God is one, and yet we discover that his oneness is the oneness of eternal perfect love between three distinct Persons. God is all holy, but his holiness is his utterly unique love that leads him to become sin on our behalf (2 Cor. 5:21). God is righteous, but his righteousness is the justice of his love that leads him to become a cursed criminal for us on Calvary (1 Cor. 1:18). God is unfathomably glorious, but his glory is the radiance of a perfect love that leads him to become one who was despised, humiliated and forsaken out of love for us. And God is immutable, but his immutability is the unchangeableness of his eternal love that led him to change radically and take on our humanity, sin and condemnation.
This is what God is like! He really is this beautiful and loving! All of us have to one degree or another been conditioned to view God in a deceptive way, which is why many of us struggle to believe this. We’re tempted to see Jesus as perhaps part of what God is like, but not the very essence of God. Afflicted by the Accuser who fills our minds with condemnation and fear, we may wonder when “the other side” of God will show up and crush us.
How desperately we need to become confident that there is no other side to God. If we see Christ, we see the Father. The fullness of the Godhead dwelt in him. He’s the one perfect expression of the Father’s essence. God is light, John says, and there is no darkness in him (1 John 1:5). There’s no shadow side of God, no trace of malice, no hint of meanness. He’s altogether loving, compassionate and just. Calvary reveals the whole truth about God, and nothing but the truth.
Admittedly, there have been times when God in his love had to stoop to the level of instilling fear in people because their sin had tainted them to such a great degree that there was no other choice. But his ultimate goal has always been to have a people who receive and reflect back to him his perfect love. And perfect love drives out fear (1 Jn. 4:18). He wants a people who feel compelled to serve him not out of fear, but out of love.
God is different than you could ever expect because none of us could ever dream of God being as good as he is. This is the reason Paul prayed that we would be able “to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Eph 3:18-29)