The Nature of God
Originally scheduled for October 19
Suppose, for a moment, that you were asked to
provide evidence for the nature of God as he has been revealed to
you. You would quickly find that the evidence breaks down into two
There is a general revelation
composed of those things you can see in detail in the universe at
large. A walk in the desert on a cold and starry night is quite
sufficient to convince you of his great power, for he created these
things. It would take a little more difficulty to establish this,
but the universe can also be seen as a moral place. As we say, “what
goes around, comes around.” From that you might conclude that God is
indeed righteous and in favor of justice.
There is also special revelation.
These are the things that God has to reveal to you in some form of
direct revelation. You may know that God is righteous by observing
his universe, but unless he reveals it to you it is impossible to
know that he loves you. The quality of his mercy would be unproven.
We discover these things in the Scriptures.
Sometimes these things are written out explicitly for us; sometimes
we have to figure them out from the actions that God takes. For the
most important of these, the love and mercy of God, we have both
written and action revelation.
The supreme example of God’s mercy towards us
is found at the Cross. We may take this in three steps:
The first of these is the
establishment of the Mosaic law. In this revelation from Moses and
the Israelites we find the concept of atonement. This is most
prominently displayed in Passover, which is the forerunner of the
Lord’s Supper. It is by this revelation that we know that atonement
must be made by the shedding of blood.
The second of these is the
Incarnation. If there is to be a sacrifice which is truly effective
in purging the sins of mankind, it must be a sacrifice that is
acceptable to God once and for all. As the law teaches us this
sacrifice must be perfect and unblemished. Only the incarnate God
himself could provide such a sacrifice.
The third of these is, of course, the
Cross. As it is often quoted, greater love has no man than to lay
down his life for his friends. It is in the sacrifice of Christ
himself, his death on the Cross, that we see the greatness of God’s
love and mercy.
We are told that men need not so much to be
instructed as reminded. In the general revelation of God, the
reminders are built-in — they are everywhere around us. In the
special revelation of God, the reminders must be constructed so that
we will remember what we should. For this reason we have Bible
study, prayer and meditation as well as worship and praise. But it
is in the simple symbolism of Communion that we have the clearest
reminders. The cup represents his blood; the bread, his body. When
you partake, He is reminding you of the love God the Father has for
us. As you take this cup and the bread be reminded that God loves
you — even to the point of the Cross.