Trusting God: Who is God?
Since sin’s entrance into the world, the existence of God has been a most discussed proposition. Does He or does He not exist, and if He does what kind of God is He? These are fundamental questions that demand appropriate answers in order to rightly live in God’s world. Even the last statement is a propositional statement of fact and truth: this is God’s world. And since it is, you and I can’t live any way we choose. There are consequences for choices.
A fundamental non-negotiable truth about God is His existence. He is and He is majestic, awesome, good, purposeful, and powerful. The statement is simple and clear, yet immensely profound. The functional validity of this truth for you is tested daily. How so? Faced with troubles and pressures, everyone interprets and concludes something about himself and God. For the believer, troubles and pressures (actually we are speaking of God’s providence not simply “life”) are the context for the practice of functional atheism or growth in Christ by grace.
The Bible, which is the only source of truth (another propositional, objective, absolute truth), tells us that everyone knows God (Romans 1:18-20). But the unbeliever does not know God as he ought and God as He is. He may acknowledge Him as big but not too big. He knows God as powerful but not too powerful. Paul teaches that everyone is a knower of God. Yet the unbeliever, and often the believer, suppresses or attempts to hide the truth of God. When the believer and the unbeliever “do their own thing,” they functionally deny the truth that God is and has something to say about every thought, desire, and action of every person. When people function in this manner, they act as if the world is theirs and they can function any way they desire. When they do they function as self-pleasers (Judges 17:6; 21:25; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; Titus 3:3).
Another fundamental non-negotiable truth concerns man’s religious nature. He was born a religious being – a worshipper. Man worships something and someone. The key is who will he worship and how will he worship. The one true God is the God of the Bible. He deserves full allegiance and devotion. He demands it because He has the sole right to every creature’s worship. In Acts 17:22-31, Paul applied this truth to the philosophers in Athens. He recognized that the men of Athens “were in every way” very religious. He based this statement on the number of physical idols and temples present in the city. These men had conjured up a god as they knew him. Paul seized this opportunity to present to them the true God in the context of the cross and the resurrection (Acts 17:31-32; 1 Cor. 15:1-3). They knew God but not as He is and as they ought. In response, many rejected the true God in lieu of the god(s) of their own making. They were the god-makers and self-worshippers, actually worshipping themselves.
The unbeliever rebelliously misuses his knowledge of God. He attempts to hide God from himself and himself from God. This is a foolish and futile activity which originated in the Garden (Genesis 3:8-14). Too often the believer functions in this manner. This activity is as a result of the legacy of previous membership in Satan’s family and kingdom with its darkness, debasement, and deadness. Self-pleasing is a way of life that competes with pleasing God. Old habits must be replaced.
With regeneration, the Holy Spirit indwells the believer and gives him a new light – light to understand and apply a whole different set of principles to himself, others, and circumstances. The work of the Holy Spirit is captured in Ephesians 1:15-19. The Holy Spirit opens blind eyes and hearts to the things of God. As a result, the believer thinks differently. He changes his thoughts about God and himself. Moreover, his desires change. He seeks to please God rather than himself. And his actions change. He puts off personal law keeping in order earn something from God. In its place, he puts on obedience not simply as duty, but as privilege and blessing. He earnestly seeks to please God by becoming more like His Son. In at least two places the Father spoke of the Son in the following: “This is my Son whom I love; with him I am well-pleased..” (Matt. 3:17; 17:5)
1. What is your view of God and why?
2. What is your view of self and why?
3. Read Ps. 82:1-6 and John 10:34-36. Then compare and contrast your views of God and yourself with the Pharisees’ and psalmist’s view and make the appropriate adjust