149 – THE INVISIBLE GOD 2
What would God be like? Would he be like an angel or a man? Is he a young man, or is he an old man with gray hair and a long robe? Is he black or white? Is he merry or grumpy? Is he a God of peace or of war? What does he look like? Does he manifest himself to men on a glorious throne, or on a stable, dressed in old rags? Paul answers this question: “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (1 Tim.1:17). According to the words of Paul, God is not tall or short, old or young, severe or magnanimous, black or white, man or woman. GOD IS INVISIBLE. Paul has more to say: “Who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; WHOM NO MAN HAS SEEN OR CAN SEE. To him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen (1 Tim.6:16). Not even Abraham saw him (Gen.17:1). Not even Moses (Ex.8:2-4).GOD IS INVISIBLE, SO HE CANNOT BE SEEN BY ANY ONE, NEITHER ANGELS, NOR MEN, NOR PROPHETS.
Someone will ask: In Rev.22:4 it is written that the saved will see the face of God. The text refers to Jesus Christ, not to the Father. It is important to read verses 2 and 3. Another Christian will mentionActs 7:55. This text refers to the glory of God, not to his form.
The apostle John makes this issue clear by saying that no one has seen God, and that he can only be known through Jesus. Any angel that was seen performing miracles in order to deceive the people of Israel would be false, for it was not God who descended from heaven to reveal the Son to men, but it was Jesus who descended to reveal the Father, his love and his works, and so John said, “And the Father who sent Me, he has borne witness of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form” (John 5:37). How to explain that it was the Father who sent the Son? In the letter to the Hebrews we read, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith” (Heb.12:2).This means that the Son is the author of the project, and the Father agreed with him, and sent Him.
Now we can understand the words of the apostle Peter, who declared: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Peter is teaching that God does not save anyone. It is useless to call on the name of God, for it was Christ who died on the cross in the place of the sinner. Peter once more pours light on the subject: “And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Pet.2:24). And Paul tells us: “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross, therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil.2:5-11). No one should bow before God, for this will not be worth anything, since Jesus declared, “No one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). The desire to get to God directly is a prideful desire. John teaches us: “Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:23). If God were the head of men, men could come directly to him in prayer, but God is not the head of anyone but Jesus Christ, and Jesus is the head of every man (1 Cor.11:3).
When Jesus said: “I AND THE FATHER ARE ONE” (John 10:30), Jesus is saying that outside of him there is no God. Whoever sees Christ, sees the Father. Whoever listens to Christ, listens to the Father; whoever knows Christ, knows the Father. God the Father is in Christ, and not outside of Christ. When Jesus said, “ I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6), Phillip, astonished with these words, said to Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us” (John 14:8). Jesus answered him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Phillip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you, I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me; otherwise believe on account of the works themselves” (John 14:8-11). God, the Father, is not in the Old Testament, neither in the New Testament; God is in Christ. To know Christ is to know the Father. “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him” (John 14:7). Whoever looks at Jesus, sees the Father (John 14:9). Whoever loves Christ, loves the Father.“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him” (John 14:23). God the Father is known in the grace of Christ (2 Cor.8:9), and known in the Spirit of Christ.
God is visible in Christ. That is, in Christ, God ceased being invisible. “Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, and HE IS THE IMAGE OF THE INVISIBLE GOD, THE FIRST-BORN OF ALL CREATION” (Col.1:12-15). In the letter to the Hebrews we read, “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb.1:1-3).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira