What is your picture of God?

JesusInCrowd3The foundation for . . . Christianity as a whole—is the claim that God looks like Jesus . . . Jesus spent his ministry freeing people from evil and misery. This is what God seeks to do. Jesus wars against spiritual forces that oppress people and resist God’s good purposes. This is what God does. Jesus loved people others rejected—even people who rejected him. This is how God loves. Jesus had nothing but compassion for people who were afflicted by sin, disease and tragedy. This is how God feels. And Jesus died on the cross of Calvary suffering in the place of sinful humanity, defeating sin and the devil, because he passionately loves people and wants to reconcile them to God. This is how God saves.

–Gregory Boyd
Is God to Blame?

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The Central Issue

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Immediately you lose sight of the central, majestic figure of Jesus Christ, you are swept off your feet by all kinds of doctrine; and when big things hit us we find that our religion does not stand us in good stead; our creed does not agree with Jesus Christ.

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The revelation of the Deity of Christ does not come to a man’s intellect first, but to his heart and life, and he says with amaze-ment, “Thou are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” The great point of the Bible revelation of God is not only that God was in Christ but that Jesus Christ is God. “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father,” said Jesus.

If Jesus Christ is not God,
then the only God we have is an
abstraction of our minds.

–Oswald Chambers
(1874-1917)

Jesus shows us God

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As Christians—as followers of the Lord Jesus—when we talk about God, we are talking about one who has entered into the very fabric of our world, who has come as close to us as we are to ourselves, a God who has become incarnate. When we talk about God, ultimately, we are always talking about Jesus. For the God of the gospel is the God who has come among us in Jesus of Nazareth. We believe in God because of Jesus.

Jesus is the one who showed us the face of God—
Jesus shows us the truth of God,
Jesus shows us the love of God.

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Jesus is God’s smile beaming at us out of the depths of eternity. Jesus is God’s love wrapping around us, seizing us and not letting us go. Jesus is God’s grace, reaching into the darkest and most shameful dimensions of our experience. Jesus is God’s healing, binding up the wounded.

Jesus is God’s goodness, in a world
full of chaos and disaster and catastrophe.

Jesus is God’s great strength for the weak. Jesus is water for the thirsty, and when you drink that water you will never thirst again. Jesus is bread for all those who are starved and hungry, famished for something good and something true. Jesus shows us God. He is not God’s explanation, he is not God’s argument, he is not God’s debate. He is God’s simple, great, loving act, showing us, Here I am, here you are.

In Jesus, God shows us God.
That I believe, is the whole secret
of the Christian faith.

–Ben Myers
(emphasis added)

We needed a revelation

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Job asks: “Who by searching can find out God?” The answer is plain in history: No one! For what we find in our upward search for God is not God, but the projection of our thoughts into the heavens and calling it God. It is the Word become word—and earthbound. We create God in the image of our imagination. And this is “no true image.” Apart from Jesus we know little or nothing about God, and what we know is wrong.

The Word must become flesh
or the Word is a vast question mark.

. . . God the Father could only be revealed by Revelation. No one could imagine or think that the God of the Universe would take a body and become man to redeem man. A love like that just doesn’t exist—not in the categories of philosophy. Here only seeing is believing. We would never have believed it unless we had seen it. The Word had to become flesh to become credible. Unless the eye had seen and the ear heard it would never have entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for him

–E. Stanley Jones

What God looks like

It is God Himself, personally present and redeemingly active, who comes to meet men in this Man of Nazareth. Jesus is more than a religious genius, such as George Fox, and more than a holy man, such as the lovable Lana in Kipling’s Kim. He himself knows that he is more. The Gospel story is a tree rooted in the familiar soil of time and sense; but its roots go down into the Abyss and its branches fill the Heavens; given to us in terms of a country in the Eastern Mediterranean no bigger than Wales, during the Roman Principate of Tiberius Caesar in the first century of our era, its range is universal; it is on the scale of eternity. God’s presence and his very Self were made manifest in the words and works of this Man. In short, the Man Christ Jesus has the decisive place in man’s ageless relationship with God.

He is what God means by ‘Man’.
He is what man means by ‘God’.

–J. S. Whale

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