Thursday, January 24

Who is God?

A week ago at Quest, we continued our new series exploring who God is, what that means to us, and how we go about living a life as a Christ follower. We are trying to add details and fill in the blank spots on the map of our faith.

We started by looking at the relatively simple, but essential, question of why is God important or significant. If we accept the fact that God is significant, then it becomes important to know who he is. So that is the question we discussed last week: Who is God?

Immediately, we realized that there are a couple of ways to answer that question. You can answer that question with a physical description of who the person is and what they have done. For example, you could say Cheryl is the woman with the long, brown hair sitting in the chair over there. Or you can answer with a description of the attributes and character of the person. For example, you could say Cheryl is a kind, caring person who pours her life out into the lives of the little kids at church. Both of those are legitimate ways to answer the question of who a person is. And really, you probably need both to get a complete picture of who a person is.

The same is true for God. We can give a physical description of him, although we have to focus on the where is he and what he has done part of that description, since we don’t know what he looks like. We can also describe his attributes and character. We also realized pretty quickly that it would be impossible to completely describe who God is. There are just too many facets of his character to completely discuss in one evening (or maybe even in one lifetime). Additionally, we are human, and God isn’t. So we can’t even fully understand and describe every aspect of God. There are some things that we just simply won’t understand this side of heaven. With that in mind, here are some of the things we discussed.

• God is the creator of the universe. He made everything we see, everything we haven’t seen yet, and every person who has lived or will ever live. When he made people, he made us in his own image.
• God is everywhere. There is no place where we can go to get away from him. While that can lead to the “cop around the corner” view of God, it really should be a comfort to us. Wherever we go, God is available to us. We can’t be separated from him. And it can serve as a method for withstanding temptation because it can serve as a reminder that God will see what we are doing. The thought “if I do that, God will see” can keep us away from a lot of sins.
• These same two stories also show that God cares about the people who follow him. Abraham was concerned for the safety of Lot and his family. Although God didn’t spare Sodom, he did do what Abraham really wanted, which was for him to save Lot. When Hezekiah, who trusted in God so completely that is say “there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him” (2 Kings 18:5), and that would include King David, asked God to spare his life, God did so.
• God is love. He loved us enough to die for us.
• God is holy. He is perfect and demands perfection from us. When Jesus said “be perfect, therefore, as y our heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48), he meant it literally.
• God shows grace. He created a way for us to come to him when there was no way for us to do it on our own. Jesus died for us while we were still sinners, before we had done anything to deserve it. And he forgives us for falling short of his standard.
• God is full of paradox. Some of these things seem to be opposites of each other. How can God be both holy, demanding perfection, and full of grace, forgiving the times we fall short of that perfection? It doesn’t seem possible for those both to be true at the same time, yet they are. That is part of the mystery and wonder of God.

We also talked some about the names of God and the importance of naming, particularly in the Old Testament. We are going to go more deeply in that direction next week. I understand that these ideas only scratch the surface of who God is. I encourage you to spend some time contemplating who all God is during this next week.

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