I dare you to say the word “God” to ten different people today and see what their reactions are. I dare you to go a step further and ask them “What is your definition of God?” and see what kind of answers you get. You see, today in our culture there are so many gods competing for everyone’s attention- Krishna, Jesus, Allah, nature, sex, money, fame- how will you know what and who you are worshiping? Well I imagine that if you’re reading my blog that you are most likely a born-again Evangelical Christian because that is the largest segment of my reading audience; if you’re not- welcome to the discussion!
My point for pointing out the confusion is to share with you who God is to me. Besides reading the Belief Statement on my website and the part about “God” I want to go in depth on the beauty and greatness of the Trinitarian God that I, and many other Christians (Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox) put our faith in. I believe that one of my jobs as a student of God and his word is to grow closer to him and be a magnifying glass of his love and truth to the world.
The Upside-Down God
So much of the time I think that people are very quick to paint God as someone who is carelessly loving or a lightning bolt slinger when he sees people messing up when in fact God is three persons, one substance (Gen. 1:1-2; Deut. 6:4; John 1:1). In him the perfection of personal relationship is mirrored in the self-revelation of the Father in the Son and through the power of the Spirit each possessing all of the divine attributes of the godhead(1 John 4:13-16). The godhead is invested in one another and in the world because of its sum total character based in “God is love”, not love is god. Love is the currency of God’s economy. God’s economy values people so much that he sent him to save the world and give eternal life (John 3:16). This is a fresh breath of air to how many other religions operate within a works system for salvation. There is nothing we can do to earn it- it’s fully given as a gift because of God’s love for us. As on of my seminary professor’s told me, “Other religions are spelt D-O; Christianity is spelt D-O-N-E because Christ has done everything we need for salvation. We just need to follow him and he will transform our lives.” The power, sovereignty, and mandates that God operates by are completely different and counter-intuitive to the system we live in. Jesus’ incarnation to humanity was born into weakness and frailty, for subjugation and imprisonment, and concluded in a seeming failure and death. But he and his followers turned the world upside-down (Acts 17:6) by his resurrection power and Gospel message that sin and death had met its match and that true, abundant life is available in Jesus Christ.
The Inside-Out God
Then just when you thought being upside-down wasn’t enough you had to realize that I was going to tell you how I perceive God to be inside-out right? Well in terms of transcendence and imminence he is not one or the other- he is both/and. Thankfully God isn’t so transcendent that he is a clock-maker (deism), but not imminently dependent on humanity to be given a special place in and as the historical process (Hegel). He lives within and without of these categories and sees everything with an eternal lens. God’s love is penetrating the world, and fully congregated within the Trinity. The Holy Spirit resides in each believer’s heart when they receive salvation. Then he takes the believer through sanctification, to become more like Christ, to live the change from their heart to their behavior and thoughts (1 Cor. 6:19). It is so awesome how God works in, through, and outside of our own abilities to give us gifts and experiences that we can only give him credit and glory for.
I know this has been an extra long post, but I really enjoyed writing it and hope that many of you will respond to this on a personal level and know that God is using people who revel in their weaknesses so that we will be joyful in his strength and not boast in anyone but Jesus Christ who reveals the heart of the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives through his saving grace.