Manifestations of God

John 17:6, 18 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. . . As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.”

God is invisible . . . but he has chosen to reveal His name, i.e., His nature and His attributes, in various ways that are visible.  To Moses, God declared his nature in this way: “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation” (Exodus 34:6-7).  It’s interesting that God spoke these words after Israel had committed the terrible sin or worshipping a golden calf at the very time that God was giving the Ten Commandments to Moses.  He begins by saying He is merciful, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, and One who forgives sin.  While He is also a God of justice, He prefaces that truth with a description of his longing heart to forgive, bless, and love those who have rejected and sinned against Him. 

But it was Jesus Who demonstrated all of these attributes of God better than any other person ever has.  While he overturned the tables of the money changers in the temple and declared woe to the religious leaders of that day who hated Him, He, nevertheless, repeatedly showed the incredible mercy, grace, love, and forgiveness of the awesome God for sinners.  God had sent Jesus into the world to save the world.  He demonstrated His love most clearly in that while we were yet sinners, He died for us (Romans 5:8).  In this act He took on Himself the penalty of our sin, thereby satisfying the justice of a holy God against sin. What a manifestation of both the love of God and the justice of God. 

But beyond all this, God has chosen to also manifest His nature in the lives of believers that Jesus has now sent into the world just as He was sent into the world.  It is the responsibility of the body of Christ, His church, to declare the justice of God against sin, but to also demonstrate the mercy, grace, love and forgiveness of God toward sinners.  If you are a believer, this is your purpose for living.  This is your mission.  We have been sent into the corner of the world in which we live to demonstrate the divine nature of the God Who loves us to those around us.  We love, because He first loved us. We are to show mercy, grace, and forgiveness towards others in the same way that God has shown mercy, grace, and forgiveness toward us. 

If Christ truly lives within us, that is our heart – but just the same, it is a good thing to remind ourselves of this daily as we enter the world to which we have been sent.

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