God – Father

God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Who is God?

Introduction

People all over the world have always sensed that there must be a higher Being sustaining our universe. But this knowledge of God has split up into many different religions and various forms of mysticism, traditional religion and idol worship. For example, there was a tribe in Papua New Guinea, which had never heard of the one true God before. Nevertheless, the people used to make offerings of garden fruits and call on the name of this unknown God to make their land fertile.
Who is God? Atheists claim that there is no God, but in their heart there is something missing and they long for intimacy, meaning and hope. People from all cultures have different religions with different ideas of God. Many people have the wrong impression that God is just waiting to punish them. Or that he is far away, not interested in them. Sadly, these ideas keep them away from him, which is not what God wants.
Sometimes we project the feelings and experiences we have had with our earthly fathers to the image we have of God. Good experiences bring us closer to knowing and understanding God, just as bad experiences can create distorted pictures of him. As a father, you might remember how you held your first-born in your arms with tender affection. You cared for this lovely child, provided food and protection and taught him how to live. But another father did not care for his child; he even hit him and chased him away. Our heavenly Father is not like this last example at all. You are a special and unique person to him and he is intensely interested in every aspect of your life. Maybe your own father or mother failed you, maybe you have suffered hurt and rejection from your family. Do not let this stop you from getting to know God as he really is. Psalm 34:8 says: “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”

GOD REVEALED IN CREATION

We see the glory and greatness of the Creator in nature. Our extremely complex human body functions in a way that reveals design by an intelligent brain! Beautiful flowers in all colours, shapes and sizes show how creative and generous God is. Anywhere we look in nature, we find the result of the Creator’s wisdom and his endless love, even in the smallest detail.
“Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Ro 1:20). “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the works of his hands” (Ps 19:1). The immensity of a starry sky is overwhelming. Our physical eye can discern about 3,000 stars. With a telescope you can perceive about 30,000 stars. But the Milky Way alone comprises a multitude of 200,000 million stars. If we could count three stars per second, after 100 years we would only have been able to count 5?% of that number. Incredible, isn’t it? The Bible tells us that it is God who brings out the starry host one by one and calls them each by name (Is 40:26). What a memory he must have! What a comfort to know that he knows and calls you by your name (Is 43:1). Your way is not hidden from him and he cares for you.
The mistake humans have made again and again in awe of nature is to attribute the power to the object rather than to its Creator. A stone or a certain plant is said to have magical power; the blood of a chicken or other animal is used for certain rituals, wooden objects of all sorts and idols are put in a special place of honour and are even worshipped. The Creator is sad to see such mistreatment of his Creation. These objects steal the place of honour which rightly belongs to God alone.

GOD REVEALED IN HIS WORD

The Bible is God’s word to us. We do well to study it. God can also speak to us through dreams or experiences.

God is one

There are people who believe in many gods, but in Christianity there is only one God. He does not tolerate any other god beside him, “Hear, o Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Dt 6:4). This is followed by declaring a fundamental duty for life: “Love the Lord, your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Dt 6:5). Most interesting is that every religion suggests methods and rules by which man by his own effort can work his way up to get in touch with the supernatural, with some kind of higher Being. In contrast, Christianity shows the exact opposite: God is reaching down to help man. God is not a harsh and oppressive dictator. His greatest desire is to have fellowship with us and give us peace.

The Trinity

Although God is one and there is no other God beside him, he is a Tri-Unity, consisting of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, each being equally and eternally the one true God. The Father is the Source of all Being, revealed in the Son and experienced by the Holy Spirit. With reference to God’s Creation, the Father is the Thought behind it, the Son is the Word calling it forth, and the Spirit is the Deed making it a reality (christiananswers.net).
The Trinity can be compared with the three different states of water. Water can appear in frozen form (ice), or as a liquid (water), or in the form of gas (vapour). In each case the substance is water, but it is manifested in different forms. Likewise it is with the nature of God.

God is love

To understand the doctrine of the trinity a bit better, it is helpful to know that God is love. Love is expressed in a relationship. You cannot love “all by yourself”. God has always existed, even before the creation of man. So how can he express his love if there is no one to share it with? It is because he was always there, three in one. There is an eternal relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And because it is God’s nature to love (see 1 Jn 4:7-21), he chose to create man to have fellowship with him too.
Love means unselfishly choosing the highest good for the person you love. The special object of God’s love is his Son, Jesus Christ. At his baptism, God spoke from heaven saying: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well-pleased” (Mt 3:17). God also loves all those who believe in his Son. Astonishingly, God shows his love even to sinners. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Ro 5:8). The sacrifice of the Son is indeed the climax of God’s love. We can receive this love by entering into a personal relationship to God through faith in Jesus Christ.

God has a personality

God is not only a force or an influence but he has a distinct personality with a mind, will and emotions. God’s name is “I am who I am”. This is a powerful, personal statement telling us that God is here and we are able to have communion with him (see Ex 3:13-14). Look at some of the names given to God and see how he can meet your personal needs:
Jehovah-Jireh: The Lord will provide (Ge 22:13.14).
Jehovah-Rapha: The Lord that heals (Ex 15:26)
Jehovah-Nissi: The Lord, our banner (Ex 17:15)
Jehovah-Shalom: The Lord our peace (Jdg 6:24)
Jehovah-Ra-ah: The Lord my shepherd (Ps 23:1)
Jehovah-Tsidkenu: The Lord our righteousness (Jer 23:6)
Jehovah-Shammah: The Lord is present (Eze 48:35)

God is spirit

God is not to be confined to a certain place or a certain form. “God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (Jn 4:24; see also Acts 7:48; 17:24). Because God is spirit and invisible, he cannot be compared to anyone (Is 40:25) and he also must not be represented by an idol, an image of any animal or plant, nor by the sun, stars and moon in the sky (Dt 4:15-19). Through his Spirit, God is near to those who believe in him. He wants to communicate with us and express his love. We need to learn to worship and serve God solely for who he is - and not for what he can do for us. Otherwise we are in danger of dropping back into traditional religious practices.

God is holy

Holiness means to be morally perfect, pure, and set apart from all sin. “Exalt the Lord our God and worship at his holy mountain. For the Lord our God is holy” (Ps 99,9). God is holy and thus the absolute legitimate law-giver because he practices what he preaches. Just as he who has called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ”Be holy, because I am holy” (1 Pe 1:15-16). As we grow in our awareness of God’s holiness, we grow in our awareness of sin and our appreciation for salvation through Jesus Christ.

God is righteous and just

God is light and there is no darkness in him (1 Jn 1:5). His holiness requires that we be 100% righteous before him. God cannot tolerate sin but must punish it. Naturally, we fail to live up to his standard of righteousness. We have broken his laws. But God demonstrated his justice by giving his Son “as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 Jn 4,10). Jesus was punished at the Cross in our place for the sins we have committed. We cannot do anything to earn his forgiveness; it is his free gift to us. This is the language of grace: “If we confess our sins, he is righteous and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn 1:9).
When we have understood this, then we will be motivated to do good. “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them” (Heb 6:10). Even a cup of cold water given to a follower of Jesus will be rewarded.

God is all-knowing

“The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good” (Pr 15:3; see also Pr 5:21 and Ps 139:2-4). How could he reward and punish otherwise?
A young man said: “As a child I used to sneak into my neighbour’s garden to steal fruit. I did not think this was wrong as long as I did not get caught. I was not aware that God was watching me all the time.” For God, the night is as clear as day. There is no way I can hide from him. If I do not know God as my father, this is a frightening thought. But as a Christian, this knowledge gives me comfort. If I have been treated unfairly, he is a righteous judge. Even if no one else knows about my problems, God already knows and I can talk to him about it. Isn’t that wonderful? On the other hand I cannot live in sin without God knowing about it. We are too late to cover up our bad deed and worry about losing our face because the eyes of God have already seen it. This knowledge should stop us from finding excuses and help us to be honest, repent and seek God’s forgiveness when we have done wrong.

God is everywhere

God is present everywhere, active in every place at all times. “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to heavens, you are there; if I make my beds in the depths, you are there” (Ps 139,7). Have you ever tried to escape from the presence of God as the prophet Jonah did? There is no escape from God. Or have you ever felt abandoned by God? Left alone, with no one beside you? Especially when something bad happens, we tend to doubt the presence of God. But he is there – every minute, every day, giving you his full attention. God has promised that he will never leave you nor forsake you.

God is sovereign – he can do as he wills

God is not responsible to anyone in what he does. The Scripture says: “Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him” (Ps 115:3). God is not moved or manipulated by loud chanting, charms or rituals. When a child gets sick or when we are concerned about our job, garden, fields, safety or whatever, our first response should be to take our concern to God in prayer and trust him. The Bible clearly warns us: „Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker?… Does the clay say to the potter, ‚What are you making?‘ Does your work say, ‚He has no hands‘?” (Isa 45:9). We often cannot see a reason why God allows this and that to happen. But our God is a wise and loving father, who always does what is best for us. “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Ro 8:28).

God is eternal - he does not change

Because God is eternal, he has no beginning and no end. Thus he is able to give the gift of eternal life. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus” (Ro 6:23). Besides this, he does not change: “I am the Lord, I cannot change (Mal 3:6).” His word does not change either. We can fully rely on him because he will never break his promises.
God shows us his mercy and loving-kindness
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love” (Ps 103:8). God is merciful toward sinners. His mercy guarantees that he will never turn away those who come to him (Jn 6,37). We can be sure of our salvation. His loving-kindness is shown to his children in that he holds his people fast even in times of trouble.

God is all-powerful

Nothing is too hard for the Lord. In times of sickness or distress, we often forget how great God is and search for immediate help elsewhere. Some people even call on the spirits for help or to find out how they have offended them, or which person has cast a curse on them. Instead of giving peace, these practices lead to more fear, fighting and bondage. But God is much greater than Satan, the spirits or any magical power. God demonstrated his power through Jesus Christ, who defeated every other power in this world at the cross. “Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Col 2:15). In the name of Jesus Christ we have the victory and are free from the powers of darkness.
The truth that God is all powerful often raises a question: “Why then does he allow evil to happen? Why do people, even children, starve to death? Why does he not intervene in warfare? Why does he allow natural disasters to bring misery on countless people?”
There are no easy answers to these questions. Sometimes we simply have to accept that only God knows why these things happen. Since the fall of man there is the curse of sin on God’s creation. Mankind has turned away from God and gone astray, like sheep without a shepherd. God is really sorry about this. He gave man a free will and the ability to choose which way to go. But man did not choose to honour his Creator and thus God gave him over to his sinful desires. As a result evil has prevailed and brought great misery into this world.
But praise be to God, this is not the end of the story. God showed his love in that he sent Jesus Christ to save mankind from the curse of sin and eternal destruction. Whoever believes in him is not necessarily spared from this world’s disasters but he has eternal life in heaven.

GOD REVEALED TO US BY JESUS CHRIST

It is impossible for a human being to see God with his physical eyes. But God revealed himself by sending his Son to this earth as a human being. The life of Jesus Christ is recorded in the Gospel. He showed us what God is like. If we listen to his words of wisdom, if we watch him dealing with people, healing the sick, raising the dead and stilling the storms, we actually see God acting in his human form. Jesus said to his disciples: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9b; see also Heb 1:3).
By shedding his blood on the cross for our sins, Jesus reconciled us to God the Father. Through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, each of us can be born into God’s family and become a son or daughter of God. “You did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you have received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry: ”Abba Father”. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Ro 8:15-16). As Christians, God our Father gives us the privilege to be his heirs. There is the reward of peace and everlasting life. On the other hand he also gives us the responsibility to become more like Jesus Christ his Son. A child of God is meant to live according to his standing and bring honour and glory to his father.

GOD AS MY FATHER

An English king of past days had a few stories to tell about his former life as a boy. He had to confess that he did not always behave in a way that befitted the son of a king. He used to play silly tricks on other people and perform childish pranks. Once in a while it happened that such stories reached the royal ear of his father, who took his son to task. He admonished him lovingly, saying: “My dear son, you must always remember who you are!” As he grew up, the boy came to understand what these words meant . He was of royal blood. He was the king’s son. He was accepted and loved. He had everything he needed. The boy decided to trust and obey his father. There was nothing to lose, and everything to be gained.
As children of our royal Father in heaven, we too must always remember who we are. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 Jn 3:1). It is the greatest privilege to be a child of God, but it also places a responsibility on us: “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Pt 2:9). The love of God urges us as his children to trust and obey his word. We are to copy the example of Jesus Christ his Son and grow into his likeness. May God the father grant us grace as we learn to walk in his care. PM, DCL team

Application to your personal life

Answer the questions below and think about God, the Father, about how you perceive him and how he has enriched your life and ministry. You might need a separate sheet of paper for the answers. If you have questions, discuss them with another Christian leader.


1. Has God revealed himself to you? In what way?
2. God is one. That means: (cross out the wrong sentence)
a. He does not tolerate any other god.
b. He is a harsh and oppressive dictator.
3. Which three persons are equally and eternally God?
4. God is love. He even loves his enemies. What is the greatest proof of God’s love towards sinners?
5. Have you ever experienced God’s love in a special way in your life? How did this happen?
6. God‘s name is “I am who I am”. What does this tell you about approaching God?
7. God revealed himself as ‘The Lord that heals.’ Have you ever experienced the healing power of God?
8. God revealed himself as the Lord, your shepherd. As you are part of his flock, what effect does his voice have on your life?
9. Why does God forbid us to make any idols or images of plants, animals or the sun, moon or stars?
10. God is holy. Finish the sentence: As we grow in our awareness of God‘s holiness, we...
11. God’s righteousness is revealed when you confess your sins. In which way is it revealed (1 Jn 1:9)?
12. God is everywhere. Have you ever tried to escape from him, when he gave you a special task to do? What happened?
13. God is sovereign. Have you ever been tempted to quarrel with God about his dealings? Then what happened?
14. God is all powerful. He demonstrated this power at the cross, defeating every other power in this world. What does this mean in regard to the spirits?
15. How would you answer a person who is asking you: “How can a God of love allow natural disasters or wars to happen in the world?”
16. God Father revealed himself in his Son, Jesus Christ. What did Jesus do for us by shedding his blood on the cross?
17. God is the Father of all those who trust in Jesus Christ. Have you received the spirit of sonship, who gives you the assurance that you are a child of God? How did this happen?
18. God‘s Father-love urges us: Love the Lord, your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Being a child of God, what signs in your life show that you are obeying and trusting his word?
19. In what ways is your congregation copying the example of God’s Son Jesus Christ in honouring the Father?