The Consequences of Studying the Bible (Or of Doing BSF–Whichever You Prefer)…

I’m doing another Bible Study outside of Bible Study Fellowship (yep, I’m nuts).  But this one is not quite as intense.  It’s more of a social gathering for ladies if you will.  Hence, I told myself, “Why not?  It won’t take up too much time.”

It’s actually my old Bible Study group at my church before I discovered BSF.  It’s been years since I’ve been.

Here, at this study, I am much more confident in what I am saying when I talk about the Bible. It’s not all Greek to me anymore.

However, last week, I did get into an “argument” for lack of a better word with a young gal at my table who held the common belief that God is not a God of wrath.  She just couldn’t believe the God of the Old Testament.  She tried to say how Jesus changed all of that and basically we’re not bound under the Old Covenant any more.

Well, having done the study of Isaiah, I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut (not uncommon for me) so I challenged her on her beliefs.  I explained that you can’t negate the God of the Old Testament just because the God of the New Testament is ‘nicer’.  God gets just as angry at His people today as He did in OT times.  I’m pretty sure God is angry when I sin.  Sad, yes.  But He’s definitely not holding a cheerleading party when I turn from Him.

Yes, we now live under the New Covenant but that doesn’t mean the Old Covenant can be shoved under the rug and  forgotten.  It’s important that we know the differences.  That we know how God’s people lived back then.  So then we can truly appreciate what Jesus did for us and how now we all can stand with God by His side upon death.

There are still consequences for our sins.  Yeah, we’re not gonna be sent to Babylon (mainly because Babylon doesn’t exist anymore–not because God couldn’t or wouldn’t do something similar today) but we all pay.  And that is because God is unhappy with us when we sin.

The Book of Revelation explains what will happen when Jesus comes again and most of it is not pretty for unbelievers.

I think people today do not “fear” God.  They embrace the loving God (and this is predominantly preached at my church) and ignore the God who disciplines us.

God is to be feared.  We need to be humble before Him.  For He is Lord and Ruler of us all.  He is to be revered.  Most people today do not understand what it means to fear God.  It doesn’t mean we are scared of Him or His ways like we’d be scared of a ghost or a goblin.  It means we fear Him because He is omnipotent.  He is in charge.  He is in control.  And we are mere ants in His world. We exist solely at His will.  We could not exist at His whim as well.

If we do not fear God, we will not obey Him.  We fear Him because we know we are to be judged.  Yet, God forgives us.  God also loves us and protects us from evil.

Psalm 130:3-4:  “If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?  But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.”

Genesis 22:12 releases Isaac back to Abraham because Abraham “fears God.”  This is the first mention of fear in the Bible.

In Matthew so far (and in most of the OT), we have seen when an angel of the Lord appears, most are frightened and the angel must say “Do not be afraid.”  This tells us we probably should be afraid.

I’m not saying I fully understand it because I do not fully understand God.  All I know is that I should be scared of God.  For He is my Creator.  And He could destroy me if He so chose in an instant.

Back to my story.  I’m pretty sure I offended most at the table, speaking of God’s wrath and how we cannot dismiss it because it happened in the Old Testament.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t earn any friends that way.  And needless to say I skipped this last week mainly because of it.  I don’t think many liked what I had to say.  I will acknowledge it probably didn’t come off as nice as this since I am a writer, not a speaker.

But I said it.  I said what little I knew of God.

Why did I say it?  Because I had studied it in BSF.  The study of Isaiah was all about how God’s people made God angry because they turned from Him so many times.  And how God’s wrath was brought upon His people.  His people deserved His wrath as we all do.  We’d all be better off if we remembered this fact every morning and every night.

Why else did I say it?  BSF exists to equip us to serve others.  To gain a knowledge of the Bible in order to bring others to Him.  To serve others in the community and the world.  It is my responsibility to tell others what I have learned.  My first BSF leader said if we graduate from BSF, we are basically receiving a degree in theology for free.  This has always stuck with me.

Was I called to say it?  Who knows?  But I would have been thumbing my nose at BSF if I hadn’t.  And that I will never do.

Yes, we are blessed because we live on this side of Heaven, after Jesus’ death.  But those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a repeat of God’s wrath.  Babylon was NOT a fun place to be.

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31 comments on “The Consequences of Studying the Bible (Or of Doing BSF–Whichever You Prefer)…

  1. Kristy Kay says:

    For those who are in Christ Jesus, there is no wrath left!!! All God’s wrath against sin was poured out on His Son on that cross! Yes, we must still awe and reverence our God. Every single breath we take is a gift from Him. He is the Creator and the Sustainer, and He holds all things in His hands. Only a fool would not respect and “fear” the All-Powerful One! And, yes, there are still consequences to our sin, but Bible assures us that even our consequences are for our benefit. But wrath? Not for the believer! To think that we are still under wrath is to miss the beauty and power of the cross!

    • LeeAnn Cheeley says:

      Completely agree! All you say is truth from God’s Word. Consequences as a result of our sin are far different from experiencing the wrath of God. God disciplines those whom He loves; discipline does not come as a result of wrath. And our motivation for resisting sin and evil is because of our love for God. We want to obey Him because we love Him. For those who go around freely sinning because they think all their sins are forgiven, they simply don’t truly know the one, true God, (to one degree or another).

  2. Cairn says:

    Having been in similar situations with what I would have considered “seasoned” Christ followers, I gleaned that God does not need us to “defend” him in those types of situations. He can and will take care of Himself. The fact that the young gal is off the mark in the true reality of accepting the total package of who God is reflects upon her relationship thus far. She needs prayer and respectable guidance that is motivated by someone the Holy Spirit places either a burden for to come along side of and prayerfully discuss and or just to pray for her spiritual eyes to be opened to the fullness of the characteristics of God. Nothing wrong with sharing knowledge as long as it is shared with a pure heart!

    • Sharon says:

      I agree with you that God does not need us to defend Him. The young gal was in the wrong, but at least she’s in the right place to learn. Sharing in love and patience is the way to go. Give her time to listen to God. I learned in last week’s BSF lecture, that every time you open the Bible and read the Word, you hear God’s voice. Perhaps she’s not a true believer and does not have the Holy Spirit to guide and instruct her, yet.

  3. Alice says:

    I enjoyed this. So many Christians tell me we don’t have to read or pay attention to the Old Testament today. I like what you said about not realizing how fortunate we are living in the New Testament days and we can’t get that across if we don’t know the Old Testament. History does repeat itself and if we don’t know the history we are in danger of repeating it. By reading and studying the Old Testament we also understand what is going on in the New Testament – it becomes clearer. The promise of Jesus is all over the Old Testament. It is good to have a healthy fear of God, otherwise we take too many liberties with what sin is and don’t think about the consequences of our sin.

  4. Vivian D. Lee says:

    Thanks autozmom! Once I thought of God as being all loving, as I went about doing as I pleased, even as a believer. As God would have it, I was stupid enough to make a statement similar to the one the young girl you encountered made. When my grandmother finished shedding the light of God’s wrath for disobedience and of His love for humanity, I journeyed in a different mode. Not to say I never sinned again, but as I became conscious of my wrong doing, I also came to know the fear of Him who created me. Thank you for making plain the truth of God’s wrath and of how we should respond to Him.

    • Sweet Mama says:

      Aren’t you glad you had a grandmother to shed God’s light on your path? I hope all the grandparents out there are convicted to start being part of their grandchildren’s lives. Our spiritual legacies matter. Little eyes are watching us.

  5. Mary Ann says:

    Kudos to you, Atozmom! I couldn’t have said it better. You really know your Bible for just coming into the study. I agree with you wholeheartedly. We must fear God and revere Him as well. Yes, Jesus cleansed us of our sin by dying on the cross, but that doesn’t give us a free ride to go on and sin and think it’s okay. We must obey God’s commandments and tell Him how sorry we are and beg for His forgiveness when we sin.

  6. Sharon says:

    Atozmom, I wished you had not skipped the next week’s class. The young woman may have had questions. Or perhaps, some of the other, ‘more seasoned’ women might have. It could be you opened the hearts of many in the room and got them questioning themselves and their own beliefs. It is hard to believe in the God of Wrath, and that description is often used to deny God at all. But, all that he did is documented in the OT. Just because Jesus came, suffered and died for us, does not mean God could not wipe us out for our sins today, as he did in the past. Thanks for speaking up. That took bravery, in my opinion.

    • Sweet Mama says:

      I agree with Sharon. Go back! Work on the relationships there and build bridges. You never know how God will use your words and whose eyes will be opened and whose ears will hear. You don’t have to “teach” which can be my downfall but listen for the Holy Spirit to guide and direct your words and listen to Him for when to speak and when to listen and when to remain silent. I’m still learning this one myself!!!

  7. Dave Barber says:

    Bless your heart 

  8. Larry E Holm says:

    Thank you for your staying

  9. Rungirl says:

    Amen…this gave me goose bumps and if I had been at your table I would have high fived you!!!

  10. Jessica wright says:

    I think you need to continue the extra bible study, they definitely need your acquired knowledge. God is like our parents, we fear them when we do something wrong even though we know they love us. What is the difference?

  11. Carole says:

    I marvel at how many times you say something that so resonates with my experience. I hope you will return to the small study & keep sharing truth. I know it isn’t easy. I also find that the words I write come out much softer & gentler so I understand the pain you might have in “speaking” the truth but God will season your speech. The world needs the salt & light we have gained through BSF!

  12. teri says:

    Thank you for “risking’ your reputation by speaking the truth. God calls us to do that. BSF has also equipped me to share God’s word, even if it causes discomfort to the listener

  13. Deborah says:

    I am proud of you and stand with you. Too many churches today preach the God of love and not the God of the Bible. My Bible says that Jesus is God so what about Hebrews 13:8? Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever. One of the things I believe this is saying is God’s character does not change.

  14. glenda hughes says:

    Proud of you and your stance on the Word!

  15. LeeAnn Cheeley says:

    God is never angry at the believer when we sin. God could not love us any more than He does right now, no matter what we do or don’t do. Our sins lie at the foot of the Cross where Jesus’s blood has covered them. Now we wear Jesus’s robes of righteousness & that is what God sees when He looks at us. None of this is true, however, for the unbeliever. God’s wrath will be poured out on them as a result of their sin if they do not come to Jesus and believe that He died for them & their sins. Here is a link to read God’s Word concerning the “wrath of God.” http://www.openbible.info/topics/wrath_of_god.
    I would encourage you to humbly return to the other Bible study and share that you are learning more about God each day as you study His Word on your own and then share some Scriptures with these women so they can see God’s character for themselves. This would be a sacrificial, courageous act as you ask God to use you among the wheat & the tares (because we very often don’t know who’s who among us!). God’s blessings on you!

    • atozmom says:

      LeeAnn,

      Most of the verses in the link are NT. I’m talking the God of the OT. And He was/is wrathful. So many people just ignore Him and dismiss His character in the OT as Old Covenant. But we cannot. God has never changed. His character does not change. Yes, He has sent Jesus so we don’t have to be separated from Him.

      If you believe Jesus and God are one, Jesus got mad at the sellers in his temple. He got mad enough to overturn a table! If Jesus gets mad, then God gets mad. Is His wrath directed towards unbelievers? Yes. Believers?

      I believe God does get angry when we sin like I get angry at my kids when they disobey me. That doesn’t mean I don’t love them. In fact, I get angry because I love them so much. I am disappointed in their choices. I believe God does as well. And He will punish me for my sins as we all face consequences. But am I saved and forgiven by grace? Yes. But God still gets angry…

      • LeeAnn Cheeley says:

        1st, God is the same God, NT or OT–we both know that. He has not changed, but what has changed things is Jesus’s death on the cross. We live under Grace, & the OT believers lived under the Law. God’s wrath today is always directed at sin, as it always has been, but because you are under the blood of Christ by the grace of God, He does not see your sin. From last year, we know that it was Abe’s faith that made him righteous. Your faith has made you righteous in God’s eyes. He is no longer angry about your sin. It is gone. 2nd, No, God does not get angry when you sin like you get angry at your kids when they disobey you. Technically, you should not get angry when your kids disobey you. You should lovingly discipline them as God lovingly disciplines you–not in anger, but calmly, in love. 3rd, He is not punishing you for your sins. He is disciplining you to lead you away from sinning again. Yes, you will suffer the natural consequences of your sin, but that is not God punishing you! Yes, God still gets angry, but not at His own children!!! His wrath is always directed at the sin & the sinners who have ignored His gift of Jesus. Again, He does not see your sin anymore (See Ps.103:8-13, with an emphasis on v.12). If He did still see your sins, then why did Jesus die for your sins? 4th, Jesus, clearly, was angry in the Temple because these religious leaders were pretending they loved God. But they didn’t and their greed and false teaching, in God’s name, made God very angry. They did not belong to God & Jesus made that clear. That’s why they hated Him and wanted to kill Him. If you study the word “grace” in the NT & OT, you might see God in a different light. I know many people struggle with this concept, so search it out for yourself and see what you find. P.S. I am not trying to say anyone has free license to sin b/c they are Christians & therefore their sins are forgiven. In fact, Paul soundly denounces this idea in Romans 6:1-7. And Romans 8:1clearly addresses the crux of your question, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Rom.8:3-4 goes on to say that what the Law could not do, God did for us by offering His Son Jesus. That is why we are no longer under the wrath of God: the requirements of the Law were fulfilled in Jesus as He made Himself an offering for our sin. Studying & teaching through Romans in BSF changed my thinking about myself and sin completely many years ago. Hope this all helps.

  16. petedayton says:

    Atoz – so glad you spoke up and didn’t let her comments and thoughts just pass by – better to speak the truth ! we all, at times, wish we had been more gentle but..
    You are right that God is not happy with our sin and may discipline us as you say because He loves us, but as the hymn says “On the cross where Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied” But, He is equally “just” as He is loving.

  17. I have always felt the same as u, that God is a good and loving God, but that doesn’t give us a free pass to continue in SIN. Yes most church’s today preach sugar coating. That God is a big teddy bear and u don’t need to fear Him. Wrong road my friends. Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. He is a just and fair God but our decision making is our choice and we must practice Temperance “self control” life seems long, but not really, one day we will all be called before Him. Please don’t short change yourself in believing untruths. Study the Bible, He wrote it for you and me, so we would have a guide in this wilderness. Peace to all my Brothers & Sisters.

  18. […] much as He will allow me to.  And I try to share Him with others as difficult as this may be (see HERE for a recent story on […]

  19. Kathy H says:

    I agree we should fear God, He will be the final judge of our lives. Another definition of fear however, is to show a healthy respect. Most people don’t do either unfortunately. Wanting a Teddy Bear kind of God is ludicrous at best. That’s not our God. If a person wants a Teddy Bear they should buy one. I fear God in all ways and will continue to be afraid of what he could and would do if necessary, also I have a tremendous amount of respect and love for all he has and will continue to do,

  20. […] persecuted because of my beliefs.  Then I remembered the story I just shared with you all (read HERE) any maybe that could be […]

  21. Marianne Lomax says:

    Good for you. Sometimes it is hard to speak the truth but remember that the HolySpirit will give you the words to say when the time come. I am happy that you were receptive to the urging of the HolySpirit.I hope to be as courageous.

  22. […] because he is here and fulfilling it.  You still must obey the commandments.  (Reflects my post HERE again, doesn’t it?).  Jesus did not come to negate or destroy the word of God He had given […]

  23. Leslie says:

    This is my first year doing BSF… and I LOVE IT!!! I have done several bible studys at my church but nothing compared to BSF…I love how in depth it is and I cant believe it took me this long to join in… Im not sure Revelations was the best first year pick but Im making it lol LOVE YOUR BLOG!

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