of things wrong. I’m just trying to faithfully share what I believe Scripture has to say and trying to leave my own ideas out. I realize that this is impossible. I am a fallible man trying to understand an infallible God through His infallible Scriptures.
Grace, peace and love to all through Jesus Christ!