The True Nature of God
By Ryan Bridgeo
It is hard for people to relate to God when they don’t know what He is like. Many people have opinions about Him. They think He is angry, that He is hard to please. They say things like “God’s going get you” as if He is looking for a reason to punish us. They think that God is violent. They think He is a God who wants to send judgment. They think He causes storms, hurricanes, and floods. They think He sends sickness and disease to punish people or to teach them a lesson. They believe that He causes everything to happen in their lives due to His sovereign perfect will. But they do not understand the true nature of God.
Some people also look at the wars in the Old Testament and think that God is angry and that He likes punishment and death. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Let’s think about the USA for example. As a nation America is approximately 239 years old. Research shows that as of 2015 the USA has been involved in war 222 years out of its 239 years of existence. This means that for 93% of its existence, America has been at war. More than 1.1 million American lives have been lost in these 239 years.
If you were to judge America by those numbers some people might conclude that Americans love to fight and kill and that they are angry and mean. People from other countries who do not know or understand the culture, constitution, or reasoning behind some of these wars, may think that we are money-hungry, greedy, evil people who should mind their own business. But I believe that those people would be getting a totally wrong impression of the USA as a whole.
It is the same way with God. We are judging events that happened over 4000 years (not 239), that happened in different countries, in different cultures, and under different covenants. We read these stories through our outside perspectives and judge without a full understanding of the people and God. We read these stories and instantly concluded that God is mean, cruel, angry, hateful, and hard to please.
I believe that in the same way that people can have a wrong impression of America and Americans, people, even good church-going people, can have a wrong impression of God. These misunderstandings have marred people’s view of the true nature of God.
The most important relationship is our relationship with God. How you perceive Him, you will receive Him. Who He is to you, is who He will be through you. So, understanding His true nature is pivotal to our relationship with God.
Psalm 86:15 (NIV) “But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”
Psalm 106:1 “Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”
From these two verses alone, we can see that God is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love, faithful, good, and merciful. This is the true nature of God.
In Hebrews 1:3 (NIV) we see that “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.” This means that Jesus the Son is exactly like Father God. If you want to know what God the Father is like, look at the life of Jesus. Jesus came to reveal the Father’s heart of God towards mankind.
Was Jesus violent? Was He angry? Was He hard to please? Did He desire to bring judgment on sinners? Did Jesus cause storms? Did He make people sick with diseases? No, He did not! He was patient and kind. He was gracious and forgiving. This can be seen in the verses of the woman caught in the act of adultery or the woman at the well or Peter after he denied knowing Jesus three times. Jesus said that He didn’t come to judge the world but to save the world through Him. He rebuked storms and He healed sicknesses and diseases.
Acts 10:38 says, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him”. This is the true nature of God.
In the same way that people could have a wrong impression about the United States due to our history of war, it is possible that people could have a wrong impression about God. If you want to know what Father God is like, study the life of Jesus. Jesus is the revelation of the true nature of Father God.
Ryan Bridgeo is the Pastor of Plumtree Church in Avery County, NC. If you would like to know more or how you might become involved in this ministry please reach out to Pastor Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 828-765-6919.
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