Despite our propensity to sin God says, “I know the plans I have for you…plans for wholeness and not for evil” (Jeremiah 29:11).
- Dr. Ray Rooney, Jr.
Even before you open a Bible the very word “God” implies something. Prior to reading the accounts of Creation, the Exodus, the exile, or even the life and times of Jesus and His Apostles, the word “God” points in a very specific direction. Anselm put it this way: “God is that, than which nothing greater can be conceived.” Of course, that is his premise for the famous ontological argument for the existence of God and nothing more true about God could ever be said (and that didn’t even come out of the Bible which proves Paul’s assertion in Rom. 1:20).
The Bible certainly affirms that premise. Psalm 115:3 says, “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” Paul wrote to Timothy of “he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see” (1 Tim. 6:15-16). The scope of God’s glory and majesty are beyond human comprehension. Not only did God create everything that mankind is capable of knowing but He also holds it all together (Col. 1:16-17). Scripture is literally full of statements, assertions, and proclamations that affirm St. Anselm’s declaration that God is a being who cannot be surpassed by any fragment of human conception or imagination.
While His love far exceeds our own grasp of understanding (Romans 5:8) it is complimented by His righteousness (Psalm 97:2). It is never contradicted by it. Even though His knowledge is incomprehensible, His interest and awareness of every single human being is revealed in Scripture. Jeremiah 1:5 says that before we are even conceived we are known by God. Jesus said we are known so intimately by God that “the very hairs of your head all are numbered” (Luke 12:7). Ephesians 1:4 reveals that we were chosen before creation and predestined for adoption.
When it comes to benevolence, God has no equal. Despite our propensity to sin God says, “I know the plans I have for you…plans for wholeness and not for evil” (Jeremiah 29:11). He sent His Son to have our sins heaped upon Him so that anyone who wanted to be cleansed could be made new and whole (John 3:16, 2 Cor. 5:21, and 1 John 1:9). And what could possibly top the promises in the latter verses of Romans 8? God has the ability and the will to take everything (even the most painful and tragic circumstances) in a person’s life and fashion it all into something good (28). He promises to give us all things (32). He justifies (33). He imparts victory to believers (37) and allows nothing to come between Him and those who love Him (38-39).
And lest we forget, His holiness and righteousness produce perfect justice. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). In the book of Revelation John says that he “saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (Rev. 20:12). Perfect justice.
Universal majesty. That’s what David wrote of in the eighth psalm when he bookended it with “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” None of this “God is only for me and those like me” kind of mentality that weighs down the hearts of so many Christians today. God is not just “my” God but “our Lord.” And He is not just the Lord of my family or community or nation. Rather, His majestic name fills the entire world.
But we are still thinking too small. When John was granted a vision of God’s throne in Heaven while incarcerated on the prison island of Patmos he wrote of beings surrounding the throne whose seeming sole purpose for existence is to sing the words of one and only one song: “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” (Rev. 4:8). They sing that song eternally. Sadly, most of the Church is apparently only interested in the antichrist, false prophet, demonic hordes, and bloody battles in the book of Revelation. However, of far more significance are the glimpses of worship in Heaven than the troubles on Earth. Chapters 5, 7, 11, 15, and 19 lift the veil briefly on what authentic, powerful, and meaningful worship looks and sounds like before Him than which none greater can be conceived.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Eph. 3:20-21)
Who is your God?