Be Imitators Of God, Love Your Enemies

If we are to imitate God, then knowing how He will treat His enemies is important. Does God show mercy on all, like it says in Romans 11:32, or does He mercilessly torture unbelievers for eternity?

Consider Matthew 5:43-48:

Love Your Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. For he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what are you doing out of the ordinary? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

If you tie together the parts of that passage, you will conclude that loving your enemies makes you like your Father in heaven. Hating your enemies and only loving those who love you makes you like the tax collectors and gentiles. Instead, Jesus says, “Be perfect, […] as your heavenly Father is perfect.” In other words your heavenly Father demonstrates perfection by LOVING HIS ENEMIES, which is how we should also be. Furthermore, Jesus equates loving your enemies with perfection. To put it another way, if our heavenly Father does not love His enemies then He is not perfect.

Compare this to the standard Christian message taught today which says something more like this: “Show sinners love now so that you can win them to Christ and save their soul from the wrath of the Father, which is unending torture in the afterlife.” It’s as though they take the words of Jesus to be like a sales tip, to schmooze sinners and manipulate them into the safer place so that they avoid the wrath of an angry god.

In other words, be merciful because the Father will be unmerciful. You must be unlike the Father who will torture sinners in flames without end.

If you believe:
  1. We should be like our Father in heaven, and
  2. We should “be imitators of God” (Ephesians 5:1), and
  3. Our Father will burn His enemies for eternity for the sake of torturing them

Then perhaps you would consider this a worship song: “If You Love Someone Set Them On Fire” – Dead Milkmen

If You Love Someone Set Them On Fire – Dead Milkmen

After focusing on God’s forgiveness, I feel compelled to give a disclaimer, similar to how Paul did in Romans 6. “Shall we continue to sin so that grace may abound? God forbid! […]“.

So, I need to be clear: the Bible calls us to repent of our sin and to be reconciled to God. Sin is damaging and deadly. The wages of sin is death.

The question isn’t if you will confess that Jesus is Lord, the question is when you will confess that Jesus is Lord. The Bible teaches that “every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:11). Doing so now, assuming that you repent of your sin, will save you from the damage of continual sinning, and make you one of God’s children. There are benefits that you will receive which will not be given to others.

There are many reasons to repent now but they are beyond the scope of this post. I only mention it in passing so that I am not accused of dismissing the importance of turning away from sin. It is vitally important, but it is not to escape an eternal torture chamber built by an angry god.

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