Knowing God, Part 1
It has been said that what we believe about God is the most important thing about us. That may seem like a strange statement, but give it some thought. What we believe about God, more than anything else, will set the trajectory of all other beliefs and behaviors, attitudes and responses to life.
We certainly see this played out all around us every day in the events that make our news.
Today I begin a new series on God and His characteristics as revealed in Scripture.
There are big football games played in College Station, and I usually glued to the TV, but it pales in comparison to God. There’s a big election about a year from now and media coverage will be massive, but compared to God, it’s less than nothing and meaningless. When we think upon God and love Him with our minds, we are thinking about what matters most, what is truly significant, supreme and life-changing.
When the mind and heart is set on God, pondering Him in His being, humbled by His greatness, awed by His beauty, amazed by His grace, we are doing what we were made to do. Let us then fulfill our highest purpose for existing as we ponder our God together!
Here is where we must begin. God exists. God is real. There is a God and we are not Him. The Bible assumes the existence of God. The first verse, Gen. 1:1, begins His revealing with, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” No philosophical discourse on the proof of God’s existence. No evidences that demand a verdict. Just a matter-of-fact statement.
We also learn in Romans that all mankind knows there is a God and clearly understands something of Him from creation (Rom. 1:18-23) and conscience (2:12-16). He has put something of His nature on display.
I remember as a very small child, maybe four or five, lying on the green grass in Tennessee, under our maple tree in the front yard, staring up into the blue sky and having a definite sense that there was a God up there somewhere. Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”
No one is born an atheist. Even those who claim to be are simply suppressing the truth.
God is Invisible Spirit
We learn further from the Bible that God is Spirit (John 4:24). He doesn’t have parts, size or spatial dimensions. It’s theologically incorrect to say, “God is big.” God is Spirit and can’t be measured. He’s not big, He’s not small, He’s infinite! God can’t be represented or pictured by anything in creation adequately or accurately. This is why He forbids images, whether physical or mental, that would represent God to us. They must fall infinitely short and therefore be terribly misleading.
The essence of God is spirit, therefore God in His essential essence does not have a body like we do. Any references to God’s body parts in the Bible are simply figures of speech where God accommodates to our level with human language and qualities so we can understand Him better. God doesn’t have literal eyeballs, but He sees all things.
Being spirit and not flesh, God is also invisible. No one has ever seen God fully (John 1:18), nor will anyone ever be able to see God’s total essence or all of His spiritual being at one time. Even in heaven, we will not be able to see God’s total essence, for to do so, you must be God (I Cor. 2:11). He will always be infinitely beyond us even in our glorified state.
God did manifest Himself in various ways in OT times, taking on some kind of visible form to show Himself to His people, but these outward manifestations were never the complete unveiling of all the essence of God. No one could have endured that.
“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (I Timothy 1:17). God is invisible yet in the grand miracle of the incarnation, this invisible God put His character on display in the person of Jesus Christ, “God manifest in the flesh.”
Therefore, God is Knowable
Not only can certain truths about Him be perceived through observing creation, His fallen image bearers can actually come to know Him personally through His Son, His perfect image bearer. But even then, because God is infinite and we are finite, our knowledge, though true, will never be complete or exhaustive. God’s greatness and understanding and indeed His being are unsearchable and incomprehensible. We get to spend eternity coming to know Him better and better and yet never exhaust this subject, our glorious, personal God!
Scripture reveals God to us that we might truly know Him. This revelation came to its climax in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. Only through faith in Christ as your personal Master and Redeemer from sin can a person go from knowing about God to actually knowing God.
Dear friend, He can be known as Father only as we come to Him through Christ. “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3).
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Unless otherwise noted, all posts are written by Pastor Chris McKnight