Who Are We?

Who Are We?  An interesting question raised in the sermon of the re-elected secretary of the General Conference, G.T. NG.  He was right to suggest that we must derive our identity from God.  Much of the world has become obsessed with the notion of self-awareness and self-identity.  People believe today that the way to find ones true self is by looking inward.  But the wiseman who went through the endless search for meaning, identity and purpose through self-exploration and self-discovery, came to the conclusion that it was a “meaningless search.”  At every turn he would end with the words, it was like “chasing after the wind.”  He concluded in Ecclesiastes 3:11 that “God has set eternity in the human heart; and yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”  In other words, there is a God-shaped void in all of us that only He can fill.  So human identity can only be discovered when a person finds God.  And when we understand who God is, we can begin to understand who we truly are.  Jesus said in John 17:3, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”

So who is God?  This was the question posed by Pastor NG on Sabbath, July 4, 2015.  He suggested, that God was a “God of Revelation.”  An interesting proposition, for the Bible does say that when the disciples misunderstood the meaning of Christ’s crucifixion and thought it was the tragic failed end of another false messiah, Jesus revealed to them, “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets…what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27).  And while God does reveal Himself to us through the scriptures, He is very clear in telling us who He is.  God tells us who He is in 1 John 4:8.  And in the same verse He reveals the identity of His followers based on His own identity.  He says, “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”  Who is God?  God IS Love.  And those who profess to belong to Him must be lovers as an extension of Him.  This is how closely connected God’s love is with those who profess to be His followers. “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.  And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” 1 John 4:15,16.  Who is God?  God is love.  Who are we as Christians?  We are supposed to be living God’s love because we are from God.  But is that the picture most people have of Christians?  Does the average person associate God’s love with Christianity today?  Do they associate it with the Seventh-day Adventist Church?  Let’s make it more personal, do my friends, neighbors, co-workers and strangers associate love with me as a Christian?  What about among fellow believers?  Do we share God’s love with each other?  1 John 4:20,21 says, “If we say we love God yet hate a brother or sister, we are liars.  For if we do not love a fellow believer, whom we have seen, we cannot love God, whom we have not seen.  And he has given us this command: those who love God must also love one another.”  God challenges us to love deeply and unconditionally just as He does, and does not waver in His expectation of us.  So what does this mean when we think about who we are?

Can we truly understand God’s revelation without first understanding who God is?  The greatest miscalculation that Satan made in the Garden of Eden when humanity sinned was how much God loved us.  He thought he had won when he deceived Eve and caused Adam to deliberately sin against God.  But He could not anticipate the depth of God’s love and the lengths He would go to gain our salvation.  Satan did not believe Jesus would actually allow Himself to be humiliated in the manner that He was, in order to save us.  And when Jesus Christ arose triumphantly on the third day, it was then that Satan understood the true character of God.  He thought God was about power, authority, position and hierarchy but it was then that he realized that God is LOVE.  It is truly the mystery of Godliness.  Do we really understand the power of God’s love?  If we did, we would not regard it so lightly and handle it so casually and carelessly.  We would see it as the powerful weapon that it is in winning humanity and transforming the world.  And we would not believe that beasts, prophecies and doctrines are more powerful and convincing than love.

It is most fitting that the message Jesus gave Nicodemus, a learned Jewish theologian who was versed in the scriptures and doctrine and prophecy, was John 3:16.  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.  That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Who is God…God is Love…Who are We…

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