A Scriptural Concept of God
Increasing numbers of people have rejected belief in the Triune God revealed in the Bible. They prefer instead to create a concept of God that conforms to their own notions. We believe that there is no living God beside Him who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ and His Word. God is love. He also is holy, righteous, and unchanging. He hates sin but loves sin-fallen mankind.-(LLC Position Statement, Section 2, Item 1)
Self-Produced Concept of God
In our time, people enjoy the freedom of choosing their faith community. Lately, people have also started making individual choices to accept or reject various beliefs within their chosen affiliations. Surveys in Finland and in the United States show that an increasing portion of the population deliberately chooses a concept of God that differs from God as He has revealed himself in Scriptures. People like to see God as loving, nonjudgmental, and removed from their lives. Obviously, people choose these characteristics to support the choice of their own lifestyle.
On the other hand, characteristics like holiness, invariableness, and righteousness are rejected because they are in dissonance with the selfish desires of the flesh. Thus, faith has become a philosophy in which man defines God and excludes Him from involvement in his life. This is not only an issue with the unbelieving. Because God's children also have carnal minds, we also have a place of watching in the midst of this strong worldly tendency. The apostle advises: “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6). We do not believe through understanding, but we understand through faith (Heb. 11:3).
As creatures we cannot comprehend God. With our mind we cannot find and define Him. The only way of receiving true knowledge of God is by God's own revelation to us. This He does in two ways. Generally, He reveals indications of His existence through nature, through our conscience, and through phases of history (Jer. 31:2,3; Heb. 1:1,2). This general revelation may assure us of the existence of God. Nevertheless, this does not suffice for salvation. In order to be saved we need faith in the revelation of the saving God in Jesus Christ and in the Word of God (2 Pet. 1:21; John 7:17; Rom. 8:16; 1 John 5:8; Ps. 96:5).
God as a Loving Father
God is incomprehensible. In describing God, Scripture uses images and parables. One central image of God is that of a loving father (see for instance, the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15). Believers call God the Father (Matt. 6:9, Gal 4:6). Believers have become children of God by what is called “adoption” or “new birth in the spirit” (Rom. 8:16,17; 1 John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7). God's Word also teaches that those who do not have right faith are not children of God (John 1:11-12; 1 John 3:10; Matt. 23:15).
God as Holy, Unchanging, and Righteous
In loving the sin-fallen person, God does not change or depart from being holy and righteous. God's holiness and righteousness mean that He is not defiled by sin and thus does not accept or have fellowship with unrighteousness or the unrighteous person (Isa. 57:15; Rom. 2:2). An unchanging God means that He will not alter His will for man-which He has expressed, for example, in the Ten Commandments (Heb. 13:8). How is it possible then for a sin-fallen man to be in fellowship with holy and righteous God? Modern man's carnal answer is to set God's righteousness aside. In labeling God as merely loving and ignoring His righteousness, modern man expects God to also accept man in his unrighteousness. Righteous God cannot do this and remain righteous. Thus righteous God's answer was to send His only Son, Jesus, and redeem the world in Him. Through faith in Christ Jesus, a sin-fallen person becomes righteous and acceptable to God (2 Cor. 5:19). Although man remains affected by original sin and is sinful, the grace of God teaches a child of God to reject worldly lusts and live soberly and righteously in this world (Tit. 2:15).