Thursday, May 21, 2020

Letters to My Grandchildnen: God, What and Who

My Dear Grandchildren,

Well, it’s time for another letter and another topic. As I’ve thought about my options, it seems right to talk about God. But talking about God is a huge topic. Books upon books have been written about Him. But don’t get nervous. I’m not going to write anything very long. But I do want to write something about this critically important topic. Understanding God is the most important goal that any person could ever have. So, what I’ve decided to do is to try to answer two questions about God. Just two. 'What is God?' and 'Who is God?'

So, what is God? The Bible tells us that God is a spirit. That’s a start. But what does that mean? What’s a spirit? Well, as you may remember, a spirit ‘doesn’t have a body like men’. Okay, we’ve made a little progress. Or have we? All I’ve done is tell you what God is not. He’s not someone with a body. He’s a spirit. And that reveals a problem. God is so different from us that understanding what He is, is quite difficult. And that’s why, as usual, we have to stay very close to what the Bible teaches. If we do that, we will be able to make some progress.

Now, there are two other concepts that the Bible applies to God. He is eternal, and He is infinite. Progress? Let’s see.

So, what is eternal about? Some would say that God being eternal means that if you went as far back into the past as you can imagine or as far into future as you can imagine, God would still be. That does make sense, but (surprise!) there’s a problem with thinking this way. God isn’t within time. Actually, time is something that He created. He was before there was any time, and now, He is over all of time. He sees to the beginning of time. (Remember, He created it.) And God sees however far into the future that you can imagine and then further than that. And He does all of this at the same ‘time’.

So, I think that it’s better to say that God being eternal means that He has no beginning and He has no end. I’m sure that you understand what it means not to have an end. But can you even imagine what it means not to have a beginning? I can’t. But that’s God.

Then, the Bible also teaches that God is infinite. What does that mean? You could say that infinite has to do with being really, really big - huge, in fact. But I’m guessing that you are already figuring out that there must be some problem with saying that. And there is. Being big has to do with how much space you take up. But space, some empty area, is also something God created. He’s not within space. He doesn’t take up any space. He’s outside of any space.  Again, before there was any space, God was.

So, what does it mean that God is infinite? Here’s a good way to try to understand it. God has no limits. There is no limit to His love or His wisdom or His power or His holiness or anything else that He is. God is infinite. No limits.

So, what do we have? What is God? He is an eternal and infinite spirit - but who can understand what that means? Have we gained anything when it comes to our question? Yes, we have. And this is what I want you to get from all of this. When you think of God, you should feel a sense of mystery. We know that God is. The Bible tells us that. But there are qualities about Him, things the Bible teaches about Him, that we will never understand. He is shrouded in mystery. And that should make us all feel very small. Not worthless! But very small. It is as we come to understand something of His mysteriousness that we also understand who we are. We are created things that are very limited and that in lots of ways. And believe it or not, knowing this is so very helpful. I’ll explain that in a bit.

Now for our other question. Who is God? There is so much that can be said here, but, again, I want to keep it short and to the point. So, just a few things.

First, God is your Father. Here, I’m going to pick on your Dad. What do you know about him? He provides for you by working hard. He is always ready to protect you.  He cares deeply about you. In so many ways, he shows that he is very much for you. He is a picture of who God, the Father, is toward you. Because of Jesus, God has become your Father. And He cares so very much about you.

Then, God is also your older brother. That’s God, the Son, who became flesh as Jesus. There is a particular attitude that older brothers - at least good ones - have toward their younger siblings, especially their sisters. There is a special kind of bond that exists there that shows as being so very caring. Again, that’s a picture of who God, the Son, is toward you, your older brother who cares so very much about you. Doesn’t His death on the Cross for you prove that?

Then, there is God, the Spirit. The picture to use here is that of a loyal friend.  Such a person is always right there whenever you need him, to do whatever it is that you need, however difficult it might be. That’s a real friend. And that’s a picture of who God, the Spirit, is as He walks through life with you every step of the way. He walks right there with you because He cares so very much about you.

Now, I want to bring all of this together.

It all has something to say about a key part (the key part?) of being a Christian: worship. When we worship God, we come to Him thinking about what God is and who God is.

When you come to worship God, being aware of what He is will show as awe. (This is part of what the fear of the Lord is about.) We are coming to worship the mysterious God who is nothing like what we are. He is so different from us that our words can’t fully capture the truth about Him. Reverence and awe when we worship this God only makes sense.

But there is also who God is. We also come to worship the God who is our affectionate Father, our protective older Brother and our dearest Friend. Understanding this results in a feeling of intimacy, comfort and safety. So, it only makes sense to feel deep affection for Him when we come to worship Him.

Having some sense of what God is and who He is will have a great effect on your worship. So, do what you can to grow in your understanding of these things. As you read the Bible or hear it read, consider what it is saying about God. How does that Scripture passage speak to our questions, ‘What is God?’ and ‘Who is God?’ You will greatly benefit from doing this.

As always, with my love,
Grandpa B

No comments: