"What Do We Believe?"- God
Thank you for joining me for another devotional in the series at Grace Evangelical Church that I’m calling, “What Do We Believe?”1. As I shared earlier, I am getting some help to keep me moving at a steady pace and to prevent me for straying too far off topic from an old Radio Bible Class booklet.
We live in a world and a culture that says, “You can believe (or not believe) anything you want, as long as you’re sincere.” This is especially true when it comes to what a person believes about God, and for that matter, what god they believe in. If we were to survey the religions of the world, we’d find there are many different beliefs about god. Actually, most of the world’s religions are “poly-theistic”, meaning they believe there are a multitude of gods that should be worshiped. However, the three main “mono-theistic” (one-god) religions of our world are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. And while these three hold to some similar beliefs about this one god, there are also some distinguishing differences. Because the focus of this devotional is, “What do we Believe?”, I will only be focusing on what the Bible teaches us about God. (And I won’t be taking the time to explain the differences in beliefs about the god of Christianity, Judaism and Islam.)
1. Who is the God of the Bible?
The Bible uses a multitude of names for God. The one that is used for His personal name, would be spelled in English as Yahweh (Deut. 6:4). This divine name was so sacred to the Jewish people that they would not utter it verbally. You would be able to recognize this name in your English Bible when God is referred to as “the LORD.” Other common names for God in the Hebrew Bible are El (mighty one), Elohim (mighty ones), El-Shaddai (the almighty one), and Adonai (lord/master). The Bible writers also combined a multitude of these names for God, all of which describe His character or nature.
While the religions of the world focus their devotion to other (false) gods, there is but One Creator and Sustainer of the universe. He alone gives life and deserves our gratitude and worship. He alone allows every heartbeat and every circumstance is under His control. He alone deserves our trust and adoration. Because He is eternal, no one will outlive Him or out-know Him. Because He is the lord of Lords, He alone is the One to whom we must answer.
2. How can we know the God of the Bible?
The very wonders and beauties of our planet are a witness to His existence and creative power (Rom. 1:20; Ps.19:1-4). The “small inner voice” that each of us have in our consciences testify to His existence as Lawgiver and Judge (Rom 1:18-32; 2:12-16). The love He gave to us by sending His Son to die on our behalf, so we could be forgiven and have a restored relationship with Him, reveals His compassion and mercy (Jn. 3:16-17) for us.
Because God has done so much to make Himself known to us, our problem is not that we need to prove His existence, it is that we need to stop ignoring it (Jn. 3:17-21).
3. How can we define or describe the God of the Bible?
The Bible does much of this for us in His names, yet more can be explained. The God of the Bible is the One and only (Isa. 44:6), unchangeable (Jas. 1:17), invisible (Col. 1:15), infinite (1 Kgs. 8:27), and is perfect in all His ways (Mt. 5:48). He is a Spirit-Being (Jn. 4:8-16), He is holy (1 Pet. 1:15-16), He is loving (1 Jn. 4:8-16), and He is truthful in all that He does (Jn. 3:33).
The God of the Bible exists with or without our understanding. While He is described truthfully and adequately, He can never be explained exhaustively. He is infinitely more, and never less, than we can know or comprehend Him to be.
4. Where do we get the idea that the God of the Bible is one God in three persons?
Christians have often labeled the God of the Bible as a “Trinity”. Yet that word is never used in the Bible to describe God, nor is it truly adequate. The Bible emphasizes the unity of God (Deut. 6:4; Gal. 3:20; 1 Tim. 2:5; Jas. 2:19), but it also describes Him as three distinct persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – all of whom are fully and equally God (Mt. 28:19; Acts 5:3-4; 2 Cor. 13:14; Heb. 1:8; 1 Pet. 1:2). A better theological word to describe the nature of God is therefore, “Triune”. He has lived from eternity past as one God in three equal yet distinct persons (Mt.28:19) and at the perfect time He visited us as God in the flesh (Jn.1:1-14).
5. What do we mean when that God is infinite?
The God of the Bible is infinite in that He is unlimited in every way (Lk. 1:37). He is also unrestricted by time, space, or circumstances. He has always been timeless (Ps. 90:2; Rev. 22:13), all-powerful (Mt.19:26), all-knowing (Job 37:16), and is everywhere present (Ps.139:7-12; Mt. 28:20). However, He always remains distinct from His creation (Is.40:18-26). He is only limited in the sense that He cannot and will not do anything inconsistent with His own goodness and His character (Tit. 1:2; Jas. 1:13).
This all means that the God of the Bible is vastly different from the gods of the world’s religions. Their gods are either limited in power, space, or time. They are self-contradictory or so human-like that these gods do not deserve worship; nor can they be associated with the greatness of the God of the Bible.
6. What comfort is there in believing that the God of the Bible is the Creator and Sustainer of everything?
The God of the Bible provides us with the assurance to be patient in times of trouble (Rom. 5:3-4; Jas. 1:2-4), thankful in prosperity (Phil. 4:10-13), and joyful even when facing death (Rom. 8:28-39; 2 Cor. 4:7-5:9).
The God of the Bible is ultimately all we need or should want. While it is our tendency to seek satisfaction and significance in lesser persons or activities, God alone is the One who offers us lasting hope, life, and a future.
Scriptures for today “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,” Psalm 19:1-4
““To whom will you compare me (God)? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” Isaiah 40:25-26
“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Romans 1:19-20
Prayer for today Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to understand how much better You are than all the gods of this world.
Help me to worship, adore, and appreciate Your greatness and holiness each day.
Help me to never grow calloused or casual to all of Your amazing attributes.
Thank You for demonstrating to the people of the Bible that You are the wonderful, loving, and caring God, and that You also demonstrate that to me.
Help me to find and continue to reach out to others who are feeling isolated, alone, and frustrated, and to be an encouragement to them. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Blessings, Pastor Tim
1. What We Believe. Radio Bible Class, 1996