Does God Need to Be Appeased? (#626)

As Wayne and Brad reflect on Billy Graham's passing, they find themselves in a discussion about how the Gospel is presented in our day and how it is perceived by the world. Do we serve a God that needs to be appeased, either by the death of his Son, or by us trying to ingratiate ourselves to him? The more Christianity paints the Gospel as God's need to be appeased rather than our need for his affection, the more the Gospel gets distorted. Why has appeasement become the overriding view of our relationship with God? And isn't it the opposite of what the Incarnation and the cross accomplished? If we live by appeasement we'll never discover the wonder of his affection for us.

Podcast Notes:
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18 Comments

  1. I’m amazed at how the Holy Spirit “took over” in this podcast guys. I recall querying you, Wayne, a while back, on the Ecumenical movement (Billy Graham supported and engaged) and something to the effect of how that would fly today. Just love how you and Brad rendered that.

    Having beeen raised in an extreme version of appeasment, just a personal note that it took me 8 years to detox upon leaving that paradym. Now when I mess up, after the Father, I’m the first to forgive myself. Really. To blazes with appeasement and bring on Fatherly love, of which the geatest example IMHO was the Last Supper, and Jesus loving Judas His betrayer to the end.

  2. I am keenly reminded of the Scripture “those that walk in darkness and call it light, HOW GREAT is that darkness,,,”
    If it were not for the Grace of God, my soul phone, and the personal revelation from above, I to, would be where I was, in the midst of a religion without a relationship,,, much like the elder brother in the parable of the Awesome Father,,,,,,, I am so very thankful to have a relationship with my Father, my “Papa”,,, It is still very much a challenge, dealing with my “human condition”,,, but my joy is truly full. I’m thankful it’s not my job to convince another, but to simply do and be what Father nudges me towards, the best way I know how at the time, and relax in the knowledge that I’ll get along JUST FINE,,,,
    Thanks, brothers,,, I thoroughly enjoy listening to your conversations,,,

  3. Just wondering whatyou mean specifically by “is still very much a challenge, dealing with my “human condition”. As I mentioned in my leader there, “Now when I mess up, after the Father, I’m the first to forgive myself. Really.” I may feel badly about however I may have hurt the Father’s loving heart, but knowing in my “knower” that He loves me no matter what, makes it that much easier to forgive myself. Y

    You talked about revelation. To me, that means the Holy Spirit taking my intellectual knowledge of so-called “truth”, and brings it into radiant life and meaning deep down in my heart. Knowing that I know that I know He loves me goes beyond words, can be experienced, even while not fully understood.

  4. As I listen to this episode, I am reminded of some thoughts I had after re-reading the account of Adam & Eve in the Garden.

    I asked friends for their thoughts to this; “What separates us from a relationship with God?”
    Most responded with the standard institutionalized response centered on “sin.”

    As I re-read the passages, it seems God had a relationship with His children up until the point that they felt SHAME.

    Shame gets in the way of healthy relationships.

    Looking over the Old Testament, God tried to help us appease our sense of shame.

    Religion taught us to appease God (which kind of worked to FEED shame).

    Jesus taught and sacrificed himself to REMOVE shame.

    Your thoughts?

  5. Listening to this PodCast made me think of the scriptures: They will know we are Christians by our love, we love
    Him because He first loved us, and those who have been forgiven much love much. It seems to me as God’s true Church matures, she will absolutely know she is loved, and therefore she truly will know how to love God, her neighbor & herself. Christ will be lifted up and will draw all men to himself. 🙂 I still believe the fear of the Lord is so important. It is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy one is understanding. When we understand, I believe we can come to the place where perfect love drives our fear. Yet if we are Hypocrites or retched, blind & naked and don’t know it, the fear of the Lord which leads to the love of the Lord really may save us. God disciplines those He loves. I heard someone recently say that when Jesus stands at the door and knocks He has a basket full of Gold, White Garments, and salve for our eyes – the cost is opening the door.

  6. And now I have another thought.

    We assume that God “kicked us out of Eden” as punishment.

    What if we removed for our protection? Imagine if the human race had next eaten of the tree of everlasting life and then became doomed to live forever feeling shame…

  7. Nailed it, fellas!

    That was a “drop mike” podcast…but please come back!

  8. I’ll try to keep this short short. Last night I was in the wee small hrs catching up on reading through OT. Joshua’s upcoming conquering and slaughtering of nations in entering the promised land. Previously I had plodded through these scriptures sort of mechanically for the purpose of just getting through.
    Last night after reading I had this Ugh! feeling in my spirit, but called upon my God to renew my conviction that He was a good God, knowingthat in the morning I would need more help in reconciling the God of the OT with Jesus.

    At my usual waking hour/devotional time I made a bee line for the computer, and almost immediately I hit a site
    entitled: Season 2, Episode 009: Reconciling Old Testament God vs. New Testament Jesus.
    It can be heard at
    https://www.mylifetree.com/podcast-reconciling-old-testament-god-vs-new-testament-jesus/
    That hit the spot for me.
    It’s by two very seriously committed deep thinker/academics/belivers that communicate in a very understandable and amicable way, with a truly marvelous rendering of the topic as they struggled through it. And they did struggle.

  9. I liked this podcast a lot. I’ve been living and becoming deinstitutionalized for 15 years or so. I love how you said living differently helps you to think differently. We often see alternatives or the margins of society only when exposed to them either by our own experience, or those of someone close to us. Choosing a new path is also an option but the mainstream can be so addictive it’s hard to challenge ourselves into a new way on our own volition.

    Anyway, I am glad to say that my journey has helped me like myself a lot more than I used to and I feel more relaxed and free from expectations of the world but I guess I’m still wondering how to disentangle myself from a deep fear of reconnecting and being known.

    For me, its easier to be contrary than it is to be accepted. So it is easier to be different than to be similar. I’m afraid of group-think taking over, even if it’s a group I like. Or that I’ll actually be loved and accepted. Because that means I fit into a group.

    I want desperately to fit into a community and to be known, but not one where I’m locked into one segment or thing. I want community while still being allowed to be different or hidden.

    Now I know that nobody will have time to focus solely on lil old me but can you see the dilemma? How do I reconnect after disconnecting? Trading one thing for another. Do others have this dilemma? Thoughts?

  10. For an awesome read on that check out
    Dear Church, Here’s Why People Are REALLY Leaving You
    byJohn Pavlovitz

    I ditched the institution in ’91 and haven’t looked back. Spent 8 years in the wilderness detoxing. Then got into small house groups but that was a downer ’cause everything would seem cool until the institutional stuff started to resurface, just enough to make a mini institution to replace the “normal” or mega one.

    But God has been soooo faithful to bring a person or persons into my life at exactly the time I needed that most. And never have I been more blessed that of late, stumbling into a group of some dozen men, sincerely seeking to know Him better and experience more of His love. There are institutional overtones, but the love framework we are building in fellowship seems to mute all that, and God has really shown up in our gatherings.

  11. Hi guys,

    Don’t you think there is another element here besides the appeasement/cure dichotomy? What about justice? Is it not possible that God as the sovereign of the universe must, according to his position and character, uphold justice? Is it not reasonable that even though God is not angry or vindictive that he must in fact see that justice is done in respect to all of the suffering our sin has inflicted? In other words, a payment is needed not to appease God’s temper but to meet the requirements of the justice God must uphold. If so, then the cross is BOTH curative and legal at the same time. It was Satan’s design to drive a wedge between God’s love and his righteousness, to try to box God into an impossible dilemma. That is why the cross is such a triumph. It allows God to be both just and justifier. Check mate. God’s wisdom is fully vindicated as are his love and justice.

    • Hi Joe. I believe God is just and at the end of the day love and justice will come together in him. However, I am convinced that I have little idea what his justice looks like. If it’s just an innocent victim had to die to satisfy Gods’s need for justice, then that just seems like vengeance. I think of that every time someone gets the death penalty for murder, and the family cries that “justice has now been served.” Really? Did it bring back their dead daughter, or heal the pain of their grief. I’m thinking that God’s view of justice is not retributive, but restorative–healing the victim and setting things right in the universe. How he’ll eventually do this I’m sure is very different than any of us might imagine. That’s why I don’t see penal substitution as being a route to God’s justice. In the end it’s just vengeance, and there is no one God need to “pay off” to meet some righteous requirement he is bound to. None of that makes sense to me biblically. God loves.That I know. God will have justice, that I know too, but I don’t think that justice is anything broken humanity can conceive of.

  12. Thank you Wayne for your thoughtful response. Totally agree that we don’t know what God’s justice looks like or how it works out ultimately. However, I’m not sure I can really separate justice from the cross entirely or that my lack of total understanding of his justice means that it was not involved in Calvary at all. In He Loves Me, I seemed to understand you to say that the retributive view “only tells part of the story” (for example page 126), but not whole story or the most important part. Would a more accurate framing of your current position be to say that you see no element of justice in the cross at all and that it is 100% curative from your point of view, or have I again misunderstood? Thanks!

    • To answer your question, I would never separate justice from the cross. Love always seeks justice and setting things in order that are out of order. My response was to separate justice from vengeance or punishment. That doesn’t get to justice. Justice is thwarting the aggressor and restoring the victim. Punishment may do the first, but does nothing about the second. Most people I hear who talk about ‘justice’ at the cross, is God getting some satisfaction or debt paid off in the tormenting of his Son. That’s what makes no sense to me. I don’t think God “needs his piece of justice”, but rather the Devil needed to be disempowered, sin and shame needed to be eradicated, and we needed to be reconciled to the Father we had become estranged from.

  13. Why does the church today focus so INCREDIBLY much on sin? I went to my daughter’s Awana group for parents’ night, and the message they gave the kids there that night boiled down to a lecture on sin management (for 5 to 15 year-olds!). Why?! If I were an unbeliever hearing “the gospel” today for the first time, I would think the main point is not God, not Jesus, but SIN. Is that truly God’s focus? No! But it’s ours . . .

  14. If the focus is on sin then guilt is induced from whence comes control. People don’t relish the concept of living with guilt and their remedy is work, work, and more work, by which the system will be appeased, the leaders will be happy, cash will flow, new programs will be started and the beat goes on and on and on and on and on. For you younger readers that’s from a hit forever ago by Sonny and Cher. There you have it, the remedy for sin is to get rid of the guilt by whatever means EXCEPT the cross. The bloody cross of Calvary upon which Jesus was hung, to reconcile us to His Father. But no, the modern approach is contrary to such. I had the privilege of witnessing to an elderly neighbor this morning. His biggest “hitch” was with the churches. What a blessing to know that I can be the body, believer, gathering, etc., to him. The “C” word switches a lot of people off. Wonder why?

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