Bible Teaching about God and His Son

 

Introduction This is a very important subject as Jesus demonstrated in his prayer:
“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent."  (John 17:3)

Thus whether or not we shall be given eternal life depends (amongst other things) upon having a correct understanding of the way in which God has revealed himself through His word and through His son.

God is One

The majority of people who consider themselves to be “christians” believe God to be a trinity. The teaching of the Bible cannot be reconciled with this. In the Bible we learn of ONE GOD who is called THE FATHER. Thus in the prayer quoted above Jesus is praying to the Father and addresses Him as the ONLY true God. There is no teaching of the Bible more clear and definite than this:

“But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him” (1 Corinthians 8:6)

One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all”  (Ephesians 4:6)

(See also: I Timothy 2:5; Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29; Isaiah 46:9-10; Isaiah 45:5)

God’s Attributes

This ONE Almighty God has revealed himself as the creator (Psalm 148:1-5) and sustainer (Isaiah 42:5) of all things.

He dwells at a definite location in the universe which is styled in the Bible “heaven” (Ecclesiastes 5:2; Matthew 6:9; 1 Kings 8:39,43). There He dwells in unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:16).

God is a Spirit being (John 4:24) i.e. He is, to put it crudely, composed of Spirit which is power or energy. This Spirit power radiates out from God just as light radiates out from a source, so that by means of His spirit He is in contact with every part of the universe (Psalm 139:7-13). This same Spirit under the commandment of God becomes changed into matter and by it all things were created (Job 26:13; Job 33:4; Psalm 104:30).

When the Spirit of God is used in connection with His plan of salvation it is called HOLY SPIRIT - that is Spirit “set apart” for this particular purpose. Thus Jesus was born by Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35); by Holy Spirit the Scriptures were written (1 Pet. 1:21); by Holy Spirit the early believers were given miracle working powers to help them preach the gospel of salvation (Acts 2:4).

The Spirit is, therefore, NOT a personal God but the POWER OF THE FATHER:

“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high”  (Luke 24:49)

“And, being assembled together with them, he commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptised with water, but ye shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit not many days hence” (Acts 1:4-5)

But God is more than power. It took more than power to create the universe. God is the embodiment of wisdom - the source of all that can be known (Psalm 104:24). He is more than this. He is just and true in all His ways (Isaiah 45:21; Psalm 116:5; Psalm 129:4; Psalm 145:17). He is a God of judgement (Psalm 19:9; Psalm 35:5) a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). But to those who attend to His word He is longsuffering, merciful and gracious (Isaiah 66:2; Exodus 34:6; Psalm 86:5). He is above all a God of love (John 3:16).

God Manifestation

The Bible teaches that mortal man cannot see God:
“..who only hath immortality, dwelling in light which no man can approach unto: whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting”  (1 Timothy
6:16)

No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18)

Yet, in spite of these clear statements we read on many occasions of God appearing to men. E.g. Exodus 24:9-11 records that Moses, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu “SAW the God of Israel”, and Exodus 33:11 says that “The LORD spake unto Moses face to face”.

Two incidents help us to understand this apparent contradiction:

  1. When God appeared to Moses at the burning bush it is said that “when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush” (Exodus 3:4). But this was not Almighty God Himself for in verse 2 we are told that it was “the angel of the LORD” who was in the bush.

  2. When God appeared to Israel at Mount Sinai we are told thatthe LORD came down upon mount Sinai....and God spake all these words..” (Exodus 19:20 & 20:1). When Stephen in his defence before the Jewish council referred to this occasion he says that Moses was “in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake unto him in Mount Sinai” (Acts 7:38).

Thus, when the Scriptures speak of God appearing to men, or doing things in relation to men, it is to be understood that it was the angels acting on God’s behalf. They are God’s messengers or representatives (Psalm 103:21).

There was one particular angel who carried the name of God - “Fear him”, God said to Israel, “for MY NAME is in him” (Exodus 23:20). This was the “similitude of the LORD” with whom Moses spoke face to face (Numbers 12:8). When Moses spoke with this angel he, in effect, spoke with God, for this angel was God’s representative; God was manifest in him.

God Manifest in the Flesh

Just as the immortal angel in the Old Testament manifested God to Israel, so Jesus was a manifestation of God:
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory”  (I Timothy 3:16)

“...the only begotten son which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18)

In other words, these Scriptures are saying, Jesus showed men what God is like. He demonstrated the character of his Father. This is why Jesus said:
“Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father”   (John 14:9)

This is why Jesus is called EMMANUEL, which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).

But Jesus was not “very God” as many churches teach, any more than the angel at the bush was “very God”. Both were manifestations of God. In the case of Jesus this was most remarkable because the manifestation of the Father’s character occurred “in the flesh” which normally manifests an inevitable tendency to sin.

 

 

 

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