Introduction to Christianity 1
1. WHAT IS GOD LIKE?
Christians believe God exists. We know that he made everything. We don't know how, but we do know that "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1, NIV.
We know too, that he keeps caring for what he has made. He has never lost interest in any part of it (Matthew 6.25-33).
But what is God like?
People have different images of God. It is not hard to think of a variety of different opinions people have of what God is like.
Can you list some?
It is hard to know which, if any, of these gives a fair picture of what God is like? May be it is not possible to know. Or maybe it doesn't matter.
Christians say we can know God, and we can know what he is like.
1. How Can We Know The True God Who Is Really There?
There are at least three things that lead us to know the true God. Can you identify them from these passages?
1.1 Romans 1.20
"Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. .." Romans 1:20, NRSV.
1.2 Hebrews 1.1
"Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets," Hebrews 1:1, NRSV.
1.3 Hebrews 1.2,3; John 1.18.
"... but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God's glory and the exact imprint of God's very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high," Hebrews 1:2,3, NRSV.
"No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known." John 1:18, NRSV.
2. God Is Like Jesus Because Jesus Is God
"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers--all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell," Colossians 1:15-19, NRSV.
We can know what God is like by knowing what Jesus is like. We can know God by knowing Jesus.
Can you list some ideas of what God is like from these passages?
2.1 Matthew 7.21-23
""Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?' Then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.'" Matthew 7:21-23, NRSV.
2.2 Matthew 9.36
"When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matthew 9:36, NRSV.
2.3 Matthew 25.31-34, 41-46
""When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;" Matthew 25:31-34, NRSV.
"Then he will say to those at his left hand, 'You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?' Then he will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."" Matthew 25:41-46, NRSV.
2.4 John 1.10-12
"He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God," John 1:10-12, NRSV.
2.5 John 3.16
""For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life." John 3:16, NRSV.
2.6 John 11.25-26
"Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"" John 11:25,26, NRSV.
3. BUT ..........
Do people want God to be like Jesus?
Why do you think people shy away from having Jesus as their God?
If you would like to follow up anything in this unit, please contact us and we will try to help you.
The next Unit in this Course is 2. What A Mess We are In.