How does the Bible describe God?
Right from the start the Bible describes God as the Creator (Gen. 1:1). As Creator, he also has the right to be the Sovereign who may do whatever he desires with his creation (Ps. 100:3; Rom. 9:21). He also has a special relationship with his creation. Through the voluntary sacrifice of his perfect Son Jesus Christ, God has made reconciliation possible between holy God and sinful man. Those who receive Jesus as Lord and Savior (Rom. 10:9-10) become children of God (John 1:12). To every born again believer, then, God is their Father. But for those who reject this relationship, God will eventually be known to them as the Judge (Rev. 20:11-15).
The Bible also describes God by his attributes. God is holy (1 Pet. 1:15-16). He is love (1 John 4:8). The Bible also describes God as merciful (Luke 6:36), longsuffering (2 Pet. 3:9), vengeful (Heb. 10:30-31), unchanging (Mal. 3:6), and beyond our complete comprehension. Although we may not completely understand every aspect of our God, he has revealed everything we need to know about him in the Bible (Deut. 29:29).
How has God been misrepresented?
Most people are ignorant of the true character of our God. Belief about “God” varies from culture to culture (see Wikipedia’s article about “God“). False religions mislead its followers from the only way (John 14:6) to know the one, true God. They normally speak about a god who universally accepts all people regardless of belief. Or they propose a god who can only be appeased by great works of penance. Neither description gets it right. But these misconceptions of God are not limited to the false religions of the world. There are also several misconceptions that have been propagated by evangelical Christians.
God accepts you as you are.
Is that statement true? In one sense it is. Man can do nothing to please God (Prov. 15:8). His only hope is to recognize his sin and call out to God for mercy through the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. God does not expect a sinner to become righteous by his own actions. Instead, he must come to God as he is—a rebellious sinner who hates his sin and is turning to the only One who can save him.
Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
This is the idea that all actions are permissable for believers because of God’s grace. If I am clothed in the righteousness of Christ, it really doesn’t matter how I live, right? I am free from having to obey the law because he fulfilled it perfectly. That mentality throws out any standards as legalism. Suddenly, it doesn’t matter what you watch on television, what type of music you listen to, or what kind of activities you take part in. “Don’t judge me! God accepts me as I am. Why can’t you?”
It is difficult to reason with such a person, but the Scripture is very clear about how a Christian should live. We are commanded to be holy (1 Pet. 1:15-16; ) and are given lists of sins to avoid (Gal.5:19-21). Furthermore, grace should not produce in us a desire for more sin (Rom. 6:1). What some people fail to realize is that grace is not permission to live my life as I desire, but the enablement to live as God desires (Rom. 12:1-2). While God has given us freedom in some areas, we must never allow our freedom to cause another believer to stumble into sin (1 Cor. 8:9; Rom. 14:12-14).
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The phrase comes from a fictional book, In His Steps, written by a man named Charles M. Sheldon. The book tells the story of a pastor who changes the way he lives after feeling guilty for not helping an unemployed man. His idea was that asking that question before making a decision would change the way every Christian lives his life. While this could be helpful, the idea usually fails because most people pick and choose which part of his life they wish to emulate. They formulate a God based on the principles they appreciate (Rom. 1:22-23). The following acronyms indicate what directions others have taken this idea.
Who Would Jesus Bomb? (anti-war protesters)
What Would Jesus Drive? (Evangelical Environmental Network)
What Would Jesus Blog? (GodBlogCon)
What Would Jesus Eat? (medical concerns)
What Would Jesus Cut? (budget cuts)
I think you get the idea. These organizations are willing to use the name of Jesus to defend their personal goals. Some of their concerns may be valid, but for the most part, they are misrepresenting what the Bible says about our God.
Perhaps a better question would be “What does the Bible say about Jesus?” The acronym WDTBSAJ? would never make it onto a bracelet, but it might force people to find the truth before making such bold statements. If we want to know how the Lord Jesus would respond in any situation, we have the Bible to tell us. And after studying for a while, most people would be surprised at what they found.
It is apparent from these and many other examples, that many people have a wrong view of God. This is usually a result of their neglect of the Bible or even worse a conscious rejection of its teaching. Many ideas have been presented over the years, but without a good understanding of the Bible, no person can give an accurate representation of who God is. How about you? Is your view of God faulty? There is only one way to find out. Why not begin a study of God in the Bible today. Then you can discover the real God of the Bible. It will be well worth it.