Word for Your Week, "Which God Do You Know?"



Which God Do You Know?


The most important belief that we have second only to the Gospel of Christ (though this is certainly revealed within it) is who we believe God really is and is really like. Like the gospel, our belief in the true nature of God will inevitably be solidified through experience. It’s only when we truly commune with and know someone that we can truly begin to develop accurate beliefs about them. We all desperately need to know God more.


When Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden, there was a new “god” that was introduced to the human mind. I call this “the false god of our religious imagination”. This was no small thing. This false image of god was what ultimately drove Adam and Eve and eventually the rest of mankind into the bushes to hide from their Maker in shame and unbelief. It is also this false image that ultimately drove God’s own people to have Jesus crucified. The lies of the serpent and sin itself was inevitably the culprit in the development of this false image of god, yet this false image has been passed along from generation to generation since and continues to wreak havoc on humanity keeping us foiled into either religious performance or worldly indulgence, both of which are far from the healing waters of authentic relationship.


When Jesus showed up on the scene 2,000 plus years ago he was rejected by most of his own people, the very ones who claimed to know God. Here was God in flesh whom they claimed to know, but when He showed up, they did not recognize or accept Him (John 1:11). John 1:18 declares that Jesus is the only one who Himself is God in the flesh who has ever seen God, known God, and reveals God. Jesus tells the pharisees in John chapter 8 that they do not know His Father but are rather of their father the devil who has been a liar and murderer from the beginning. He tells the professional religious guys of their day that they don’t know God and rather follow satan and his nature. It should be abundantly clear by now that Satan is in fact the god of false religion.


There are distinct differences between the True God revealed in Jesus and the god of our religious imagination:


The True God is full of mercy and forgiveness. The false god is full of grudges and recompense.


The True God loves and includes us unconditionally apart from performance. The false god loves and includes us conditionally depending upon performance.


The True God  loves sinners and reaches out to them in love. The false god hates sinners and separates himself from them in disgust.


The True God loves us in our sin and helps us to know Him and who we are in Christ to overcome it. The false god judges us in our sin and condemns us as sinners without the hope of overcoming it.


The True God has saved us in Jesus as a gift of grace. The false god expects us to save ourselves apart from the gift of grace by works.


The True God sees us as His beloved children called to participate in His nature of love and life. The false god sees us as pawns who are merely to be used and are only as valuable as the work we can muster up and produce.


The True God looks at us with a lovingly concerned gaze of protective care. The false god looks at us through a critical eye of expectation and demand.


The True God desires relationship and the heart. The false god demands obligation and rule keeping.


The True God gives life. The false god produces death.


The True God gives us rest. The false god is exhausting.


The True God casts out all fear. The false god lords with fear.


The True God is a God of grace. The false god is a legalist.


The True God of Grace causes sin to decrease and forgives you for it along the way. The false god of legalism causes sin to increase and condemns you for it along the way. (Being under grace is to know the True God and to depend upon His Spirit for life and righteousness. Being under the law is to know the false god and depend upon ourselves for life and righteousness.)


The True God is a God of desire. The false god is a god of duty.


The True God leads to repentance with kindness. The false god uses threats and abuse to demand conformance.


The True God convicts with health, love, and hope. The false god condemns with fear, duty, and shame.


The True God brings about transformation. The false god is only interested in conformation.


The cycle and struggle between the two can be exhausting, but the good news is, the cycle can be broken in Jesus. The only way this can be accomplished is through actually growing in knowing God for who He really is. The Apostle John in I John 4:8 declares the truest nature of God revealed in Christ: God is love. God is by nature love. The Trinity by nature is other centered other giving (agape) love. This love that God is is what calls us all out of the religious of worldly bushes of hiding and into His presence of acceptance, forgiveness, and unconditional love. He has proven in Jesus who perfectly reveals the Father by the power and work of the Holy Spirit that He is radically for us and has never been against us! Even to the point of dying our death to purge us from the guilt and power of sin. He has done this so that we can come into a full relationship with Himself. Here is some of what the True God has accomplished for us in Christ:


He has already reconciled the world to Himself.

He is not counting our sins against us.

He has crucified our old nature.

He has given us of His Divine nature.

He has raised us up into newness of life.

He has seated us with Himself in the heavenly places.

He has made us His children forever.


Which God do you know? The True God of the bible revealed in Jesus or the god of our religious imagination that crept in through Satan and the fall of Adam? The true God is sheer unimaginable goodness. He is much better than we think. Take time to sit with God and ask Him to reveal His true nature and goodness to you. He will blow your mind with How perfect He is and how loving He is towards you. He will reveal Himself through His word and by experience. Let Him love you over and over again until your religious paradigms of who you believe that He is is washed away and the truth takes hold and remains. Have a blessed week church!


- Shane