God is ...
If you could ask God a question; which one would it be? Maybe a "big one": according to your determination of being? Why do people have to suffer? Or a "small", yet urgent: What happened to my dog, who ran away when I was ten? What if I married my childhood sweetheart? Why did God make the sky blue? Or maybe you just wanted to ask him, "Who are you?" or "What are you?" or "What do you want?" The answer would probably answer the other questions for the most part. Who and what God is and what he wants are basic questions about his nature, his nature. Everything else is determined by her: why the universe is as it is; who we are as human beings; why our life is how it is and how we should shape it. Urrätsel, which probably every human has ever thought. We can get an answer, at least in part. We can begin to understand the nature of God. We may even, as incredible as it sounds, share in the divine nature. How? Through God's self-revelation.
Thinkers of all times have made a wide variety of images of God. But God reveals himself to us through his creation, through his word and through his son Jesus Christ. He shows us who he is, what he is, what he does, even, to some extent, why he does it. He also tells us what relationship we should have with him and what form this relationship will ultimately take. A prerequisite for any knowledge of God is a receptive, humble spirit. We have to respect God's Word. Then God reveals himself to us (Isaiah 66: 2) and we will learn to love God and his ways. "Whoever loves me," says Jesus, "will keep my word; and my father will love him, and we will come to him and take up residence with him" (John 14:23). God wants to live with us. When he does that, we always get a clearer answer to our questions.
1. In search of the Eternal
Since time immemorial man struggles to clarify his origin, his being and his sense of life. This struggle usually leads him to the question of whether there is a God and which being is his own. At the same time, man came to the most varied images and ideas.
Meandering paths back to Eden
The many religious ideas buildings that exist reflect the age-old desire of man for the interpretation of being. From many directions one sought to approach the origin of human existence and thus the suspected life-ruler of man. Unfortunately, the inability of man to fully grasp spiritual reality has only led to controversy and further questions:
- Pantheists see God as all the forces and laws behind the cosmos. They do not believe in a personal God and interpret the good as the evil as divine.
- Polytheists believe in many divine beings. Each of these gods can help or hurt, but no one has absolute power. Therefore, everyone must be worshiped. Polytheistic were or are many Middle Eastern and Greco-Roman beliefs as well as the spirit and ancestor cult of many tribal cultures.
- Theists believe in a personal God as the origin, sustainer and center of all things. If the existence of other gods is fundamentally excluded, it is monotheism, as it shows itself in pure form in the faith of the patriarch Abraham. Abraham invokes three world religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Is there a god?
Every culture in history has developed a more or less strong sense of God's existence. The skeptic who denies God has always had a hard time. Atheism, nihilism, existentialism - all these are attempts at world interpretation without an all-powerful, personally-acting Creator who determines what is good and what is evil. These and similar philosophies ultimately do not provide a satisfactory answer. In a sense, they bypass the core issue. What we really want to realize is what kind of being the Creator has, what he's up to and what needs to happen so that we can live in harmony with God.
2. How does God reveal himself to us?
Put yourself hypothetically in the place of God. You have created all things including man. You have made man in your image (Genesis 1: 1-26) and given him the ability to have a special relationship with you. Wouldn't you also tell people something about yourself? Tell him what you want him to do? Show him how he can get the relationship you want with God? Anyone who assumes that God is unrecognizable assumes that God is hiding from his creature for some reason. But God reveals himself to us: in his creation, in history, in the Bible and through his son Jesus Christ. Let us consider what God shows us through His acts of self-revelation.
Creation reveals God
Can one admire the great cosmos and not want to admit that God exists, that he holds all power in his hands, that he lets order and harmony prevail? Romans 1:20: "For God's invisible being, that is his eternal power and deity, has been seen from his works since the creation of the world, if one perceives them." The sight of the sky amazed King David that God deals with something as insignificant as man: "When I see the sky, your finger work, the moon and the stars that you have prepared: what is man that you remember him and the child of man that you take care of him? " (Psalm 8: 4-5).
The great confrontation of doubting Job with God is also famous. God shows him his miracles, proof of his boundless authority and wisdom. This encounter fills Job with humility. The speeches of God can be found in the book of Job in chapters 38 to 41. "I recognize," admits Job, "that you can do anything, and nothing that you set out to do is too difficult for you ... That 's why I have foolishly talked about what is too high for me and I do not understand ... I had heard of only heard from hearsay, but now my eye has seen you " (Job 42: 2-3,5). From creation we not only see that God exists, we also see traits of His nature from Him. This means that planning in the universe requires a planner, natural law a legislator, the preservation of all beings a preserver and the existence of physical life a life giver.
God's plan for man
What did God intend when he created all things and gave us life? Paul explained to the Athenians: "... he made the whole human race out of one person so that they could live on the whole earth, and he stipulated how long they should exist and within what limits they should live so that they should seek God, whether they could feel and find him well, and indeed he is not far from everyone among us, for we live and weave in him, and as some poets have said to you: we are of his generation " (Acts 17: 26-28). Or simply, as Johannes writes, that we "love because he loved us first" (1 John 4: 19).
History reveals God
Skeptics ask, "If there is God, why does he not show himself to the world?", And "if he is really omnipotent, why does he allow evil to pass?" The first question implies that God has never shown himself to humanity. And the second, that he faces human need callously, or at least does nothing about it. Historically, and the Bible contains numerous historical records, both insinuations are untenable. Since the days of the first human family, God has frequently communicated with people directly. But most people do not want to know about him!
Isaiah writes: "Indeed, you are a hidden God ..." (Isaiah 45:15). God often "hides" when people show him through their thinking and acting that they do not want to have anything to do with him or with his ways. Isaiah later added: "Behold, the arm of the Lord is not too short that he could not help, and his ears have not hardened so that he cannot hear, but your debts separate you from a God, and hide your sins his face in front of you that you will not be heard " (Isaiah 59: 1-2).
It all started with Adam and Eve. God created them and put them in a blooming garden. And then he spoke to her directly. They knew he was there. He showed them how to find the relationship with him. He didn't leave them to himself. Adam and Eve had to make a choice. They had to decide whether to worship God (symbolically: eat from the tree of life) or disregard God (symbolically: eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil). You chose the wrong tree (Genesis 1 and 2). However, it is often overlooked that Adam and Eve knew that they had disobeyed God. They felt guilty. The next time the Creator came to speak to them, they heard "God the Lord walking in the garden when the day was cool. And Adam and his wife hid under the trees from the face of God the Lord in the garden" (Genesis 1: 3).
So who was hiding? Not god! But the people before God. They wanted distance, separation between himself and him. And it has remained that way ever since. The Bible is full of examples of God stretching out the helping hand for humanity and for humanity to reject this hand. Noah, a "preacher of justice" (2 Peter 2: 5) probably spent a full century warning the world about the coming criminal judgment of God. The world did not hear and was lost in the deluge. The sinful Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed God through a firestorm, the smoke of which rose as a fanal "like the smoke from an oven" (Genesis 1: 19). Even this supernatural rebuke did not make the world improve. Most of the Old Testament portrays God's action on the chosen people of Israel. Israel did not want to listen to God either. "... don't let God talk to us," cried the people (Genesis 2: 20).
God also intervened in the fate of great powers such as Egypt, Nineveh, Babyion and Persia. He often spoke directly to the highest rulers. But the world as a whole remained stubborn. Worse, many of God's servants were cruelly murdered by those who wanted to bring God's message to them. Hebrews 1: 1-2 finally tells us: "After God spoke many times and in many ways to the fathers through the prophets, in the last few days he spoke to us through the son ..." Jesus Christ entered the world to preach the gospel of salvation and the kingdom of God. Result? "He was in the world and the world was made by him; but the world didn't recognize him" (John 1:10). His encounter with the world brought him death.
Jesus, incarnate God, expressed God's love and compassion for his creation: "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which you kill and stone the prophets who are sent to you! How often have I wanted to gather your children together, like a hen gathering their chicks under their wings; and you didn't want to! " (Matthew 23:37). No, God doesn't stay away. He has revealed himself in history. But most people have closed their eyes to him.
The biblical witness
The Bible shows us God in the following ways:
- Self-statements of God about his nature
So in Exodus 2:3 he reveals his name to Moses: "I will be who I will be." Moses saw a burning bush that was not consumed by the fire. In this name, he proves to be a self-being and a self-living being. Other aspects of his nature are revealed in his other biblical names. God commanded the Israelites: "Therefore you shall be holy, because I am holy" (Genesis 3: 11). God is holy. In Isaiah 55: 8, God clearly tells us: "... my thoughts are not your thoughts and your ways are not my ways ..." God lives and acts on a higher level than we do. Jesus Christ was God in human form. He describes himself as the "light of the world" (John 8:12), as the "I am" who lived before Abraham (Verse 58) as "the door" (John 10: 9) as "the good shepherd" (Verse 11) and as the "way and truth and life" (John 14:6).
- Self-statements of God about his work
Doing is part of being, or it arises from it. Statements about doing therefore complement statements about essence. I make "the light ... and create the darkness", says God about himself in Isaiah 45: 7; I give "peace ... and cause mischief. I am the Lord who does all of this." God created everything that is. And he masters the created. God also predicts the future: "I am God, and no one else, a God who is nothing like. I have announced from the beginning what is to come and prematurely what has not yet happened. I say: What I do decided, happens, and everything I set out to do, " (Isaiah 46: 9-10). God loves the world and sent his son to bring her salvation. "So God loved the world that he gave his only begotten son so that all who believe in him are not lost, but have eternal life" (John 3:16). Through Jesus, God brings children into his family. In Revelation 21: 7 we read: "He who overcomes will inherit everything, and I will be his God, and he will be my son". About the future Jesus says: "Behold, I will come soon and my reward with me to give everyone what his works are" (Revelation 22: 12).
- Statements of people about God's nature
God has always been in contact with people whom he has chosen to carry out his will. Many of these servants have given us details about God's nature in the Bible. "... the Lord is our God, the Lord alone," says Moses (Genesis 5: 6). There is only one God. The Bible represents monotheism. (For more details, see the third chapter). Of the many statements of the psalmist about God here only this: "For who is God if not the Lord, or a rock if not our God?" (Psalm 18:32). Only God deserves worship and he strengthens those who worship him. There is a wealth of insight into God's nature in the Psalms. One of the most comforting verses in Scripture is 1 John 4:16: "God is love ..." An important insight into God's love and his high will for man can be found in 2 Peter 3: 9: "The Lord. .. doesn’t want anyone to get lost, but everyone wants to repent. " What is God's greatest wish for us, his creatures, his children? That we are saved. And God's Word will not come back to him empty it will accomplish the intended (Isaiah 55:11). Knowing that God's firm intention is to save us and that He is able to do so should give us great hope.
- The Bible contains statements of people about God's actions
God "hangs the earth over nothing," says Job 26: 7. It directs the forces that determine the Earth's orbit and rotation. In his hand are life and death for the earth dwellers: "If you hide your face, they frighten; if you take away their breath, they will pass and become dust again. You send out your breath, they will be created and you will make new the shape of the earth " (Psalm 104: 29-30). Nonetheless, God, almighty, as a loving creator, made man in his image and gave him dominion over the earth (Genesis 1: 1). When he saw that malice had spread on earth, "he regretted that he had made men on earth and it troubled him in his heart" (Genesis 1: 6). He responded to the wickedness of the world by sending the deluge that devoured all of humanity except Noah and his family (Genesis 1: 7). Later God called the patriarch Abraham and made a covenant with him to bless "all genders on earth" (Genesis 1: 12-1) a reference to Jesus Christ, a descendant of Abraham. When he formed the people of Israel, God wonderfully led them through the Red Sea and destroyed the Egyptian army: "... he plunged horses and horses into the sea" (Genesis 2: 15). Israel broke its agreement with God and tore down violence and injustice. Therefore, God allowed the nation to be attacked by foreign peoples and eventually led from the Promised Land to slavery (Hesekiel 22:23-31; 36:15-21). But the merciful God promised to send a savior to the world to make an eternal covenant of justice with all who repent of their sins, Israelites and non-Israelites alike (Isaiah 59: 20-21). And finally God actually sent His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus explained: "For it is my father's will that whoever sees the son and believes in him has eternal life; and I will raise him up on the last day" (John 6:40). God assured: "... whoever calls on the name of the Lord should be saved" (Romans 10: 13).
Today God empowers His Church to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom "as a witness to all peoples throughout the world." (Matthew 24:14). On the day of Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, God sent the Holy Spirit to unite the Church: to the body of Christ and to reveal the mysteries of God to Christians (Acts 2: 1-4).
The Bible is a book about God and mankind's relationship to him. Her message invites us to lifelong exploration, to learn more about God, about what he is, what he does, what he wants, what he plans. But no one can conceive a perfect picture of God's reality.
A little discouraged by his inability to grasp the fullness of God, John concludes his account of the life of Jesus with the words: "There are many other things that Jesus did. But if one thing should be written down after that, so I think the world wouldn’t understand the books that should be written " (John 21:25).
In a nutshell, the Bible shows God as
• being of oneself
• bound to no time limits
• bound to no spatial boundaries
• transcendent (standing over the universe)
• immanent (concerned with the universe).
But what is God exactly?
A religious professor once tried to give his listeners a closer idea of God. He asked the students to join hands in a big circle and close their eyes. "Now relax, and imagine God," he said. "Try to imagine what he looks like, what his throne looks like, what his voice sounds like, what's going on around him." With their eyes closed, hand in hand, the students sat for a long time in their chairs, dreaming of images of God. "Now?" the professor asked. Any one of you should have any picture in mind now, but, "the professor went on," that's not God! " "No!" he tore her from her thoughts. "It is not God, you can not grasp it with your mind! No man can comprehend God completely, because God is God and we are only physical and limited beings." A very deep insight.
Why is it so difficult to define who and what God is? The main obstacle lies in the limitation addressed by that professor: all his experiences are made by the human being through his five senses, and that is what our entire linguistic understanding is attuned to. God, on the other hand, is eternal. He is infinite. He is invisible. But we can make meaningful statements about a god, though we are limited by our physical senses.
Spiritual reality, human language
God reveals himself indirectly in the creation. He has often intervened in world history. His Word, the Bible, tells us more about him. He also appeared to some people in the Bible in many ways. Nevertheless, God is spirit, his whole fullness can not be considered, touched, perceived by smell. The Bible gives us truths about a conception of God by means of concepts that physical beings can grasp in their physical world. But these words are incapable of fully rendering God.
For example, the Bible calls God "rock" and "castle" (Psalm 18: 3) "Shield" (Psalm 144: 2), "consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29). We know that God does not literally correspond to these physical things. These are symbols that, based on what is humanly observable and understandable, bring us to important sides of God.
The Bible even attributes to God a human form that reveals aspects of his character and relationship with man. Places describe God with a body (Philippians 3:21); a head and hair (Revelation 1:14); a face (Genesis 1:32; Exodus 31:2; Revelation 33:23); eyes and ears (Deuteronomy 5:11; Psalm 12:34; Revelation 16:1); nose (Genesis 1:8; Exodus 21: 2); mouth (Matthew 4: 4; Revelation 1:16); Lips (Job 11: 5); voice (Psalm 68:34; Revelation 1:15); Tongue and breath (Isaiah 30: 27-28); Arms, hands and fingers (Psalm 44: 3-4; 89:14; Hebrews 1: 3; Exodus 2:18; Exodus 18:2; Deuteronomy 31:18; Psalm 5: 9; Revelation 10:8); Shoulders (Isaiah 9: 5); chest (Revelation 1:13); move (Exodus 2:33); Hips (Ezekiel 1:27); Feet (Psalm 18:10; Revelation 1:15).
Often when we talk about our relationship with God, the Bible uses a language taken from human family life. Jesus teaches us to pray: "Our Father in Heaven!" (Matthew 6:9). God wants to comfort his people like a mother comforting her children (Isaiah 66:13). Jesus is not ashamed to call those chosen by God his brothers (Hebrews 2:11); he is her eldest brother, the firstborn (Romans 8: 29). In Revelation 21: 7 God promises: "He who overcomes will inherit everything, and I will be his God, and he will be my son." Yes, God calls Christians to have family ties with his children. The Bible describes this bond in a human understanding. She paints a picture of the highest spiritual reality that could be called impressionistic. This does not give us the full scope of future, glorious, spiritual reality. The joy and glory of the final relationship with God as His children is much greater than our limited vocabulary can express. 1 John 3: 2 tells us: "Dear ones, we are already God's children; but what we will be has not yet been revealed. But we know that if it becomes apparent, we will be like him, because we will see him as he is. " In the resurrection, when the fullness of salvation and the kingdom of God have come, we will finally get to know God "completely". "We now see a dark picture through a mirror," writes Paul, "but then face to face. Now I recognize piece by piece; but then I will recognize how I am recognized" (1 Corinthians 13: 12).
"Who sees me, sees the father"
As we have seen, God's self-revelation is through creation, history, and scripture. In addition, God has also revealed himself to man by becoming man himself. He became like us and lived, served and taught among us. Jesus' coming was God's greatest act of self-revelation. "And the Word became flesh (John 1:14). Jesus gave up divine privileges and became a human being. He died for our sins, was raised from the dead, and founded his church. Christ's coming was a shock to the people of his day. Why? Because their image of God was not far enough, as we will see in the next two chapters. Nevertheless, Jesus said to his disciples: "Whoever sees me, sees the Father!" (John 14:9). In short: God has revealed himself in Jesus Christ.
3. No god is outside of me
Judaism, Christianity, Islam. All three world religions refer to Abraham as a father. Abraham distinguished himself from his contemporaries in an important way: He worshiped only one God - the true God. Monotheism that is the belief that only one God exists denotes the beginning of true religion.
Abraham Worshiped the True God Abraham was not born into a monotheistic culture. Centuries later, God warns ancient Israel: "Your fathers dwelt before the Euphrates River, Terach, Abraham and Nahor's father, and served other gods. So I took your father Abraham from across the river and let him go around the whole country of Canaan and more Gender..." (Joshua 24: 2-3).
Before he was called by God, Abraham lived in Ur; his ancestors probably lived in Haran. Many gods were worshiped in both places. In Ur, for example, there was a large ziggurat, dedicated to the Sumerian moon god Nanna. Other temples in Ur served the cults of An, Enlil, Enki and NingaL. God ran out of this polytheistic world of faith: "Go out of your fatherland and from your relatives and from your father's house into a country that I want to show you. And me wants to make you a great people ... " (Genesis 1: 12-1).
Abraham obeyed God and went away (Verse 4). In a sense, God's relationship with Israel began at this point: when he revealed himself to Abraham. God made a covenant with Abraham. He later renewed the covenant with Abraham's son Isaac and later with Isaac's son Jacob. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob worshiped the one true God. This also differentiated them from their close relatives. For example, Laban, a grandson of Nahor, Abraham's brother, still knew house gods (Idols) (Genesis 1: 31-30).
God saves Israel from Egyptian idolatry
Decades later, Jakob (renamed Israel) with his children in Egypt. The children of Israel remained in Egypt for several centuries. There was also pronounced polygamy in Egypt. The encyclopedia of the Bible (Eltville 1990) writes: "Religion [Egypt] is a conglomerate of the individual nomos religions, to which numerous deities imported from abroad (Baal, Astarte, the grotesque den) step unconcerned about the contradictions between the different ideas that arose ... On Earth, the gods are incorporated into animals recognizable by certain signs " (Pp. 17-18).
The children of Israel grew in number in Egypt, but fell into the servitude of the Egyptians. God revealed himself in a series of acts that led to Israel's liberation from Egypt. Then he made a covenant with the nation of Israel. God's self-revelation to people has always been monotheistic, as these events show. He reveals himself to Moses as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The name he gives himself ("I will be" or "I am", Exodus 2:3), indicates that other gods do not exist as God exists. God is. You are not!
Because Pharaoh does not want to release the Israelites, God humiliates Egypt with ten plagues. Many of these plagues immediately show the powerlessness of the Egyptian gods. For example, one of the Egyptian gods has a frog's head. God's frog plague makes the cult of this god ridiculous.
Even after seeing the terrible consequences of the ten plagues, Pharaoh refuses to let the Israelites go. Then God destroys the Egyptian army in the sea (Genesis 2: 14). This act demonstrates the powerlessness of the Egyptian god of the sea. Singing triumphal songs (Exodus 2: 15-1), the children of Israel praise their Almighty God.
The true God is found and lost again
From Egypt God leads the Israelites to Sinai, where they seal a covenant. In the first of the ten commandments, God emphasizes that worship alone is due to him: "You shall have no other gods besides me" (Genesis 2: 20). In the second bid he forbids idolatry (Verses 4-5). Again and again Moses exhorts the Israelites not to succumb to idolatry (5. Mose 4:23-26; 7:5; 12:2-3; 29:15-20). He knows that the Israelites will be tempted to follow the Canaanite gods when they come to the promised land.
The prayer name Sh'ma (Hebrew "Hear!" after the first word of this prayer) expresses Israel's commitment to God. It begins like this: "Listen, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength" (Genesis 5: 6-4). However, Israel repeatedly falls prey to the Canaanite gods, including EI (a standard name that can also be applied to the true God), Baal, Dagon and Asthoreth (another name of the goddess Astarte or Ischtar). The Baals cult in particular has a seductive appeal to the Israelites. When they colonize the land of Canaan, they depend on good harvests. Baal, the storm god, is worshiped in fertility rites.
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: "Because he focuses on the fertility of land and animals, the fertility cult must have always attracted societies like Old Israel, whose economy was predominantly peasant" (Volume 4, p. 101).
God's prophets urge the Israelites to convert from their apostasy. Elijah asks the people: "How long are you limping on both sides? If the Lord God is after him, but if Baal is after him, walk after him." (1 Kings 18:21). God answers Elijah's prayer to prove that he is God alone. The people recognize: "The LORD is God, the LORD is God!" (Verse 39).
God does not just reveal himself as the greatest of all gods, but as the only God: "I am the LORD, and no one else, no God is other" (Isaiah 45:5). And: "No God is made before me, so there will be no one after me. I, I am the LORD, and there is no Savior except me" (Isaiah 43: 10-11).
Judaism - strictly monotheistic
The Jewish religion of the time of Jesus was neither henotheistic (assuming many gods, but believing one to be the greatest) still monoiatric (allowing only the cult of a god, but considering others to exist), but strictly monotheistic (believing that there is only one God). According to Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, the Jews were united in no other point than in their belief in one God (Volume 3, p. 98).
The Sh'ma utterance has remained an integral part of the Jewish religion to this day. Rabbi Akiba (Died as a martyr in the 2nd century AD), who is said to have been executed during the prayer of the Sh'ma, is said to be repeated in his agony 'Deuteronomy 5: 6 and the last breath with the word "alone" have done.
Jesus to monotheism
When a lawyer asked Jesus what was the greatest commandment, Jesus replied with a Sh'ma quote: "Listen, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is alone, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart Hearts, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength " (Mark 12: 29-30). The scribe agrees: "Master, you really spoke right! He is only one and is no other than him ..." (Verse 32).
In the next chapter we will see that Jesus' coming deepens and extends the image of God in the New Testament church. Jesus claims to be God's Son and at the same time one with the Father. Jesus confirms monotheism. The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament emphasizes: "Christology consolidates early Christian monotheism, not shakes it ... According to the Gospels, Jesus even increases the monotheistic confession" (Volume 3, p. 102).
Even Christ's enemies attest to him: "Master, we know that you are truthful and do not ask for anyone, because you do not respect the reputation of people, but you teach the way of God rightly" (Verse 14). As Scripture shows, Jesus is "the Christ of God" (Luke 9:20), "Christ the Chosen of God" (Luke 23:35). He is "God's Lamb" (John 1:29) and "God's Bread" (John 6:33). Jesus, the Word, was God (John 1:1). Perhaps the clearest monotheistic statement from Jesus can be found in Mark 10: 17-18. When someone speaks to him with "good master", Jesus replies: "What do you call me good? Nobody is good than God alone."
What the early church preached
Jesus gave his church the task of preaching the gospel and making all peoples disciples (Matthew 28: 18-20). Therefore, she soon preached to people who were shaped by polytheistic culture. When Paul and Barnabas preached and worked miracles in Lystra, the reaction of the inhabitants betrayed their strictly polytheistic thinking: "But when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices and cried out lycaonically: The gods have become equal to men and come down to us. And they called Barnabas Zeus and Paulus Hermes ... " (Acts 14: 11-12). Hermes and Zeus were two gods from the Greek pantheon. Both the Greek and Roman pantheons were well known in the New Testament world, and the cult of Greco-Roman gods flourished. Paul and Barnabas replied passionately monotheistically: "We are also mortal people like you and preach to you the gospel that you should be converted from these false gods to the living God, heaven and earth and the sea and all that is in it Has" (Verse 15). Even so, they could hardly stop people from sacrificing to them.
In Athens Paul found altars of many different gods - even an altar with the dedication "To the unknown god" (Acts 17:23). He took this altar as a "hanger" for his monotheism sermon to the Athenians. In Ephesus, the Artemis (Diana) cult was accompanied by a lively trade in images of gods. After Paul preached the only true God, this trade abated. The goldsmith Demetrius, who suffered losses as a result, complained that "this Paul spends a lot of full power, persuades and speaks: What is done with hands is not a god" (Acts 19:26). Once again a servant of God preaches the nullity of man-made idols. Like the Old, the New Testament proclaims only one true God. The other gods are not.
No other god
Cleverly and clearly, Paul tells the Christians of Corinth that he knows "that there is no idol in the world and no God as the one" (1 Corinthians 8: 4).
Monotheism determines the old as the New Testament. Abraham, the father of believers, called God out of a polytheistic society. God revealed himself to Moses and Israel and founded the Old Covenant on the sole worship of himself. He sent prophets to emphasize the message of monotheism. And finally, Jesus himself confirmed monotheism. The New Testament church founded by him constantly fought against faiths that did not advocate pure monotheism. Since the days of the New Testament, the Church has consistently preached what God revealed a long time ago: only one is God, "the LORD alone."
4. God revealed in Jesus Christ
The Bible teaches: "There is only one God". Not two, three or a thousand. There is only God alone. Christianity is a monotheistic religion, as we saw in the third chapter. That is why the coming of Christ caused such a sensation at that time.
"A nuisance to the Jews ..."
Through Jesus Christ, through the "reflection of his glory and the image of his being", God revealed himself to man (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus called God his father (Matthew 10: 32-33; Luke 23:34; John 10:15) and said, "Whoever sees me will see the Father!" (John 14:9). He made the bold claim: "I and the father are one" (John 10:30). After his resurrection, Thomas spoke to him with "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28). Jesus Christ was God.
Judaism could not accept this. "The Lord is our God, the Lord alone" (Deuteronomy 5: 6); this sentence from the Sh'ma has long been the foundation of the Jewish faith. But here came a man with a deep understanding of the scriptures and miraculous powers who claimed to be the son of God. Some Jewish leaders recognized him as a teacher from God (John 3:2).
But God's son? How could the one and only God be both father and son? "That is why the Jews sought even more to kill him," says John 5:18, "because he not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was his father." In the end, the Jews sentenced him to death because he had blasphemed in her eyes: "Then the high priest asked him again and said to him: Are you the Christ, the son of the highly praised? But Jesus said: It is I; and you will see the Son of Man sitting to the right of the Force and coming with the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest tore his clothes and said: What more do we need witnesses? You have heard blasphemy. What is your judgment But they all judged him guilty of death " (Mark 14: 61-64).
"... and the Greeks a folly"
But even the Greeks of the time of Jesus could not accept the claim that Jesus made. Nothing, she was convinced, was able to bridge the gap between the eternal unchangeable and the transitory material. And so the Greeks mocked John's following profound statement: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word ... And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory "a glory as the only begotten son of the father, full of grace and truth" (John 1: 1, 14). Not enough of the unbelievable for the unbelievers. Not only did God become man and die, he was also raised from the dead and regained his former glory (John 17:5). The apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians that God "raised Christ from the dead and put him on his right hand in heaven" (Ephesians 1:20).
Paul speaks clearly of the dismay that Jesus Christ caused to Jews and Greeks: "Because because the world, surrounded by the wisdom of God, did not recognize God through its wisdom, God was pleased to save the sermon by the folly believe in it, because the Jews ask for signs, and the Greeks ask for wisdom, but we preach the crucified Christ, the Jews a nuisance and the Greeks foolishness " (1 Corinthians 1: 21-23). Only the called could understand and salute the wonderful news of the gospel, Paul continues; "To those ... who are called, Jews and Greeks, we preach Christ as God's power and God's wisdom. For the folly of God is wiser than men and the weakness of God is stronger than men." (Verses 24-25). And in Romans 1:16 Paul calls: "... I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is a power of God that makes all who believe in it, the Jews first and the Greeks, happy."
"I am the door"
During his earthly life, Jesus, the Incarnate God, blew up many old, cherished - but false - ideas about what God is, how God lives and what God wants. He shed light on truths that the Old Testament had only hinted at. And he just announced, by
He is salvation possible.
"I am the way, the truth and the life", he proclaimed, "nobody comes to the father but through me" (John 14:6). And: "I am the vine, you are the vines. Whoever stays in me and I in him brings a lot of escape; because without me you can do nothing. Whoever does not stay in me is thrown away like a vine and withers, and you collect them and throw them in the fire and they have to burn " (John 15: 5-6). Earlier he said: "I am the door; if someone goes in through me, he will be saved ..." (John 10:9).
Jesus is God
Jesus did not override the monotheistic imperative that speaks from Deuteronomy 5: 6 and that echoes throughout the Old Testament. On the contrary, how he does not abolish the law, but extends it (Matthew 5: 17, 21-22, 27-28), he now extends the concept of "one" God in an unexpected way. He explains: There is only one and only God, but the Word has been with God forever (John 1: 1-2). The Word became flesh - all human and all God at the same time - and by itself renounced all divine privileges. Jesus, "who was in a divine form, did not consider it to be a robbery to be like God, but rather released himself and assumed the form of a servant, becoming like men and who
Apparently recognized as human. He humbled himself and became obedient to death, yes to death on the cross " (Philippians 2: 6-8).
Jesus was all human and all God. He commanded all of God's power and authority, but submitted to the limitations of being human for the sake of us. During this incarnation period he, the son, remained "one" with the father. "Who sees me, sees the father!" said Jesus (John 14:9). "I cannot do anything on my own initiative. I hear that I judge, and my judgment is just, because I am not looking for my will, but the will of the one who sent me." (John 5:30). He said that he didn't do anything about himself, but talked as the father had taught him (John 8:28).
Shortly before his crucifixion, he then explained to his disciples: "I started from the Father and came into the world; I leave the world again and go to the Father" (John 16:28). Jesus came to earth to die for our sins. He came to found his church. He came to initiate the worldwide proclamation of the gospel. And he also came to reveal God to people. In particular, he made people aware of the father-son relationship that exists in the deity.
The Gospel of John, for example, traces over long distances how Jesus reveals the Father to mankind. Jesus' Passover talks are particularly interesting in this regard (John 13: 17). What an amazing knowledge of the nature of God! Even more astonishing is Jesus' further revelation about the God-wanted relationship between God and man. Man can participate in the divine nature! Jesus said to his disciples: "He who has my commandments and keeps them is he who loves me. But who loves me will be loved by my father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him" (John 14:21). God wants to unite man through a relationship of love - a love of the kind that prevails between father and son. God reveals himself to the people in whom this love works. Jesus continues: "Whoever loves me will keep my word; and my father will love him, and we will come to him and dwell with him. But whoever does not love me will not keep my words. And the word, what you hear is not my word, but that of the Father who sent me
hat " (Verses 23-24).
Whoever comes to God through faith in Jesus Christ, submits his life faithfully to God, lives in God. Peter preached: "Repent, and each of you will be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). The Holy Spirit is also God, as we will see in the next chapter. Paul knew that God lived in him: "I have been crucified with Christ. I live, but now not I, but Christ lives in me. Because what I now live in the flesh, I live in faith in the Son of God, who me loved and gave himself there for me " (Galatians 2:20).
The life of God in man is like a "new birth", as Jesus explains in John 3: 3. With this spiritual birth one starts a new life in God, becomes a fellow citizen of the saints and companions of God (Ephesians 2:19). Paul writes that God "saved us from the power of darkness" and "placed us in the kingdom of his dear Son, in which we have salvation, namely the forgiveness of sins" (Colossians 1: 13-14). The Christian is a citizen of the Kingdom of God. "Dear friends, we are already God's children" (1 John 3: 2). God fully revealed himself in Jesus Christ. "Because the whole abundance of the Godhead dwells in him" (Colossians 2:9). What does this revelation mean to us? We can become partners in the divine nature!
Peter draws the conclusion: «Everything that serves life and piety has given us its divine power through the knowledge of those who have called us through its glory and power. They give us the most expensive and greatest promises, so that you can share in the divine nature that you have escaped from the pernicious desire of the world " (2 Peter 1: 3-4)
Christ - the perfect revelation of God
In what way has God revealed himself concretely in Jesus Christ? In all that he thought and executed, Jesus revealed the character of God. Jesus died and was raised from the dead, so that man could be saved and reconciled to God and gain eternal life. Roman 5: 10-11 tells us, "For if we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, when we were enemies, how much more will we be saved by his life, now that we are reconciled, but not alone that, but we also glorify God through our Henn Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the atonement. "
Jesus revealed God's plan to create a new spiritual community across ethnic and national boundaries - the Church (Ephesians 2: 14-22). Jesus revealed God as the Father of all who are born again in Christ. Jesus revealed the glorious purpose that God promises to his people. The presence of the Spirit of God in us is already giving us a foretaste of this future glory. The spirit is "the pledge of our heritage" (Ephesians 1:14).
Jesus also testified to the existence of the Father and the Son as one God, and thus to the fact that in the one, eternal deity different essentials are expressed. The New Testament authors used again and again the Old Testament God names for Christ. In doing so they not only testified to us as Christ is, but also as God is, for Jesus is the revelation of the Father, and he and the Father are one. We learn more about God when we examine how Christ is.
5. One in three and three in one
The teaching of a God, as we have seen, represents the Bible uncompromisingly. The Incarnation of Jesus and the work of Jesus have given us a deeper insight into the "how" of God's Oneness. The New Testament testifies that Jesus Christ is God and that the Father is God. But, as we shall see, it also represents the Holy Spirit as God - as divine, as eternal. That means: The Bible reveals a God who exists forever as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. For this reason the Christian should be baptized "in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19).
Over the centuries, many explanatory models have emerged that may make these biblical facts more tangible at first sight. But we must be wary of accepting explanations that are "out the back door" against biblical teachings. For many explanations may simplify matters insofar as they give us a grander and more vivid image of God. But first and foremost, it depends on whether an explanation is consistent with the Bible, not whether it is self-contained and consistent. The Bible shows that there is one - and only one - God, yet at the same time presents us Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, all eternally existing and doing all things as only God can do them.
"One in three", "three in one", these are ideas that resist human logic. It would be relatively easy to imagine, for example, a Goth being "of one piece", without "splitting" into Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But that is not the God of the Bible. Another simple image is the "God family", which consists of more than one member. But the God of the Bible is very different from anything we could open up with our own thinking and without any revelation.
God reveals many things about Him, and we believe them even though we can not explain them all. For example, we can not satisfactorily explain how God can be without beginning. Such an idea goes beyond our limited horizon. We can not explain them, but know that it is true that God had no beginning. Similarly, the Bible reveals that God is one and only one, but at the same time also Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is God
Acts 5: 3-4 calls the Holy Spirit "God": "But Peter said, Hananias, why did Satan fill your heart, that you lied to the Holy Ghost, and kept some of the money for the field? If you had not had the field And you could not do what you wanted when he was sold, why did you do this in your heart, you did not lie to people, you lied to God. " Hanania's lie before the Holy Spirit was, according to Peter, a lie before God.
The New Testament attributes attributes to the Holy Spirit that only God can possess. For example, the Holy Spirit is omniscient. "But God has revealed it to us through his Spirit; for the Spirit explores all things, including the depths of God" (1 Corinthians 2: 10).
Furthermore, the Holy Spirit is omnipresent, bound by no spatial boundaries. "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit that is within you and that you have from God and that you do not belong to yourself?" (1 Corinthians 6:19). The Holy Spirit dwells in all believers and is therefore not limited to one place. The Holy Spirit renews Christians. "Unless someone is born of water and spirit, he cannot come into the kingdom of God. What is born of flesh is flesh; and what is born of spirit is spirit ... The wind blows wherever he wants and you can hear his whirring well, but you do not know where he comes from and where he is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the spirit " (John 3: 5-6, 8). He predicts the future. "But the Spirit clearly says that in recent times, some will fall away from the faith and adhere to seductive spirits and devilish teachings." (1 Timothy 4: 1). In the baptismal formula, the Holy Spirit is put on the same level as the Father and the Son: the Christian should be baptized "in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19). The mind can create from nothing (Psalm 104:30). Only God has such creative gifts. Hebrews 9:14 gives the epithet "eternal" to the spirit. Only God is eternal.
Jesus promised the apostles a "comforter" after his departure (Assistance) to be with you "forever", the "spirit of truth that the world cannot receive, because it does not see it and does not know it. You know it, because it stays with you and will be in you " (John 14: 16-17). Jesus explicitly identifies this "comforter as the Holy Spirit:" But the comforter, the holy spirit, which my father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of everything that I have told you " (Verse 26). The comforter shows their sins to the world and guides us to all truth; all actions that only God can do. Paul confirms this: "We also speak of this, not in words, taught by human wisdom, but in <words>, taught by the spirit, by interpreting the spiritual by the spiritual" (1 Corinthians 2:13, Elberfeld Bible).
Father, Son and Holy Spirit: a god
When we realize that there is only one God, and that the Holy Spirit is God, as the Father is God and the Son is God, it is not difficult for us to understand passages like Acts 13: 2: "But as the Lord served and fasted, said the Holy Ghost: Deliver me from Barnabas and Saul to the work to which I have called them. "According to Luke, the Holy Ghost said," Sing to me from Barnabas and Saul to the work to which I call them In the work of the Holy Spirit, Luke sees directly the action of God.
When we take the biblical revelation of the essence of God at our word, it is great. When the Holy Spirit speaks, sends, inspires, guides, sanctifies, empowers, or gives gifts, it is God who does so. But since God is one and not three separate beings, the Holy Spirit is not an independent God, acting on his own accord.
God has a will, the will of the Father, who is equally the will of the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is not about two or three separate divine beings who decide independently to be in perfect harmony with each other. It is rather a god
and a will. The Son Expresses the Will of the Father Accordingly, it is the nature and work of the Holy Spirit to accomplish the will of the Father on earth.
According to Paul, the "Lord is the Spirit" and he writes of the "Lord who is the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3: 17-18). In verse 6 it even says, "The Spirit makes you alive," which is something only God can do. We only know the Father because the Spirit enables us to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus and the Father live in us, but only because the Spirit lives in us (John 14: 16-17, 23; Romans 8: 9-11). Since God is one, the Father and the Son are also in us when the Spirit is in us.
In 1. Corinthians 12: 4-11 sets Paul's spirit, Lord and God alike. It is "a God who works in all," he writes in verse 6. But a few verses continue: "All this works the same one spirit," "as he [the spirit] wants." How can the mind want something? By being God. And since there is only one God, the will of the Father is also the will of the Son and the Holy Spirit.
To worship God is to worship the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, for they are the one and only God. We must not expose the Holy Spirit and worship as an independent being. Not the Holy Spirit as such, but God, the Father, Son and Saint
Our worship is to be spirit in one. God in us (the Holy Spirit) moves us to worship God. The comforter (like the son) does not speak "of itself" (John 16:13), but says what the father gives him. He does not refer us to himself, but to the father through the son. Nor do we pray to the Holy Spirit as such - it is the Spirit within us that helps us to pray and even intercedes for us (Romans 8: 26).
If it were not for God within us, we would never be converted to God. If God were not in us, we would not be God or the Son (detect. That is why we owe salvation to God alone, not to us. The fruit we bear is the fruit of the Spirit God fruit, not ours. Nevertheless, we enjoy the great privilege of being allowed to work on God's work, if we want to.
The Father is the creator and the source of all things. The Son is the Redeemer, the Savior, the executive organ through whom God created everything. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter and Advocate. The Holy Spirit is God in us, who leads us through the Son to the Father. Through the Son we are purified and saved so that we can have fellowship with him and the Father. The Holy Spirit works on our hearts and minds and leads us to faith in Jesus Christ, who is the way and the gate. The Spirit gives us gifts, the gifts of God, among which faith, hope, and love are not the least.
All this is the work of the one God revealed to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is no other god than the God of the Old Testament, but more is revealed about him in the New Testament: He sent his Son as a man to die for our sins and be raised to glory, and he sent us his Spirit - the Comforter - who dwell in us, guiding us into all truth, giving us gifts, and conforming to the likeness of Christ.
When we pray, our goal is for God to answer our prayers; but God must lead us to this goal, and He is even the way in which we are led to this goal. In other words: to God we pray (to the father); God in us (the Holy Spirit) is what makes us pray; and God is the way too (the son) on which we are led to that goal.
The father starts the plan of salvation. The Son embodies the reconciliation and salvation plan for mankind and carries it out himself. The Holy Spirit brings about the blessings - the gifts - of salvation, which then bring about the salvation of faithful believers. All this is the work of the one God, the God of the Bible.
Paul closes the second letter to the Corinthians with a blessing: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all!" (2 Corinthians 13: 13). The focus is on the love of God, which we receive through the grace that God gives through Jesus Christ, and the unity and communion with God and with each other, which he gives through the Holy Spirit.
How many "persons" is God?
Many people have only a vague idea of what the Bible says about the unity of God. Most do not think deeper about it. Some imagine three independent beings; some a being with three heads; others one that can turn at will into the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This only as a small selection of popular images.
Many try to put the biblical teaching about God in the terms "trinity," "trinity" or "trinity." However, if you ask what the Bible says about it, you usually have to give an explanation. In other words: Many people's image of the Trinity is biblically based on clay feet, and an important reason for the lack of clarity lies in the use of the term "person".
The word "person" used in most German definitions of the Trinity suggests three beings. Examples: "The one God is in three people ... who are one divine nature ... These three people are (real) different from each other " (Rahner / Vorgrimler, IQ of a Theological Dictionary, Freiburg 1961, p. 79). In relation to God, the common meaning of the word "person" conveys a crooked picture: namely the impression that God is limited and that his trinity results from the fact that he consists of three independent beings. That's not the case.
The German term "person" comes from the Latin persona. In the Latin theologian language persona was used as a name for father, son and Holy Spirit, but in a different sense, as it is the German word "person" today. The basic meaning of persona was "mask". In the figurative sense, it described a role in a play. At that time, an actor performed in one piece in several roles, and for each role he wore a particular mask. But even this term, although it does not give rise to the misconception of three beings, is still weak and misleading in relation to God. Misleading because Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are more than just roles that God takes on, and because an actor can only play one role at a time, while God is always Father, Son, and Holy Spirit at the same time. It may be that a Latin theologian meant the right thing when he used the word persona. That a layman would have understood him correctly, is unlikely. Even today, the word "person", in relation to God, easily leads the average person on the wrong track, if it is not accompanied by the explanation that one has to imagine "person" in the deity something quite different than under "person" in the human sense.
Anyone who speaks in our language of a God in three people, can really do otherwise than imagine three independent Gods. In other words, he will not distinguish between the terms "person" and "being." But that's not how God is revealed in the Bible. There is only one God, not three. The Bible reveals that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, interpenetrating, is to be understood as a single, eternal way of being of the one true God of the Bible.
One god: three hypostases
If we want to express the biblical truth that God is "one" and at the same time "three," we must search for concepts that do not give the impression that there are three gods or three separate Gods. The Bible requires not compromising on the unity of God. The problem is that in all words relating to the created, parts of the profane language carry parts of meaning that can be misleading. Most words, including the word "person," tend to associate God's nature with the created order. On the other hand, all our words have some kind of related order to the created order. Therefore, it is important to clarify exactly what we mean and what we do not mean when we talk about God in human words. A helpful word - a word image in which Greek-speaking Christians understood God's unity and trinity is found in Hebrews 1: 3. In many ways, this passage is instructive. It reads, "He [the Son] is the reflection of his [God's] glory and the likeness of his being, and carries all things with his strong word ..." From the phrase "reflection of his glory," we may have several cognitions Derive: The son is not separate from the father. The Son is no less divine than the Father. And the Son is eternal, as is the Father. With other W01ts, the son I behave to the father, how the reflection or the charisma to the glory behaves: no radiant source no charisma, no charisma no radiant source. Yet we must distinguish between God's glory and the radiance of that glory. They are different, but not separate. Equally instructive is the formulation "image or imprint, character, image of its essence". In the Son the Father is fully and completely expressed.
Let us now turn to the gliechish word, which in the original text stands here behind "essence". It's hypostasis. It consists of hypo = "under" and stasis = "stand" and has the basic meaning of "standing under something". What it means is what, as we would say, is "behind" one thing, making it what it is. Hypostasis can be defined as "something without which another can not be". You could describe them as "essential reason", "reason of being".
God is personal
"Hypostasis" (Plural: "hypostases") is a good word to refer to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is a biblical term and provides a sharper mental separation between the nature of God and the created order. However, "person" is also suitable, under which (indispensable) requirement that the word is not understood in a human-personal sense.
One reason why "person" - understood correctly - is suitable is that God relates to us in a personal way. So it would be wrong to say that he is impersonal. We do not worship rocks and plants, nor do we impersonal power "behind the cosmos", but a "living person". God is personal, but not a person in the sense that we are »persons. "Because I am God and not a man and I am the Saint among you» (Hosea 11: 9). God is the creator - and not part of the created. People have a beginning of life, have a body, grow up, are individually different, age and ultimately die. God is above all this, and yet he behaves personally in his relationships with people.
God goes beyond all that language can reproduce infinitely; nevertheless he is personal and loves us dearly. He has a lot to be open about, but not everything that goes beyond the limits of human knowledge, he conceals. As finite beings, we can not grasp the infinite. Wu · can recognize God in the revelation, but we can not comprehend him exhaustively because we are finite and he is infinite. What God revealed to us about himself is real. It's true. It is important.
God calls us: "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3: 18). Jesus said: "But this is eternal life that they will recognize you, who you are the only true God, and whom you have sent, Jesus Christ." (John 17:3). The more we recognize God, the clearer it becomes to us how small we are and how big he is.
6. The relationship of humanity to God
In the introduction, we tried to formulate basic questions in this brochure that man might ask God. What would we ask if we were free to ask such a question? Our groping question "Who are you?" answers the creator and ruler of the cosmos with: "I will be who I will be" (Exodus 2:3) or "I am who I am" (Quantity translation). God explains himself to us in creation (Psalm 19:2). Since the time he made us, he has been dealing with and with us humans. Sometimes like thunder and lightning, like storm, like earthquake and fire, sometimes like "a quiet, gentle whistle" (Exodus 2:20; 18 Kings 1: 19-11) He even laughs (Psalm 2:4). In the biblical record, God speaks about himself and describes his impression on people whom he met directly. God reveals himself through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
Now we don't just want to know who God is. We also want to know what he created us for. We want to know what his plan is for us. We want to know what future is ready for us. What is our relationship with God? Which "should" we have? And which one will we have in the future? God made us in his image (Genesis 1: 1-26). And for our future, the Bible - sometimes very clearly - reveals far higher things than we can now dream of as limited beings.
Where we are now
Hebrews 2: 6-11 tells us that we are currently a little "lower" than the angels. But God "crowned us with praise and honor" and made us subject to all of creation. For the future "he has nothing except what he [human] is not subject to. But now we do not see that everything is subject to him." God has prepared an eternal, glorious future for us. But there is still something in the way. We are in a state of guilt; our sins cut us off from God (Isaiah 59: 1-2). Sin has created an insurmountable hurdle between God and us, a barrier that we cannot overcome on our own.
Basically, however, the break has already healed. Jesus tasted death for us (Hebrews 2:9). He paid the death penalty, which we charged through our sins to lead "many sons to glory" (Verse 10). According to Revelation 21: 7, God wants us to be in a father-child relationship. Because he loves us and has done everything for us - and still does as the originator of our salvation - Jesus is not ashamed to call us pictures (Hebrews 2: 10-11).
What is required of us now
Acts 2:38 calls us to repent of our sins and baptize us, figuratively, to be buried. God gives the Holy Spirit to those who believe that Jesus Christ is their Savior, Lord and King (Galatians 3: 2-5). When we regret - turning away from the selfish, worldly-sinful ways that we used to go - we start believing in a new relationship with him. We are born again (John 3: 3), a new life in Christ is given to us by the Holy Spirit, transformed by Spirit through God's grace and mercy and by the work of Christ's salvation. And then? Then we grow "in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18) until the end of life. We are destined to participate in the first resurrection, and after that we will "be with the Lord always" (1 Thessalonians 4: 13-17).
Our immeasurable heritage
God has "reborn us ... to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an imperishable and immaculate and witherable inheritance", an inheritance "which God's power ... has revealed at the last time" (1 Peter 1: 3-5) In the resurrection we become immortality (1 Corinthians 15:54) and attain a "spiritual body" (Verse 44). "And how we carried the image of the earthly [human Adam]," says verse 49, "so we will also carry the image of the heavenly." From now on, as "children of the resurrection", we are no longer subject to death (Luke 20:36).
Could anything be more glorious than what the Bible says about God and our future relationship with him? We will "be like him [Jesus] because we will see him as he is" (1 John 3: 2). Revelation 21: 3 promises for the era of the new heaven and the new earth: "Behold, God's hut with men! And he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and he himself, God with them, will be their god ... "
We will become one with God - in holiness, love, perfection, justice and spirit. As his immortal children, in the fullest sense we will form the family of God. We will share with Him a perfect communion in eternal joy. What a great and inspiring one
God has prepared the message of hope and eternal salvation for all who believe him!
Brochure of the WKG