Posted by: splat | November 15, 2010

Our concept of God

Our Concept of God

Here are the notes from based on the bible study done on http://www.christian-chat.net  in room “splaticus” on the 7th November, 2010 at 2pm NZDT.

Our concept of God


How do we see God?  Is He the loving Father?  Or is he the judge that stands there to keep score of all our wrongdoings?  I started thinking about this earlier because I did a short message in front of my church from 1 John 1:5.  From my translation it reads:

1 John 1:5  This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 

The thing is that we often see darkness in God but that darkness is not in God.  Why do we see darkness in Him?  Well, often it is upbringing.  In an extreme case, if we were brought up in an abusive family, that colours our thinking about God even as we grow into adulthood.

Here is an interesting picture I found:

The picture shows a couple of researchers examining the locomotive abilities of a dolphin on land !!  They are there with their clipboards and their check sheets to put a tick or a cross in the relevant columns.  How well is the dolphin doing in the test?  Not well from the picture we observe.  It has hardly managed to move at all.  For the complete report you can read it here.

How often do we see God putting us through such a test and then we say if we fail the test that God will have to put us through that test again.  Yet if we look at the dolphin example we see how preposterous that really is.  Does God really give us impossible tasks to perform so that he can delight to tell us that we have failed the test?  Yet this is what contemporary religious tradition teaches us that God is like an unjust score keeper or to put it in biblical terminology like an unjust judge.  (cf Luke 18:2-7).  However we read in verse 7 that God is not like this unjust judge.  

The problem is our realization of God is a product of what is in our heart.  Many times Jesus ministered to received according to their faith.   Jesus showed the people what the Father was really like.  The religious people didn’t like it.  They got mad because their concept of God was a different one.  Their concept of God was that of an unjust judge.  Does our concept of God allow us to come boldly before the throne of grace to receive help in times of trouble or are we still seeing an old covenant judge?

The pharisees thought that God was just like themselves.  (cf Psalm 50:21)  Unwilling to let go of the darkness inside their own souls, their own false teachings about God, they would not repent and come into the light.  So often we confuse religious teachings with light.  So often they are not.  We have to ask does it paint a good picture of God, or a harsh overbearing one?!  The other problem is that many Christians get the concept of God from the old testament where we do have a lot harsher picture of God.   Of course, under the old covenant, the people of God were not washed by the blood of Jesus, so justice was more exacting and there was less mercy for those that failed.  However under the new covenant it is completely different.  We are no longer facing an angry God because his anger has been appeased by the blood of Jesus.

It was the pharisees (or religious leaders of the day) that loaded the people down with rules and regulations and would not lay a finger to help them.  (cf Matt 23:4).  Instead Jesus was never like that but said whoever was heavy laden to come to Him and He would give them rest.  (cf Matt 11:28-30).  The problem is we often get what the religious leaders say mixed up with our concept of God.  Another example is Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42.  It was Mary who sat at the feet of Jesus and learning from Him who was doing the one thing that is needful.  Always to come to Him and learn who God really is is the better way.

The dolphin trying to swim on land is a good example of trying to achieve things in our own strength.  It is hard work and doesn’t really get us anywhere.  To do things God’s way is akin to putting the dolphin back in the water where it can swim naturally and almost effortlessly.  That is what learning from God and leaning on Him is all about.

 So often our concept of God stops us from receiving God’s grace and moving on to greater blessings.  If we see God as our judge and as the one condemning us then we will not come to Him.  Yet there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.  (cf Romans 8:1)  Often the cause of this is wrong teachings and/or religious spirits whose aim is to confuse our minds lest we come to God in faith and receive.
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Responses

  1. Wonderful insights brother…thank you for sharing your heart and the wisdom that Papa has entrusted you with!!!

  2. Yeah, He gave me that study while I was preparing to do lead a study on CC.net on a completely different topic. He kind of switched topics on me. This post is the result of that. 🙂


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