Back in the day shortly after Christ, there were disputes regarding the identity and character of the Almighty God. Some of the Gentiles had many ideas regarding who God was. Paul, who wrote most of the books in the New Testament came to the Gentiles in Athens and noticed that they did not know what they were worshipping. The God they worshipped was a MYSTERY to them.
Acts 17:23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
The Heathen had many misconceptions that had arisen over the ages. These misconceptions of God have crept into Christianity today. Many views have been brought forth into the Christian religion which truly destroy who the God of the Bible is.
Why is it Important to KNOW who God is?
The Bible tells us that it is what we behold that affects our character. David said once "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes"(Psalms 101:3). And Paul said regarding things which were true, honest Holy, lovely, just, pure and of good report, that we were to "think on these things"(Phillipians 4:8). What happens when we behold false views, or unholy views, or untruth? We become changed into what we behold.
2Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
If we behold false views of our God, our character will be affected by it. Many Christians today struggle with sin and they wonder "Why is it that I am always overcome?" They put an effort forth, but when temptation comes, they end up giving in to sin. The reason for this is because they don't know who they are worshipping. They don't see God as faithful to keep His promises.
The next generation receives many of the character traits past down from the mother or father. Ever heard the saying "Like Father, Like Son"?
Through Knowledge of God we retain his character
Peter speaking by the Holy Spirit said that through knowledge of God he was given all things that pertain to godliness.
2Peter 1:3-4 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue. Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
If our God is a liar or didn't keep his promises we could not trust Him. If he only told us partial truth or if he were only pretending to be someone that he really was not, we could not really trust him, could we?
But the Bible says God is "true", that "God is faithful"(1 Corinthians 1:9, 10:13) and that we have knowledge of Him through His Son Jesus Christ.
1John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
God the Father is revealed through his Son Jesus Christ. Jesus told us his Father was "The only true God." Jesus when praying said that knowing "the only true God" was the difference between life and death.
John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
God the Father sent his Son Jesus Christ into the world. Paul when speaking to the Corinthians was there to reveal to them something that Moses knew was the truth. Moses said that "The LORD our God is one Lord"(Deuteronomy 6:9) and Paul knew Him well.
1Corinthians 8:4-7 "...we know that an idol [is] nothing in the world, and that [there is] none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us [there is but] one God, the Father, of whom [are] all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom [are] all things, and we by him. Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge."
Many have come to believe in different gods, many gods, some have an office or group of persons that they declare to be their God. An UNKNOWN God is the central doctrine and god of most Christian churches. The Catholic Church has a god that they claim they came to understand four centuries after Jesus Christ died.
"The mystery of the Trinity is the central doctrine of the Catholic Faith. Upon it are based all the other teachings of the Church… The Church studied this mystery with great care and, after four centuries of clarification, decided to state the doctrine in this way: in the unity of the Godhead there are three Persons,—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit…"[Handbook for todays Catholic Page 11]
Paul never knew this god. According to the Catholic Church, this God was UNKNOWN to Christianity until four centuries of clarification after Jesus died. And even after four centuries, it is still declared to be a MYSTERY. Is our God a MYSTERY?
Ephesians 1:17-18 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.
A revelation is the opposite of a mystery. God the Father, the God of Jesus Christ has given us knowledge of Himself, and as John said "we know him who is true, even his Son Jesus Christ"(1 John 5:20). Our God is not a mystery.
God is revealed through his Son Jesus Christ. So who was Jesus Christ?
Philippians 2:5-11 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth; And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Christ is Lord, the Son of God the Father, the one by whom God the Father created all things. Christ is Creator by the power and exaltation of his Father who has "given all power in heaven and earth"(Matthew 28:18).
Jesus Christ was in the form of God, he was by nature God, but not by identity. He had the form of his Father, the nature of his Father, and the substance of his Father. The Bible teaches us that he was "the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature."(Colossians 1:15).
An image is a copy of the original. God the Father is the only true God as we have learned. Jesus Christ is the copy of God. He was God in form, substance and nature by inheritance just as a Son is human when he by inheritance inherits by birth human nature from his father. But he was not God in respect to personality. "To us there is but one God the Father"(1 Corinthians 8:6).
Some who come to understand Jesus is God, have fallen into a trap. They see God revealed in His Son Jesus Christ, they see that Jesus Christ spoke to many of the prophets in the Old Testament. But they do not recognize that Jesus when speaking on behalf of God is mediating on behalf of the Father.
1Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
Jesus spoke to the prophets on behalf of God. God could not speak directly to them because of sin. The Bible tells us that "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. "(John 1:18).
God has come to us through his Son, God has spoken to us through his Son. God is the Father of his Son. God is not His Son. The personality of God and Jesus are plainly and distinctly revealed over and over again throughout scripture and as Jesus said: "This is life eternal that they might know thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent."(John 17:3).
God is not 3 persons. He is a singular individual. Jesus told us that we are His brothers and sisters, and that our God is His Father.
John 20:17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
There is a beautiful relationship that is observed here. One which we have with our Father and with Jesus and one which Christ has and had with his Father. Regarding Father, we read that the relationship we have with him declares His love to us.
1John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
We are the Sons of a Father. He is the only true God, he is not an UNKNOWN mystery. Jesus spoke to a Samaritan woman once talking about who we worship as God. He told her God was His Father. She was worshipping a god she didn't know, a MYSTERY.
John 4:22-24 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.
Regarding our God, there are many things that are revealed about Him. But if we don't know who we worship, then how can we receive "all things that pertain unto life and godliness"? How might we have "eternal life"? How would we "become changed"?
Therefore if you worship you know not what, if your God is a mystery, let me declare Him unto you. He loves you so much that "he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."(John 3:16). We know Him who is true and His Son Jesus Christ.
The Character of Father
He does not want you to perish. Perish does not mean eternal life in torments. Perish means to not exist. Our Father is a loving Father who has been misrepresented. He does not use force to compel you to love Him. He offers each and every one of us the precious gift of His only begotten Son, the one in which His own life and Spirit dwelt. And he offers the life of His Son that by the means of His Son he might dwell in you.
That Spirit is longsuffering, patient, gentle. It is pitiful, merciful, and not willing that any should perish. He would rather have taken the pain himself than inflict any with pain. He would have taken your death if it were possible so that you might have eternal life.
Because of his goodness he must also put an end to evil at some point soon.
He did everything in order to give you the power to overcome. He gave the express image of Himself who came in your form, and overcame in the same body which you have being tempted in all points like you, he gave his firstborn, the firstborn of every creature, His only begotten Son. The Father is "the only immortal" and he gave that life to His Son Jesus Christ. By beholding this love in extreme generosity, we can become changed into his image.
1John 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
Have you ever thought about how hard it is to give your child? This is far greater an offering than just giving His child. This is a Son who did always the will of the Father. A Son who came here to exalt the character of God and to give us a revelation of the Father.
John 17:4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
If our Father could die, would He not have gave His life for us first before his Son? Yes, for sure the Father would have came before His Son. The Son was the only one in the universe who could suffice for the penalty of sin. The reason is because His Father is the only "immortal, invisible, the only wise God,"(1 Timothy 1:17) in the absolute sense.
Jesus Christ was the only being in the universe who could take the penalty of the law. This was because the broken law required the life of God, Jesus Christ, a divine being in the form of God and equal with God, could give His life back to Father and he could take on himself the form of mortal man, and if men chose to repent he could take the penalty of death upon himself to save men from the demand of the law.
We behold that "unto us was a Son given"(Isaiah 9:6) and by beholding this amazing offering we may well declare "this is our God." He is so revealed by His Son that when beholding what Christ did, we are beholding that which God would do. God would take on himself the form of a man that he might save his creation. He would rather take destruction himself than destroy one of his creatures.
He is not waiting over us and picking at us every time we make a mistake, but he is pitiful towards us and declares, "I will keep you from falling"(Jude 24) and asks us to hold his hand and walk with Him.
2Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.