Pastor Dr. T. Valson Abraham Founder/President India Gospel Outreach President India Bible College & Seminary
God introduces Himself… This fact makes the Bible and the gospel of Jesus Christ different from any other religion.
Everywhere else, a celebrated philosopher, teacher or prophet tries to introduce us to God. But humanity’s ideas about God, no matter how seemingly noble and high-minded, always fall short. We always reduce God to something less than Who He is because that is what sinners always do—they fall short. We are all incurable idolaters.
The problem is, the philosophers, teachers and prophets can’t agree on the nature of God’s character. Many of their ideas contradict one another. They can’t all be right.
Hinduism is not just one religion but is made up of many schools of thought and more than 330 million deities. Even with all these multiple deities–each of which is supposed to claim some divine attribute–many people still feel something vital is missing, though they can’t say what it is. In this confusion lies an irresistible temptation to solve the problem by simplifying Him, but this only seems to make Him smaller rather than greater.
Such philosophical speculation is a constant danger for all of us, even if we call ourselves Christians. We all have this tendency to simplify God, to make Him less offensive, to reduce Him to the most common denominator so as to include as many people as possible within the fold. We constantly must watch this tendency in ourselves because it is so insidious. The result is too often to conceive God as someone smaller than who He is.
As sinners, we also have a tendency to become attracted to the spectacular, to the “big show.” The people who witnessed Jesus’ earthly ministry exclaimed at his miracles and followed after Him to see what He would do next. They reduced Jesus to a “miracle worker” and “political leader.” They did not understand His role as God’s sacrifice for our sin.
Later, they shouted out, “Crucify Him!” Amazement at Jesus’ miracles does not translate into worshiping at His feet and crying out, “Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner!”
As sinners, we naturally like an easy-going God of love who forgives us (i.e., winks an eye at sin) and fulfills our every wish and dream. Many false prophets today, including those who call themselves “Christians,” promise this false god and attract multitudes. This god is tame and controllable, like a domesticated cat. He is also powerless to save anybody.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones has said, “Our supreme need is a knowledge of the character of God. Our basic problem is an ignorance of the character of God.”
All these deceptive and deadly tendencies are why we desperately need God to tell us who He really is. We find that is exactly what God does in the Bible, not just to philosophers, monks and teachers who withdraw from the world to ponder these questions, but to people engaged in everyday life who were surprised that He introduced Himself at all—nomadic shepherds, kings, a fig farmer, business people, exiles and slaves.
We know God best by how God introduces Himself to us through such names as I AM WHO I AM and ELOHIM. God reveals Himself in many such names throughout the Bible.
In his book, “Experiencing God,” Henry Blackaby lists more than 350 ways God introduces Himself to us through the names He gives to Himself. These names God gives to Himself reveal His character, not only as a God of love, but as pure and righteous, a hater of sin, with no beginning and end, three-in-one and one-in-three, unchangeable, everlasting, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, King of kings–and utterly holy.
All these complex things, and more, make up the character of God.
I AM WHO I AM dies a humiliating and unspeakable death to redeem fallen sinners, and He promises to come back as judge to separate the sheep from the goats.
No simple God here, and multitudes reject Him because He doesn’t fit the simple god they expect or want. They dread this holy God over whom they lose all control because He is the One who controls them. Little do they know, He is the only God who can truly help them.
This is the God whom God has called us to proclaim to the world around us. Through Jesus Christ, I AM WHO I AM is the only God who can save us from our puny ideas and even punier power. He is the only God who can redeem and transform our lives and destinies, give us a glimpse into the future, and create a New Heaven and a New Earth.
When God introduces Himself to us, we had better accept Him for Who He really is, not the domesticated fantasy He is not. Our eternal destinies (and the world’s) depend upon it.
Father God, thank you for introducing yourself to us and telling us who you really are through your Son and your names you have provided to us. Thank you for delivering us from our fantasies and self-deception. Help us to know you as you really are, and help us to make you and your salvation known to those who have not known you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen