“Daddy, Daddy, that’s my Daddy,” was all John could hear as he came through the airport arrivals section. Seconds later his little girl threw herself into his arms and showered him with kisses. That unforgettable moment gave John a new understanding of worship. God the Father is looking for this same kind of response from His children.
The Christian God is not an impersonal force; He is a loving Father, a Person. Today’s message highlights some of God’s ‘Personal’ characteristics:
God is Spirit (John 4.24)
Perhaps you have seen Michelangelo’s painting of creation at the Sistine Chapel with the finger of God about to touch the finger of Adam. I am always disappointed at how Michelangelo depicted God as an old man. How can the infinite God be an old man? Of course He isn’t, and any human attempt to illustrate God will fall far short of who He really is. This is why Israel was not allowed to make an idol (or image) to represent their God. Any representation of God would only diminish who He is.
John 1.18 says “No one has ever seen God.” I Timothy 1.17 says God is “invisible.” John 4.23-24 says “God is spirit.” God is in fact the infinite Spirit. The reason humans have spirits is because God is Spirit and has made humans in His image (or likeness).
God is Love (1 John 4.8)
Where Muslims emphasize “God is Great,” Christians emphasize “God is Love.” Christians have always held love to be the greatest attribute any being can have. Jesus himself said that the two greatest commands were to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” and “Love your neighbour as yourself” (Matthew 22.37-40). It is difficult for Muslims to claim “God is love” because such a statement implies that love is part of God’s essence, but love cannot occur without a relationship and Allah could not have a relationship until he created someone. By contrast Christians can claim “God is love” because Yahweh is triune; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have been in a relationship of love for all eternity. Yahweh has always been love.
God’s love is a self-giving love. This shows in many of God’s deeds but especially in the crucifixion of Christ. There the Father gave His Son, the Son gave Himself, and now the Spirit gives life to all who will receive it. Allah never demonstrates self-sacrificial love. As Christians we are called to take after our heavenly Father by practicing a self-sacrificial love.
God is Light (1 John 1.5)
This can mean God is Pure (Holy); and that God is All-Knowing (Nothing is hidden from Him):
God is Holy (Isaiah 6.3)
To be holy means to be separate from sin. In Old Testament times this separation was shown by the curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple. God hates sin because it opposes all that He is. Christians are called to be a holy nation (1 Peter 2.9) representing a Holy God. We are to hate sin as much as our heavenly Father does.
God is All-Knowing (1 John 3.20, Job 37.16)
God knows all things; He is an infinite Being yet He knows Himself (1 Corinthians 2.10-11), He knows when you sit and when you rise (Psalm 139.2), He knows how many hairs are on your head (Matthew 10.30). He is “the only wise God” (Romans 16.27), He knows the out-come of all possible decisions you could possibly make, and “in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8.28). Since God knows all we should trust Him when we don’t!
God is Spirit, God is Love, God is Light; all these things are intrinsic to His eternal Being. We are spirits because He is the original Spirit, we love because He is original Love, we can have the light of holiness and knowledge because He is the Light of all holiness and knowledge. The sum effect of God’s nature is called God’s Glory. Knowing God causes us to recognize that we are from Him, it makes us want to cry out “That’s my Daddy.” It makes us want to praise Him.