This morning i read in John Piper’s devotional book “Taste and See” about the two sides of God, namely Love and … well Him being God. He speaks there about the problem that often we want one but leave the other, or, that we are out of balance, leaning towards one side.
It got me thinking about who God is, while driving to work.
I got stuck on Jesus being the creator of all things. I was musing the fact that this world seems nothing like what we would expect it to be. I was wondering about some doubts that are expressed by unbelievers (and us at times alike) when they say that “how can there be a God when the world looks like it is?” I used to scorn at this question.
Not that i have changed my basic position, but I see now the vast gap between what and who God is and what we and this world is. In this context this question is a vital one; or rather the answer to that question.
Let’s just think for a moment who God is:
God is perfect. That means everything He does, is and encompasses is flawless.
God is holy. That means He is absolutely different from us. He is not a man, but spirit. His thoughts are not our thoughts. His ways not our ways. His desires not our desires. He alone can make a claim to be worshipped. We worship Him because it is right.
God is good. That means that everything that happens under His control is for the good of everything (including you and me). It also means that nothing non-good can originate from Him. He is essentially good. We worship Him because it the best thing for us as well.
God is absolutely sovereign. That means that He is control of all things, at all times. Nothing in creation can stay His hand.
God is love. That means that God is longsuffering, out for the best of all of creation.
God is just. That means that no injustice exists with Him and His economy. It means that He can be forgiving as well as judging.
God is all-powerful (or omnipotent). That means that He can do everything He wants to do.
God is everywhere present (or omnipresent). That means that there is no place on this earth where God is not fully present in all His power and the rest of His attributes.
God is eternal. That means that for Him there is no past, present or future, everything happens at the same time.
God is also all-knowing (omniscient). That means there is nothing that evades his mind. He knows things before they happen (s.o).
God is a consuming fire. His holiness and perfection make Him unapproachable. He is fierce against ungodliness and His self proclaimed enemies.
God is righteous. That means He is not out there to trip people up. He is the defender of the helpless, the healer of the sick, the comforter of the lonely, the judge of the guilty, the avenger of the guiltless …
And many more things. Read your Bible.
Now. If we look at God how He picture Himself in Scripture, we see this amazing and pure God. The more we go one about His attributes the more awe struck we get (or should at least). He is everything that encompasses good, right, perfect and just.
Then the question this morning was: “why do I not see it in creation then?”.
“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.” (Gen 1:31)
All things were created in accordance with His character. I look around me and is see the complete opposite of that. Car fumes hugging the city like a giant cheese lid. People driving as if they got bonuses from killing others. I live in a country where you can’t open the newspapers anymore because of all the crime and violence that is reported. People are dying around us because others just don’t care about life. Every day we read of rape, women in the 60s, women in their 40’s, women in their 20’s and yes, even babies. Every day you can get another story of a family wiped out house breaking thieves … just for the heck of it. You read of people getting shot 8 times just because they were cooperative.
You read and hear about failing marriages, globally. In some parts of the world you have a 50% divorce rate, steadily climbing. You have people stealing from friends, impregnating girlfriends, ruining campuses because the fees are too high, burning trains, leaving family behind, abandoning babies and children, cursing loved ones, hating each other and being hated, blowing themselves and 50 others to pieces because of a lie, selling women for pleasure, degrading the elderly because of “uselessness”. We have become so accustomed to throw everything away that we deem “useless” that our morality went as one of the first things. You have countries glory in the fact that they hate God, even though historically their very comfort zones bear witness to their foolishness. It truly is a global “and everybody did what was right in their own eyes” (like in the time of the Judges).
We have an economy of people that disregard, hate, malign, swear at, make fun, curse and flat out ignore their very maker. We have a society that reckons themselves to be “ok” just because they sit in a building with a guy sharing his twisted thoughts on world peace, or reading from the guestbook (as witnessed in a church in Germany).
We all believe that we are good people doing bad things, that good trees can produce bad fruit in its entirety.
We live in a world that reckons evil to be good and good to be evil, white to be black and black to be white. The trend today is to self-deification, i.e. ‘i make the rules’. We esteem intellectualism over mercy and in the process become fools, because we have become “wise in our own eyes”. Today, as super intellectuals, we have even “grown out of” the idea that things are mutually exclusive. In our “intellectual society” we glory in the fact that everybody can have their own absolute truth … or better yet, that there is no absolute truth at all (except that statement, of course). It is a world and society that lifts up its hands in sheer glee on its way to self-destruction.
Do get how that is SO different from who God is? Do you see how the question to “where is God” is really not that silly? I actually think it to be good sign, if somebody asks me that after i showed them God, because that means they understood what God is saying about Himself.
Yes, He is HOLY!
But why does God not interfere? Why does He not come down and rain hell on all this unrighteousness, selfishness, godlessness, murder and crime? Is He blind? Can he not see? Is He distant? Or maybe He is just “opium for the people”, a rationalisation of the desperate?
I will submit to you that God is doing something about it. In fact He is doing it right now. What He does is actually in complete accordance with His character. He remains just , He remains love. He is both God and love.
God is patient because He loves: “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. ” (2Pe 3:9)
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. ” (Rom 1:18)
The wrath of God is already being revealed. He is busy judging people already by letting them do what they want to do (Rom 1:24). But His final judgment is still outstanding (c.f. Col 3:5-6, Rom 12:19).
So, God is being God and he shows His love by not just clean sweeping the whole place.
But what is He doing about this evil that we so easily cling to?
Instead of doing the just thing, by destroying all ungodliness, He chose to have Himself pay for our evil. He died, in His Son, on the cross for you and me, so we can go free and have a new life (a second chance, if you will). He makes us new creatures.
And it is in this that He does something about this place. What is that? Well, it’s the changing of the world by the changing of hearts; one by one. This changing is the faith in Jesus Christ, the exact image of God, the righteous creator and finisher of all things.
The question is, will you trust in this message, or do you keep on searching for “signs and wonders” that could show that God is really in control? He is in control, you know? But He works in ways we don’t expect it … in the microcosm.
Be encouraged to hang on to this in a time where hope seems a withering word, wiser and more happy generations once new.
In the supremacy of Christ in all things!