“The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” Exodus 34:6,7
How does God describe Himself to us? How does He wish to be known? Don’t you think that would be pretty important piece of information to know? What if the way God wants to be known is not, in fact, the way most people perceive Him? Shouldn’t that be a concern to those of us who know, love and follow Him?
The above verse out of the book of Exodus is not someone’s description of God, it is God’s own description of Himself. This is how God described Himself to Moses the second time Moses went up Mount Sinai to meet with Him and receive the new stone tablets, after Moses broke the first set in his anger. The scripture says that the Lord passed in front of Moses proclaiming this about Himself. This is the way God wants to be known. He does go on to say, “Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished” (34:7), but that is the afterthought. It’s a qualifier, in case we forget that He is a just God as well and must, by way of His nature as a just God, punish evil. Yet that is not what He leads with. He always leads with His love, compassion and grace. This must be how He wants to be known.
Why do most people have such a skewed idea of God as this mean grandfather in the sky who can’t wait to bring down His wrath on all of us? I think this impression comes largely out of our own real guilt. We are all guilty and we all do deserve the wrath of God, but when we get closer to Him and find out the story of the gospel, we begin to find out about His love and His mercy. If you don’t know the story, you don’t know what we need to know about God. And this is why it’s so important to get the story out. It’s why we are all about Grace Turned Outward. It’s amazing how few people really know the story of the gospel. When you really listen to non-Christians, it’s surprising how little they know of the love, compassion and grace of God.
How do you suppose we fix this? How do we let people know about the love, mercy and forgiveness of God? The best way to tell people what God is like is to be like Him. Seriously. The best way to tell people what God is like is to be like Him. This is God’s will anyway, to work His divine nature into us through Christ. According to 2 Peter 1:3-7 we have been granted everything pertaining to life and godliness through the Holy Spirit in us. God is arranging our lives to make us more like Him, and the goal of all of this is love.
This is the point of today’s Catch in case you missed it, and I’m sure you didn’t; I just wanted to write it one more time: The best way to tell people what God is like is to be like Him.