Thursday, December 17, 2015

He has made Him known

No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known. John 1:18

When I was a child, there were times when I would lie awake at night and think about God after my parents tucked me into bed. I knew a little about Him from Bible stories and Sunday school, but I still wondered what He was really like. Having been taught that God was already there before Genesis 1:1, I imagined going back in time just prior to Creation or traveling into deep space to find Him. Needless to say, it was more than my young mind could handle. God was so completely other that I felt very small, not just in age but in significance. Well, I had a similar feeling of smallness this past Sunday.

My pastor has been preaching on the doctrine of God. In Sunday's sermon, he touched on God's self-existence, independence, infinity, and simplicity. Everything that ever was or will be, both material and nonmaterial, only exists because God called it into being. We are dependent creatures from the moment we are conceived to the moment we die. Yet God needs nothing from anyone or anything. We are finite and limited by time and space. He is boundless. We are body and soul. We change and grow physically and morally. Yet God doesn't change and has no shadow of turning. (Mal. 3:6; James 1:17) As pure white light is refracted into a rainbow of colors, we see God's individual attributes through the prism of creation. But He is not merely the sum of all these wonderful characteristics. He is the I AM and just is in His divine being. (Ex. 3:14)

As I sat in the pew, I was reminded of those nights long ago when I tried to wrap my mind around the wonders of God. I may be older now, but His otherness hasn't diminished one bit. In fact, it seems to loom even larger than when I was a child. But as we celebrated the Lord's Table following the sermon, I was thankful for my Mediator and Savior, Jesus Christ, perhaps in a fresh way. I don't think I appreciated the size of the chasm that had existed between myself and God until I was reminded again of how other He is, and this humbles me to the dust.  Why would God seek me out? I certainly didn't go looking for Him or deserve His notice. But He bridged that immense gap of His own initiative. (1 Tim. 2:5) No man could see God and live, and yet the light has "shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (Ex. 33:20; 2 Cor. 4:6) The Word who became flesh has made Him known. (John 1:14-18)

So during this Christmas season, I have a lot to ponder. I will try to wrap my mind around the glories of the doctrine of God and the incarnation. But even though I will fall far short, I can still worship.

"I confess, but I do not conceive what I confess, but I do adore." -  John Owen

Sermon series: Behold Our God by Pastor Ryan Davidson.
SCRBPC 2015 Conference: Of God and the Holy Trinity - Dr. James Renihan and Dr. James Dolezal. The Owen quote is from the end of lecture 5 by Dr. Dolezal.

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