VotD 2/19/19


Absolutes like this always make me skeptical, even when they come from the Bible. Really, it’s impossible to please God without faith? Does that mean that a child who doesn’t know God can’t please God? Does it mean that no good thing done by someone who isn’t a Christian doesn’t please God? Clearly it can’t mean those things, because Jesus himself interacted with people who didn’t believe like he did and nevertheless saw the good in them.

We need more context. This phrase is only half the verse, the second half gives the reasoning: It’s impossible to please God without faith because “whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Faith in God – believing God exists – is a prerequisite for a full relationship with God. You can never fully please God without faith. You can never allow God to fully delight in you unless you have a relationship with God. This is starting to make a bit more sense. Not that God is never pleased by someone who loves their neighbor unless that person also has faith, but that someone cannot be truly consider to be a godly person, a person with whom God is well pleased, unless that person doesn’t deny God’s own existence. Not that God isn’t loving and forgiving, but that God desires a relationship, not just good works. Doing good works without having faith in God leaves a lot of good things on the table.