The Mustard Seed
What is God like? How would you describe Him? This is the challenge before us as we examine the Bible's description of God and His character.
My father once cautioned me, "Don't ever think that you have God figured out. You can no more understand God than a puppy dog can understand Einstein." Those are wise words. We approach this study, humbly aware that God is beyond our understanding. We are like the proverbial group of blind men trying to describe an elephant by feeling different parts of the great beast.
We must also be careful to check our source of information about God. Often we are tempted to say, "I think that God is like..." or "God feels that..." then we go on to describe ourselves, foolishly believing that God is just like us! In our study we want to be careful to see what God has said about Himself.
When Jesus once met a Samaritan woman who was famous in her little town, famous for her wild life, He started a conversation with her. As He began to show the woman her own need for forgiveness, healing, and a relationship with God, she tried to change the subject. One of her tactics was to start a debate about religious rules, rituals, and "the right place" to worship God. She said, "Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews say that Jerusalem is the place where people must worship."
Jesus answered, "Believe me, woman. The time is coming when neither in Jerusalem nor on this mountain will you actually worship the Father... God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4.20-24 NCV)
God is Spirit. That means... what? First of all it means that God is not limited with a physical body as we are.
The Bible describes three kinds of spirits:
(1) our human spirits
(2) angelic spirits, both good and evil
(3) God Himself, the Holy Spirit
God as Spirit is distinctly different than our human spirits and angelic spirits. He is the Creator; we are His creatures. He made us. We and the angels are limited in time and space, but God has no such limitation. Indeed, He created time and space. (See 2 Chronicles 6.18)
Second, notice how Jesus told the Samaritan woman that because God is Spirit, our relationship with Him must be "in spirit and in truth." Jesus' point is that this doesn't happen when we obey certain rules or practice certain rituals. Instead, the Bible says, "The Holy Spirit Himself joins with our spirits to say we are God’s children." (Romans 8.16)
Even though God created us to have an eternal spirit, the Bible says that our spirits are dead because we sin. We have no goodness or power on our own to approach Holy God. So He came down to us, coming in as a human, Jesus, to take our sins. Now He gives us His Holy Spirit which breathes His life into our dead spirits, giving us a faith relationship with Him. It is God's Holy Spirit, not our mere human efforts, which does God's work in us and through us in the world.
Notice that Jesus said that we must worship Him not only "in spirit," but also "in truth." The world offers us so many spiritual counterfeits -- religious and spiritual experiences which are mere human inventions (or worse). The Bible warns us many times and in many ways not to fall for those deceptions. Rather, we must be careful to seek God as HE has decided to show Himself to us in His Word.
To learn more about God's Spirit, please read Genesis 1& 2; John 4; Acts 1 & 2; and Romans 8.
~~ Pastor RonNext: God is Omnipresent, Omnipotent, & Omniscient
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Pastor Ron Friedrich