Posted On May 24, 2018

Rejecting a God in Our Image

by | May 24, 2018 | Theology

In From Death to Life: How Salvation Works, I wrote:

…we “tolerate a view of God which is vastly beneath the revelation which God makes of Himself in Holy Scriptures.”[1] We are in constant danger of trying to make God out to be like one of us, just a little bit bigger.[2] The Lord of hosts is not like us. He is Holy, Holy, Holy.[3] He is eternally triune, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, One God in three distinct but coequal persons.[4]

When you arrive at the limit of human comprehension, the knowledge of God has not been the least bit exhausted. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.[5] He is the great and awesome God.[6] At His right hand are pleasures forevermore.[7] He is infinite in wisdom and His knowledge is unsearchable.[8] He is always right, always good, always perfect, and always God most high.[9]

He is sovereign in, through, and over all things and His plans and purposes cannot be thwarted by puny man.[10] A weak, needy, and unholy god demands nothing of our repentance. But the God of the Bible will have no dealings with a person or people who refuse to turn from sin.[11] (pg. 73-74)

Although it’s not the exact same subject material, it reminded me recently of a quote from one of Spurgeon’s Sermons on A View of God’s Glory. He says:

“Put the two together – goodness and sovereignty – and you see God’s glory. If you take sovereignty alone, you will not understand God. Some people only have an idea of God’s sovereignty, and not of his goodness; such are usually gloomy, harsh, and ill-humored. You must put the two together that God is good, and that God is sovereign. You must speak of sovereign grace. God is not grace alone, he is sovereign grace. He is not sovereign alone, bet he is graciously sovereign. That is the best idea of God. When Moses said, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory,” God made him see that he was glorious, and that his glory was his sovereign goodness. Surely, beloved, we cannot be wrong in loving the doctrine of free, unmerited, distinguishing grace, when we see it is thus mentioned as the brightest jewel in the crown of our covenant God. Do not be afraid of election and sovereignty. The time is come when our ministers must tell us more about them; or, if not, our souls will be so lean and starved that we shall mutiny for the bread of life. O, may God send us more thorough gospel men, who will preach sovereign grace as the glory of the gospel.” (Spurgeon’s Sermons Vol. 2, pg. 212)

The point of this post is to exhort you to reject the temptation to make God like one of us (Psalm 50:21). Too often I interact with people who feel they need to “defend” God from certain passages of Scripture. Though God ordained a lying spirit (1 Kings 22:23), predestined the murder of His Son (Acts 4:27-28), or prepared vessels of wrath for destruction (Romans 9:22), He does not need us to come to His defense.

We must not soften God to make Him more palatable to our fellow man. The God of the Bible is who God is, period. Scripture is given to us that we may know Him as He desires to be known – for Scripture gives us a sufficient portrait of our glorious God. We must not tolerate insufficient views of God. “I like to think of God as…” must be stripped from our vocabulary and replaced with Scripture. We must reject any semblance of a god made in our image.

A god made in our image is not worthy of our devotion, nor can it bear the weight of our worship. I think too many genuine believers are too timid when it comes to seeing God for all He is in Scripture. We want to offer footnotes, qualifiers, and unwarranted anthropomorphism to tame the God of the Bible so that He might be more manageable and understandable by the finite human mind.

The truth is, when we stop short of delighting in God for all that He is, we sin. Furthermore, we sell ourselves short; for all that is discoverable about God is for our delight and good. We were made to glorify God and enjoy Him forever! Yes, there are “hard” things about God that grate against our flesh, but the deeper we go in discovering the triune God of the Bible as He has shown us Himself in Scripture, the greater our joy and worship will be in this glorious One.

There’s actually a case for cessationism in this too. That is, we don’t need extra revelation about God to discover what He is “really” like or to have a “real” relationship with Him. He has given us all we need about Himself in Scripture. And there is much to feast on!

What if the “key” to reaching Millennials, or Gen Xers, or Baby Boomers, or any generation, tribe, tongue, or people is not the latest and greatest church growth strategy? What if the key to reaching sinners is a robust theology of who God is and what He has done in Christ – which is constantly rejoiced in and proclaimed by His people? (1 Peter 2:9) Actually, I think that is the key.

Therefore, may preachers and teachers of the Word of God not hold back in proclaiming the manifest wonders of all that God is and all that He has done in the person and work of Christ to accomplish our redemption. May all believers study the works of God (Psalm 111:2), in such a way that they are brought to an awareness of who the God of the Bible is in all His fullness (with the understanding that such a complete comprehension of God will be something we will continue to grow in for all eternity). What I mean is may we all reject a god made in our image and rejoice and delight in God as He has shown Himself to us in Scripture.

What a good and sovereign God we serve. Worship Him.

 

 

 

[1] Richard Owen Roberts, Salvation in Full Color, xi.

[2] Psalm 50:21

[3] Isaiah 6:3, Revelation 4:8

[4] While there is not a verse that says “God is trinity” this truth permeates the Bible. We see the entire Trinity present in places like Matthew 3:16-17, Matthew 28:19, and Ephesians 1:3-14. One in essence, three in person.

[5] Psalm 89:14

[6] Nehemiah 1:5

[7] Psalm 16:11

[8] Romans 11:33

[9] Psalm 145:3

[10] Job 42:2, Isaiah 14:27, Jeremiah 32:17, Acts 4:24-28

[11] Joel 2:12, Revelation 16:11

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