God is ...

372 god isIf 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 time have made the most different images of God. But God reveals Himself 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 take in the end. The basic requirement of 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. "He who loves me," says Jesus, "will keep my word, and my father will love him, and we will come to him and dwell with him" (John 14: 23). God wants to take a flat 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. They have created all things man included. They have made man in their own image (1, Moses 1: 26-27) and given him the ability to enter into a special relationship with you. Would not you also tell people something about themselves? Tell him what you expect from him? Show him how he can come to the desired God relationship? Those who assume that God is unknowable presuppose that God, for some reason, hides from his creature. But God reveals Himself to us: in his creation, in history, in the Bible and through his Son Jesus Christ. Let's look at what God shows us through his self-manifestation.

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 exercises order and harmony? Romans 1: 20: "For God's invisible being, which is his eternal power and deity, will be seen from the works of the world when he is perceived." The sight of the sky made King David wonder that God gives himself up with something as insignificant as man: "When I see the heavens, your finger's work, the moon, and the stars that you have prepared: what is man, that you think of him, and of the child of man, that you take care of him? " (Psalm 8: 4-5).

Famous is also the great dispute of doubting Job with God. God shows him his miracles, proof of his boundless authority and wisdom. Job fulfills this encounter with humility. The speeches of God can be found in the book Job in 38. to 41. Chapter. "I realize," Job admits, "that you can do anything, and nothing that you set yourself is too heavy for you ... That's why I've talked unwise, which is too high for me and I do not understand ... I had of heard you only from hearsay, but now my eye has seen you "(Job 42: 2-3,5). Not only do we see from creation that God exists, but we also see from Him features of His nature. This implies that planning in the universe presupposes a planner, natural law a legislator, the preservation of all beings a sustainer, 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 has made of one man the whole human race, so that they dwell on the whole earth, and he has established how long they should exist and within what limits they should dwell, that they may seek God, whether they might feel and find him good, and indeed, he is not far from each one of us, for in him we live, we weave, and we are, as some of the poets have said to you, "We are of his generation" (Acts 17: 26-28). Or simply, as John writes, that we "love because he first loved us" (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 thoughts and actions that they want nothing to do with him or with his ways. Later, Isaiah adds, "Behold, the Lord's arm is not too short that he could not help, and his ears have not hardened so that he could not hear, but your debts separate you from a God, and hide your sins His face before 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 addressed her directly. They knew he was there. He showed them how they could relate to him. He did not leave her to herself. Adam and Eve had to make a choice. They had to decide whether to worship God (symbolically: eat from the tree of life) or disobey God (symbolically: eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil). They chose the wrong tree (1, Moses 2 and 3). However, it is often overlooked: Adam and Eve knew that they had disobeyed God. Guilt came over her. The next time the Creator came to speak with them, they heard "God the Lord walk in the garden when the day was cool, and Adam hid with his wife before the face of the Lord God under the trees in the garden "(1, Moses 3: 8).

So who hid? Not God! But the people before God. They wanted distance, separation between themselves and him. And it has remained that way ever since. The Bible is full of examples of God offering humanity the helping hand and humanity rejecting that hand. Noah, a "preacher of righteousness" (2, Peter 2: 5), probably spent a full century warning the world of God's coming judgment. The world did not listen and was lost in the deluge. The sinful Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed God by a firestorm whose smoke rose as a fan-alike "like the smoke from a furnace" (1, Moses 19: 28). Even this supernatural rebuke did not make the world better. Most of the Old Testament portrays God's action on the chosen people of Israel. Israel also did not want to listen to God. "... do not let God talk to us," called the people (2, Moses 20: 19).

God also intervened in the fortunes of great powers such as Egypt, Nineveh, Babyion and Persia. Often he spoke directly with the highest rulers. The world as a whole remained stubborn. Worse still, many of God's servants were cruelly murdered by those they wanted to bring God's message to. Hebrews 1: 1-2 finally tells us, "After God used to speak many times and in many ways to the fathers through the prophets, in these last days he spoke to us through the Son ..." Jesus Christ entered the world to preach the gospel of the salvation and kingdom of God. Result? "He was in the world, and the world was made by him, but the world did not 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 the prophets and most stony ones sent to you! How many times have I wanted to gather your children, like a hen gathering their chicks under their wings, and you have not wanted! " (Matthew 23: 37). No, God does not stay away. He revealed himself in the story. But most people have their eyes closed in front of him.

The biblical witness

The Bible shows us God in the following ways:

  • Self-statements of God about his nature
    So he reveals in 2. Moses 3: 14 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 himself to be a self-existent and self-living being. Other aspects of his nature are revealed in his other biblically-named names. The Israelites commanded God, "Therefore you shall be holy, for I am holy." (3, Moses 11: 45). God is holy. In Isaiah 55: 8 God tells us clearly: "... 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 the truth and the life "(John 14: 6).
  • Self-statements of God about his work
    Being is part of the essence, or it springs from it. Statements about doing therefore complement the statements about the essence. I make "the light ... and create the darkness," God says about himself in Isaiah 45: 7; I give "peace ... and bring disaster. I am the Lord who does all this." Everything that is, God created. And he controls the created. God also foretells the future: "I am God, and no one else, a god whom nothing resembles, I have proclaimed from the beginning what shall come after, and before that what has not yet happened, I say: what I am have decided, and everything that I have planned, I do "(Isaiah 46: 9-10). God loves the world and sent his son to bring salvation to her. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3: 16). Through Jesus God brings children into his family. In Revelation 21: 7, we read, "He who overcomes will inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he will be my son." About the future, Jesus says, "Behold, I come soon, and my reward with me, to give to each one as his works are" (Revelation 22: 12).
  • Statements of people about God's nature
    Since time immemorial, God has come into contact with people whom he has chosen to carry out his will. Many of these ministers have given us details about God's nature in the Bible. "... the Lord is our God, the Lord alone," says Moses (5, Moses 6: 4). There is only one God. The Bible represents monotheism. (For details, see the third chapter). Of the many statements of the Psalmist about God here only these: "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. The Psalms contain a wealth of insights about God's nature. One of the most comforting verses of Scripture is 1. John 4: 16: "God is Love ..." An important insight into God's love and high desire for man can be found in 2. Peter 3: 9: "The Lord ... does not want anyone to be lost, but that everyone finds repentance." What is God's greatest wish for us, his creatures, his children? That we are saved. And God's word does not return to him empty, it will accomplish what is intended (Isaiah 55: 11). The knowledge that God's firm intention is to save us, and that he is capable of doing so, should give us great hope.
  • The Bible contains statements of people about God's actions
    God "the earth is hanging on nothing," says Job 26: 7. He directs the forces that determine the orbit and rotation of the earth. In his hand lie the life and death of the inhabitants of the earth: "If you hide your face, they are frightened, and if you take away their breath, they perish and become dust again." You send forth from your breath, they are created, and you make new the shape of the earth "(Psalm 104: 29-30). Nevertheless, God, almighty, as the loving Creator, has made man in his own image and given him dominion over the earth (1, Moses 1: 26). Seeing that wickedness had spread on the earth, "he regretted that he had made mankind on earth, and it grieved him in his heart" (1, Moses 6: 6). He responded to the wickedness of the world by sending the Flood that devoured all mankind except Noah and his family (1, Moses 7: 23). Later, God called the patriarch Abraham and made a covenant with him that would "bless all generations on earth" (1, Moses 12: 1-3), a reference to Jesus Christ, a descendant of Abraham. When he formed the people of Israel, God miraculously led the way through the Red Sea, destroying the Egyptian army: "... he drove the horse and the man into the sea." (2, Moses 15: 1). Israel broke its agreement with God and broke down violence and injustice. Therefore, God allowed the nation to be attacked by foreign peoples and eventually led out of the Promised Land into slavery (Ezekiel 22: 23-31; 36: 15-21). But the merciful God promised to send a Savior to the world to shut down all those who repented of their sins, Israelites and non-Israelites, an eternal covenant of justice (Isaiah 59: 20-21). And finally God actually sent his son Jesus Christ. Jesus declared, "For this is the will of my Father, that whosoever sees the Son and believes in him, has everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6: 40). God assured: "... whoever invokes the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10: 13).

Today, God empowers his church to preach the gospel of the kingdom "in the whole world for witness to all peoples" (Matthew 24: 14). On the day of Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, God sent the Holy Spirit to join the Church: to the Body of Christ and to announce to Christians the secrets of God (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.

Perhaps a little bit discouraged by his inability to comprehend 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 after that, so, I mean, the world would not grasp the books to 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

• almighty

• omniscient

• transcendent (standing above the universe)

• immanent (dealing 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. They are symbols that, based on what is humanly observable and understandable, bring us close to important sides of God.

The Bible even attributes to God a human form that reveals aspects of his character and his relationship with man. Places describe God with one body (Philippians 3: 21); a head and a hair (Revelation 1: 14); a face (1, Moses 32: 31, 2, Moses 33: 23, Revelation 1: 16); Eyes and Ears (5, Moses 11: 12, Psalm 34: 16, Revelation 1: 14); Nose (1, Moses 8: 21, 2, Moses 15: 8); 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); Psalm 44: 3-4; 89: 14; Hebrew 1: 3; 2: Chronicle 18: 18; 2: Moses 31: 18; 5: Moses 9: 10; Psalm 8: 4; Revelation 1 : 16); Shoulders (Isaiah 9: 5); Chest (Revelation 1: 13); Back (2, Moses 33: 23); Hips (Ezekiel 1: 27); Feet (Psalm 18: 10, Revelation 1: 15).

Often, when speaking of 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 as a mother comforts their children (Isaiah 66: 13). Jesus is not ashamed to call those chosen by God his brethren (Hebrews 2: 11); he is her eldest brother, the firstborn (Romans 8: 29). In Revelation 21: 7 God promises, "He who overcomes will inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he will be my son." Yes, God calls the Christian to a family bond with his children. The Bible describes this bond in a human comprehension. She paints a picture of the highest spiritual reality that could be called impressionistic. This does not give us the full extent of the future, glorious, spiritual reality. The joy and glory of the ultimate relationship with God as His children is much greater than our limited vocabulary can express. That's how 1 tells us. John 3: 2: "Beloved, we are already the children of God, but we have not yet revealed what we will be, but we know that when it is revealed, we will be like him, for we shall see him, like 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 through a mirror a dark picture," writes Paul, "but then face to face, now I recognize in pieces, but then I will know how I am recognized" (1, Corinthians 13: 12).

"Who sees me, sees the father"

God's self-revelation, as we have seen, is about creation, history, and writing. Moreover, 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 renounced Divine privilege and became a human being, died for our sins, was raised from the dead, and founded his church." Christ's coming seemed like a shock to them Because his image of God was not far enough, as we shall see in the next two chapters, yet Jesus told his disciples, "Whoever sees me sees the Father!" (John 14: 9). God 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 admonished ancient Israel: "Your fathers lived beyond the Euphrates, Terah, Abraham, and Nahor's father, serving other gods, and I took your father Abraham from across the river, and let him travel all over the land of Canaan, and multiply Gender ... "(Joshua 24: 2-3).

Before his calling by God, Abraham lived in Ur; his ancestors probably lived in Haran. In both places worshiped many gods. 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 Out of this polytheistic world of belief, God came out to Abraham, "Go from your fatherland and relatives and from your father's house to a land that I want to show you wants to make you a great people ... "(1, Moses 12: 1-2).

Abraham obeyed God and departed (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. Later he renewed the covenant with Abraham's son Isaac and later with Isaac's son Jacob. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob worshiped the one true God. As a result, they also differed from their close relatives. For example, Laban, a grandson of Nahor, brother of Abraham, still knew of gods (1, Moses 31: 30-35).

God saves Israel from Egyptian idolatry

Decades later, Jacob (renamed Israel) settled in Egypt with his children. For several centuries, the children of Israel remained in Egypt. In Egypt, too, pronounced polytheism prevailed. The Lexicon of the Bible (Eltville 1990) writes: "The religion of [Egypt] is a conglomeration of the individual nomos religions, to which still numerous introduced from abroad deities (Baal, Astarte, the grotesquely Bes), unconcerned by the contradictions between the various ideas that came into being ... On earth, the gods are incorporated in recognizable animals by certain signs "(p. 17-18).

In Egypt, the children of Israel grew in numbers, but fell into the bondage of the Egyptians. God revealed himself in a series of acts that led to Israel's deliverance from Egypt. Then he made a covenant with the nation of Israel. God's self-revelation towards mankind has always been monotheistic as these events have always shown. He reveals himself to Moses as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The name he gives himself ("I will be" or "I am", 2, Moses 3: 14) 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 does not want to let the Israelites go. God destroys the Egyptian army in the sea (2, Moses 14: 27). This act demonstrates the powerlessness of the Egyptian sea god. Singing triumphal songs (2, Moses 15: 1-21), the children of Israel praise their Almighty God.

The true God is found and lost again

From Egypt God leads the Israelites to the Sinai, where they seal a covenant. In the first of the Ten Commandments, God emphasizes that he alone deserves worship: "Thou shalt have no other gods beside me." (2, Moses 20: 3). In the second commandment he forbids imagery and idolatry (verse 4-5). Again and again Moses admonishes the Israelites not to succumb to idolatry (5, Moses 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: "Hear, O 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" (5, Moses 6: 4-5). Israel, however, repeatedly falls into the Canaanite gods, including EI (a standard name that can be applied to the true God), Baal, Dagon and Asthoreth (another name of the goddess Astarte and Ishtar). Baal worship in particular has a seductive magnetism for 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 it focuses on the fertility of land and animals, the fertility cult must have always been attractive to societies such as Ancient Israel, whose economy was largely peasant-oriented" (Volume 4, p. 101) ,

God's prophets urge the Israelites to convert from their apostasy. Elijah asks the people, "How long do you hang on both sides?" If the LORD God, then follow him, but if he is Baal, follow him "(1, Kings 18: 21). God hears Elijah's prayer to prove that he alone is God. The people recognize, "The LORD is God, the LORD is God!" (Verse 39).

God does not just manifest himself as the greatest of gods, but as the only God: "I am the LORD, and no one else, no God is outrageous" (Isaiah 45: 5). And: "No God is made before me, neither shall I be after me." 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 (accepting many gods, but holding one for the greatest) nor mono-empirical (allowing only the worship of one god, but others for existent), but strictly monotheistic (believing that there is only one God ). According to the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, the Jews were in no other respect than in their belief in only one God (Volume 3, p. 98).

To this day, the reciting of the Sh'ma is an integral part of the Jewish religion. Rabbi Akiba (died as a martyr in the 2, centenary AD), who was said to have been executed while praying the Sh'ma, is said to be in his torment again and again '5. Moses 6: 4 heralded and with the word "alone" have the last breath done.

Jesus to monotheism

When a scribe asks Jesus which is the Greatest Commandment, Jesus answers with a Sh'ma quote: "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the Lord alone, and you shall love the Lord your God of all things Hearts, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. "(Mark 12: 29-30) The scribe agrees:" Master, you have really spoken right! He is nu1 · one, and is none other than him ... "(verse 32).

In the next chapter we will see that Jesus' coming deepens and expands the image of God in the New Testament Church. Jesus claims to be the Son of God and one with the Father at the same time. Jesus confirms monotheism. The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament emphasizes: "[New Testament] Christology consolidates early Christian monotheism, does not shake it ... According to the Gospels, Jesus even exacerbates the monotheistic confession" (Volume 3, p. 102).

Even Christ's enemies testify to him: "Master, we know that you are true, and ask no one, for you do not respect the image of men, but teach the way of God" (verse 14). As the Scriptures show, Jesus is "the Christ of God" (Luke 9: 20), "the 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 of Jesus can be found in Markus 10: 17-18. When someone addresses him with "good master," Jesus replies, "What do you call me good? No one is good but God alone."

What the early church preached

Jesus has commissioned his church to preach the gospel and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28: 18-20). Therefore, she soon also preached to people who were influenced by polytheistic culture. When Paul and Barnabas preached and performed 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 in a lykeyonish manner: the gods have become like men and come down to us and they called Barnabas Zeus and Paul Hermes ... "(Acts 14: 11-12). Hermes and Zeus were two gods from the Greek pantheon. Both the Greek and the Roman pantheon were well known in the New Testament world, and the cult of Greco-Roman gods flourished. Paul and Barnabas responded passionately monotheistically: "We are also mortal men like you, and preach the gospel to you, that you should repent of these false gods unto the living God, the heavens and earth, and the sea, and all that is in them has "(verse 15). But even so, they could barely keep 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 preaching to the Athenians. In Ephesus, the Artemis (Diana) cult was accompanied by a lively trade in idols. After Paul preached the one true God, this trade subsided. The goldsmith Demetrius, who suffered as a result of this, lamented that "this Paul makes much full of dissatisfaction, persuades and speaks: What is done with hands are not gods" (Acts 19: 26). Once again a servant of God preaches the nullity of manmade idols. Like the Old, the New Testament proclaims only one true God. The other gods are not.

No other god

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 about 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 aroused so much attention in those days.

"A nuisance to the Jews ..."

Through Jesus Christ, through the "reflection of his glory and the likeness of his nature," 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, "He who sees me, he sees the Father!" (John 14: 9). He made the bold claim, "Me and the Father are one" (John 10: 30). After his resurrection, Thomas addressed him with "My Lord and my God!" (John 20: 28). Jesus Christ was God.

This could not accept Judaism. "The LORD is our God, the LORD alone" (5, Moses 6: 4); this sentence from the Sh'ma has long been the foundation of the Jewish faith. But here came a man of deep understanding and miraculous powers who claimed to be the Son of God. Some Jewish leaders recognized him as a teacher coming from God (John 3: 2).

But God's son? How could the one, only God be father and son at the same time? "That's why the Jews sought much 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 their eyes, "Then the high priest asked him again, and said to him, Are you the Christ, the Son of the Highly Worshiped? Jesus said, "It is I; and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Force and come with the clouds of the heavens. Then the high priest tore his clothes and said: What do we need more witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy. What is your verdict? But they condemned him all, that he was 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 made by Jesus. Nothing, she was convinced, could bridge the gap between the eternal immutability and the perishable material. And so the Greeks ridiculed 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 of the only begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1: 1, 14). That's not enough of the unbelievable for the unbelievers. God not only became man and died, he was also raised from the dead, and he regained his former glory (John 17: 5). The apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians that God "raised Christ from the dead and instituted him to his right hand in heaven" (Ephesians 1: 20).

Paul clearly speaks of the consternation that Jesus Christ caused among Jews and Greeks: "Because the world, surrounded by the wisdom of God, did not recognize God by its wisdom, it pleased God to save through the folly of the sermon, which Because the Jews demand signs, and the Greeks ask for wisdom, but we preach the crucified Christ, the Jews a nuisance and the Greeks a folly "(1, Corinthians 1: 21-23). Only those who are called could understand and greet the wonderful message of the Gospel, says Paul; "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 are, and the weakness of God is stronger than men are" (verse 24 -25). And in Romans 1: 16, Paul exclaims, "... I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is a power of God that blesses all who believe in it, the Jews first, and so are the Greeks."

"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, "no one comes to the Father but through me" (John 14: 6). And, "I am the vine, ye are the vines, whoever dwells in me and I in him, he brings a great deal of flight, for without me you can do nothing." He who does not dwell in me is thrown away like a vine and withers, and you gather them and throw them into the fire, and they must burn "(John 15: 5-6). Earlier, he said, "I am the door, if anyone enters through me, he will be saved ..." (John 10: 9).

Jesus is God

Jesus has the monotheistic imperative that comes from 5. Moses 6: 4 speaks and sounds everywhere in the Old Testament, not suspended. On the contrary, as he does not abolish the law but extends it (Matthew 5: 17, 21-22, 27-28), he now expands the concept of the "one" God in an unimaginable way. He explains: There is only the one and only God, but since eternity the word is with God (John 1: 1-2). The Word became flesh - all man and at the same time God - and renounced all divine privileges. Jesus, "who was in a divine form, did not consider it a prey to be like God, but absent himself and took on the form of a servant, became like man, and he
Appearance recognized as human. He humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on the cross "(Philippians 2: 6-8).

Jesus was completely human and totally God. He commanded all the power and authority of God, but submitted to the limitations of humanity for our sake. During this incarnation, he, the son, remained "one" with his father. "Who sees me, he sees the father!" said Jesus (John 14: 9). "I can do nothing of mine, as I hear, so I judge, and my judgment is righteous, for I seek not my will, but the will of him that sent me" (John 5: 30). He said he did not do anything about himself, but talked as the Father taught him (John 8: 28).

Shortly before his crucifixion, he explained to his disciples: "I came 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 man. In particular, he gave people knowledge of the father-son relationship that exists in the deity.

For example, the Gospel of John traces over long distances how Jesus reveals the Father to humanity. Particularly interesting in this regard are Jesus' passover talks (John 13-17). What an amazing realization about the nature of God! Even more amazing is Jesus' further revelation about the divine relationship between God and man. Man can participate in the divine nature! To His disciples, Jesus said, "He who has my commandments and keeps them, he is the one who loves me, but he 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 reigns between father and son. The people in whom this love works are revealed to God. Jesus continues, "He who loveth me shall keep my word, and my father will love him, and we shall come to him and dwell with him, but he who does not love me will not keep my words." that you hear is not my word, but that of the Father who sent me
has "(verse 23-24).

He who comes to God through faith in Jesus Christ, submits his life to God in faithfulness, where God lives. Peter preached, "Repent, and every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2: 38). The Holy Spirit is God too, as we shall see in the next chapter. Paul knew that God lived in him: "I am crucified with Christ, I live, but not me, but Christ lives in me, for what I live in the flesh, I live in faith in the Son of God, in me loved and gave himself for me there "(Galatians 2: 20).

The life of God in man equals a "new birth," as Jesus explains in John 3: 3. In this spiritual birth one begins a new life in God, becoming a fellow citizen of the saints and housemates of God (Ephesians 2: 19). Paul writes that God has "saved us from the power of darkness" and "put us in the kingdom of his dear Son, in whom we have salvation, the forgiveness of sins" (Colossians 1: 13-14). The Christian is a citizen of the kingdom of God. "My dears, we are already God's children" (1, John 3: 2). In Jesus Christ God revealed himself fully. "For in him dwells all the fullness of the deity bodily" (Colossians 2: 9). What does this revelation mean to us? We can become partners in the divine nature!

Peter concludes: "Everything that serves for life and piety has given us its divine power through the knowledge of Him who has called us through his glory and power. Through them are given to us the dearest and most great promises, so that you may 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 establish a new, cross-ethnic and cross-national spiritual fellowship - the Church (Ephesians 2: 14-22). Jesus revealed God as the Father of all who were born again in Christ. Jesus revealed the glorious destiny that God promises His people. The presence of the Spirit of God in us already gives 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 one God, as we have seen, represents the Bible without compromise. The incarnation of Jesus and the work of Jesus have given us a deeper insight into the "how" of the oneness of God. 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 is, the Bible reveals a God who exists eternally as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. For this reason, the Christian should be baptized "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of 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 to us God revealed Him through His Spirit, for the Spirit explores all things, even the depths of Deity" (1, Corinthians 2: 10).

Furthermore, the Holy Spirit is omnipresent, bound to no spatial boundaries. "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit that is in you and that you have of God and that you do not belong to yourself?" (1, Corinthians 6: 19). The Holy Spirit lives in all believers, so it is not limited to one place. The Holy Spirit renews Christians. "Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he can not come into the kingdom of God, what is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the spirit is spirit ... The wind blows where he wills, and you hear his roar well, but you do not know where he comes from and where he goes, so it is with anyone born of the Spirit "(John 3: 5-6, 8). He predicts the future. "The Spirit, however, clearly states that in recent times some will fall from the faith and attach to seductive spirits and evil teachings" (1, Timothy 4: 1). In the baptismal formula, the Holy Spirit is placed on a par with Father and Son: the Christian is to be baptized "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28: 19). The mind is able to create out of nothing (Psalm 104: 30). Only God has such creative gifts. Hebrew 9: 14 gives the spirit the epithet "eternal". Only God is eternal.

Jesus promised the apostles, after his departure, to send a "comforter" to remain with them "in eternity," the "spirit of truth that the world can not receive, for it does not see it and knows it not, you know him because he 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 Ghost, whom my Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and remember all that I have told you "(verse 26). The Comforter shows the world its sins and guides us into all truths; all actions that only God can do. Paul affirms this: "We speak of this also, not in words, taught by human wisdom, but in words, taught by the Spirit, by interpreting the spiritual through the spiritual" (1, Corinthians 2: 13, Elberfelder Bibel).

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 gives life," and that is something that 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 dwell in us, but only because the Spirit dwells in us (John 14: 16-17, 23, Roman 8: 9-11). Since God is one, the Father and the Son are in us, too, 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
Spirit is in one, shall apply our worship. God in us (the Holy Spirit) moves us to worship God. The Comforter (like the Son) does not speak "out of himself" (John 16: 13), but says what the Father tells him. He does not refer us to himself, but to the Father through the Son. And we also do not pray to the Holy Spirit as such - it is the Spirit in us that helps us pray and even intercede for us (Romans 8: 26).

If God were not within us, we would never be converted to God. If God were not within us, we would know neither God nor the Son. That's why we owe salvation to God alone, not us. The fruit we carry is the fruit of the Spirit - God's fruit, not ours. Nevertheless, we enjoy, if we wish, the great privilege of being allowed to work on God's work.

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 has to lead us to this goal, and he is even the path by which we are led to this goal. In other words: to God (to the Father) we pray; God in us (the Holy Spirit) is what moves us to pray; and God is also the way (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 concludes the second letter of Corinthians with the 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). At the center is Paul's love of God, given to us by 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 doctrine about God into the term "Trinity", "Trinity" or "Trinity." However, when asked what the Bible says about it, most of the time, they would have to remain guilty of an explanation. The image of many people of the Trinity is biblically on shaky feet.An important reason for the lack of clarity is 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 persons ... who are a divine nature ... These three persons are (really) different from each other" (Rahner / Vorgrimler, IQ of a Theological Dictionary, Freiburg 1961, S. 79). In relation to God, the usual meaning of the word "person" conveys a crooked picture: the impression that God is limited, and that his trinity is the result of being composed 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 concept and provides for a sharper mental separation between the god nature and the created order. However, "person" is also suitable under the (indispensable) requirement that the word is not understood in a human-personal sense.

One reason why "person", if understood correctly, is that God relates to us in a personal way. Therefore, it would be wrong to say that he is impersonal. We worship no rock or plant, no impersonal power "behind the cosmos", but a "living person". God is personal, but not a person in the sense that we are "persons". "For I am God, and not a man, and I am the Holy One among you." God is Creator - and not part of the created.People have a beginning of life, have a body, grow up, are individually different, age and ultimately, over all, God is sublime, and yet he personally behaves in his relationships with humans.

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, "That is eternal life, that they may know thee, the only true God whom you have sent, Jesus Christ" (John 17: 3). The more we know God, the clearer we become about how small we are and how tall he is.

6. The relationship of humanity to God

In the introduction, we have tried to formulate basic questions in this booklet, which man might possibly ask God. What would we ask if we had such a question? Our groping question "Who are you?" The creator and ruler of the cosmos answers with: "I will be who I am going to be" (2, Moses 3: 14) or "I am who I am" (Quit.). God explains himself to us in creation (Psalm 19: 2). Since the time he made us, he acts on and with us humans. Sometimes like thunder and lightning, like storm, like earthquake and fire, sometimes like "a quiet, gentle whiz" (2, Moses 20: 18, 1, Kings 19: 11-12). He even laughs (Psalm 2: 4). In the biblical scripture, 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 do not just want to know who God is. We also want to know what he has created for us. We want to know what his plan is for us. We want to know which future is prepared for us. What relationship do we have to God? Which "should" we have? And which one will we have in the future? God has made us in His image (1, Moses 1: 26-27). And for our future, the Bible reveals - sometimes very clearly - much higher than we now allow ourselves to dream as limited beings.

Where we are now

Hebrews 2: 6-11 tells us that we are currently getting something "lower" than the angels. But God "crowned us with honor and praise" and subdued all of us to creation. For the future, "he has not exempted anything that would not be subject to him, but now we do not yet see that everything is subject to him." God has prepared us an eternal, glorious future. But something is still in the way. We are in a state of guilt, through our sins we are cut off from God (Isaiah 59: 1-2). Sin has built an insurmountable barrier between God and us, a barrier that we can not overcome on our own.

Basically, however, the break is already healed. Jesus tasted death for us (Hebrews 2: 9). He paid the death penalty that we have charged on our sins to bring "many sons to glory" (verse 10). According to 21: 7, God wants us to partner with Him in a father-child relationship. Because he loves us and has done everything for us - and still does as the author of our salvation - Jesus is not ashamed to call us images (Hebrews 2: 10-11).

What is required of us now

Acts 2: 38 calls us to repent of our sins and to be baptized, figuratively 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 repent - have turned away from the selfish, worldly-sinful ways we used to go - we enter into a new relationship with Him in faith. We are born again (John 3: 3), a new life in Christ is given to us through the Holy Spirit, through the Spirit, through the grace of God, through mercy and through the redemptive work of Christ. 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 all the time" (1, Thessalonian 4: 13-17).

Our immeasurable heritage

God "gave birth to us ... to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an everlasting and immaculate and unfading inheritance", an inheritance that "out of God's power ... is revealed to the last time" ( 1, Petrus 1: 3-5). In the resurrection, we will attain immortality (1, Corinthians 15: 54) and a "spiritual body" (verse 44). "And as we have borne the image of the earthly [man-Adam]," says verse 49, "so shall we also bear the image of the heavenly." From now on we are no longer subject to death as "children of the resurrection" (Luke 20: 36).

Could anything be more beautiful than what the Bible says about God and our future relationship with him? We will be "like Him [Jesus], for we shall 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, the hut of God in the people, and he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and he himself, God with them, will to be her 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