The angels appeared above the shepherds to sing God’s glory and to announce peace on earth to those with whom God was pleased. What about those with whom God is not pleased? Who are they?
I’m a Christian, God is pleased with me. You’re not a Christian, God is not pleased with you. I get peace. You don’t. Is that how it works? Many think so, usually with a caveat or two such as, you’re a Christian if you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, or you have been born again, or you have been slain by the Spirit, otherwise you’re a Christian in name only, but not really, so God is probably not pleased with you.
When I pick up the scriptures to search out what God says is not pleasing to him, this is what I find: oppressing the poor and others, cruelty, acts of injustice and unfairness, and worshiping other gods are on the list. So too are religious practices that claim to worship God but are a self righteous cover for behaving in ways that are oppressive, cruel, unjust and unfair.
As for worship of other gods, most of us are not big on the pantheon of historic gods, except for entertainment or intellectual curiosity, but contemporary gods abound: cars, money, sex, careers, power, social position, clothes, celebrities, sports, drugs, you name it. We worship this stuff. We construct rites to honor them. We sublimate our lives, and the lives of those we say we love, to them. Some of us do it while claiming the name of Christ. Others figure all that God stuff is a fairy tale. These other gods are more available and reliable.
If God creates the world, God loves the world, and God redeems the world from it’s own ways of error and sin, then I don’t believe anyone has to be outside the circle of those with whom God is pleased. Stepping outside that circle is something we do all by ourselves, and it has more to do with our beliefs, attitudes and behaviors than it does with whether we confess Jesus Christ with the correct formula that unlocks the doorway in.
So who is God pleased with. I think God is pleased by those who by word and deed, by what they say and how they live their lives, proclaim the good news that the kingdom of God has come near. I’m not very good at it. It’s a work in progress.