#24 THROUGH CHRIST WE BELIEVE IN GOD

Peter’s statement ‘Through him you believe in God’ [1Peter 1:21] reflects a truth that Jesus Christ expressed repeatedly: that the only way to know God is through Jesus, the Son of God.

Jesus said:

‘No one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him’ [Matthew 11:27].

‘You do not know me or my Father ... If you knew me, you would know my Father also’ [John 8:19].

‘When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me’ [John 12:44,45].

‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well ... Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father’ [John 14:6,7,9].

In addition, other statements Jesus made affirm that in and through him alone can the true knowledge of God be found:

He said ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’ [John 8:12]. Note Jesus’ use of the definite article – he is the light of the world, not one among many means of spiritual enlightenment, but the light, that is, the one and only light. The only access point to the true truth about God.

He linked hearing his words with believing in God: ‘... whoever hears my word and believes in him who sent me ...’ [John 5:24]. ‘If you hold to my teaching ... you will know the truth’ [John 8:24].

For Jesus it was indisputable that only those who know him actually know God. For Jesus, it was indisputable that anyone who rejected him was also, by that rejection, expressing their rejection of God:

‘... he who rejects me rejects him who sent me’ [Luke 10:16]. ‘... whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me’ [John 13:20].

John summed up the impact of Jesus this way:

‘No one has ever seen God, but the One and Only Son, who is God himself and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known’ [John 1:18].

‘We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true’ [1John 5:20].

If anyone should ask us ‘What is God like?’ ‘Who is God?’ ‘How do I know which ‘god’ is the real God?’ the answer we should give is very simple: Look at Jesus Christ. There you will see God. Not just a human god concept, which is really just as much a man-made idol as an idol made from wood or metal, but the real, true, unique God.

For this reason, the apostle John ends his first letter with a few potent words: ‘Dear children, keep yourselves from idols’ [1John 5:21]. He says this because he knows that any concept of God that differs from the God made known to us by Jesus Christ is an idol: a god created either by human minds – a philosophical idol, or by human hands – a physical idol.

So Peter states: ‘Through him you believe in God’.

Through Jesus Christ we know the incomprehensible God.

Through Jesus Christ we see the invisible God.

As Paul puts it:

‘God ... made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ’ [2Corinthians 4:6].

© Rosemary Bardsley 2017