A person's perception of God will inevitably have a huge influence on the way they live their life. If someone sees God as some kind of resident policeman, who is perpetually lurking menacingly just waiting for them to break the law (sin) so that he can punish them, then the idea of living their whole life under his watchful gaze becomes a thoroughly miserable prospect which will very likely lead to excessive legalism and the consequent misery that comes with it. Conversely, if a person perceives God as a kindly old gentleman who will turn a blind eye or make excuses for them when they sin then they are deluding themselves and sinning will, consequently, become far too easy for them.
It is important to remind ourselves regularly that, as theologian Tom Wright says, 'God is not a gloomy, penny pinching God Whose only concern is to make life difficult and salvation virtually impossible.' God is full of grace, love, mercy and understanding. Again Tom Wright: ‘The Kingdom that Jesus preached and lived out was all about a glorious, uproarious, absurd generosity’. The gospel of Jesus Christ is all about God's grace. His unmerited favour to us all. Paul reminds us that 'God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (Romans 5.8). The love of God is for all people and He gladly welcomes anyone who will turn to Him and receive His gift of forgiveness, freedom and new life in Christ. As Luke's gospel triumphantly exclaims, '…there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents' (Luke 15.10).
Love and blessings,
Steve & Pauline