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Are you sitting too comfortably?

December 2005 | by John Thornbury

Many years ago a wise teacher said something I have often thought about. He remarked, ‘In the beginning God made man in his image, and ever since man has been making God in his image’. There’s a lot of truth in that. It seems that ‘God-making’ is a perennial employment of human beings.

There is, of course, a true God, the Triune God of the Bible. He is a sovereign Being, who is absolutely in control of the whole universe. He is also holy – so holy that he will one day call every single individual to account for breaking his laws.

The problem is that this great Being makes people uncomfortable. They resent the fact that he has ultimate control over their lives. They are repelled by the fact that he not only requests but demands obedience.

So they go about constructing a God they can handle. Some take away his personality and make him out to be a kind of universal spirit. This gives them a vague feeling of spirituality but without the need to talk to such a God or fear him.

Then there is the cosmic bellhop – the god who jumps to help people when they ring the bell. He waits on them hand and foot and carries their baggage. But once he has rendered his service he quietly disappears till he is needed again. And so we could continue.

But what is the real God like? He is revealed clearly in the Bible. He has all power – to create and to judge, but also to forgive and liberate people from their sin.

His Spirit is present everywhere, filling the universe yet dealing mercifully with individual sinners like ourselves.

He has all knowledge, meaning that everything, whether past, present or future to us, is fully known to him.

He is a God of incredible mercy and grace. He loved us so much that he sent his Son Jesus Christ into the world to die for our sins that we might be forgiven. He is so gracious that, by the work of his Spirit, he actually changes people’s hearts, enabling them to repent of their sins and trust in Christ.

Of course, many prefer the God they manufacture in their minds to the real thing. But some day we must all give account to the true God. Wouldn’t it be wise to find out nowwhat he is really like?

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