I think a lot of people never develop a full understanding of what it means to please God. Many in America think that just going to church is pleasing God. Many more think that doing good works towards their fellow man is pleasing God. And yet others think that giving money towards programs of benevolence is pleasing God.
While all of these things are good in their own right (when done from a pure motive), these things do not please God. God is not some judge that can be bought off or blackmailed into pardoning people. He is a perfect, just, moral, and righteous Judge. Whatever He does or decides is always the perfectly right thing towards any individual. He always has the person’s best interests at heart.
God will give to each person exactly what they deserve. A person who is a good person in his nature but yet robs a bank and kills someone in the process is guilty of a crime. When he goes to court, he will not be able to say to the judge, “Judge, really I’m a good person. I have a family and my neighbors like me. I’m sorry this happened, and it won’t happen again. Can you just let me go?” The judge would laugh him out of the courtroom and back into his cell.
Yet people think that when they stand before a holy and just God, that He will just turn a deaf ear to their crimes against Him. What crimes, some may ask? Crimes of living for themselves instead of denying themselves – crimes of lusting and all sorts of sexual immoralities [by the way, isn’t it interesting in all the different lists of sins mentioned in the New Testament, that sexual sins always top the list?] – crimes of not living a holy life before God when no one else was looking – crimes of lying, backbiting, un-forgiveness, rebelliousness, etc.
Pleasing God is so much more than most think. So let’s turn to the scriptures and see what God Himself has said to us about pleasing Him. Because many people just think that being a true believer makes them automatically pleasing to God.
Chuck Smith, in his book entitled Why Grace Changes Everything page 102, had this to say: “All we have to do is please God. And what do we have to do to please Him? Just believe in Him and trust in Him. We don’t please God by all of our works and feverish activities. We please God when we believe in Him and trust in Him. That is the gospel of grace.”
Hmmmmmm, I would sure like to know what bible he is reading from. Because the bible I’m reading from has a whole different take on what the gospel of grace really is. Paul is the premier grace teacher in the New Testament. Let’s see what he had to say about what real grace is and what “pleasing God” is really all about.
In 2 Corinthians 5:9 we read that he had a goal in life. What was this goal? “So whether we are at home or away from home, our goal is to be pleasing to him.” At all times and in all places, Paul wanted his living, his thinking, and his speaking to be pleasing to the Father.
Paul believed that he could also please God by the things which he taught. “Rather, because we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, we speak as we do, not trying to please people but God, who tests our motives.” 1 Thess. 2:4 So from this passage we see that he was more concerned with pleasing God than he was at pleasing men.
The truth is not popular folks. And the people who speak the truth will not be very popular either. Who cares? The word of God says that if we try and please men, then we are not the servants of God. Galatians 1:10 says, “Am I saying this now to win the approval of people or God? Am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ’s servant.” If we water down our teachings to not offend people, then we have failed to be the servants of Christ. We must warn people to flee from the wrath to come (Matthew 3:7, Luke 3:7).
We must warn Christians who think that they can live any way they want, and believe anything they want, that they will not make it. And when they say to us, “Judge not, lest you be judged”, then let us say to them, “Twist not the scriptures, lest you be like satan.” Because I have news for you…we are to be judging one another’s living. Jesus was talking to the unsaved, hypocritical Pharisees when He said to them in John 7:24, “Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgement.” They were judging others wrongly. The bible teaches the concept that if you see your brother sinning then you should correct him. “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.” Jesus said that we would know people by their fruit. It’s very simple. Show me a tree not bearing fruit, and I will show you a tree that is cursed. This is what Jesus taught, and Paul, Peter, and James all echoed.
Paul also taught that those who were obeying the sinful nature cannot please God. “Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk (this word “walk” means your living) and to please God; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God…For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in (this word “in” means “to the position of”) holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God.” 1 Thess. 4:1-8
Are you beginning to see a pattern emerging here? Modern day “grace teachers” are diametrically opposed to what Paul teaches.
Some of the grace teachers today are heretics and spiritual serial killers. Listen to what Robert Glenn Gromacki wrote in his Salvation is Forever book: “Sin does not stop the flow of divine grace or remove the past gifts of grace; in fact, it is sin that stimulates grace. It is because of sin that grace is manifested.”
Paul also taught that those who sow to please the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Galatians 6:8 NIV
“No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please Him who enlisted him as a soldier.” 2 Timothy 2:4
Consider this passage deeply: “that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. Col. 1:10. So then, from this we can see that “fully pleasing Him” entails two things. It entails being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. Look at it from the opposite angle…if your not bearing fruit or increasing in the knowledge of god, then you are not fully pleasing Him.
Another brother said it perfectly when he wrote, “Why then do people under the New Testament think that because imputed righteousness is our righteousness in Christ (Rom. 3:22; 9:30-10:4; Gal. 2:16; Phil. 3:9; etc.), they can afterwards turn to evil and/or a wrong plan of salvation and not be spiritually affected to a lethal degree? Clearly, such is the case now. (See Rev. 21:8; 1 Jn 2:24,25; etc.). Without a doubt, imputed righteousness, according to the New Testament canon, does not mean that a recipient can afterwards live according to the sinful nature and not die (Rom. 8:13) or sow to please the sinful nature and not reap destruction (Gal. 6:8)! Also, Paul wrote that we could, because of accepting a wrong plan of salvation, fall from grace and be alienated from Christ to the point that he (Christ) is of no value to us at all (Gal. 5:2,4)!”
God has said in His word that He takes no pleasure in he who draws back from Him. Hebrews 10:38 says, “Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” So we can glean from this portion of scripture that God takes no pleasure in the backslider in heart.
The Greek word “pleasure” that is used in this verse is from the root word “please.” Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” If we will please Him by our faith, then His soul will find pleasure in us.
To live by faith means that your living lines up with God’s word. Because if you are living right in your heart, soul, and mind, then this in turn shows the Father that you believe His word…because you would not be living a righteous life if you did not believe the word. You would not be living a righteous life if you did not love Him. So then…show me someone who is living out God’s word by their living and I will show you someone living by faith.
This is very easy to grasp and understand. “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil…In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God.” 1 John 3:7-10
Folks, just look at the fruit of your living and see if this is speaking about you. If it is…REPENT NOW while there is still time, and turn from all your unrighteousness and pursue that which is holy and righteous. Why did God change His mind in destroying Nineveh? Because Jonah 3:10 says that God saw their deeds in that they turned from their iniquity. They turned!! John the Baptist said to bear fruits that follow repentance. Repentance is a true turning away from any and all evil and following after righteousness. Show me a person who has repented and is still living like the world; and I will show you a hypocrite that drew near to the Lord with his lips only, but his heart was far from Him. Matthew 15:8
1 Peter ends with this phrase, “…this is the true grace of God in which you stand.” Now think about this phrase for just a moment. Peter is saying that what he just wrote about is the true grace of God. It would behoove us to read just what exactly the true grace of God really is. For those of you who like to study to show yourselves approved unto God, please read the following verses from 1 Peter: 1:6-7, 13-17, 22a, 2:11, 15, 21-22, 3:10-12, 15, 16a, 4:1-3, 7,8, 17, 5:2, 8-9. And when you’re through reading those few verses, sit back and say to yourself…”oh boy, so this is what the true grace of God really is.”