- Religion and Philosophy
What is God Like For You
What is God Like?
When I read the horrifying stories of teenagers' morals in our country, I shudder with fear. We are told the sordid tales of dope peddlers, prostitution, wrecked bodies, death and damned souls that have smeared its way across the front pages of our newspapers. This, added to the hundreds of other evidences of moral, social and political deterioration at a rapid pace, is causing alarm on the part of our leaders today.
Never has our nation been, in such danger from within and without. This is a serious and dark hour which grows more critical with every passing minute, but all of our problems stem from the fact that we, as a people created to be righteous, have wandered far away from God. We desperately need a spiritual and moral revival. If we don't have it we cannot possibly survive. We must get back to God.
People are born wondering what is God like? Unfortunately no one really ever bothers to help answer that question so we go all through life questioning God instead of questioning our relationship with God. While no mortal person can ever know all about God, we can know certain facets of what God is like.
More than once I’ve had one of our young people come to me and ask, “Preacher, what is God like?” I’ve even had one of our teachers came to me with a problem. She said one of her pupils had asked her what God was like and she didn’t know quite how to answer the question. I’ve also read where a university President made this statement quite a while ago, “If it were possible for preachers to tell people what God is and what God is like, it would make the question of religion a good deal simpler for many people." I believe that I can give you today some idea of what God is like if you will listen, carefully and attentively for it is indeed possible to know what God is like.
Certainly there is much speculation about what God is like and I am not claiming that I know all that there is to know about God, since thousands and thousands of men, far smarter than I have been arguing and debating this matter for thousands of years. I am not going to try and meet all these arguments, nor am I going to debate with any scientific or unscientific viewpoint of any particular philosopher. Rather I am going to take you directly to the Word of God and search there, for in the Bible we have a full revelation of what God is like.
Of course there are hundreds of things we could say about God as revealed in the Bible but I’m only going to choose four.
First,The Bible declares God to be SPIRIT! God is a spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. This passage, found in the gospel of John finds Jesus talking to a woman at the well of Sychar. Jesus here made a straightforward statement about God. God is a Spirit. Immediately, we imagine some sort of cloudy vapor. But that is not a picture of God. If I want to find out what Spirit is, I can find out in the scene where Christ was spoken to after His resurrection and Christ said, “Come and touch me and see, for a spirit has no flesh and bones such as ye see me have.” So I know that spirit is incorporeal. In other words, it is un-body. Spirit is contrary to body. Spirit is opposite to body. Spirit is something that is not limited to body. Spirit is not bound in a body.
Spirit is not wearable as a body. Spirit is not changeable as a body. The Bible declares that God is such a spirit, that He is not limited to a body; He is not limited to shape; He is not limited to force; He is not limited to boundaries or bonds; He is absolutely immeasurable and indiscernible with eyes that are limited to physical things. The Bible declares that he has no such limitations. He can go anywhere and be everywhere at the same time. Thousands of people are trying to limit God to certain spheres and to regulate Him to certain categories that are the products of their own speculation. There is no limit to God. There is no limit to His wisdom. There is no limit to his power. There is no limit His love. 'There is no limit to His mercy.
The old Presbyterian Catechism (A catechism is a summary or exposition of doctrine, traditionally used in Christian religious teaching from New Testament times to the present) which is a short one, describes God in the following manner, God is a Spirit, Infinite, Eternal, and Unchangeable. I think those three words do a good job of defining God. In other words, He is Infinite - not body bound. Eternal - He has, no beginning and ending. He is the one forever self-existent one. The Bible declares that He never changes - that there is no variableness nor shadow of turning with Him. Men change, fashions change, conditions and circumstances change, but God never changes. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. It is almost impossible for slow, finite, earth bound mind to conceive accurately what all of this means.
The Bible teaches that there was no time when God was not. He has been as He is… forever. He has no beginning and he has no end. He is the Eternal unchangeable person. If you have any problem concerning God and the inspiration of the Bible, go back and look at it again. The basis of your entire problem is that you have not admitted God to be the sort of God that he is. If God is what he says about himself, there is no problem of providence, there is no problem of his oversight of nations of men, and there is no problem of His inspiring men to write this Bible. In other words, everything fits into place once you understand who and what God really is. When you get acquainted with God, it is perfectly simple.
Secondly, The Bible reveals God not only as a Spirit, un-discerned by human hearts and untouched by human hands, but it also reveals God as a person. Everywhere in the Bible it says, God says, God does, and God loves. Everything that we attribute to a person is attributed to God. A person is one who thinks, who feels, wishes, desires, and has all the expressions of a personality.
And, here is a most significant truth. Personality is not limited to body. Here on earth it is limited to body, but remember, you are an immortal soul. Someday your personality will leave this body. When former president John Adams was 91 years of age, someone asked the old statesman, “How are you feeling this morning, Mr. Adams?” He replied, “Quite well, quite well. But the house I live in is not feeling so good. I'll soon be leaving it to get a new one.” God is not bound to a body, but he is a person. He feels, He thinks, He loves, He forgives, and He sympathizes with the things that make up our lives.
THIRDLY, the Bible declares that not only is God a Spirit and a person, but God is a holy and righteous being. From Genesis to Revelations God reveals himself as a Holy God. He is utterly perfect and absolute in every detail. He is too holy to touch sinful men - to holy to endure sinful living. He is a Holy and a perfect God. If America could ever get a vision of His majestic righteousness, what a tremendous difference it would make in the way our nation lives. If we could see the appalling difference that separates man's unrighteousness and God's perfect righteousness, it would change our way of living immediately.
It is impossible to understand the Bible unless you have a clear understanding of the very holiness of God. It was emphasized by the division of the Tabernacle and the Temple into the Holy and Most Holy Places. It was emphasized by the prescribed offerings what must be brought if an Israelite would approach God. It was emphasized by the institution of a special priesthood to meditate between God and the people. It was emphasized by the inner laws about impurity in the Book of Leviticus. It was emphasized by the set feasts of Israel and by the isolation of Israel in the land.
The Holiness of God regulates all other principles of God. Scriptures declare that His throne is established on the basis of His holiness. Because God is Holy there is a wide rift between God and the sinner. The scriptures say, “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God. Your sins have hid his face from you that He will not hear.”
Not only is the sinner separated from God, but God is separated from the sinner. God’s eyes are too pure to look upon evil; because God is holy, He can have nothing to do with sin. Before sin came, man and God had fellowship with each other. Now that fellowship is broken, it is absolutely impossible for a sinner to have any contact with God whatsoever, unless it be through His Son, Jesus Christ. Man neither possesses, nor could ever possess of himself, nor can he acquire the sinlessness that it is necessary to have access to God. However, Christ came and made such access possible through Him.
In God's holiness lies the reason for the death of Christ and what his holiness demanded in the exacting of the penalty of sin. His love provided in Jesus Christ. We are dealing with a pure and righteous and holy God and He will not tolerate our evil and our sins. How long is this pure God going to endure our divorce rate, our teen’s moral breakdown, our own immorality in government circles, our drunkenness, our cursing? How long is God going to tolerate our pride, gossip, malice, slandering, and love of money, ease and pleasure and the destruction of others for our own gain? Were it not for God, for His longsuffering and mercy, this nation would be swept into hell overnight with all other nations and peoples that forgot God.
The Fourth thing that I want you to see about God, in trying to find out what God is like, is the Bible expression, God is Love. Many people have misunderstood that part of God’s nature. Just because God is love does not mean that all aspects of His nature is sweet, beautiful and happy and that God's love could not possibly allow for the punishment of sin. God's holiness demands that all sin be punished, but God's love provided a plan of redemption and salvation for sinful man. God’s love provided the cross of Jesus Christ by which man can have forgiveness of sin. It was the love of God that sent Jesus to the cross.
Who can describe or measure the love of God? This Bible is a revelation of the fact that God is love. When we preach justice, it is justice tempered with love. When we preach, righteousness, it is righteousness founded in love. When we preach atonement, it is atonement committed by love and given by love, provided by love and finished by love, necessitated because of Love. When we preach the resurrection of Christ, we are preaching the miracle of love. When we preach the return of Christ, we are preaching the fulfillment of Love.
No matter what sin you have committed, how black, dirty, shameful or terrible you may be, God loves you. You may be at the very gate of Hell itself, but God loves you with an everlasting love. Were it not for the love of God, none of us would ever have a chance in the future life, but thanks be unto God He is love. Because he is a holy God our sins have separated ourselves from Him, but thanks be unto God because of his love, there is a way of salvation, a way back to God through Jesus Christ His Son. "God commendeth His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
However, this love of God that is immeasurable, unmistakable, and unending and this love of God that reaches to wherever man is, can be entirely rejected. God will not force himself upon any man against his will. You can hear of the Love of God, you can hear of the plan of salvation, the way God has provided through His son. And then you can say… “No, I will not have any of it.” And God will let you go on to hell without His love.
The Scriptures say in John 3:16, “that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever should believe into Him should not perish, but have life everlasting.” In times of ignorance it is better to just trust in God and believe that He is who He says He is. In Mark 16:16 we read, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” You must believe in God, confess that you are a sinner and be baptized into the saving grace of Jesus Christ. There must be a positive act of commitment and surrender to the Love of God. Nobody else can do this for you. You can set all of the days of your life under the preaching of the Love of God and go right out and die without Christ and without hope. Or, you can open your heart today and say, Lord Jesus, come in.
Yes the Bible declares God to be Spirit; the Bible declares that God is a Person; the Bible declares that God is holy; righteous, and pure; the Bible declares that God is love. But some of you might say, “Well sir, even though what you say may be true, I still can't understand God, so therefore I cannot receive him.”
Well let me tell you, I don’t really understand how a black cow can eat green grass and produce white milk, but I drink milk nonetheless. I don’t really understand how a little black seed can be planted in the ground and a few weeks later you pluck a green watermelon with red meat and hundreds of little black seeds, but I love watermelons. I don't refuse to turn on my television because I don’t really understand electronic circuits. I accept the principals of biology and electronics by faith. You see, Faith, true faith isn’t blind. Faith means that I have seen the item work, or grow, or function and I know that when I make use of it in its intended purpose it will do what it was designed to do. There are thousands of things that we do each day which we don't understand, but we utilize freely, and the more we use them the more “faith” we have that this works. The same is true with God.
No, it is impossible for the human finite mind to completely understand God. This is where true faith and trust comes in. By Faithfulness I receive his plan for redemption and I Trust Christ to be my savior. In my own heart there is a deep assurance that I shall spend eternity with him. After all is said and done, if I had no other evidence than my own personal experience with God, this would be enough to convince me of God and Christ.
A little boy was flying his kite and it went so high that it was out of sight. A neighbor came by and said, “Jimmy, what are you doing?” He replied, “I am flying my kite.” “How do you know you are flying your kite, I don't see it?” the man replied. The little boy looked up and with a confident smile said, “I know it’s up there because I can feel the tug.”
I know God through personal experience in an intimate relationship and so can you. It's something I can't describe as no words of mortal man can. I wish that I had the vocabulary to describe my experience with God, but I don’t, but you can experience your own intimate relationship with God right now for yourself for He is the One who is tugging at our hearts. All you have to do is ask.
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