Many years ago a brother shared a simple phrase which still challenges me today. I think that may have been his intention. You may have heard a similar word – albeit a slight variation – but in all, the thrust is the same. What my brother reflected upon was this:
What you think about God is the single most important thing in your life. (Note the emphasis.)
I now see, however, that it’s not.
And yet it is. Allow me to unwrap this curiously shaped parcel.
All depends on your reference point. Simply put, start with yourself and all is lost! Start with The Triune God, the Finished Work and the Gospel of Grace and all is Life! Christ alone is perfect Theology.
Our philosophy or creed will dictate how we live life, how we see and value ourselves and others. It will be the lens through which we interpret life and every situation and circumstance presented to us: how we understand human history and the current plight of humanity in this world.
To start from the “self” with its own reasoning – compounded by Greek philosophy and Roman legalism – we construct an image of god that is a grotesque misrepresentation and distortion of who He Truly is. Still fumbling behind that rhododendron bush, wearing a kale, lettuce and cumquat leaf ensemble, we are assured and confident in our own knowledge of what god is really like. We think He must be so, because we believe Him to be so.
That is religion and will only cause you to craft, for yourself and others, a golden calf; god in your own image. Moooove over please! What you think of Him, therefore, is not important.
Thankfully, God is not who we think He is.
Only God knows God! It is, therefore, important that we know Him as He knows Himself. And He desires we do! I think it’s called the Gospel.
God never ordained that man would discover Him, nor come to know Him through intellectual acumen, philosophy, works of righteousness, asceticism, morality, human logic or reasoning. Knowing God was never dependant on you or your doing! No! God is self-revealing. All throughout scripture He engages with man’s fallen mind to reintroduce us again to Himself and, therefore, our true selves. This self-revealing culminated in the person of Jesus Christ – and He in us, the mystery hidden from all ages.
Sooner of later we will have to leave behind what we think of God, and simply trust Him, allowing Him to reveal His True self to us. Paradoxically, you will discover the True you, when you behold Him as He is! For, as He is, so are you! This is not just semantics or a poetic balm found in scripture to soothe your soul. This is Truth. So, let’s have our minds renewed as to who He says He is. For only He knows. This is why Jesus stated, no-one knows the Son except the Father, nor does anyone know the Father except the Son. You, don’t. You can’t. Your sonship, is Christ’s Sonship gifted to you. It is astounding! You were never meant to work your way back into the Trinitarian Circle of Life and forge your own relationship with Father, Son or Holy Spirit. Remember, exclusion is an illusion, separation, a lie. Father’s delight is in blowing our tiny minds to reveal who He Truly is and therefore – being His beloved child – who you Truly are! Francois du Toit states, He came to introduce you to you, so that you may know as you have always been known! Such is the Gospel…
…Not what can be, but what is.
Grace unfolds. Minds blow. Pressure off!
Before creation, before “In the beginning”, you were. You belonged! You are the dream of God the Father and He gave you life for the sole purpose of sharing His Abundant Life and Joy Unspeakable with you. Family. Theologian, C. Baxter Kruger calls this the logic of life and creation itself, of all human history and its ultimate end and purpose.
If you believe God does not exist, then what you think about Him is creating an existence for you and others around you that is without hope. If you believe God is angry at you for your great – great – great – great….grandfather, eating an apple from His orchard, then likewise, your inner life will be but a shadow of what it Truly is and will swallow any sense or possibility of Peace or Joy in you or with others. Even if you think God is love, you may be left unravelling life’s contradictions based on your understanding or perception of love. We must never perceive God through our own philosophical, analytical or humanistic thinking. We do not transpose our understanding of love, grace, mercy, joy etc onto God’s face. It is not for us, for example, to try to conjure up the ultimate definition for Grace, but rather to allow ourselves to be embraced by Him who is Grace.
On The Cross, God, in the Person of Jesus Christ, having become Sin, released His Judgement upon it: not us! Repeat: He judged sin, not us! Sin was killing Father’s children and He went after it with a Holy Wrath: a loving Dad going after the cancer that is killing his son.
An angry God is inconsistent with the New Testament, the Finished Work, the Gospel of Grace and the revelation of God in the person of Jesus Christ, who is the exact representation of Father. An angry Dad is not Good News, is it? If you can change His mind to now love you (like He didn’t before?) then maybe you or He can change it again. Really?
The Wrath of God is His wrath poured out on Sin because it was killing His children and blinding us to who He is and who we are. We were dying in our death and “slipping into non-existence”, as St. Athanasius stated.
In contrast, the wrath that Jesus took on the Cross was ours, as we scourged, tortured and crucified Life itself, blind with our prideful arrogance and abhorrent evil.
Angry God? No!!! A million times no! Wrathful Judgement? No! A million times no!!
His actual Judgement over us declares our Original Innocence as His beloved child in whom His soul delights. In Christ, He gives us a Righteousness and Innocence that is His own! He re-confirms us in our original innocence, redeeming His image and Likeness in human form. He came not to judge, but to save. We judged ourselves, and that is what we are still doing…hence the world in a panic…He allows us to see our foolishness because Love will not force itself but continue to woo our hearts if we but listen…That’s why humanity is broken and scared, for it believes, deep down it truly believes God is angry and they are destined for a judgement, which they believe is eternal hellfire. There is no condemnation, only that which we place on ourselves through unbelief. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not condemning us or punishing us….They are loving us and convicting us of our Righteousness in Christ.
May I encourage you to rest and enjoy His shalom…If you hear anything about God’s judgement or wrath as punishment, specifically right now – or indeed anytime – simply remember who God is and who you are! God is not divided over us. He is not angry. He wants us to awaken to who He is, His astounding Grace and who we Truly are in Christ.
As He Is
P.s. I love hearing from you and engaging in this amazing family conversation as we grow together. If any posts bless you please let others know and let’s awaken one another to the astounding Truth of The Gospel of Grace and Christ in us! Bless you!!