By Josh Hunt
Sometimes I’m shocked at how people view God! I mean, he’s so good, and it’s so sad when people don’t see that! I know that not everyone has embraced grace, but even when talking to a legalistic believer, I still get surprised by the adjectives, phrases, and metaphors they use to describe our God! I used to be legalistic, and a long time ago, I used to believe some of the things they say. But, after tasting his goodness the bitter taste of penal substitution or the nasty aftertaste of God-being-a-cosmic-judge just aren’t tolerable (of course the people are! It’s just the concepts that cause harm that are intolerable!). It’s sad to hear these misconceptions of God because they not only misrepresent our Daddy, but they also keep people in bondage!
God is pure light! Brilliance – Love! And when people misrepresent him – detailing him as angry, as the cause of pain, or as the reason for depression – it puts people off from embracing the One who is wooing them into wholeness! James 1:17 says:
‘Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.’ (KJV).
How wonderful is this picture! This is our Papa – ‘the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness’! There is nothing in God that is not predictable to pure LOVE! God is LOVE! (See 1 Jn 4:8).
It’s important that we present God as he is! It’s important that people see him as he is! Because when we see God as he is, when we know him, we have confidence to enjoy our union with him and see heaven made manifest on the earth. A lot of believers see themselves as God-servants, and God as a foreign King trying to invade this land. The truth, though, is so much better. We are one with the King! Sons and Daughters at his royal table! We get to rule and reign on this earth now (Rom 5:17).
Until we see God right we won’t see ourselves right; until we see God as the caring, loving Papa he is, we won’t see the glorious Jesus living in us! 2 Corinthians 3 details how the veil of the law never led to manifest glory. However, under grace we can see Jesus purely as he is, and manifest outwardly the same glory Jesus has, the glory we carry around in our spirits!
‘But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.’ (2 Cor. 3:18, KJV)
This is the portion of the child of God – to live victoriously in the practical, multi-faceted favour of Jesus, which is his manifold wisdom (Ephesians 3:10). This wisdom reveals that we were made in the image of the Godhead and share in the resurrection life of the Christ; thus, this wisdom is God’s detailed, practical care and adoration of us. It is our recipe for success; for activating and engaging with heaven on earth in the here and now.
Jesus reveals the truth that God is a good Father, and through this truth the glory inherent within us begins to shine and radiate from us, touching everything in our lives and transforming it with the beauty and harmony of heaven! We were hand-crafted after the image and likeness of Christ’s very own brilliance and glory. To walk in the power of this reality, we have to accurately see the one in whose image we are made, and we do this by meditating upon and gazing at the radiant glory emanating from the Gospel message, articulated through Jesus:
‘[Jesus] Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:’ (Heb. 1:3, KJV).
This verse is so rich in gospel truth! Jesus is the ‘image’ of God, or in other words: God looks like Jesus. Jesus came to save us, to recue us from the dominion of darkness (see Col. 1:13), and it’s important to keep in focus that, in rescuing us from darkness, Jesus practically unveils to us that God is perfect majesty, whose ways are splendour, and whose heart is filled with the grandeur of goodness and magnificence. Jesus colours in the heart of God for us with passion and eloquence, so that we can see that God is truly good, and that God is truly Love supreme, in very human terms.
One of the things Jesus came to save us from were false images we held of God, the misconceived ideas, the religious connotations. Jesus came to show people the truth about our loving Papa, indeed the truth about himself, the truth about the Spirit; Jesus came to show us that the Trinity is good, and that ‘God’ looks like the gloriously good Jesus who came to save us!
Now, when Jesus came, his primary audience, at least in terms of public speaking, were the Jews, who held a distorted image of ‘God’ and subsequently kept others in bondage. The Pharisees found it hard to believe that Jesus was the messiah and that God was doing what Jesus claimed he was doing. This was mainly because the Pharisees were standing on the shoulders of those who had a distorted image of God, who stood on the shoulders of others who had a distorted image of God, who stood on the shoulders of those who experienced God, but never saw his fullness, namely the Old Testament saints. John makes it clear in John 1:18 that no one has ever ‘seen’ God except Jesus who resides ‘in the bosom of the Father’. Here’s the full verse:
‘No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.’ (Jn. 1:18, KJV).
Jesus came to declare, through his words, stories, and actions who God really is; Jesus came to save us and thus reveal to us the God who would rather die than be without us, who would rather suffer than forfeit our fellowship!
Some people think that theology doesn’t matter, that what we believe about the nature of God, or about the atonement, or about eschatology doesn’t have proper value; to some as long as one is ‘serving’, or ‘worshipping’, or ‘loving’ then all is good. But it does matter. What we believe about God, and what we teach he is like to others, truly matters. There are two main problems with the above ‘some people’ point I just made; 1) is that God wants us, not our service; we are called to be Children, not slaves. And, 2) What we believe about God; about his nature, his actions, his will, his motives, directly correlates to how much we trust him – knowing God is good enables us to ‘settle down’ with him and to enjoy his love without the ‘what if’ fears of religion! This then results in us demonstrating the power and glory of heaven! Oh, and also (this is still number 2) what we teach about God matters because people need to hear the message that lines up with what the Holy Spirit is saying in his wooing of the heart; people need to hear about the true God, then they will embrace the Kingdom with joy!
Jesus thought it pretty important to show us the nature of the glorious Trinity. If you are unsure of how good God is then ask the Holy Spirit to show you Jesus. Simply ask the beautiful Spirit to show you the exact representation of God…