What Does God Like?

Daniel C. Juster, Th.D.

Never have I seen so much confusion in the world. Here are some examples: Our western political leaders continue to claim that Islam is a peaceful and loving religion. So, why are so many bombs going off and so many people being killed? Some would say that Islam has been hijacked by radicals who do not represent its real teachings. Really? Is this true in the well documented light of Islamic origins and Mohammed's own example? Western nations continue to allow Muslim immigrant populations to expand, populations that do not assimilate into the larger society, but foster fundamentalist Islam. The nations are blind to the danger.

Christopher Hutchins and Richard Dawkins write books indiscriminately attacking religion as bad for society. Never do they admit that committed Christians built hospitals, gave us modern medicine and fought the battles that eliminated slavery and child labor. The film Amazing Grace, about the life of William Wilberforce, tells the story of one such example. Without Christianity the world would be much more barbaric. Yes, there have been failings in institutional Christianity and there has been significant Anti-Semitism in the history of the Church. Despite that, to think that a world without Christianity would be a kinder and gentler is mindless nonsense!

Our Western relativism teaches us that nothing is either right or wrong, or ultimately true or false; there are no moral absolutes. Therefore, all religions are equal. What rubbish! Last month, those who watch cable news programs were shocked to hear that teenage girls, some as young as 12 and 13, have been using their cell-phones to take and send pornographic photos of themselves in order to attract boys. Yet our society, in its relativism, enforces no standards on pornography. We have a media that constantly extols the sensual and the pornographic image. What are these teenagers to conclude concerning what society values? All of this is the sad result of the decline of biblical ethics in our society.

Recently, a very sad event took place: the signing of a joint statement between Muslim and Christian leaders claiming that the two religions are in fundamental agreement on who God is, claiming they worship the same God and believe in caring for the poor. How inane! Islam teaches caring for the poor Muslim, but not kindness for the poor infidel! The statement fosters a weakening in Western resolve and skirts the real issues. How much better it would have been if both sides had signed on to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This brilliant statement came out of that brief period of moral sanity after the Holocaust. Its stunning moral clarity is a credit to those who composed it and those who embraced it. (You can find it through any Internet search engine.)

One of the key authors of the text was a great Christian statesman by the name of Charles Malik. Malik was a Lebanese Christian who led the American University in Beirut and presided over the U.N. General Assembly. In the late 1960s I was first introduced to Dr. Malik through a marvelous article defending Christian belief in Christianity Todaymagazine. The United Nations declaration reflects his great mind and heart. It defends human dignity, freedom of religion, and the right to change and propagate one's religion. If the Christian and Muslim leaders had signed on to this statement then we would have had some substance and progress. Instead, what they signed was nothing more than a ruse because the Muslims will interpret it differently in their own context. We in Israel who constantly face Islamic terror know this story well.

A Simple Answer To Confusion

In reflecting on these matters, I wondered if there was some answer, a simple idea that could cut through the confusion. I recalled a discussion I had with an elderly Jewish resident of our Florida neighborhood. He was complaining about the bad things done in the name of religion: the thieves, the televangelists, the pedophiles and many more. I told him that only real religious belief, not just an external show, is a powerful motivation for behavior. The great philosopher Immanuel Kant argued that only belief in God, freedom and life after death, is sufficient to produce a moral society. The idea of reward and punishment after death was, to Kant, necessary to motivate good behavior. Belief in the afterlife is essential for moral stability because not all sins are punished in this life. The final reckoning is determined in the hereafter. Without God and the afterlife we are in severe trouble as well noted by Paul, "If only in this life we have hope in Messiah, we are to be pitied more than all men." (I Cor. 15:19)

Belief in God is not enough. We have to know what God wants of us. What behavior does God like? If a person truly believes that God likes blowing up innocent men, women and children in order to spread Islam, and that a great eternal reward awaits those who do so, then the results are all too painfully obvious. Some argue that Islam and Christianity do not worship the same god. Well, both refer to the One who is the Creator of all. I avoid this question and say that if Islam is slandering who God is, then those who teach such slander against God are in deep trouble concerning their eternal destiny. If we truly believe that we are to love our enemies, and to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, the results are also predictable and manifest. Indeed, the Sermon on the Mount is the great charter of kind and godly behavior toward others. It is the greatest summary of what God expects of our behavior. The Jewish Scriptures provide us with the knowledge of God and His will!

An Immigration Answer

Such a simple argument slices through the confusion and answers all kinds of puzzles. It solves the problem of immigration in Western nations. The state cannot require particular doctrines for its citizens, such as believing in the atonement and resurrection of Yeshua, but it can require an ethical position. All religions are not legal and should not be. For example, some religions practice child sacrifice, and this cannot be tolerated. In the same way, any people who adhere to a religion that teaches violence and destruction as the way to spread their religion should not be candidates for immigration. I greatly disagree with the Dalai Lama in doctrine, but he would endorse the biblically influenced Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The test issue is what we believe that God or the powers of heaven desire in our behavior. We believe that God approves of sex, but only within covenant marriage. God likes kindness to the poor. God likes enforcing moral standards in the Body of Believers.

The question for the many religions that believe in life after death is, "What behavior do you believe will be rewarded?" Religions that are good for society are those that seek to practice the ethic revealed in the Torah of Israel and taught by Yeshua. This ethic is reflected in the U.N. Declaration. If a religion teaches that God approves what is truly evil, we must fight that religion with all our hearts while loving the people who are in bondage to that religion. The non-religious should have to sign on to the same ethic to immigrate. Isn't it amazing that the U.N. soon stopped enforcing the U.N. Declaration for those nations who joined it? What a difference could have been made if enforcement had continued!

Sadly, Christians today are not in agreement as to what God likes. Discipling community? Independence? Submission to an eldership? Opulent living through faith confessions? Real biblical prosperity? Acacophony of teachers has confused believers as to what God likes. May God restore us to the original Jewish contextual meaning of the New Testament so we can line up with what God truly likes! Our future depends on it.

By Daniel Juster

Dan Juster leads the overall ministry Tikkun International. Donate to Tikkun International.

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11:20 04Jun08 Robert Bell -
God said what He likes and demands of mankind in Micah 6:8

12:17 04Jun08 Carla -
This article is excellent. It is time for ALL who believe in the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to be committed to the truth. It is imperative that while we cannot accept the beliefs of Islam we are to LOVE "the people who are in bondage to that religion". What a great solution to the immigation problem. Maybe if America & the UN still enforced the declaration more souls would be set free to hear the truth? Thank you for sharing...

13:32 04Jun08 Linda Johnston -
A friend of mine once said that the Bible is not hard to understand, it says very plainly the dos and don'ts. I thought that was very true, so why is this such a problem in our lives to do what it says. What the Lord showed me was this: when the word of God doesn't fit into our life style then we make it fit, then all of a sudden the Bible become very hard to understand! It says all through the word of God that it is not an easy walk, He has never held that part back from us. We need to come to the end of ourselves to get to the beginning of God.
This is a very good and though provoking message; please continue to speak plainly and direct as the Lord leads.

14:39 04Jun08 Andre Tavares -
Most of people don't know, but in the end of WW2, when the western powers made conferences to stablish the principles of what became known as The New Order (UN included), a group of catholic bishops, protestant pastors and reverends, and American rabbis, seeing the changes of times, sought to those authorities and submitted a petition and a project to the inclusion of human rights issue as part of new world policies. So, because of those religious men, or by their initial influence, we have a human rights document held by the most important worldwide organization, UN.
I told this history to say that those clergymen done what our rabbis say what G'd, through the Torah, the Prophets, Yeshua and his disciples, requires of us: to be human and made the world more human. And, of course, to be human involves to know who G'd is, His character and nature. Islam misrepresents and misunderstands G'd, so misunderstand the true meaning of humanity. So, the knowing of G'd, as said the prophet, must overflow the world to complete shalom.

15:27 04Jun08 Ashlee -
Thank you so much for your timely article, Mr. Juster! Our nation needs to hear this and act accordingly. The sad truth is,we are now beginning to reap what we have sown. Somewhere along the way, it was forgotten that gentile believers are supposed to agree with the God who revealed Himself to Israel. We are supposed to submit to a Jewish King - now and forevermore. We are to be like Ruth, grafted in to a Jewish promise, forsaking all other pagan gods and traditions in order to testify of our love and commitment to Him and His ways. The more comfortable we (Western Christians) get with a "religion" that seems to provide the best of both worlds (gentile and Jew), the more comfortable we get with all other religions. Believers in our nation are being faced with their compromising belief systems - and the results are not pretty. If we truly believed in and followed the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Islam wouldn't have been able to come in and flourish the way it has. It's just as true for nations as it is for individuals: if we love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, we will love others as ourselves. Then, the Kingdom of God will come and manifest itself in us and others will be able to see who God really is and what He is really like. When we don't trust in His ways, it is much easier for everyone to come to their own conclusions and "create" a god of their own design; or believe in a god someone else creates. Thank you for bringing clarity to an issue that is pressing more and more on believers of this nation: we either want all of the one true God or none of Him!

17:04 04Jun08 Tracy Crossett -
This is a very well-written article. Jesus, our Messiah, says if we love Him, we will obey His commands. The greatest command is that we would love, AS HE LOVES. This is NOT a passive, doormat love! This is the ferocious, passionate Agape of the Creator of the Heavens and the earth, who made us in His Image, and HATES how the devil has trashed His precious creation! As we see these signs, the increase of the birth-pangs, let us remember the Lord Himself saying, Rejoice! Look up! Our redemption draws near!

17:06 04Jun08 anonymous -
I agree with Mr. Juster on this article "What does God like?" and especially with the point that Christian beliefs, if grounded in Old Testament Jewish teaching, fosters or should foster moral & loving behaviour. But a question I would like to put to the author is what about abortion and homosexual partnerships? Here in Canada, when on these subjects, Christian beliefs are viewed as negatively as you view the violence-encouraging aspects of Islam. If one stays in the bubble of the church, the conflict isn't felt, but if in discussions with the general community these two subjects are markedly opposed to Christian beliefs. These topics beg the opposite question, "What Does God Not Like?" With same sex couples now able to marry, simply stating that God likes sex as long as it's in a covenanted marriage doesn't address the emerging grey. Other emerging greys from this are divorcees re-marrying, those marriages covenanted by a Justice of the Peace rather then a minister, couples just living together who after 6 months are, by the eyes of the law, married to a common-law degree.
Not to mention the whole Abortion issue. It is such a hot topic here that neither side can get close enough to touch on and look at it at all. Talk about grey. The mother's rights against the baby's rights. I do believe in traditional Jewish culture that if a pregnant mother was attacked or hurt in some way that made her loose the child she was awarded recompense if the child was past three months. Why not at least follow that lead and have people from both camps compromise to allow abortion up to 3 months? Any movement on this would be good. But again, "What does God not like/like?"

  -- Dr Juster replies: These things are not gray as you note. The great point is that the Bible teaches us what God likes and what He likes will be behavior that leads to the ultimate in human fulfillment. Abortion is violence against the unborn and demeans humanity. It coarsens life and comes for a self centered idea that the woman has rights to a level of unprecedented selfishness. We have a unity in Jewish and Christian understanding on this for thousands of years. Humans can support any perversion and call it good just in the past, people have called it good to murder the Jews.
Secondly, with regard to homosexual relationships; not only does the Bible teach it is wrong along with divorce in the New Covenant. Natural theology also shows it. The great philosopher J. Budizowski says in his great book, What We Cannot Not Know, that everyone knows that homosexual sex is wrong, but they suppress the knowledge.

17:19 04Jun08 Larry McAfee -
Malachi says the day of the Lord will be a winnowing fire. The wheat and chaff on the Temple Mount will be tossed into the air and what is solid will abide unharmed. What is chaff will be burned by the wind of the Holy Spirit and fire. Jesus said would he find any faith left when he returned. It will be that difficult.
Jesus said in Matt. 24 the sign of the end times would be deception! In Luke 18:9 Jesus asked which went away justified, the tax collector or the Pharisee? God can not give us something we do not want. Jesus said an evil and adulterous generation seeks for sign and wonders. We are a greedy abortion loving gay pride, covenant breaking generation, much like the first time Jesus came. On one hand the Gospel includes prosperity as well as the cross; the seduction comes on the superficial definition of prosperity to only mean wealth. 1 Timothy 4 promises us a spirit of power and love and a sound mind; not a spirit of fear. Fear is different from a spirit of fear. The spirit of fear and coming judgment comes from shame and guilt that has even been forgiven; by the enemy of our soul to rob us.
The power of the Holy Spirit needs to be asked, seeked and knocked for. The Mind of Christ needs us to renew and replace taking every thought captive in order to be victorious and not victims. The love of God needs to abide in order to produce the fruit of the Spirit. The love of many will grow cold in the end times. Doctrines of demons like evolution do not need to be intellectually retaliated, but acknowledged for what they are.
Repent, believe and receive is what we are supposed to do. We have the gift of repentance. The devil believes Jesus is God, but he can not repent. When we repent and come to believe, we become religious and try to perform instead of receiving forgiveness for our shame, guilt and darkness. We respond to God's law like we did to our mother who always wanted us to clean our room; instead of toward someone with whom we have fallen in love. It may be the same law, but the heart has been transformed.
We are saved by faith, which is manifested by producing righteous works of obedience not religious performance which makes us proud about not being grasping, unjust, adulterous like the rest of mankind, and particularly that we are not like that thief who is beating his chest in shame afraid to even raise his eyes to heaven saying "God be merciful to me a sinner".
We spend most of our time trying to overcome the fruit of the enemy in our life: greed, pride, rejection, rebellion. We will one day have to conquer the enemy himself. Then we will know the glory of the king and his kingdom.

18:38 04Jun08 Max Legg -
The above colomn is an excellent letter, and I agree wholeheartedly with the views expressed therein. Two books evey westerner should read, including the Bible, are; "Islam and Terrorism" by Michael Gabriel and, "Secrets of the Koran" by Don Richardson. The West is being duped by Islam. We need to wake up, and rise up, and speak the truth.

19:08 04Jun08 Victor Relf -
A good clear statement of fact and good sense but for most of the world their eyes a blinded and their minds moved by hostile forces. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood ..."

19:16 04Jun08 anonymous -
Congratulations. Very good article concerning the vision of Christian and Muslim religions.

19:32 04Jun08 Kenny Cartwright -
Excellent!! May I copy it and share it?? We Americans are being duped! I have read some of the q'oran and find it to be very violent toward Jews and Christians. It is not a religion of peace!!!

  -- The Webmaster replies: We prefer that you should forward a link to the article on the website rather than copy the article itself. You can always email us to request some paper copies of the newsletter if you want a physical medium to give to people.

07:43 05Jun08 Reuel S. San Pedro -
How then must we deal in this present life ... abortion, crime and liberalism in our society called USA? The good that we do in the entire world, seen as Capitalism and Propaganda to spread democracy is not enough. We must point the entire world to the saving knowledge of God and His Future plans to live with us eternally both Jews and Gentiles through the name of Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus Our Messiah. We must educate our legislature, judicial constituency and especially the Presidential branch of government the awesome power of Yahweh -- that the Judeo-Christian Ethics is the absolute rule of life and doctrine but especially of practice. That both Jews and Gentiles in Yeshua be united in prayer, intercession and in walking the life of the anointing. God bless America and let these blessings be upon those who claim their Messiah to be Yeshua. Thank you for the information, Daniel Juster. We must seek the Father's Heart for our nation and all nations of the world to usher in the Kingdom of God on earth because He is truly sovereign in all His Ways and we are Kingdom citizens of His World.

15:10 06Jun08 Hugo Ortega -
Dan speaks the truth in love. Alas as it is written in Paul's writing to the Romans, the truth of God is denied. Even Islamists believe in the law of Moses but they do not follow it. It seems they would rather have their ears tickled by the fiery sermons of their Imams. It is by the power of the Ruach Ha Kodesh (the Holy Spirit) that people's hearts and minds will be changed, those who the Sovereign Lord chooses. Living righteously before God is what He wants for those who are true believers. Then the fruit of our lives will show forth in the Fruit of the Spirit, starting with love. Keep on sharing the truth of God's word.

07:37 07Jun08 Charlayne Crawford -
This is why the scriptures say "Come out of her my people"! As for the article, teaching the world that islam is evil is very much needed especially where we in the US want to love and accept everything that comes down the pike. We are lukewarm and we will be spewed out for it - but we need to teach the name of G-d too! Thanks for this article! It was a fantastic read!

20:37 08Jun08 Mike -
What is the enduring truth of the Lord?

  -- Dr Juster replies: God's word is truth. So any thing that is God's word endures.

07:16 09Jun08 Jane Oloo -
It is indeed true that Islam's onslaught will not waver until the eyes of the nations are opened to see it for what it truly is, and your article goes a long way to begin to do just that. However, the truth concerning the church must also be spoken. The institutionalized religion that inspired men such as Wilberforce has reached its end. What we need is Israel. There is a portion of the knowlegde of HaShem and His Word that only The First Borns of God have. It is time to stretch our hands and take hold of the Jews and say "We know that HaShem is with you."

01:28 21Jun08 anonymous -
"In the same way, any people who adhere to a religion that teaches violence and destruction as the way to spread their religion should not be candidates for immigration." Would this rule out all Muslims as candidates for immigration or only those who subscribe to more fundamental or radical forms of Islam? How does a government determine what brand of Islam a person subscribes to?

  -- Dr Juster replies: That is a big question. If a Moslem seeks to immigrate he could sign a statement that he absolutely holds to a modern version of Islam that officially rejects violence as part of spreading the faith and keeping people in the faith. There could be mosques as an example; reformed mosques.

14:30 23Jun08 Sharon Hodges -
If we as believers follow the Lord with all our hearts, then we will not be deceived by anything or anyone. We as believers should unite in prayer for all the unsaved souls in this world. Anyone can say they are a Christian; I would rather say I am a believer serving the Lord, and letting His light shine through in everything I do and say.

18:13 28Aug12 Gabriel -
This article has been long written but still remain excellent. This is just a solution to what we are facing presently in Nigeria on the issues of so-called "Boko Haram Muslims" busy bombing churches and killing Christians at Sunday services.

Also in this issue of the newsletter:

Marty Shoub: Harvest of Asher
Happenings At Tents of Mercy
Eddie Santoro: THE CALL Jerusalem 2008