The picture of God we’ve been conversing about in this book is very good news to some of us. But it is far from new news. It was presented centuries ago throughout the sixty-six books of Scripture, even in Old Testament times: “You, Lord, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you.” Isa 26:3, GNB. As far back as the days of Isaiah, we are assured that if only we would trust our God, we would have this perfect peace. According to Hebrews, this good news has been presented as far back as the Exodus: “For we have heard the Good News, just as they did. They heard the message, but it did them no good, because when they heard it, they did not accept it with faith.” Heb 4:2, GNB.
So the good news can be turned down. God’s chosen people in the Promised Land, with whom prophet after prophet pleaded, were not, as a whole, won back to trust by the evidence God presented. They did not find this peace, this “Sabbath-like rest,” which is available to us when we are won back to trust (Heb 4:9). This picture of God will do us no good either if it does not win us back to trust and a willingness to listen to our God.
So at the close of our twenty conversations, what position have you taken in the great controversy over God’s character and government? Can you agree that God is not the kind of person His enemies have made Him out to be? That He is indeed an infinitely powerful, but an equally gracious person, who values nothing higher than our freedom and our peace, peace with God and with each other? Such peace is not produced by force or fear. That is why God pleads with us gently, but also urgently, in the words of Paul, “Let everyone be fully persuaded in his own mind” (Rom 14:5).