Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

    by Rayola Kelley

    Who is God? As stated in the first article, if we do not get God right, then everything from our premise, understanding, and conclusions will be wrong. Premise has to do with the direction one will travel, understanding will determine the reality one adopts, and conclusions will establish attitudes towards the unseen and life in general. It is for this reason many people are walking in the wrong direction, while adhering to a false reality and possessing perverted conclusions. Ultimately, such individuals will not be able to trust anything about their understanding and reality.

      Clearly, when the true God of heaven is missing from the equation, there is no premise of truth in which to discern a matter, no moral compass in which to make sound judgments, and no sure foundation in which to stand. There is nothing but a vacuum that will be filled with the lies of the age, the practices of the world, and the wicked philosophies of the modern day heretics, despots, and tyrants.

      Just as the Bible warns in Matthew 7:24-27, when some person, institute, or organization has been established on the shifting sands of worldly philosophies, heretical beliefs, and nonsensical realities, the whole structure will end up collapsing on itself. We see that for the last five to six decades, certain factions have attempted to strip America of her spiritual foundation, gut her of any real moral compass, and erect a false heretical light by throwing God out of every arena. The halls of justice are now made up of a cesspool of judges who have established oppressive laws, policies, and replaced morality with immorality in light of political correctness. We see an educational system that is in the business of indoctrinating and not educating. We see a religious system which adheres to worldly philosophies and humanistic gospels. The institution of family has been exploited by those who want to feel good about preferences and lifestyles that have been clearly deemed as abominable by God’s Word and cited as already having been judged and condemned in the courts of heaven.

      Regardless of man’s attempt to replace God, mock His righteousness, and rage against His judgments, God remains unchangeable in His character, ways, and judgments. He is God and there is a three-fold witness. His Word declares who He is, His creation verifies His existence, and mankind proclaims His character and ways. All three witnesses are in agreement and their testimonies would be upheld in any fair court as being so.

      Who is God? The Bible is clear about painting a reliable portrait of Him. The first introduction of the Bible to the reality of God is simple, but profound. Genesis 1:1 states that, “In the beginning God…” We often ignore the first three words in this profound statement. But, the first three words set a premise that should clearly establish our approach to the concept of the fourth word: God.

      Let us consider the meaning of the first three words in Genesis 1:1. The first word is “in.” How many times have we used this small word and not considered its full implication. The word “in” in this text means a matter is all inclusive. In other words, there is nothing that can be added or taken away where the word “in” is being used, because it is broad and general as to what it can embrace. The fact that this small word is all inclusive makes it boundless and incomprehensible. Ultimately, the word “in” implies the matter which it is referring to is complete.

    What does the word “in” tell us about the subject matter? It tells us that in the beginning, God was. The idea of God is incomprehensible, but everything that is associated with God is complete. Every detail including the beginning of everything, and every matter that surrounds His existence and works stands complete in Him and originated with Him. Clearly, the word “in” in regard to God states that He is all in all and operates in and through all matters.

     The second word is “the.” How many times a day do we use this small word? The word “the” puts a point of distinction or identification in relationship to the noun that follows it. It implies that the noun, as in the case of the word “God,” stands in the unique position of being predominate or singular in its class or reference. In essence, this small word has no real past tense to it for it has to do with the present standing of something. For example in the beginning, God is.

       Scripture is clear there is only one God (Isaiah 43:10; 44:8). There is no God before Him, after Him, or beside Him. He is “the” God of all creation. He created the Universe with its many galaxies, stars, and planets. He alone stands distinct in every area of His creation.

      The concept that there is only one God has caused much distress to those who do not want to be hedged in by absolutes. They want the liberality to explore and decide how they want to perceive God. They do not want to have to operate within boundaries that do not allow for sentiment, personal preferences, and controllable notions. It is for this reason that man has a tendency to tout many gods, and like the implanted captives of Assyria in the land of Israel, they will simply try to add the unknown God of the Bible to their entourage so they will have all bases covered just in case one may be a counterfeit (2 Kings 17:23-41).

      The third word is “beginning.” “Beginning” in this text has nothing to do with the idea of origin; rather, it points to that which is the first in place, order, rank, and serves as the chief or principal thing (Strong Concordance). The reason for keeping the intent of the word “beginning” in proper context is because God has no beginning. He has always been and He always will be. He serves as the chief and principal source behind all we see. He alone ensures proper order, holds the ultimate authority in the matters of heaven and earth, and will and must serve as a preeminent place in all affairs. Clearly, He must become the premise in all matters to ensure truth and integrity.

    Since man is finite, he wrestles with the concept of an infinite God who is not subject to anything or anyone. In his limited understanding man has a hard time accepting that God never had a beginning because He always has been inclusive (He was) and continues to be who He is (distinct and singular), and will ultimately be what He always has been. In God there is no past that is not part of what is present and there is no future for it is already so in the realm of eternity.

      It is for this reason that terms such as “the first and the last” have been ascribed to God (Isaiah 44:6; Revelation 1:11). Since He is “the beginning,” of all matters, He also marks the end of them (Revelation 1:8). He is the first in order and the last who will have a final say. He is the beginning of what is and will be the end of what will be. Since He is the first and the last, the beginning and the end, He is God.

      By this time your head may be swirling. Clearly, the concept of God is incomprehensible. In all honesty if we could comprehend the reality of God, He would not be God! Granted, we can know God and come to a limited understanding of Him, but we will never fully comprehend Him in our present state. However, man cannot accept the fact that he cannot somehow figure out God. After all, man wants to figure out God so he can keep one step ahead of Him. He wants to be able to influence or control Him on some plane. It is for this reason that man gets into speculation about God. Instead of accepting that He is all inclusive, with no need of any counsel, help, or intervention from man, man in his arrogance makes his beliefs or ideas about God inclusive. In the end, man begins to erect a god of his own liking. He even can become sentimental about his god, completely devoted to him, and willing to fling all aside to follow and worship him. However, the god of man’s imagination is nothing more than a dead, lifeless image.

      When we think about the word, “God”, many incorrectly perceive Him as a vague concept, making Him indifferent, or a force that is in operation within this world and mankind that can prove to be powerful, but not always loving, kind, and gentle. It is hard for man to put his mind around the fact that God is not a vague concept, nor a force. In fact, He is a person, with attributes, personality, and a will. He is not a concept that is indifferent, but a reality that is very much involved with the affairs of mankind. He is not a force to be reckoned with; rather, He possesses all power and uses it to bring about end results for the benefit of man and His glory.

      Who is God? As you can see, the first four words in Genesis 1:1 reveal that He something of a phenomenon that is beyond our comprehension. To try to understand God would be like trying to take the entire ocean and put it in a small jar. It is not possible, and it is for this reason we must approach the Bible to simply believe what it says about God rather than trying to fit it in the small jar of our understanding. The more people try to fit God into their limited theology, concrete doctrines, and worldly notions, the more apt they are to erect a lifeless idol and succumb to the darkness of unbelief toward the true God of heaven.

      It is simple to ask what do you believe about God, but the more important question is who do you believe God to be? Is your understanding of Him based on some vague notion, religious teaching or dogma, or have you had a personal encounter with Him that forever made Him real to you? Not only is He real to you, but are you growing in an intimate relationship with Him?

       Next month we are going to consider one of the names of God. Keep in mind, a name implies that God is a person who can be personally identified and known by His attributes, His personality, and His ways.