Knowing yahweh

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Van, May 5, 2011.

  1. Van

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    Mar 4, 2011
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    One of J.I Packer’s books, titled “Knowing God” presents his understanding of what the Bible reveals of God. Many, perhaps most, of his observations are “spot on” but some seem to push the underlying scriptural support beyond sound conjecture. Let’s take a look at God through the lens of some of the biblical passages cited in his book.

    Our view of God informs how we live our lives; so arriving at as close to the correct view as revealed in His Word as possible, helps us lead more productive lives in our ministry of reconciliation.

    The Bible presents God as a non-physical “spirit,” eternal, and unchangeable in His attributes of wisdom, power, holiness, justness, goodness and truth. Folks who meditate on these truths travel the road from knowledge about God to worship of God, and worship of God prepares one to trust in the One He sent. Praise God.

    If we consider what might be meant by the concept of “knowing” God, we also travel the road from “knowledge about God” to having in intimate relationship with God as an adopted “child of God.” Jesus defines “eternal life” thus: “And this is eternal life, that they may know (have an intimate relationship with) You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3) Thus the end of the journey is not our knowing (have knowledge of) God but rather of God knowing (having an intimate relationship with) us. Galatians 4:9

    Backing up to the question, how can we start the journey toward knowing God, Romans 10:14 answers with “How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” So God’s word needs more than to be available in a book on a dusty bookshelf, it needs to be presented by word and deed by believers! Many times the presentation contains no words at all. I remember visiting the home of an elderly couple with my family. Rather early in the evening the old gentleman, who got around by use of a walker, had “gone to bed.” Later, as I was stepping out of the bathroom I glanced down the hall towards his room. There he was, on his knees beside his bed, praying, even though he knew he was going to need help to get up and into bed. Just one of the way-points on my journey toward that relationship.

    The Only True God

    In a sense, any of our ideas concerning the nature of God paint a finite picture of a reality beyond our understanding, and thus miss the mark. But, on the other hand, to worship without an object of worship, however flawed, seems weak as well. God has revealed himself to us and thus to picture those revelations, whether the majesty declared by what He has made, or the man Jesus praying for us, hardly seems a violation of the second commandment. But we should be mindful that our image of God should both conform to the God of the Bible, and that our God is greater by far than any image used by the bible for illustration.

    The Word became flesh

    When we formulate an idea, put it into words so to speak, then we can act upon it with the power of our being. Thus the apostle John’s idea of the “Word” refers to God’s “creative utterance” and therefore the Word existed eternally before the beginning of created time, and was with God, and was God. As Packer put it, the Word of God refers to God at work. As created beings we can “see” only what has been created, thus the Word is the light of men, for all things are created and sustained through Him. The Word is more than an aspect of God, as for example His power, because the Word has personhood, as God the Son, and it is God the Son who became flesh, the Son of God. And if you study carefully Hebrews 1:8-10, you will see the passage refers to the Son, the Word, as the LORD, quoting Psalm 102:25. Therefore according to the author of Hebrews, Jesus is Yahweh, God Almighty who laid the foundation of the earth. One God, Yahweh, in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    Blind men and the Elephant

    An old illustration describes several blind men as they encounter an elephant. One touches the side and describes the elephant as a wall. Another touches the tusk and describes the elephant as a round pointy thing. The third blind man grabs the tail and describes the elephant as a rope. As we contemplate the Trinity, we are sure our descriptions are accurate, one God in three persons, but we fear we might not comprehend the whole entity. So we cherish the revelations of our one God in three persons, and look forward to the day we will not apprehend God through a glass darkly, but face to face.

    Whoever believes in Him

    John 3:16 lays out God’s conditional covenant with mankind. Whoever believes in “Him” shall not perish but have eternal life. But the Him is God the Son, and we must believe in God the Father and God the Holy Spirit if we are to fully believe in Him. If we do not accept the miracles of Jesus as the works of God, that sin of unbelief precludes receiving forgiveness. We must believe in Yahweh, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and not leave any part out. In order to believe Jesus is the Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah, one must believe in the One who anointed Jesus. And in the same way, in order to believe Jesus is the Son of God, one must believe in God the Father. Thus both the anointing Holy Spirit, and the Father must be included if we are to believe in Him. The apostles chosen by Jesus believed in Yahweh and in His promises and therefore were looking for the Messiah. And according to John 1:12-13, if we believe in His name, we will be given the right to become sons of God. After God accepts our faith, credits it as righteousness, then Yahweh places us spiritually in Christ and seals us in Him with the Holy Spirit, Ephesians 1:13. And in Christ we have an intimate relationship with Yahweh, a born again child of God.

    What is in a Name

    The Bible several times refers to believing “in the name” of Jesus or the LORD, Yahweh. The idea here is to believe in what Jesus and Yahweh are known for. Jesus said He was the Christ, and therefore to believe in His name, is to believe Jesus is the Christ. To believe in His name, even though He died and ascended into heaven before we were born, is just as acceptable to God as the belief of those who personally lived with Jesus and observed Him first hand. Thus to believe in the Biblical account of Jesus is to believe in His name.

    Unable to Believe

    The Bible speaks of men so blinded by the world, they are unable to understand the gospel, and therefore unable to believe. And some scholars believe this spiritual inability affects all men from conception for their whole life (unless altered by regeneration) a consequence of the fall of Adam. But an alternate view seems to conform to the Biblical account with far more fidelity. Jesus taught of four soils or conditions of men who responded to the gospel in varying ways. Sure enough, the first soil was so blinded it did not understand the gospel, unable to believe. But the other three soils, did receive the gospel, and therefore it seems the fall resulted in limited spiritual ability, with all men prior to being born again, being unable to apprehend the spiritual things revealed by the indwelt Spirit. Other spiritual things, the milk of the gospel, can be understood prior to being indwelt, by three of the four soils, but even the milk of the gospel is hidden from the first soil.

    Unwilling to Believe

    The Bible also speaks of men unwilling to believe or more accurately unwilling to believe fully in the gospel of Christ. All men who apprehend Christ high and lifted up, those that make up the three soils are drawn to the gospel. Some trust fully to Christ, others are almost persuaded, and others reject Christ, unwilling to trust Him rather than themselves. These are the ones that need cultivation, and watering, and persistent prayer for more laborers.

    The Gospel of Christ

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