Seeing and Savoring God

During our current preaching series at New Covenant Church,  Why Jesus?, we are seeking to acquire a deeper understanding of the person and work of Christ. We are praying for this insight to drive us deeper in worship, deeper in prayer, deeper in our capacity to recognize the glory of God. It is the last of these I would like to highlight by suggesting ways we should not think about God. Toward this end, here are some popular misconceptions from J.B. Phillips’ classic book, Your God is too Small:

1. The Grand old man God is thought to be old fashioned, one who can’t relate.

2. Meek and Mild  Like a sentimental jellyfish. This error reduces the gospel to a hollow platitude of “love,” to the exclusion of any objective truth claims.

3. Resident Policeman An overly sensitive conscience. Mistakes our own cultural values for the convicting work of the Holy Spirit. Constantly live with burden of guilt upon one’s shoulders.

4. Managing director Answers prayers like an operator answering phone calls and gives commands like a supervisor in the workplace – in both instances he is aloof.

5. Perennial grievance God who lets us down… one to whom we go with our protests.

6. Pale Galilean Regards the Christian life as boring and colorless.

7. God on a leash At our beck and call. A manageable deity who is safe and predictable.

Over and against these erroneous conceptions, let us remember what the New Testament says concerning God’s self-disclosure:

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Heb 1:1-3).

I love this passage for the way it describes the nature of Jesus and his redemptive work. He is Almighty God, the One who speaks creation into existence. And he is the Savior, who shed his blood for our sin and who now reigns at God’s right hand. Please pray that our consideration of Jesus from John’s Gospel would so captivate our attention that we would find ourselves more deeply loving and serving him.

About the author

Chris Castaldo (PhD, London School of Theology) is the lead pastor at New Covenant Church in Naperville, Illinois. He is the author of Talking with Catholics about the Gospel and coauthor of The Unfinished Reformation.


  1. What a great topic. I think a failure to embrace the full tension and paradox of God’s incredible transcendence and immediate immanence is at the root of a lot of Christianity’s contemporary lethargy.

    St. Augustine said both that, “si comprehendis non est Deus,” (if you understand it, it’s not God), and God is “interior intimo meo” (closer to me than inward self). Thomas Aquinas said we cannot define God, since God is not a member of any genus, not even the genus of being. And yet, he had such an intense mystical experience of that personal God that he ceased writing at the end of his life, since everything up to that point was from him “nothing more than straw.”

    The great paradox of Christianity is that the God who is “other-ly other” has entered into full communion with each of us individually.

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