In an interview with no other than Oprah Winfrey, Rob Bell is asked the question, “What is your definition of God?” His reply is rather intriguing, “A song you hear in another room and think, ‘Man! That sounds beautiful!’ But I only get to hear a little bit. So you start opening doors and rearranging furniture because you have to get into that room to hear that song. When you get in, you turn the knobs all to the right because you’re like ‘I got to hear more of that’. Then you have to open the windows because you want the people in the next houses to hear it.” Now, certainly when we think about God, we would say we want a deeper intimacy with Him and that we want to share His truth of the gospel with others. Yet, under Rob Bell’s seemingly harmless description, we find a problem. He does not point to Scripture to define God. Even when he does speak Scripture, answering “God is love”, taken from 1 John 4:8, he neglects to continue into 1 John 4:9 where this love is displayed in the gospel. To state this boldly, I would dare say Rob Bell really means “love is god”, not “God is love”. What concerns me is not Rob Bell, per se (although, a number of issues in his interview are nonsensical). What grieves my heart is when many people who profess to be Christians follow this same pattern. Their description of God is from their own thoughts, not from the words of Scripture. Thus, I am convinced, either we are people who worship a god made in our own image or we worship the true God in whose image we have been made.
Consider the second book of the Bible, Exodus. One of themes throughout this book is “Who is your God?” In the plagues, we see God making a statement of His superiority over the false gods of Egypt. God acts so that the people “may know that I am the Lord” (Exodus 10:2; 11:7; 14:4, 18). In giving the Ten Commandments, God makes the declaration the Israelites shall not make a carved image or anything in the likeness of heaven above or the earth beneath (Exodus 20:4-6). In other words, they are not to make a god to worship in their own image. Their worship is reserved for the one true God (Exodus 20:1-3), who has revealed Himself in Scripture, most beautifully in the gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4). The God of the Bible is a God who is both holy and forgiving, just and loving (Exodus 34:6-7). We can know God because of His Word. To attempt to know Him any other way is to head down the road of false worship.
So, as we celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection this Sunday, consider how you would define or describe God. If it is by your own thoughts, a picture of a god you have created in your own image, repent of your sin and turn to Christ for forgiveness. Meditate on the truths of the gospel and look to the Word of God to see His full character on display. He is a God who will punish the guilty but also his holy-love, by the cross of Christ, extends grace to you! For those who desire to worship and would describe God according to His Word, remain faithful as you live out your life in a manner, by His grace, as one who has been made in His image.