God is Not What You Expect

Religion

Jesus with Child [Canvas on oil painting136.00

Jesus came, in part, to finally reveal the absolute truth about God. He is the way and the truth (alethia) and the life (Jn 14:6). The word “truth” means “uncovered.” And what we find once God is uncovered is that he’s completely different than what we fallen humans generally expect God to be. As we saw on Monday, typical definitions of what God is like actually fall short of what is revealed by Jesus, which we outlined in yesterday’s post.

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)

Related Reading

The One True Image of God: God’s Self-Portrait, Part 4

This point is emphasized throughout the New Testament because, if we don’t get this, we are left to our own imaginations about God, and we’ll draw from a multitude of different sources to construct a mental picture of God that will, to one degree or another, fall short of the beauty of the true God…

What About the Contradictions Found in the Gospels?

It’s quite common for people to question the veracity of the Gospels because there are contradictions between them. In fact, an interaction between Steven Colbert and Bart Erhman, a scholar who makes a big deal of these contradictions, has become quite popular. While Colbert’s comedic response is entertaining, we must say more. And Greg has done…

Lighten Up: Misunderstood

via Laughing Redhead Studio

The Only Thing That Matters Is Love: The Kingdom of God (Part 3)

To say that living in Calvary-quality love is the most important thing in our life is to grossly understate its importance. This stands in distinction from how we typically define the Kingdom of God. But it stands in line with the fact that Jesus is the Kingdom of God. Paul says the “the only thing…

Why the Rapture is a Bad Idea

Is the Rapture really what you think it is? Most Christians believe that God will take his followers up to heaven before the really bad stuff starts on earth, but is this what the bible says? Is this view consistent with the loving God that Jesus shows us in the New Testament? View the full…

From Boston, With Love

We posted some of T. C. Moore’s reflections on the Open 2013 conference earlier this week. T. C. lives in Boston and was deeply moved by the violence and terror that came to his city. Now we want to share his most recent blog post Oz and the Cross: Reflections on God’s Love and the…