One of the most common questions people have is “What’s God really like?” I personally believe one of the biggest hindrances people have in drawing close to God is when they don’t understand His true nature. In my opinion, God is the most misunderstood being in the universe so I hope I can share some practical things in this article to help reveal His true nature. I believe when we get to know Him, we’ll want to spend time Him and do life like He does.
Ephesians 5 calls Christians the bride of Christ. The scripture teaches that God presents the church to Himself as a spotless bride (Ephesians 5:27). I was always taught growing up that we had to get the spots out of our lives because God wasn’t coming back for a whore. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that many other people also believe this. They put their focus on cleaning up for Jesus instead of trusting what He did for them. It’s sad because we are called to take our focus off of us and our performance and put our total trust in what Jesus did for us at the cross. He’s the one that saved us, sanctified us, and declared us spotless. Notice Ephesians 5:27 says He prepares us for Himself. He does the work and not us.
When we make Jesus our Lord, we become spotless in the spirit. Our personal behavior doesn’t makes us spotless or holy. While I agree we need to live holy, our holiness doesn’t earn us anything with God. The way we start the Christian life is the way we are to live out the Christian life. Check out Colossians 2:6:
6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,
We get saved by putting faith in God’s grace and we should live every second of every day by putting complete trust and dependency in God’s grace not any good works we do. The same way we start our relationship with God is the way we maintain our relationship with God!
Why live holy then? Because we are now His child remade in his image. That’s our true nature now. To live in sin is inconsistent with who we are. But here’s the crazy and radical thing, even if we don’t God isn’t going to punish us. If He did He would break the covenant he made with Jesus. Look at John 19:30:
30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
It is finished meant the end of the Old Covenant! It also meant the beginning of a New Covenant based on better promises. Under the Old Covenant if we did good we were blessed and if were did bad we were cursed. Under the New Covenant, Jesus did good and we trust His work. We live from a position of rest and trust. When Jesus went to the cross He satisfied the wrath of God. This is what “It is finished ” means. Jesus was the lightning rod that drew all judgment to Himself so we won’t be judged and God would be able to deal with people under His true nature, which is one of love and grace. Click here to learn more about the New Covenant.
My favorite picture of how God deals with people under grace is in the story of Hosea and Gomer in Hosea 1-3. I love this story because I believe it illustrates the true nature of God better than any story in the Bible. God told His prophet Hosea (which means savior) to marry a whore, Gomer. Spiritually speaking we were all committing spiritual prostitution when Jesus married us. We were living in sin. We had the nature of sin and nothing good going for us.
The interesting thing is after getting married (saved) Gomer bore fruit. She had a baby called Jezreel. This is similar to a person who gets saved and then begins to bare spiritual fruit (love, joy, peace, etc.) Unfortunately, Gomer then began to commit adultery. She started having babies by other men (Hosea 1:6-9). The names of those babies meant not pitied (Loruhamah), and not my people (Loammi). That’s how it is with a believer who is spiritually married to Jesus but begins to commit spiritual adultery. We bare fruit (pride, lust, hypocrisy) He won’t claim, however, we are still His bride (saved/righteous spiritually).
If you read the story Hosea never divorces Gomer. Why? God hates divorce and He won’t divorce us spiritually. Hosea does begin to try to hedge her in and do things to limit her ability to sin, but He doesn’t bring wrath and judgment on her and continues to pursue (chapter 2). Look at Hosea 2:14:
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Will bring her into the wilderness, And speak comfort to her.
In the worst of our sin Jesus is trying to allure and woo us back into relationship with Him. He’s not doing that to get us saved again, but to get us back into intimacy with Him. He’s like John Cusack in “Say Anything” holding the boombox above his head playing “In Your Eyes.” Here’s a link to the clip.
Jesus wants us and pursues us at our worst. He wants us when we are totally messing up even after we are born again. His grace is more for us after we are saved than before we got saved. Look at Romans 5:9:
9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
When we look back at the story of Hosea and Gomer and read Hosea 2:16:
“And it shall be, in that day,” Says the Lord, “That you will call Me ‘My Husband,’ And no longer call Me ‘My Master,’
This verse reveals that when we truly receive the love of God and fall head over heals in love with Him, He becomes one we are passionate about and get to do life with, not some slave-master we have to serve. When we begin to serve the Lord out of obligation, we need to stop what we are doing and spend time with Him until we fall in love all over again. We need to experience His love so we can love Him back the same way.
In Hosea 3:2, Hosea buys Gomer back for 15 shekels. She’d been used up by the world and he bought her back. The amazing thing is the price of a common slave was 30 shekels and Gomer had been so used up she was worth half of that amount. That’s a picture of what Jesus did for us and no matter how bad we mess up and the world sees us as less than a slave, He’s always wanting us back. He’ll continue to pursue when no one else wants us.
This takes us to Romans 10:4:
Christ is the end of the law to everyone who believes.
Once we are saved there is no more law against us and Jesus paid all the penalty for sins past, present, and future according to Hebrews 10:14. God continually is pursuing us and He’s head over heals in love with us. We need to get over ourselves and get over our sin. Jesus isn’t hung up on it. He hung for it 2,000 years ago. That’s a picture of what God is really like. He lays down His life for us! Let’s enjoy our freedom!