What kind of God do you serve? Most people would quickly respond, "The God of the Bible," but is that always true? Is it possible that some invent the kind of god they want, much like those in times of old?
The prevalent picture of God by most people today is a kindly, old grandfather, who smiles and blesses everyone in every aspect of life. He is quick to hear every prayer, deeply understanding and compassionate. He naively and gently laughs off our indiscretions, being too loving to condemn anyone. His patience knows no end, as he warns and threatens. He is too loving to send anyone to hell. He may or may not see what we do, but our sins really do not matter much to Him. In the end, He pardons all, no matter how badly one has lived, and ushers us all into heaven.
No one wants to diminish the inexhaustible love and grace of the God of heaven, but the above picture of a god is not the God of the Bible! The God of heaven is a just God, who recompenses every man according to his deeds (2 Corinthians 5:10). He has a cross for us to bear, and holds us accountable if we do not bear it. Jesus said, "Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:27). He also said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 7:14).
The truth of the matter is that God responds to us as we respond to Him. Paul reminded the Christians in Rome, "Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off" (Romans 11:22). God doesn't want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9), but for those who choose to reject Him and His grace, judgement awaits (John 3:36).
It all comes back to the real issue of whether we wish to accept the God revealed in the Bible, or wish to manufacture one of our own. The God of Scripture doesn't turn His back on sin, but throughChrist offers forgiveness for sin, but for those who reject His offer of forgiveness, there is a promise of wrath (Romans 2:6-11). What you find with God depends on how you come to God. If you come to Him as He asks, you will find more than enough love, grace and mercy to last today, tomorrow and eternally.