I recently noticed some Christian songs that were encouraging listeners with the refrain â€œGod is not against you,” and â€œGod is for you.” I know that some famous preachers also seem to make this their regular mantra when they appear before their congregations.
Whenever I hear such encouragement, however, Â I wonder how someone can make such a blanket statement to all people who might be listening.
I think of stories like the Exodus where God was clearly Â for Â the Israelites as God led them out of bondage, whereas God was Â against Â their Egyptian captors (Psalm 81:5).
Sometimes people Â have a fairy tale image of God. We can be prone to think of God as there for our well being, as existing to grant our wishes (at least sometimes), and as one who is always nice to us, whose prime goal is to make us comfortable in life, and who would never think of disciplining us.
The fact is, though, that God does discipline. And our sin does affect our relationship with God in this life. It is even possible that Â God can be Â against Â you.
- â€œGod Â opposes Â the proud but shows favor to the humble” (James 4:6).
- â€œFor the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is Â against Â those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:12).
- â€œNow the hand of the Lord is Â against Â you” (Acts 13:11).
Even though God can be against people, Â there is still a sense that God is Â for Â everyone, if by this we mean that â€œGod so loved the world” (John 3:16). We can even say that God wants what is best for us.
At the same time though, Â sometimes God gives us â€œtough love” Â to help us straighten up. For example, Paul warned the Corinthians that if we celebrate the Lordâ€™s Supper in an unworthy manner we might be â€œjudged . . . by the Lord” and â€œdisciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world” (1 Corinthians 11:32).
I cannot tell everyone that God is Â not against Â them. I donâ€™t know about you, but knowing this gives me strong impetus to repent of my sin and ensure that I stay in a good relationship with God.
The good news is, â€œIf we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Praise the Lord!