A search for identity begins by asking “Who am I?” but quickly changes to “Who is God?” Before we can truly know who we are, we must begin by seeking answers to the question of who is God.
Because we were created by Him, we have to look to God if we are to truly decipher the meaning and purpose of our lives.
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Let's start at the beginning. We can learn a lot about God at just reading Genesis. A cursory reading of Genesis reveals these things about God:
He is the Creator. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1: 1 NKJV). When we read this first chapter, we learn that everything was created by God - our planet, solar system, environment, marine life, as well as birds and land animals were all created by God. But He didn't stop there. He went on to create mankind - male and female versions.
What this teaches us about God: He is creative and has a great imagination. He has a scientific and a logical mind. It takes logic to work out the progression of things and determine the order in which things need to be made. God didn't create life until He had done everything necessary to sustain life - water, air, light, food. The level of detail involved in the simplest lifeform shows imagination and scientific genius.
He speaks with power . We're talking about power in our words, but here we see God speaking things into being. As the writer of Hebrews puts it, He spoke and the things were made visible (Hebrews 11:3). I like to think God had imagined everything He was going to make before He did it. He was imagined to come into existence.
What this teaches us about God: He has ultimate power and is in complete control. Only with ultimate power could have been able to create a whole universe with just words. That He did it and the result was perfect proves that God has complete control.
My son and I recently listened to The Phantom Tollbooth. There's a scene where Milo meets the Conductor who made all the colors in the country. When the conductor was in charge, conducting the orchestra appeared simple. So simple Milo thought he could conduct the sunrise. He quickly learned that the slightest crook of his fingers could have a disastrous result (like turning a blackbird blue.) I use this as an illustration to show that God is in control. When He spoke the world into being, everything came out just as it was supposed to There were no mistakes or do-overs.
Related: The Redeemer Lives!
And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your seed and her seed;
He Shall Bring
His Head And You Shall Breeze His Whole (Genesis 3:15 NKJV).
This is the first time in Scripture that God made the promise to humanity.
God is the Redeemer. When God puts mankind into the garden, He married them one rule: do not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil or you will surely (Genesis 2: 16-17). Unfortunately, disobeyed and faced extinction. That is, until God made a promise of redemption.
Related: Genesis 3:15
What this teaches us about God: He always has a plan. If you think about it, there was no time between Adam and Eve's admission that they were minded and the plan of salvation. We learned from other scriptures that God made this plan before the earth was created.
Knowing that you were not prepared with [corruptible] things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He was indeed foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you (1 Peter 1: 18-20 ESV).
Just as He chose us before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love (Ephesians 1:4 ESV).
Then the King will say to those on his right, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matthew 25:34 ESV).
God is a promise keeper . The very first promise God made was that Adam or Eve ate from the knowledge of good and evil they would "surely die". While they didn't, that's exactly what happened. Throughout the book of Genesis and the rest of the Scriptures, God makes a number of promises all of which He has kept.
What this teaches us about God: He is faithful. God keeps His promises even when the person makes the promise with it does not keep their part of the agreement. Joshua was able to tell the Israelites before he died that all of God's promises came true (Joshua 21:45).
Related: His Promises Are True
When we get to know someone, we spend time with them trying to figure out their character traits. How would this person act in certain situations? The same is true about God. If we know him, we have to spend some time learning about his attributes.
Eternal - In John 8:56, Jesus told the Pharisees “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” Coming from a 30 year old man, these must have been strange words indeed. But Jesus was trying to show them that He had existed long before. In Revelation 22:13, He tells John "The Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end." God always was and always will be.
Immutable - God cannot change. 1 Samuel 15:29 tells us: "The Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind." We like to think the Old Testament God was cruel and have a careful, systematic reading of the Bible reveals that God's character did not change. He has always pursued humanity and treated us more than we deserve (Malachi 3: 6, John 3:16).
Faithful - When God makes a promise, He keeps it even if the conditions are not met. He is faithful, for He cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13).
Omnipotent - God is all-powerful (Revelation 19: 6, Jeremiah 42:11)
Omnipresent - God is capable of being everywhere at the same time. Proverbs 15: 3 tells us: "The eyes of the LORD are in every place, watching the evil and the good." ).
Omniscient - God knows everything. I am constantly fascinated when I read the prophecies which God gave to His people in the Old Testament only to read them years later. Jesus did something similar right before His crucifixion. If He Told His Disciples "I believe these things before they happen so that when they do you will believe (John 14:29)." Nothing surprises God; He knew it was going to happen before it did.
Holy - "Be holy because I am holy" (Leviticus 19:19). God calls His people to be holy because of holiness is built into His character.
Loving - We like to believe that God is love. It's just who He is (1 John 4: 7-21, 1 John 4: 8).
Merciful - The greatest demonstration of God's mercy is the plan of salvation. Even before humanity acknowledged that they had sinned, God had a plan of redemption for them.
Related: God's Grace When We Fail
Gracious - God does not treat us as our sin deserves. The penalty for his is death, but God offers us the opportunity to have eternal life. For all have mind and fall of the glory of God, and all are justified by his grace through the redemption that came with Christ Jesus (Romans 3: 23-24 NIV).
Jealous - One of the commandments that is good to humanity is to worship Him and no other because He is a jealous God. Exodus 34:14 “Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Not only is He a jealous God, His name is Jealous. God is not idle in the sense that He covets what we have (that would be sin and God cannot be), but He desires all that belongs to Him.
Righteous - God is just. He's incapable of sinning. His justness, righteousness and morality are innate and incorruptible. Throughout the Bible God proves Himself to be just (Genesis 3: 12-19, Psalm 119: 137, Psalm 145: 17)
Related: 5 Ways God Shows Himself to Be Just
Good - We easily assign the label "good" to people. If a person is helpful or does not require a certain amount, we consider them to be good people. Yet Jesus denied the label in His human form. “Why do you call me good? There is only one good and that is God ”(Mark 10:18).
Truth - Good truth. This goes beyond truthful. Every thing that is real comes from God and exists because He does.
Another good way to learn more about who God is is to examine what the Scriptures say about Him. One of the color codes that I use in my Bible is devoted to the character of God. I love flipping through and reading what the Bible has to say about God. Here are some of my favorite verses:
“Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?
Who is like you, glorious in holiness, fearful
in praises, doing wonders? (Exodus 15:11 NKJV)
"No one is like the Lord,
for there are none besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God." (1 Samuel 2: 2 NKJV)
'Now see that I, even I, am,
and there is no God besides Me;
I kill and make alive;
I wound and I heal;
Nor is there any who can deliver from my hand. "(Deuteronomy 32:39 NKJV)
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love. Psalm 103: 8 NIV
Who is a God like you,
who pardons and forgives the transgression
of the inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy. Micah 7:18 NIV
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
It will rise to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him! Isaiah 30:18 NIV
So who is God, really? The best way to answer the question after examining the scriptures is to say who is God to you? Yes, I know it sounds strange but bear with me a few minutes. I can tell you everything I know about God. I can tell you who God is to me. You can listen to sermons about who God is. You can read every book ever written about God and never scratch the surface of who God is.
To answer the "Who is God?" question, you will have to answer a couple of questions for yoursel
As you sort through your experiences, you'll get a clearer picture of what God requires of you. It is the answers to these questions that will then form the core of your identity. Remember, we can't really know who God is.
About the next couple of days I invite you to ponder the answers to the questions above as we continue the quest towards our identity.