Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Knowing the God of the Bible Part 1

Read Part 2 ... Read Part 3 ...

In John 17:3, Christ said: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
Is anything more important than knowing God and Jesus Christ of which Jesus said was essential for our salvation?

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” 2Corinthians 10:5

For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” Acts 17:23-31

God is not a mystery to us, He is not an unkown God. If He is a mystery to you, then we are told that the times of this our ignorance God winked at, but now we must repent and get to know God as He is revealed to us. For a day of judgment is coming and our view and understanding of God is going to affect the way we live our lives and the way we worship.

One of my favorite Authors stated:

"Like our Saviour, we are in this world to do service for God. We are here to become like God in character, and by a life of service to reveal Him to the world. In order to be co-workers with God, in order to become like Him and to reveal His character, we must know Him aright. We must know Him as He reveals Himself.
"A knowledge of God is the foundation of all true education and of all true service. It is the only real safeguard against temptation. It is this alone that can make us like God in character.
"This is the knowledge needed by all who are working for the uplifting of their fellow men. Transformation of character, purity of life, efficiency in service, adherence to correct principles, all depend upon a right knowledge of God. This knowledge is the essential preparation both for this life and for the life to come." (Ministry of Healing p. 409)

There are doctrines and theories out there that depict God as but an essence pervading all space without parts or passions - God in everything or that God is some sort of 3 gods in 1 being etc.. but is that what the Bible teaches? Can we really have a relationship with an essence or someone who isn't like us?

The question is asked: “Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?” Job 11:7

No matter how much we search, we cannot of ourselves find out God. God Himself must tell us about Himself. And no matter how much we search we'll never be able to know everything about God, his person or his character for there is an infinity beyond what is written in ink on paper. Yet, God has revealed much about himself in His word, in the things He has created and in sending His Son. Searching out those thing which God has revealed should be our delight to study for knowing about God is essential to really know God. The more we know about God the closer we can come to God, and our relationship can be much deeper.

It has been an incredible journey for me as I've gotten to know about God and know God better through the study of His word and to see what He has revealed about himself. In this post and the next few, I'd like to share with you a small portion of what I have learned about God.
We can know God exists by looking around us at the things He has created.
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” Psalms 19:1

Take a look at the perfectly designed flower, the majesties of nature, the intricacy of the eye and the body, does it not show that there had to be a designer and a creator, a God in heaven?

He is creator, and upholds and maintains all His creation.
Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.” Isaiah 40:26

Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.” Nehemiah 9:6

God is eternal
The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.” Deuteronomy 33:27

God is all knowing or omniscient
Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:” Isaiah 46:9, 10

For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” 1John 3:20

God is omnipotent - all powerful
And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” Revelation 19:6

God is described as a person
“Will ye accept his person? will ye contend for God?” Job 13:8

Throughout the Bible, God has sought to reveal himself as a real tangible being, with a body and a form; a personal God. For the sake of space, I won't list all the verse references that talk about the person of God or the character of God but you will find many. God has eyes (Gen 6:8, 2Chron 14:2), ears ( Ps 34:15), face (Gen 33:10, 1Peter 3:12), lips (Job 11:5), voice (Deu 5:26), hands (Ex 33:23, Rev 5:7, Rev 14:14), feet (Rev 1:15, Rev 2:18), hair (Dan 7:9), garments (Dan 7:9, Rev 1:13) etc..

God has passions like we do.

Thou, even thou, art to be feared: and who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry?” Psalms 76:7

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” 1John 4:8

God is Gracious, righteous and merciful.
Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.” Psalms 116:5

God is just and without iniquity.
He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” Deuteronomy 32:4

I have only shared a few verses but there are hundreds of verses that tell us about the character of God, and that tell us what He is like.

Furthermore, we are told that we were made in the image of God, in the likeness of God.
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1:27
“...In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;” Genesis 5:1

If we are a person consisting of a body and a spirit, don't you think God has a body and a spirit like us if we were made in His image?

In Genesis 2:7 we are told that God breathed the breath of life into us which made us a living soul: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Just as man has a spirit, God has a spirit. “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” 1Corinthians 2:11 “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” 1Corinthians 2:16

Jesus said “I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30) and yet we always find the Father addressing Christ as a distinct being, separate from himself as in Matthew 17:5 “While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” And we also always see Christ addressing His Father as a distinct being, separate from himself, in John 17:1 “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:” So in what sense are they one?

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:” (John 17:21-22)

Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” 2Corinthians 13:11

Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” Philippians 2:2

Isn't it a oneness in purpose, in mind, and in heart that the Father and Christ are one, in the same manner we are to be one in truth and purpose?

How many true gods does the Bible reveal?
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:” Deuteronomy 6:4

God told the Israelites that He is one, as opposed to the heathen nations around them which worshiped multiple gods.

There is none other beside Him.
Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him.” Deuteronomy 4:35

God is true, living and everlasting.
But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.” Jeremiah 10:10

Who is the most qualified person to tell us about the true God?
No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” John 1:18

All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” (Matthew 11:27

According to Jesus, who is “the only true God”?
...Father… And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” John 17:1, 3

Who is the Lord of heaven and earth, according to Jesus?
At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” Matthew 11:25

Who will the true worshippers worship?
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” John 4:23

Who did Jesus say we should pray to?
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” Matthew 6:9

Which is the first commandment of all?
And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Mark 12:28-32

The scribe agreed that there is only one God, and none other but He. Did Jesus correct the scribe?
And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.” Mark 12:34

The belief of the scribe reflects the faith of the entire Jewish nation. The Jews believed in one God only.
Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.” John 8:41

Did Jesus identify who the one God of the Jewish nation is?
Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God.” John 8:54

Is He the God of the Jews only?
Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:” Romans 3:29

Did the apostles of Christ teach the Gentiles the same truth about God?
Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” James 2:19
James taught that there is only one God. Even the devils know that!

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5
Paul taught that there is only one God. Jesus is the only link between us and God. We can only know God through Jesus.

Who is this one true God?
We know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” 1 Corinthians 8:4-6

The one God is the Father.
Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.” James 3:9
That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:6
One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Ephesians 4:6
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.” 2 Corinthians 1:3
The Apostles of Christ taught that the one God is only the Father. We do not read about different persons making up one God. It is simply the Father.

Did the early Christian Church maintain this belief of the Apostles?
And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Acts 2:42

Who is the creator of all things?
And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Revelation 4:9-11

God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands.” Acts 17:24

We saw earlier that the Lord of heaven and earth is God, the Father. It is God who created all things.

How did God create all things?
And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 3:9

For by him [Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” Colossians 1:16

Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” Hebrews 1:2

All things were made by him [the Word - Jesus]; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” John 1:3

It is said that Solomon built the temple of the Lord, even though He may not have helped with his hands in the actual building of the temple. Solomon helped in getting materials and planning it and overseeing the building. In the same sense, I believe it could rightly be stated that God created. God and Christ were both involved in the work of creation.

Who is the head of all things?
But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” 1 Corinthians 11:3
God, the Father is the head of all things and all men, even of Christ.

Does Christ have a God?
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46

Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” John 20:17

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.” Ephesians 1:17

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” Revelation 3:12

Who does Christ belong to?
And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God's.” 1 Corinthians 3:23

Thought question: Is there anywhere where we are told God has a god, that God has a father, that God belongs to any other god or that God is anything but the supreme, almighty only true God?

We have seen that the word of God clearly tells us God and Christ are both real beings with a body and a spirit like us and that there is only one God who is the Father. This one God is the source of ALL life and power. The only way to know God is through His Son Jesus, who came to bring to us a true knowledge of God.

If there is only one true God, the Father, then what of Jesus Christ? Who is He? Why is He called God? Why are we told to worship Him? These questions and more will be covered in the next study. Till then, may we remember: “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” Numbers 23:19

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