If I were to ask you if you believed in God, I am confident almost all of you would respond in the affirmative. But if I were to follow that question up by asking you to describe God to me, to give me a list of His attributes or to speak to me about the essential qualities of His nature, the answers would not be as forthcoming. While most people claim to believe in God, they are not really sure who He is, what He is like, and how we can know these things about Him with certainty.
As I sat down to write this message, it occurred to me the task before me was next to impossible. How do I say all I need to say about God? I cannot. So this is a disclaimer upfront. I can neither be exhaustive nor comprehensive in my treatment of this topic. Our purpose today is not to learn all there is to know about God, that would be impossible. Rather, my hope is to stir your heart and whet your appetite for more, so you will continue to study and learn more of these truths on your own.
First, let’s consider who God is not. While most people claim to believe in God, it is clear they do not believe in the God revealed in Scripture. The question, then, should not be: “Do you believe in God?” The question should be: “In what god do you believe?” You see, when different people talk about God, they are not all speaking of the same person. Many well intentioned Christians are simply ignorant of this truth. For example, when the topic of Islam is raised, you will hear people say something like, “Well, we all worship the same God, don’t we?” The answer is unequivocally no. The God of Scripture is not Allah, worshiped by the Muslims. Christians and Muslims do not worship the same God. To say we do just because we use the same generic name for God is like saying all references to the name “Mike” must refer to the same person.
The same is true of all the other gods worshiped by other religions. The God of the Bible is not the god of the Mormons; He is not the god of the Jehovah’s Witnesses; He is not the god of the New Agers; and the list could go on. While many people believe in a god, they do not all believe in the God who is revealed in Scripture.
If we look just a little below the surface we can see who God is depends on who you ask. How, then, do we know who our God is and on what authority can we claim to found our beliefs?
This brings us to our second consideration.
Who is God and how can we know Him? Our theology about God is rooted and grounded solely in Scripture. We believe there is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being. He is the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. He is infinite in Holiness and all other perfections. He is all powerful and all knowing. To Him, we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.This is a summation of our theology of God. Fundamental to our faith is the understanding that God has revealed Himself to us in Scripture.
This is an important truth we need to be clear of. If we are not clear about where we get our knowledge of God, then whatever knowledge we have of Him will be suspect. The Scripture is the only certain word we have about God and it tells us that we are made in His image. This is important because when many people think about God, they try to think of Him in human terms. They try to think of Him in sentimental ways or understand Him through the lens of their personal experience, always trying to envision Him within the confines of how they would understand another human. But instead of understanding God within the confines of human personhood, we need to recognize that we are a finite and fallen replica of His infinite, divine, and perfect person. We are created in His image. He is the Creator; we are the creature. All we can ever know about God is what He has chosen to disclose to us in Scripture.
What, then, does God reveal to us about Himself?
In Part 2, we will look at 10 things God tells us about Himself in Scripture.