John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (ESV)
Jesus is the revelation of God to us. He is all the fullness of God in human form. As the Holy Spirit He is our teacher and comforter and reveals the truth of God to us and in us. Jesus is the Word. The scriptures aren’t the Word but Jesus is the Word. We need the Word to find the truth. We need the Word to reveal to us the Father.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (ESV)
We need to spread the Word of Jesus:
John 17:20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me (ESV)
And again it is the Word that became flesh, the nature of God, the truth of God, the truth in Jesus. The Bible points to Jesus who is the Word. Once we have a revelation of Jesus we can see the Bible through His revelation of the Word to find the Word in the word (Bible). Lost yet? This is what Jesus said:
John 5:39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life (ESV)
He also said this:
Matt 13:51 “Have you understood all these things?” They said to him, “Yes.” 52 And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” (ESV)
So once we have a revelation of Jesus and are one with the Holy Spirit and are exercising our mind of Christ as a new creation, born-again by the Spirit…we are like these scribes. We search the scriptures and find Jesus, the Word, the true nature of God.
People have asked me if I am “cherry picking” or “making a God of my own design” or “manipulating the scriptures.” I know the intent of the question. The funny thing is the truth of the question is revealing. We are to see from the Kingdom. We are to see from Heavenly places.
Eph 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (ESV)
Jesus reveals a good God. Our fallen nature is running from an angry God. Religion uses the fear of our fallen nature to control our behavior. Seated in the Heavenly places we are reminded of God’s grace and kindness. We see God’s goodness in Jesus. God says stuff like this:
Rom 2:4 … God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? (ESV)
The purpose of Jesus was to reveal the love of God as expressed on the cross. What Jesus said about violence, anger, forgiveness…is a reflection of the nature of God. When we see His love for us we are transformed by His love. Through this new understanding we can approach everything with confidence in the love of our Father.
So, yes I purposely look for a good God in every passage of the Bible. I look for Jesus everywhere. I “filter” what I read through what I know. I use the Word to read the word (Bible). I often wonder why everyone doesn’t do the same thing? Don’t we want to know that God is good and loving and kind and generous and amazing and hope and glorious and magnificent and awesome and beautiful and exciting and spectacular and special and endless and timeless and powerful and influential and protective and…my Abba? Why would I insist on proving that God is a blood thirsty punisher? I am going to live with Him for ever and ever. Maybe it is our fallen nature desire for human justice. If we get human justice then all those people we don’t like or who don’t measure up or who don’t work as hard as us or who aren’t like us get punished? Just saying.
That is why Jesus. That is why the Word becomes flesh. He sets me free of all that fallen thinking and need for human justice. Instead I am filled with His love and have His love for others. I don’t want anyone to suffer ever. Sorry, but that is what is in me. So yeah, I am going to use the Word when I read and interpret the word (Bible).
OK, let me share an illustration I heard from Gregory Boyd. I recommend this guy. He is very very smart. If you have one of those nagging “but why does it say this in the Bible” kind of questions, he has probably written something about it. His blog site is called ReKnew. Anyway, his analogy was the movie “Sixth Sense” or “Book of Eli.” Maybe you have seen those movies. In the end, in the last few moments, you get a revelation of what is really going on. In that moment your entire understanding of the whole movie is radically changed. Now you see the movie very differently than you did while you were watching it. It is fun to go back and watch those movies again after the revelation and you will “see” the story differently.
This movie illustration is just like the revelation of Jesus. This is why the nature of God, the Word, became flesh so we would have a revelation of Him. In our fallen nature we hid from God. We were afraid of God. We blamed God for horrific things. We saw God as more of Al Capone instead of Jesus. We trembled in fear ready to be punished for any infraction. Jesus shows us the error of that perspective. He shows us who God really is. He shows us what it looks like to live like God as man. He shows us what we are capable of when we are a new creation in Him. He reveals the law of love. He demonstrates Grace. He lives forgiveness. He dies as a servant to man. He pays a ransom to us to set us free. He lets a fallen mankind kill Him.
So if it looks like I am purposely trying to “prove” a good God then I am successful in my purpose. I truly believe that the “Good News” is a good God with us. The Good News is Jesus. His name means He saves us. His name (Immanuel) means He is with us. This is good news. The bad news is believing in that angry God that was a result of forbidden fruit ingestion.
Eternal life is knowing God. We need the Word to know God. We need Jesus to reveal God. We need to find the Word in the word.