“Who is God” is the most critical question we can ask because, without the knowledge of God, we do not know ourselves. And if we do not know who we are, we have nothing. Trans people are the most impoverished people on the planet because they have no idea who they are. But many struggles of Christians, if not all, result from faulty, confused, or unresolved issues concerning God’s character.
When the Bible says, in Genesis 12, “Now the Lord came said to Abram….” We usually imagine that God, as we know Him individually, came to Abram, and Abram knew who He was like we know who He is. Ironically, this scenario demonstrates our deficiency in understanding God’s personality. Many of us are not prepared for the slow revelation of God’s character in the Bible, and we superimpose knowledge on the fathers of our faith that they didn’t have. We assume God wouldn't have let us walk in so much ignorance for so long. But He did.
We are often shocked at the immoral behaviors of Biblical heroes because we expect them to be Holy Spirit-filled Christians when they aren’t. The Holy Spirit has always been active in the world, but He didn’t live in His people before the day of Pentecost as He does in Holy Spirit-filled people today. So, the first lesson about God’s character we can learn today is that God commits Himself to work within history on a timeline, even though His knowledge and foresight are outside of time. When “the Lord” or “Yahweh” appeared to Abram, Abram didn’t know who He was; but he was about to find out at least a little.
Throughout the Old Testament, God constantly introduces Himself, describes Himself, and defines Himself to His wander-prone people. And even in the New Testament, we see Jesus continuing the process of revelation when He appears to the zealous Israelite Saul as Saul is traveling to persecute Christians. The book of Acts says that Saul saw a bright light and heard a voice speaking to him, saying, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecution Me?” Saul answered with the penultimate question,“Who are you, Lord?” And the Lord responded by saying, “I am Jesus Whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:3-6). Saul, the man zealous for God, was radically changed by the revelation of God's true nature. God is still in the business of progressive revelation.
Many Christians say that we know God, and we do. But there is always more to learn. The process of sanctification is a progression of increased knowledge of God’s heart and character. Because this knowledge is a progression and not instantaneous, veteran Christians still find that we need deliverance occasionally. Demons gain access to us through lies, and every wrong belief about God’s character is a lie. And since we are created, as image-bearers, to reflect God, every lie we believe about God becomes a lie we live ourselves. When we live a lie, we lose part of ourselves, and we fail to reflect God’s true nature in the world. We need deliverance from every lie.
Once the Church gains this revelation, we will find our footing again and make strides in our culture for the Kingdom of God. Thank God, this is already happening as the revival of deliverance ministry continues to spread.
We are not the team that has all the answers. We are the team who worships the One True God with all the answers. The apostle Paul (the same man formerly called “Saul” before His encounter with God’s true nature) said, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1. To the extent that anyone bears the peaceful fruit of righteousness, to that same extent, we can say, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” But it is not the denominational or religious banner nor the education pedigree that gives a man the elevated status of “leader” like the apostle Paul. The leadership status comes from the accuracy with which we reflect the image of Christ, who “though in God’s form, did not regard his equality with Godas something he ought to exploit.
Instead, he emptied himself,and received the form of a slave,being born in the likeness of humans.And then, having human appearance,
he humbled himself, and becameobedient even to death,yes, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:6-8
The more we look like this God, who humbled Himself and served His people even to the point of death on the cross, the more we discover who God created us to be, the richer our souls become, and the more precise our demonstration of God’s character will be to the world.
Everyone wants to know who they truly are, and the answer begins by truly knowing God.