Lent | Jonah: Day

A gospel of entitlement

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Today's Text: Jonah 4:1-11, Romans 5:1-21

Text: Jonah 4:1-11, Romans 5:1-21

We left Jonah at the end of chapter 4, throwing a childlike tantrum in response to God’s extravagant mercy on a city full of eye-gouging sinners — the same extravagant mercy Jonah himself received from inside the gut of a fish.

The Bible tells us in Romans 1:16 (and many other places) that Jesus Christ came to save the Jew and the Gentile – everyone – and that there is no distinction. But do you ever find yourself, like Jonah, subscribing to a gospel of entitlement?

Or maybe God’s tender mercy toward anyone He chooses sits quite comfortably with you. But when we realize that our calling is to love others in that same undiscriminating way, are we ever tempted toward a members-only mentality?

We are not entitled to God’s love. Not because of our nationality, not because of our upbringing or our bank accounts, or marital status, or charitable giving or geography, or our care for the widows and orphans, or even how well we can pull off a top bun and bright lipstick.

We are all entitled to death.

Whoa. That felt harsh. But it’s truth (Romans 6:23). I believe we can never even begin to grasp the depth of God’s grace if we do not first attempt to grasp the depth of our need.

And in His great mercy, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for you. And me. And for Jonah. And the people of Nineveh. And all of the unlovables – Christ LOVES the unlovables. We are all the unlovables.

If we walk away from our study of God in the book of Jonah with one thing, you guys, know this: God’s mercy is far-reaching. It is deep and wide and for you. Know that He will pursue you in your self-made messes with storms that seem treacherous, but His love will compel you to leap overboard into the sea of your Savior’s arms. And in a prison of merciful guts, He will make you His. He will make you new.

His mercy is that much. Thanks be to God.

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
(Romans 5:6-8)

  • jaustin35

    Beautiful!!!! The depths of His love: how high and how deep remind me of Chrity Nockels song; Healing Hands……. This past Friday I did chapel for a bunch of toddlers on Jonah in a whole new light and boy did God move……. Thank -you SRT ladies for the study of Jonah, it really woke me up what that chapter in tailed : soooo much more than just a man and a whale……

  • JessicaLoves___

    Lord, may I always remember that I don't deserve your grace any more or less than anyone else — that you give it to all, on the same terms: belief and reliance on you and continually turning from ourselves.

  • I love this so!! –>
    "… God’s mercy is far-reaching. It is deep and wide and for [me]… He will pursue [me] in [my] self-made messes with storms that seem treacherous, but His love will compel [me] to leap overboard into the sea of [my] Savior’s arms. And in a prison of merciful guts, He will make [me] His. He will make [me] new."
    i sometimes forget how far gone i was before i got saved by the grace of God. and no, my testimony isn't "grand" but we are all sinners! we all receive grace and we need to extend our grace to others because we ALL NEED JESUS.

  • The contrast of Adam and Jesus was very interesting. I've never thought of it before. God brought them both to the Earth. Adam sinned and brought death. Jesus died and brought eternal life. Another second chance for God's gift of eternal love. I believe we all are entitled to His gift and salvation, His love! No one more than the other, but all the same. We need to remember what we were taught as children; It's not nice to take our gift and show it so others are jealous or envious; rather we carry it proudly at all time so we can share the greatness of the gift with everyone. So, when they ask about our gift we can tell them they can have this gift too, and it is FREE. Once they obtain this precious gift they too will see that it needs to be cared for, because there is great responsibility that comes with "God's Gift."

    Loving Lord,
    Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your love and mercy. Guide me in using the "Gift" you've blessed me with for your will. Forgive me when I take advantage of your precious "Gift" by falsely using it or keeping it from others when I should be sharing. Help me, Loving Lord, to remember what life was like with out this wonderful "Gift" you've given me. And Lord Jesus, thank you for all the blessings you've given me; as you know the list is long. Be with those loved ones I hold dear to my heart. Scoop them up in your arms and open their eyes so they see the "Gift" of your love. Give me the words, Jesus, to help strengthen their belief and love in You.
    All My Love and Devotion,
    Diane

    IT'S A GREAT DAY!!

  • teawithsb

    How easy it is to view the gospel as one of entitlement. Yet my pride and judgmental nature is the EXACT SAME in God's eyes as abusive mothers, drug seeking pregnant women, and a pious relative. Oh Lord, forgive my pride and my heart. Help me seem these people and others through Your eyes and share Your goodness and grace with them.

  • "There is no comparison between ⌊God’s⌋ gift and ⌊Adam’s⌋ failure. If humanity died as the result of one person’s failure, it is certainly true that God’s kindness and the gift given through the kindness of one person, Jesus Christ, have been showered on humanity… Rules were added to increase the failure. But where sin increased, God’s kindness increased even more. As sin ruled by bringing death, God’s kindness would rule by bringing us his approval. This results in our living forever because of Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 5:15, 20-21 GW)
    Wow.

    Where sin increases, God's kindness increases even more. Guys, that's… that's bold. That's raw. That's strength. The love of our Lord is not cute and warm and nice all the time– I find myself living a life that is often filled with that easy, no-risk kind of love way too often. God's love endures tears and sorrow and horrendous sin– it does the hard stuff, NEVER giving up, even to the point of death on a cross for His loved ones. Lord, help my love and kindness to do the same. To those who are unlovable, unforgivable, disgusting even, give me such a bold, audacious love that they would know without a doubt that I am Your dearly loved child. Give me the knowledge that you are the God of this enduring Love– humble my heart and fill me with it. Praise you, father, for being so quick to save, so willing to endure for our sake. I love you.

  • Nafisa A.

    Hallelujah!

  • Rachel Nordgren

    "I believe we can never even begin to grasp the depth of God’s grace if we do not first attempt to grasp the depth of our need."

    Amen, hallelujah, thank you Lord.
    http://www.ouryellowdoor.wordpress.com

  • Jonah has been a big lesson on Wrongful Entitlement vs Rightful Affections toward's God.

    Thank you SRT contributors–I REALLY enjoyed and benefited from this study.

  • Janee White

    So much to say, so little space, so instead I will just pray.

    Lord, teach us to love the unlovable. Teach us to love the unloving. Teach us to love the 'different' ones – the ones who choose to be different and the ones who were born that way.

    Lord, teach us to love ourselves the way You love us. For if we truly lived as Loved Children, we would love others in a indescribable way. For those of us wiping the fish-guts out of our eyes, Lord restore our sight to see the plans you've set in place for us. For those who have set up camp in the belly of the fish, Lord create a desire in us to blow up these ribs so that we may rise to the surface, and join You in walking on water.

    Lord, forgive us for our acts of entitlement, and remind us of our need for a Savior. Though we didn't deserve it, You chose the Cross for us. Thank You Lord, for loving us in our sin. And teach us Lord, to love others in theirs as well.

  • I never cease to be amazed at the messes that God is so willing to fix. The mercy He lavishly throws upon me, upon us. Daily I am humbled and I pray that I am forever aware of my undeservedness. I am brought to the cross with an insatiable appetite to love like Jesus *because* of His love and acceptance of me. One of my biggest prayers is that I move when God seeks that I do….sometimes it's so easy to say "not now" or to choose to stay in the belly of the whale, but I know that God doesn't live or love in a box, so I'll seek to live beyond my walls! Great study! Thanks so much! ~ B

  • I've struggled with this for a long time. Over the years I've been wounded deeply by my mother and her religious cult (my upbringing). This study reminds me of a struggle I went through this past Nov. I was reading "Wounded. by Gods People" by Anne Graham Lotz and came across 1 Pet 2:23 – "[Jesus] did not retaliate when insulted. He suffered, but didn't threaten to get even. He left his case in the hands of God who always judges fairly."

    I remember complaining, "But Lord, I want you to judge her for the pain and suffering she's caused me and my family, and for how much damage she has done! " and I distinctly remember the thought, "Be careful, for that's the same standard by which I'll judge you."

    Ouch. How grateful I am that we aren't judged by human standards, but God's. How grateful I am for His mercy… Not my own.

    • Janee White

      This brings to mind the months before my dad passed away. A part of me knew he was going to hell – and I believed he deserved it. But a part of me, the Christ in me, knew to pray for him. So I did. I prayed he would get to know Jesus before he met Jesus. I prayed He would see Him as his advocate and not his Judge. I prayed daily, and asked others to join me. In the end, I firmly believe, he went home to be with His Savior. Was I grateful? Yes. But like you, I wanted him to be judged for the pain and suffering he caused me. A part of me wanted him to suffer as me made me suffer. But the Christ in me reminded me that he was suffering – everyday he was separated from Christ, he was suffering. Though it wasn't the suffering my flesh desired, it was for all intents and purposes, worse than what my flesh desired.

      Like you, I am grateful we aren't judged by human standards of our human condition. I am grateful we know the Truth. I pray you find peace in The Lord Christ, and that you continue to stand in the place of Grace. I'm so grateful you shared your heart, it caused me to pause and get real with God about what I really wanted at a very ugly time in my life.

      God bless you sweet lady…

  • "God’s mercy is far-reaching. It is deep and wide and for ME. Know that He will pursue ME in MY self-made messes with storms that seem treacherous, but His love will compel ME to leap overboard into the sea of MY Savior’s arms. And in a prison of merciful guts, He will make ME His. He will make ME new."
    Wow!

  • Choose Happy

    He pursues me despite the messes I make, even though I sin, and inspite of myself! I deserve death and he gives me life; what a loving God!

  • GracenJoy

    "We can never even begin to grasp the depth of God's grace if we do not first attempt to grasp the depth of our need" that is a truly beautiful statement Rachael and so true. I feel this so deeply. It always brings me to tears when I consider how unworthy we all are and yet, BUT GOD still sent His Son to die for us. Without that act of unbelievable mercy, grace, and love we all would have death and nothing else. Thank You Lord for giving us such an undeserved gift. And thank you SRT, I have been following for close to a year and my love for my Father just keeps getting deeper because of it. Love all the comments and insights.

  • Joanne Sher

    I am as undeserving as a serial killer, as the woman who blasphemes God. I deserve death. But God loves me – loves EVERYONE, and gives us the opportunity to receive grace and mercy.

  • Wow!
    Just yesterday my husband and I were complaining about the'entitlement generation' — our kids in their teens and twenties. They feel like they deserve everything they want — don't they understand they have to work for it — that we had to work for — etc,etc.
    Just like us and our relationship with God. We deserve it. We grew up in church. We know what the bible says and we believe it — so we deserve it…..
    But God show us they no, we don't deserve it. But God loves us and saves us anyway.
    Awesome!

  • Raechel – you've hit it on the head for me. THIS is what's been on my heart since I started spending time in Jonah 3 & 4 since Monday for She Shares Truth. Especially Jonah 4 – the chapter has peeled back a layer of my heart to reveal something I've known, but pushed down, for some time. I replied on Morgan's comment above, but even as a special education teacher, called to love on people with intellectual disabilities, I have a hard time loving people who are "different," if there's not an evident reason. This is an ugly part of my heart to share, but I know that this is a safe place to do so, and I know that my sisters won't condemn me here. Thank you for putting into words even more of what I've been struggling with this week through this study. It's given me a lot to think and pray over, repenting, and returning my heart back to the Lord. Thank you.

    • GracenJoy

      I struggle with the same issue. I struggle with loving those who are different. I am making progress but it is very slow. I feel so guilty at times. Thanks for sharing Kat.

    • stinav96

      Thank you for sharing this, Kat! Through today's post and what you've shared, I think the Holy Spirit is working on my own heart about how I respond, not necessarily to intellectually disabled people, but people in my life who are maybe life-skill disabled in some way. It is something I've known, but haven't been sure how to address, and so it has remained on the back burner of things to address in my heart. I'm talking about people whose family lives were so polar opposite to my upbringing that I have a hard time handling what seems like socially inappropriate or awkward behavior and attitudes. All of this, without remembering or acknowledging that I have my own relational inconsistencies that simply aren't as obvious to me or don't seem as urgently inappropriate as theirs. I'm quick to stay out of their "drama" and put a hedge of protection around myself from the chaos that seems to follow around these people God has placed in my life, instead of realizing that these are human lives that God cares about, regardless of the mess, and He wants to love them through me.

  • " We have peace with God through Jesus Christ "……….this sums it up for me. Whatever we do or think or be,it must be through God,s son. Every good thing is provided for us by ourHeavenly Father,and we are not worthy. Almighty God, forgive us and help us to listen,to obey and to really love each other, as Christ showed us. Thank you for your "Amazing Love".

  • Mrscoop62

    Thank you Lord for pulling me out from the belly of the fish full and I was full of guts and slime you still loved me . My desire is to follow,Obey and REACT! to put my trust in you that you will guide me in whatever I do and protect me…. Lord you preserved me for a reason when you could of very well did away with me and he am I to judge. Thank you Jesus " Amazing Love" how could it be?

  • stinav96

    Thank you for telling us (lovingly) how it is! We do NOT deserve the love and mercy of God! We deserve death and hell! Like I've seen throughout the studies on this site, woven into the comments and the posts themselves, BUT GOD!!!

    And you know, as I began studying for yesterday's #shesharestruth, I couldn't put my finger on it at the time, but I was beginning to realize that most Sunday School lessons or even any sermons I'd ever heard on Jonah, I could not remember any of them addressing Jonah's reaction to God's mercy. Jonah made a u-turn. He repented and obeyed. End of story. Thank you, #shereadstruth, for addressing the whole heart of Jonah! Thank you all, Amanda and Raechel, and all those who were faithful yesterday to share on Jonah 3-4, for being the catalyst to understanding Jonah–and knowing God–better. It is not a book I study very much, but this is definitely the best study I've been part of on Jonah and the most I've ever studied it.

  • Glory to God. God is merciful indeed, and we all deserve His mercy. We were forgiven and by grace we were saved, not because of our righteousness, but God's love and kindness towards us. Pray that someone will be granted mercy today, be forgiven and saved. Thanx SRT you guys are amazing.

  • There is a man at church who is different. Looks different, acts different, etc. One of those guys you can tell something is slightly off. It's easy to paste a Sunday morning smile and even give him a hug, but I've been called to love him. That means possibly having him over for a meal, genuinely caring about his life. One day during worship, God revealed to me how I "fake" love toward this man, and how cruel of me, a mother of a child with Down syndrome who expects everyone to love her "different" son, to withhold love from this man, this son of God.

    "Or maybe God’s tender mercy toward anyone He chooses sits quite comfortably with you. But when we realize that our calling is to love others in that same undiscriminating way, are we ever tempted toward a members-only mentality?"

    Thank you for this reminder, Raechel.

    • Kat

      As a special education teacher, I am called to love individuals with intellectual disabilities – this has been a call on my life since a very young age. I find it so easy to love on children, adolescents, & adults with disabilities, & find so much joy in it. However, your experience brings to mind a mentality that I so sinfully hold on to (for what reason??) that I have a difficult time loving and accepting someone who is "different," when a disability isn't evident. I know how twisted and righteous that seems. I hate even writing it in words, because it's something I've only briefly shared with my husband before. This is a safe place, and Jonah's story has continued to shine light on this area of my life, calling me to love those that I find difficult to love. Thank you, Morgan, for sharing.

      • Elizabeth

        Thank your for sharing, Kat. I'm a teacher in a low-income urban area and many of my students come from very rough home lives. I sometimes have a hard time remembering what my students' home lives are like during the chaos of a day and forget to extend understanding, empathy, and love. When you can't see their struggle in tangible, physical ways, it's easy to become frustrated. I know that my experience is different from yours but I just wanted to thank you for sharing. You have one of the hardest jobs and loving the sometimes unloveable children is something that I need to remind myself to do every morning.

  • And in his great mercy, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for you. And for me.
    Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah….. Praise be to our God
    Who is like the Lord, our God

  • Dear Lord God Almighty, Thank you, my precious Savior, for your free gift of salvation. Thank you for Your Son, Jesus. I am not deserving of Your mercy and grace and yet You still give it freely because You love me, the unlovable. I can hardly comprehend it. Praise You, heavenly Father! Thank You! HalleluYAH!

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