Who Is God?

And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 21Little children, keep yourselves from idols. 1 John 5:20–21

Last night, I began reading Made in Our Image: The Fallacy of the User-Friendly God by Steven J. Lawson, and the author wastes no time in stating that the most important aspect of any person’s beliefs or worldview is who they believe God is. Ask a person who God is, Lawson explains, and you will learn a great deal about the person through his or her answer. In other words, our view of God largely defines who we are.

I do not think it a stretch that the Apostle John would agree with Lawson. The verses quoted above are the closing verses of John’s first epistle, an epistle in which John points out how God ought to affect the lives of believers.

Chapter 1, verse 5 proclaims that God is light and that in Him there isn’t any darkness. The following verses — the rest of chapter 1 and most of chapter 2 — reveal the implications of this truth. If God is light, then we should have no fellowship with darkness. If we do not love our brother, then we are not abiding in the light.

Chapter 3, verse 1 proclaims that God is the Father who loves His children, and again the following verses reveal the implications of that. As His children, we ought to love one another. As His children, we ought not to keep on sinning. As His children, we ought to recognize other believers as brothers and entreat them as such.

Chapter 4, verse 8 proclaims that God is love. The implications again reveal that believers ought to love one another, but also that there is no fear in love — as His children, we do not have to be afraid of God because He is love.

Those are just some of the admonitions given throughout 1 John… admonitions which are directly linked to the character of God.

If you have a proper view of God, your life will be affected accordingly. Ditto if you believe in no god or a god of war or a god of fertility or whatever else.

And that is why John closed his epistle with the blunt admonition to “keep yourselves from idols.” A false understanding of God, no matter how trivial the error may seem, will result in unrighteousness in your life, your faith, and your worship.

Friends, keep yourselves from idols.

4 thoughts on “Who Is God?”

  1. Walt Dickinson

    Rick, on July 17, 2007, you wrote, “You’re concluding that I have come to Christ because of some kind of search for meaning or something; that is not the case at all, so please don’t assume that.” (In your forum, that Fellowship-Hall). Do you still stand by these words?

    If you do, do you believe most/some Christians become Christians (i.e. come to Christ) because of a search for meaning?

    If not, I can’t help but think of Michael W. Smith’s words, “I’m looking for a reason, roaming through the night to find my place in this world, my place in this world! Not a lot to lean on, I need Your light to help me find my place in this world, my place in this world!”

    So why did you come to Christ? I know, I know, “God dragged my sinful heart to Him,” and the rest of the Calvinist dialogue linked to your testimony. But for what personal reason did you come to Christ? That is, of course, you don’t mind my asking.

  2. Walt Dickinson: Yep, I do still stand by those words. Validation and personal meaning had nothing to do with coming to Christ.

    I’m aware of Smith’s song; actually, that’s the only song of his I would recognize as being his, if only because it enjoyed fairly decent airtime on the radio at work. Good song.

    However, I am a bit hesitant to link coming to Christ with a search for validation, if only because the Lord Himself did not describe salvation in that way, as best as I can recall.

    What personal reason, then, can I credit for my coming to Christ? I remember it vividly: I became convicted of my sin, convicted that I was damned already in my unbelief. That is why I told my friends online at midnight that I was lost, and that is why they drove to my house in the middle of the night to preach the Gospel to me. I knew it well enough, but I had never experienced it personally, and I guess we all took to heart the words of Paul in Romans that link coming to faith with hearing the Word.

    But yes, I do absolutely think that many people profess faith in Christ as a way of finding meaning or validation. There may be some value in it, but it has become part & parcel with far too many of today’s churches that the Gospel not include anything about sin or damnation. The “self-esteem” gospel is found all over the place now.

    Frankly, I think that if a person believes a gospel which does not include the salvation from sin as described repeatedly by Jesus and the Apostle Paul, then I believe that gospel is not the Gospel of the Bible and ought to be rejected for it is accursed.

  3. Walt Dickinson

    Thank you for answering that. :)

    Now, for the bigger question, which I am glad you brought up.

    You wrote, “Frankly, I think that if a person believes a gospel which does not include the salvation from sin as described repeatedly by Jesus and the Apostle Paul, then I believe that gospel is not the Gospel of the Bible and ought to be rejected for it is accursed.”

    Would you believe, then, that a person who believes in salvation through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone by grace alone for the glory of God alone, but also believes that homosexuality is not a sin, could still be saved?

    Because I am at conflict between 1 Corinthians 6:9 and Romans 10:9. Both indicate an absolute certainty: “The unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God” and “you will be saved.” But both are very opposite. So which one is more true (assuming both are true)?

    Can a person, who is homosexual, believe in their heart that God raised Jesus from the dead and confess Him as Lord of the world and their life?

    I’m sorry if I’m being confusing. But there’s my question.

  4. Walt Dickinson: I think that if a person doesn’t know homosexuality is a sin when they first come to faith, their faith may still be genuine. However, a person that knows better — and it doesn’t take long to know better when the sinfulness of homosexuality is fairly well established in the Bible — is responsible for repenting. I think that a refusal to do so shows a disengenuousness of faith.

    First Timothy 1:10 tells us that the homosexuality is against “sound doctrine.” Likewise, 1 Corinthians 6:9 says that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God and that it is deception to think that they will. (Source.)

    “Do not be deceived,” Justin.

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