Series: The Attributes of God
Series: The Attributes of God
The Gravity of Knowing God
I am starting a new series on one of the most important topics we could address as Christians: God Himself. Each week, God willing, we will look at a different attribute of God. It is very easy for us to get lost in the day-to-day living of Christianity and forget the cause, nature, and relationship of God and His persons. I firmly believe that many, if not all, of the problems we face seeing, interpreting, and living out God’s design for our lives result directly from our misunderstanding His character. A correct theology of God, then, is not a lofty, abstract pursuit left for Bible students, pastors, and theologians. Rather to the contrary, it is extremely practical. Without an accurate view of God, our entire way of reading, interpreting, and applying the truths of scripture will be orphaned.
I will give you a recent example of how incorrect theology, especially a misunderstanding of God’s character, affected someone’s Christian living in a very practical way. A friend of mine recently asked whether a particular circumstance in their life was put there by God, whether He wanted them to find something in it and respond accordingly. Now, what this circumstance is or who this person was are entirely beside the point, because don’t we all find ourselves in many different circumstances asking the very same question? What we all need to answer, however — and every single time, without hesitation — is simply and emphatically: “Yes.” Now, this is where a proper understanding of God — theology — will directly influence whether we make that statement in every case and the extent to which we attribute a circumstance to the will of God.
Most Christians, when asked if God is in control of all things, will answer “Yes.” We take comfort so often, don’t we, in God’s being in control of not just all our circumstances but every circumstance, everywhere? But how many of those Christians who would attribute all circumstances to the control of God (that is, His “policing”) would likewise attribute them to the ordination of God (that is, His will)? Far fewer, I imagine. The truth is: God put that circumstance there. God does not just police that circumstance, he willed it — whatever it is. Every circumstance, every time. This is where you and I may start to part ways. But before I lose you, let me draw your attention to the practicality of this understanding. Theologically, there are two choices with regard to God’s sovereign will:
- He ordains all
- He does not ordain all
What I want you to notice is the two pragmatic realities that results from owning either one of those two theological distinctions. If the former case is true, and God ordains all, then my friend can rest assured that whatever place they find themselves in, whatever the people involved, whatever the circumstances, and whatever the joy or the pain, God has specifically put them in those circumstances and has an expectation for them to respond according to His will. If, however, my friend holds to the latter belief that God does not ordain all things, then they are left to wonder, and to search out which specific circumstances that God has ordained or called them to, in order that they may respond appropriately. Moreover, their response must justifiably change depending on circumstances, based on the assumption that it either came from God, who is good, or somethings else (namely sinful man or Satan), which are inevitably evil. And so, we see immediately here how theology is immensely, indispensably practical.
I think any hesitation we have to attribute all things to the (absolute) sovereignty of God stems first from our own ignorance or misunderstanding of God’s nature — his sovereignty — and from our own pride as human beings. The former we will attempt to address over the course of this series, the latter is a matter for the individual’s contention with God about their own heart. If you disagree with my assessment of the sovereignty of God, do not let that deter you from sticking with me or with this series. My arrival at that particular theology was a long journey — years of God’s grace — and it is, safe to say, not simply my understanding, but that of many others, far more gifted and blessed of God in biblical understanding. What I do want you to take away, though, for now, is this truth: There is immeasurable practicality in studying God’s nature. The study of God is the root of all things practical for the Christian.
We Are All Theologians
Christians are all children of God. We all, therefore, must be theologians — indeed we all are, whether we want to be or not — and we must endeavor to scrape away the muck and mire of a fallen world from the lenses through which we view God. I could not perhaps say this any better than my brother-in-Christ, Shai Linne, has in his song “Biblical Theology”:
So please watch as we proceed with the topic
And that’s Biblical Theology
That phrase alone, it gives some people allergies
They say it’s not practical enough
“Just give me Jesus, that will be enough”
That seems plausible and logical
Nobody wants to be all cold and theological
But being a theologian is not optional
Because when you talk about Christ, you’re saying something doctrinal
Either it actually portrays His majesty
Or it’s a travesty- or else blasphemy
The Christian life is a difficult odyssey
The faithful are a statistical anomaly
The enemy wants to trick us hypnotically
That’s why we need that Biblical Theology
Shai Linne, Biblical Theology