What God Wants

Published by DonDavidson on

A couple of weeks ago I talked about what is necessary for salvation. I pointed out that if mere belief were enough, then Satan and his demons would be bound for Heaven, for they don’t merely believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, or that he rose from the dead—they know it.

There’s a reason why the New Testament talks about repentance and faith and obedience and love. God wants much more than our mere acknowledgment of his existence—or even our intellectual acceptance of the truth of scripture. God wants to have a relationship with us.

But God cannot have a relationship with evil. He is good and righteous, and he cannot tolerate wickedness. It’s just not his nature, just as it’s not our nature to breathe carbon monoxide or to eat iron. We must come to him on his terms.

That begins with repentance. We must stop pursuing and embracing evil—which alienates us from God—and turn back to him. Like the prodigal son in Jesus’ parable,[1] we need to cease running away from God and come back to him. And like the father in that parable, God will embrace us when we do.

The next step in building that relationship is to trust God. That is where faith comes in, for to have faith in God or Jesus is to trust them. Throughout the Old Testament God was trying to teach the Israelites to trust him—like Abraham did when God told him to take his family and move to the land of Canaan.[2]

Trust leads to obedience, for when we trust that God loves us and wants what is best for us, we will do what he says, just as a small child trusts and obeys his parents.

The final step is to learn to love God above all else, and to love others as much as we love ourselves. Jesus told us that these are the two foremost commandments.[3] But they are much easier to say and to remember than they are to actually do.

To be clear, this type of “love” is not a feeling, but an action. We are to act with devotion to God and with kindness and consideration toward others, regardless of how we feel. Such love is a mark of true spiritual maturity. It is the goal toward which we should all be striving. This is what Jesus meant when he said that we should “be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”[4]

Of course, salvation does not depend on us attaining such perfection, and none of us will attain perfection in this world or in this lifetime. That is what Heaven and eternity are for.

[1] Luke 15:11-32

[2] Genesis 12:1-5

[3] Matthew 22:34-40

[4] Matthew 5:48


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