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“My God would never send anyone to hell.”

“My God is bigger than all religions.”

“My God is neither Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, or Christian. He is a God for all people.”

Many people think God is whatever they imagine Him to be. Yet when you see God as something like an imaginary childhood friend, you make yourself the ultimate authority and are your own god, fashioned from your own image.

If my state’s governor announced that he was increasing taxes, I could respond, “My Governor cares about me and would never raise taxes,” and refuse to pay them. Yet the revenue secretary would scoff at my response because it does not matter what I say my imagined governor would do. What matters is what the real governor does. So, if he raises taxes, I would have to pay them regardless if I say my caring governor would not have. There is a real governor with real authority, real fines, and real prisons.

Psalm 50 reminds us that:

God is real. Verse one describes Him as “The Mighty One, God, the LORD, (who) speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets.” There is a Supreme Being who “…made the world and everything in it” (Acts 17:24). He is not a figment of our imagination…He is real.

God has authority over all people. “He summons the heavens above, and the earth, that he may judge his people” (Psalm 50:4). God’s nature does not adjust to our whims. He has communicated clearly in His word how we are to live to please Him. He is just and will hold us accountable if we are out of compliance with His instructions. We are accountable to Him, not vice versa.

God is the owner of all things. “I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains and the insects of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it” (Psalm 50:9-12). We are just temporary stewards of what ultimately belongs to God. In reality, we don’t own a thing.

God is love and seeks to deliver us from our sins. Verse 15 says, “call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” We’re all in serious trouble because we’ve sinned and fallen short of God’s righteous standard. But God is love and is anxious to forgive. The New Testament informs us that He is so full of mercy and compassion that He sent His Son to die so that our sins could be completely forgiven and we could be reconciled to Him. We have one chance for salvation, and that is through faith in Jesus Christ.

God will one day reject those who reject Him. “But to the wicked, God says: ‘What right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips? You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you’” (Psalm 50:16-17).

One woman proudly calls herself a “Cafeteria Christian.” She explains that she chooses portions from the Bible that she likes and disregards what she doesn’t like. Yet God will judge according to the written requirements of His Word, not according to our individual preferences. “…you thought I was altogether like you. But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face” (Psalm 50:21).

When we stand before God, we will either be under His wrath or under His grace. It will be a fearful thing to be rebuked and accused by the one true God because there is a real Hell, and we will be without excuse. The choice is ours.

Dr. James Jauncey wrote, “God never burglarizes the human will. He may long to come in and heal, but He will never cross the picket line of your unwillingness.”

I plead with you today to “Seek the Lord while he may found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7).