FAITH ROUNDTABLE COMMENTARY

FAITH ROUNDTABLE: Chrisman

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I will confess when I read the editor’s Roundtable assignment, I was semi-panicked. On the surface, it seemed a difficult theological conundrum and he really had me sweating. After I analyzed it, however, I relaxed. The answer is actually very simple.

God has never and is not hiding anything about Himself. And the second part of the question is a false assumption — faith isn’t the only way to know Him and no one has to pick Him out of thousands of false gods and false religions.

God reveals everything we could ever possibly want or need to know in both the Old and New Testaments. The very first words of Genesis reveal God as Creator. The first words of the New Testament reveal God as loving because He sent His son Jesus Christ to redeem — to save — mankind from our sin. And the last words of the Book of Revelation reveal God as Savior because it promises us that Jesus is returning to take his followers home someday.

In between, God reveals himself very clearly. The Jews had at least ten names for God, each revealing something important about God’s nature. Let’s look at three of those names.

First is Elohim. This means all powerful Creator of the universe. God knows everything, creates everything, and is everywhere at all times.

Second is El Roi. This means the God who sees me. God sees us and loves each of us deeply.

Third is Ed Shaddai. This means the all sufficient source of all blessings. In fact, when God tells Abraham about his covenant with the Jews, God uses this term in referring to himself.

And, then, in the New Testament, God reveals himself through Jesus Christ. In several places, Jesus tells his disciples and the Pharisees that God is revealed through him, Jesus. In fact Jesus famously says “if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.”

One of my favorite secular songs is the Bette Midler classic “From a Distance.” The notes are very pretty but the words are theologically wrong. She sings “from a distance, God is watching.” You get the impression that God is a disinterested observer, watching the earth from a detached position. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.

God is directly involved in our lives. He sent his son Jesus Christ to take our sins on his body and to die as a sacrifice for our sins. By rising from the dead, Jesus overcame death and gives us the opportunity for eternal life. In addition to Jesus, God sent his Holy Spirit to serve as a helper, a comforter, a supernatural source of strength and inspiration in our lives.

So, the bottom line is God has never hidden himself from us. We know everything we need to know about God. He’s revealed himself from the very beginning. And while there are many false religions and false gods around us, it should not be difficult to see and know the only true God.

— Rev. Dale Chrisman is pastor at Trinity Anglican Church which worships in their new building at 18900 FM 1431 just west of Cedar Park and Leander. trinitychurchlagovista.org

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