8. God’s character is marked by a certain spreading goodness that moves outwards to us and to all nations, rather than the self-oriented glory grab we might expect.
It is strange that we have expectations of God. If it weren’t for His self-revelation we would know nothing. Yet somehow we can easily assume we know quite a lot, even apart from the Bible. So we take the speculative notions of the classical Greek theologians and voila, a bank of knowledge about the supreme being.
If we would just listen to the Bible we would surely hear something different.
God is not a self-oriented glory hunter. He is not some sort of power-obsessed despot creating and playing for his own amusement. Even though a god made in our image would be self-concerned, the God of the Bible is anything but.
There is no more glorious glimpse into the eternal experience of God than the Son’s prayer in which we discover that the Father and Son are completely concerned with the other, not with self. There is glory, but it is a far more glorious glory, the glory of a loving giving kind, the biblical God kind. And even the prayer is a prayer for others to share in that eternal experience!
It is the outward moving motivation of God’s love that makes sense of creation rather than non-creation. It is the spreading goodness of God that makes sense of mercy triumphing over judgment. It is the overflowing and giving character of God that makes sense of His missionary mindset – in the sending of His Son, in the Son’s sending of His followers, and in His going with us.
It is the revealing, speaking, good God of Isaiah that wants witnesses to get to the ends of the earth, and His Son, His ultimate revelation, speaking to His followers with a commission in the same language.
So God’s character is reflected throughout the canon of Scripture. God is a giving God, a going God, a to the ends of the earth kind of a God. There is nothing grabby about this deity, other alternatives should be set aside in response to the great theme of God’s spreading goodness.
We may have consumed a diet of divinity teaching from the world, or even in the church, that somehow hasn’t felt quite consistent with the Bible. We need to preach His Word so that others can taste and see that the Lord is good.