Remember Mr. Potato Head, the toy that let you grab a potato and create many different kinds of faces, depending on what you liked? It was fun, and your creativity was only limited by the number of combinations in the box. We felt empowered to create a potato man just as we desired.
Unfortunately, too many Christians have created what I call a “Mr. Potato Head” God. Many have, in their minds, created a God as they desire, a God that fits their lifestyle and makes them happy, instead of holding to a Biblically balanced knowledge of God.
Some have created a God who is like a benevolent old grandfather rocking in his chair in heaven, looking away at our sin because He is loving and just wants us to be happy. This God has dropped His absolute standards of morality because we are living in an ever-changing culture, and the measurement of happiness has changed with it. This God allows us to have premarital sex, live in a homosexual lifestyle, divorce our spouse for any reason, view pornography, cheat, lie, view unwholesome movies and television, and gossip without restraint. He is like our own cosmic bell hop who is at our beck and call to give us whatever makes us happy including health, wealth, and pleasure. This type of God can be loved but not truly honored, feared (respected) or worshiped. This view of God leads to a lifestyle characterized by license.
Others have created an angry God who is ready to stomp on us like a bug when we sin. This God takes great pleasure in making us squirm with guilt and fear, being constantly afraid that we will offend God and be slapped with His wrath. This is like a dictatorial father who rules with an iron fist and strikes terror in his kids. This type of God can be feared (honored), but cannot be truly loved with any depth because He is distant and unknowable. This view of God leads to a lifestyle characterized by legalism.
In both of these extremes, we have created a lesser God, a God of our own imagination, and a God who is far from the truth.
My friends, it is imperative that we have a Biblically balanced view of God – an understanding of God that is taken from His Word, not from our imagination.
What is a Biblically balanced view of God? What does the Bible tell us about our incredible God?
Our great, awesome God is :
- Eternal (self existent) Exodus 3:13-14; Isaiah 43:13; Isaiah 44:6 ;1 Timothy 1:17
- Omnipotent (all powerful) Genesis 17:1; Jeremiah 32:17; Matthew 19:26; Revelation 19:6
- Omnipresent (all present) Psalm 139:7-10; Proverbs 15:3; Jeremiah 23:23- 24
- Omniscient (all knowing) Psalm 147:5; Psalm 139:1-6; Romans 11:33-34
- Sovereign (in total control of everything in the universe) Isaiah 45:23; Isaiah 46:9-10; Psalm 103:19
- Immutable (unchanging in His nature and attributes) Numbers 23:19; Psalm 33:11; Malachi 3:6
- Righteous/Just Deuteronomy 32:4; James 1:13; Revelation 15:3-4
- Truth Psalm 31:5; Psalm 117:2; Titus 1:2
- Merciful Psalm 130:3; Psalm 145:8-9; 1 John 1:9
- Love John 3:16; 1 John 4:8;1 John 4:16
- Holy Genesis 32:30; Exodus 3:4-5; Isaiah 6:3-5; Revelation 4:8-11; Revelation 5:14
This list is by no means exhaustive (and each attribute is a monumental study in itself), but gives the essential basics of God’s character, and there are many more verses to describe these attributes than the ones listed.
Going back to our two extremes mentioned above (the “Old Grandfather God” and the “Dictatorial Father God”) we must keep a Biblically balanced understanding of God when addressing these two views. Yes, God is loving, but He is also just. We cannot just focus on one or the other. And no where do we see these two meld together so wonderfully than at the cross.
You see, a righteous, holy God must punish sin, if He didn’t He wouldn’t be righteous and holy. And since we are all sinners, He must punish us for our sin (which, according to the Bible, is death – both physical and spiritual). Yet, he loves us with a perfect love and wants us to be with Him in heaven forever. Now, this creates a seemingly impossible dilemma. How will perfectly holy and just God punish us for our sin (being separated from Him forever in the torment of hell) and still retain His perfect love for us (being with Him forever in the splendors of heaven)? The answer is the cross.
On the cross Jesus carried our sins upon Himself and took the full, undiluted wrath of the Father for our (and all mankind’s) sins. Our sin was punished, so God’s justice and righteousness was rightly meted out. And, since His punishment for our sins was directed on His Son, His love for us remains intact and we, when we repent and trust in Jesus as Savior, go free.
At the cross God’s love and His justice collided, and the result is grace. How absolutely glorious is that? My friends, do you see that when we grasp a Biblically balanced view of God, we then can enter into a relationship with Him that is both reverent and intimate; a relationship that is based on both mental ascent (knowledge) and emotion (love). This is a God that can be both worshiped and loved. A God who is worthy of our total devotion and praise, and a God who we can come to as Daddy (Abba). What an incredible God we have!!
Oh, my friends, dig deeply into Scripture in order to go deeply into intimacy with our God. Don’t create a Mr. Potato Head God that is of our own creation. Let Him reveal Himself to us through His word, and then fall at his feet in worship, adoration, and love.