What is God like?

4 04 2019

Son of God 6

My theological training and understanding of God was that He was super holy, a consuming fire, lived in heaven, and could not stand sin. I was told I needed to “fear” Him because of what He could do to me. Jesus was sent by God to earth to be His “appeaser” on my behalf by being the kind and subservient person who willingly died for my sins. God, full of anger at the sin in my life, was satisfied by the death of His Son so I could escape going to Hell. However, I couldn’t take His mercy for granted. I still needed to show God that I deserved the “grace card” by pleasing Him or I would wind up losing the deal and fall back into God’s judgment.

Today, I see God in a new light, largely due to seeing Jesus differently. For example, if Jesus was the perfect revelation of the Father (as God’s Word says) then what should that tell me about God? Furthermore, Jesus said to His followers, “If you see me you see the Father”(Jn.14:9), and, “I and the Father are one”(Jn.10:30). If Jesus and the Father were one in being and appearance then could He be who the Father God really is? Could there be any aspect or a side of the Father that wasn’t revealed by Jesus?

The traditional doctrines of Christianity would lead you to think that Jesus was merely acting as the middleman between humans and God. If, on the other hand, we take Jesus at His word regarding His unity with the Father, then we have to conclude something altogether different about who He was and what He did. He was more than just a super, sinless human. He was God made visible.

The shame and guilt brought on man by Adam’s choice in the garden changed how man saw God. Yes, He was an ultra-holy being, full of judgment, and a consuming fire – to the sinner. Like Adam, man has always “hid” from God because guilt filters the way you see God and yourself. The Law only compounded the issue by showing even more drastically man’s sin and the holiness of God. If we continue to believe that we are still guilty before God then that is how we will see Him, a God of wrath and fearful judgment. But is that how God wanted to be known?

We know that no one has seen God, yet He gave us the best picture of Himself in His Son. God says, He is the visible image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15). This is why it is so important to understand who Jesus was and is. Was He truly God in the flesh or just a man who could act like God? Was He truly human yet one with the Father? Was He distinct from the “holy, unapproachable” God or was He God-visible that man could relate to and call his friend?

Jesus, as God-visible, came to restore the proper view of God. He displayed God’s true heart, a heart of love, forgiveness, and mercy. Jesus was described as “gentle and lowly in heart” (Matt 11:29 NKJ). He demonstrated kindness, tenderness, and forgiveness (Eph.4:32). Do we dare conclude that this is who the Father really is? Jesus’ intention was to be a ransom, a servant to man (Matt. 20:28). Is this not the real nature of God? Jesus went to the cross, bled and died a cruel death. Was that not the Father showing His desire through Christ for man to be reconciled back to Himself (2 Cor. 5:19)? Dare we conclude that God is still someone other than what Jesus revealed? Does He want to be known as dangerous or as the loving Father (Luke 15:11-32)?

I needed to come to terms with what God says about Jesus and His role in accurately revealing God Himself. Dare I hold onto my theological bias and sin complex any longer or rather believe that Jesus is the Truth about the Father. Jesus IS the Way to know what God is really like. Eternal (real) life is knowing the Father (correctly) as Jesus (who God) sent (Jn. 17:3).

Dennis D


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