God Is Not a ‘Gentleman’
I am privileged to be a part of great ministry teams. For instance, I help steward The Majesty’s Men‘s Twitter page as a social media manager. The founder of The Majesty’s Men is Riley Voth, a long-time friend of mine.
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I wanted to let you in on a brief conversation from last week and get your thoughts. A poll was posted, asking whether or not it’s biblical to believe that God is a “gentleman”.
It’s been said that God a gentleman. He will not force himself upon people. Is this what the Bible teaches? Comments and verses welcome.
— The Majesty’s Men (@themajestysmen) October 27, 2018
Now, if you’ve never heard this phrase before, it may sound confusing. The belief that God will never force himself upon people is a popular view many possess.
What does it mean? Why do people believe this?
Most of the time, believing that God is a “gentleman” involves the patience and gentleness of God. He is kneeling before you, offering his grace and forgiveness on a platter. All you have to do is receive it. God is wooing people. He’s not going to force you to dance with him; he’s just extending his hand to you in hopes that you’ll say yes.
You’re probably getting the picture. Now, the tweet asks if the Bible teaches this belief. Does the Bible teach that God is a gentleman that never forces himself upon people?
My simple answer is no. This is not what the Bible teaches.
In fact, I brought this up at one of the Bible studies I lead. The unanimous response from the group was a resounding no.
Several passages come to mind that actually teach about God forcing himself upon people. Is God gentle, patient, and loving? Of course. However, the Lord isn’t concerned about being a gentleman more than anything.
Was God being a gentleman when he sent a giant fish to swallow Jonah for not going to Nineveh? Was God being a gentleman when he converted Saul on the road to Damascus? Was God being a gentleman when he chose Mary to carry, deliver, and raise Jesus?
According to Scripture, the Lord is God and does whatever he pleases. All creation is in subjection to him and exists for his glory.
Jesus, himself, did not try to woo his apostles. He simply chose them.
“After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And leaving everything, he rose and followed him” (Luke 5:27-28).
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you” (John 15:16).
What the Bible shows here is not that Jesus got down on one knee to offer his apostles the chance of a lifetime. The Lord chose his disciples and they followed him.
Now, there is significance to this topic of discussion. The Twitter poll wasn’t posted just because. In fact, I draw two significant things from understanding that God is not a gentleman.
First, God is the all-powerful God. It’s never a fruitful thing to support the idea that God doesn’t possess enough power to accomplish his plans. God’s decree exists and his plans will not be thwarted. God is worthy of mankind holding the highest view of him and his power.
Second, the sweetness of the gospel is better painted when we understand God isn’t a gentleman. The Lord is mostly concerned about his own glory. And yet, the Lord stepped down from glory to become the final sacrifice for sins. And yet, the Father sent his only begotten Son to die. This holds weight and paints a better picture of the gospel.
The higher the view we have of God, his power, and his glory, the clearer the view we’ll have of the gospel.
What do you think of this subject? Any thoughts on the Twitter poll or my vote? I’d love to hear what you think. What Bible verses come to mind for you? Share in the comments below.