When God is Revealed

Image by LifeHouseDesign via Flickr

Image by LifeHouseDesign via Flickr

Whether we’re talking about our relationship with God or with other people, the quality of our relationships can never go beyond the level of trust the relating parties have in each other’s character. We cannot be rightly related to God, therefore, except insofar as we embrace a trustworthy picture of him. To the extent that our mental picture of God is untrustworthy, we will not rely on him as our sole source of life. This is why the first thing that Satan went after was Eve’s conception of God. The story reflects the truth that the root of our alienation from God and our bondage to fallen powers is our own untrustworthy and unloving mental pictures of him.

This is as true today as it was in the garden. Paul tells us that the gospel continues to be “veiled … to those who are perishing” because the “god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” And notice, the seeing Paul is talking about is a seeing in our mind (2 Cor. 3:14-15). Nor can those who are yet under Satan’s blinding oppression receive the “light” that God wants to “shine in [their] hearts to give [them] the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ (2 Cor 4:3-4, 6).

Only when the Spirit lifts the veil from our minds and hearts can we form and embrace a truly accurate picture of God. Only when the Spirit frees us from the blinding oppression of the “god of this age” can our hearts and minds see the glorious beauty of the God revealed in Christ. And only as we “with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory” can we be “transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory” (2 Cor 3:17-18).

What this shows is that the revelation of God in Jesus, most clearly reflected on the cross, is the foundation of the new covenant because it is God’s definitive refutation of all false images of him. Jesus described himself as “the way and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6). The Greek word for “truth” (aletheia) has the connotation of something “uncovered” or “not concealed.” While we’ve been, to one degree or another, blinded by our sin and the “god of this age” from seeing the true, glorious character of God, he is finally fully unveiled in Christ.

This is why Jesus is also the “way” to the Father as well as the “life” of the Father. We can only experience the life that God wants for us when we know and trust his true character as it’s unveiled in Christ.

And we are making the same point from the opposite direction when we point out that, when Jesus fully unveiled the true character of the one true God on the cross, he “disarmed the powers and the authorities,” vanquished Satan and his minions (Col 2:14-15), and thereby set free all who would accept this truth. On the cross, the light expelled the darkness, the truth vanquished all deception, and the beauty of the true image of God destroyed the ugliness of all false images. And so now, for all who will yield to the Spirit, as the veil over our minds is removed, we can see “God’s glory displayed in the face of Jesus” (2 Cor 4:6) and be set free to enter into the loving, trusting, and transforming relationship God has always wanted to have with his people.

Related Reading

Kingdom Sightings: God and Guinness

Evan Leeson via Compfight Here’s a unique Kingdom initiative from one of our readers that we wanted to share with you. If you’re in Ann Arbor, check it out! Starting in January, one of the pastors at our church (Kevin Davis, of 242 Community Church in Ann Arbor, MI) will be starting a new initiative…

Who’s the God in Your Head?

The mission of ReKnew is to encourage Christians and non-Christians to rethink through things they previously thought they knew. The nine proclamations of the ReKnew Manifesto reflect nine aspects of traditional Christianity, and especially Evangelical Christianity, that we believe need to be reconceived. These by no means exhaust the things ReKnew will be concerned with,…

Scripture’s God-Breathed Imperfections

“Inerrancy” of Scripture

As a conservative evangelical who accepted the “inerrancy” of Scripture, I used to be profoundly disturbed whenever I confronted contradictions in Scripture, or read books that made strong cases that certain aspects of the biblical narrative conflict with archeological findings.

Jesus, the New Israel

The Gospels present Jesus and the Kingdom he inaugurated as the fulfillment of Israel’s story. For example, Jesus’ birth fulfills Israel’s longing for a Messiah; his return from Egypt as a child mirrors their Exodus out of Egypt; his temptations in the desert allude to Israel’s temptations in the desert; his twelve disciples recall the…

What Jesus Revealed About Being Human

According to the creation story, when Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they essentially ceased being the wonderful, God-centered, God-dependent human beings the Creator intended them to be. They became less than fully human. Instead, they began using everything and everyone in the world as surrogate gods, trying to get from people, deeds, and things…

The Cross in the Manger, Part 2

While some shepherds were tending their flock, an angel appeared to them announcing “good news that will cause great joy for all the people,” for it news about “a Savior…the Messiah, the Lord” (Lk 2:10-11). Most Jews of this time expected a Messiah who would save them by vanquishing their Roman oppressors and liberating Israel…

Topics: