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.