The Question Of The Ages
Jeff LyleCrosswalk.com blogspot for Jeff Lyle of TransformingTruth
- 2015 Mar 04
Once upon a time I was an invisible observer of a debate in an online chatroom which was focusing on the issue of what was required for a person to be granted good standing with God. This was during the pre-Facebook days of the internet and chatrooms were where a lot of the action took place. Dozens of people were chiming in with their opinions about how a person could be know God and be accepted by God. Some of the views were in direct alignment with my own views and I silently cheered them on as they cited Scripture to show that there is nothing we can do on our own to be made right before God. They asserted repeatedly that we are accepted by a holy God by grace through faith, via the finished work of Jesus Christ. Other opinions ranged from the idea that we are already acceptable to God on our own to the notion that we needed to mix faith in Jesus with some form of appropriate behavior. Still other people, though fewer in number, cast stones at the idea that there even existed a God to accept us at all. It was probably not the best use of an hour of my time but remembering the dialogue in that chatroom years ago prompts me to think on important two questions today:
What is God like?
What does He want from us?
Beginning this Sunday at Meadow where I serve as pastor, I am going to be sharing a series of messages answering the first question above. My confidence is that the answers to the second question will proceed from our understanding of the first question. To ask, “What is God like?” may be the single most essential question that a human being can ponder. An ancient writer once posed a similar question in a context of his awestruck worship when he penned in Psalm 113:5-6, “Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?” Most of us have some concept of who we believe that God is but I discern that the shift of ideas in our culture concerning God, spirituality, humanity and eternity warrants an investigation of what the bible actually says about God.
What if someone embraced a concept of God that was not accurate? What if a person assumed that he or she knew God, but actually had believed someone else’s inaccurate ideas about God? Left on our own we will inevitably fashion an understanding about what God is like that results in Him seeming a lot like…us. This is the core of man-made religion: we want God to suit our tastes so we tweak Him until we are comfortable with His identity. This is a hazard I am not personally willing to risk.
People get God wrong all the time and this is the folly of human religion. We make God in our own image which is the reverse of what Scripture teaches us in Genesis 1:27. For some people, He is harsh, scary, violent and angry. Others believe Him to be indulgent, permissive, detached and disinterested. Invariably, many of us frame our understanding of God based on our experiences with some earthly figure in our childhood or present lives – parents, religious leaders, spouses or mentors can all skew our understanding of the Almighty. The truth is that we are bombarded with influences that seek to sculpt our minds concerning the personhood and character of God.
Confession: in the end, it does not really matter what any of us think of Him if it is not aligned with what He reveals about Himself. God is not an idea to be debated, He is a Sovereign to be loved, trusted and adored. If that is going to happen, we must first know who God is, not who we think He is, not who we wish He would be, not who someone told us that He is… but who He actually is.
If you desire to, I invite you to join me this Sunday at Meadow to take a ten week journey into this search which will attempt to help answer the question, “What Is God Like?” For some of you it is impossible to be with us on Sundays when we meet here in Lawrenceville. We want you to have opportunity to hear what the Scripture says about its Author too so we invite you to download the free Transforming Truth media app from whatever app store you get your other apps. These messages will be posted in video and audio format each Tuesday after the Sunday they are shared live here at Meadow. There are a lot of questions of which the answers are not all that important: Is this dress blue or white? Will be the Atlanta Hawks make it to the 2015 NBA Finals? How many calories does a Krispy Kreme raspberry glazed donut assail me with? These questions do not have a significant impact on us. But discovering what God is like does not fall into the category of the merely interesting or curious. It is the single most important question that can be considered.
There is a God. He has a divine personality which we can know. He has a plan and part of that plan involves what He offers us and what He requires of us. This plan of His for us is coming to a climax – I believe this will occur much sooner than many expect. We need to know who God is, what He is like and what He is doing.
The answers to this question of the ages are thrilling.