Who is this God We Worship?
Yahweh - God as Christians understand Him
If we were to fully unpack this you would need to have brought with you meals for two or three days and your pajamas. I know that you didn’t so today I are going to give you a quick run through about who God is. At Soundfaith.com you will find suggested resources for further investigation.
Your ability to answer the question Who is God is central to your ability to understand not only God, but who you are as well.
So God created human beings in his image. In the image of God he created them. He created them male and female.
Each of you is now a new person. You are becoming more and more like your Creator, and you will understand him better.
To understand God we must first start with gaining a better understanding of the Nature of God. God as we understand him in the Christian Faith is a Triune God. John Piper in his book Desiring God wrote this.
The doctrine of the Trinity is foundational to the Christian faith. It is crucial for properly understanding what God is like, how He relates to us, and how we should relate to Him. But it also raises many difficult questions. How can God be both one and three? Is the Trinity a contradiction? If Jesus is God, why do the Gospels record instances where He prayed to God? While we cannot fully understand everything about the Trinity (or anything else), it is possible to answer questions like these and come to a solid grasp of what it means for God to be three in one. By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org
The first thing we need to remember is that in the final analysis the Trinity is mystery. Our God is not a super human being. Other religions attempt to understand God from a human level. We human beings have always tried to anthropomorphize God - bring him down to our level. Make him in our image. Have him conform to our finite understanding. However, God says to us...
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Stop and think about it for a minute. Isn’t it rather pompous and arrogant and audacious for us to make God in our image and then put him in charge of things. That is what other religions have done, but from the very beginning, Scripture has told us that we need to start with God because everything started, the whole of creation started with God. So we should not look at ourselves and then try to deduce who God is and what he is like. We need to start with God and allow him to explain to us who he is.
Gen 1:2 Begins with these words - “The earth was formless and void.”
We need to get this firm in our minds - nothing existed as we know it except God. There was nothing, absolutely nothing. The rest of Genesis chapter 1 and the beginning of chapter 2 tells us that everything was brought into being by him. Before anything - there was God. Unlike the creation stories of most other religions including Islam which describe other gods and creation happening out of their fighting and bickering, Christians understand that before the beginning there was God and in the beginning of all things it was Yahweh God who created.
This is the first thing we as Christians need to understand. We do not create our understanding of God from our image. It is God who created us. We need to stop trying to shape him in our finite understanding and allow him through scripture to help us understand who he is.
4 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!
Scripture helps us to understand that there is only one God, not a pantheon of Gods. But Scripture also helps us to understand that who God is in his being is different from us. This one God is within himself 3 persons. We use the term Trinity. You will not find the word Trinity or the phrase triune God in the Scriptures, but you will find the concept explained. We simply gave a name to it.
9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,
30 “I and the Father are one.”
9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11 “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.
30 “I and the Father are one.” 31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” 33 The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35 “If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
26 “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me,
So what does this mean when we say God is one being in which co-exist three persons. Very simply we are saying God in his very being is perfect community, in perfect harmony in perfect love. We say that God is love. True Love takes an I - you relationship. This is important to realize. It takes at least two to demonstrate self giving love. Before creation, God is love because in his very essence there exists the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in which love moves and which breaks forth in Creation. God does not need us to be complete him, because of his essence and personhood he is complete without us. However, it is that love that brought forth the universe. Not in a sexual sense like many creation myths of other religions, but in an innate desire of self giving and relationship. Not that God required us in order to be in relationship because in his being he is in relationship as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
At the heart of Christianity’s revelation of God is a trinitarian form of monotheism. That the living God is triune—that three eternal persons coexist within the one divine essence—is the distinctive Christian affirmation about deity. Alongside the proper names of God and his perfectional names the Bible arrays the personal names Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The doctrine of the Trinity is Christianity’s unique declaration concerning the divine being and is definitive for Christian theism. (Carl F. H. Henry, God, Revelation, and Authority, vol. 5 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1999), 191.)
a. Why is the Concept of the Trinity is important
It gives us the example of how we are to live with each other. We are created in the image of God. We are not God. We are created beings, but created to live in a special relationship with God which defines our relationship with each other. Here are some basic keys that will unlock you understanding about who God is.
Key 1 - Christianity is the only Faith where God wants to have a personal relationship with humanity.
14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,
Key 2. Christianity is the only Faith in which God as we understand him does not wait for us to be good enough to be in his presence, but takes the first step and comes to us even when we don’t deserve to be in relationship with him.
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
Key 3. Christianity is the only Faith where God does everything necessary to make it possible for us to be in relationship with him, right down to entering into human history as Jesus - God incarnate, to pay the price of our rejecting him.
Romans 5:8 (NASB95)
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners (while we still rejected him), Christ died for us.
Key 4. Christianity is the only Faith where God offers forgiveness, renewal and new life right at the beginning of our love relationship with him. No waiting until we are good enough, no having to go through certain ceremonies or religion acts. We simply need to say we want a relationship with him and he begins to pour his love into us.
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
17 Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! 18 All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. 19 God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing.
Key 5. He does all this and then says that he will help us to become all we were created to be by being with us and in us. We don’t have to do it alone. He knows it will take time and he is willing to give us the time.
Philippians 2:12–13 (NCV)
12 ...Keep on working to complete your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 because God is working in you to help you want to do and be able to do what pleases him.
10 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
Key 6. He invites all who enter into this love relationship with him to come home to him here and in eternity.
31 “But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.
Friends this is the God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit who we love, worship and praise. This is the God that we want to tell others about. This is the God to whom we want to pass on the keys of life to all humanity.
19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
For Follow up
Understanding The Trinity
TEACHING: The Trinity Beautifully Explained by Dr. Ravi Zacharias: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=788hMI1Lc-s
Nabeel Qureshi explaining the Trinity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0JpwOSKRC0
Nabeel Qureshi answers a Muslim's Questions on the Trinity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6q_c_CQPnM
Nabeel Qureshi's Powerful Closing Statement - Is God Tawhid or Trinity? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUQb6EtVTaE
Understanding the Trinity by John Piper: https://www.cru.org/train-and-grow/spiritual-growth/core-christian-beliefs/understanding-the-trinity.html