Friday, August 31, 2012

God On The Inside

“God is watching us.  God is watching us.  God is watching us from a distance.” 
Bette Midler

The words of songwriter, Bette Midler, reflect the perception of a generation of people who view God as a distant, disconnected being who is out of touch with His creation.  Yet the searching words of Joan Osborne express dissatisfaction with such a perception and the inner longing for a more personal and relational experience of God:

“If God had a name, what would it be
And would you call it to his face
If you were faced with him in all his glory
What would you ask if you had just one question”

“What if God was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home”

Our understanding or perception of God is distorted by an incomplete image of His character that emphasises only one aspect of His nature at the expense of the others. Such an incomplete image can only be remedied by reshaping our thinking about God through a complete revelation, which can be found in the person of Jesus Christ. Evidence of this is revealed in Colossians 2:9 where Paul declares that “in Christ all the fullness of the Deity [God] lives in bodily form”.  Therefore, in Jesus, God is fully revealed.

Charles Sherlock, in his chapter “God on the Inside,” provides us with a detailed description of how Jesus can provide a complete image of God and why this is important in shaping our thinking about who God is:

1.    Jesus reveals God as the Lord of Life

       “Christ like spirituality entails an integrated life.”

       Through Jesus we encounter the harmony of God’s ‘grace & truth’, ‘justice & 
       mercy’, ‘holiness & love’.

2.    Jesus reveals God as the Lord of Time

       “It is thus Jesus who makes the difference between our knowing about God’s 
       eternity and our coming to share in God’s eternity.”

       Through Jesus God has entered into our existence and provides us with hope for 
       today and the future.

3.    Jesus reveals God as the Lord of Matter

       “From the womb, through human life, work and relationships, even to death itself, 
        God is intimately involved in all human living, through Jesus.”

       Through Jesus God shares in the limitations of our humanity.

4.    Jesus reveals God as the Lord of Love

       “Jesus has made it possible for us to pray to God as to a loving father who cares 
        for us.”

       Through Jesus God reveals the depth of His love for humankind.

5.    Jesus reveals God as the Lord of All

       “Jesus has done all that is needed for us to know the limitless love and life of 

       Through Jesus God has overcome the limitations of humanity, so we may experience 
       His divinity.

6.    Jesus reveals God as the Lord of Space

       “God is God of everywhere, not despite, but precisely because God was 

       Through Jesus God “makes room for us” allowing us experience His presence.

7.    Jesus reveals God as the Lord of Wisdom

       “Jesus shows us the wonder of God’s wisdom in his teaching, and in his deep 
        knowledge of God.  Such knowledge nevertheless had its limits.  These limits 
        reflect once more the genuine entering into our world made by God in Christ.”

        Through Jesus God has an intimate knowledge of us that allows us to know God 

8.    Jesus reveals God as the Lord of Power

       “The mighty power of God is seen precisely in the just, loving life and death of 

        Through Jesus God exercises his “delicate power” that both corrects and heals.

Through Jesus our understanding of God is completed through the revelation of His divine and human natures, embodying the mystery and transcendence of God in human form, thus enabling us to move beyond a mere knowledge of God into an intimate relationship with God.  To quote Sherlock, “God’s goodness is not abstract.  It reflects the inner being of a God who acts – to create, to protect, to rescue.  Jesus himself testifies to the goodness of God.”

In response to Joan Osborne’s searching lyrics, God did indeed become one of us so that we may know Him fully and fulfil the purpose for which we were created, that is, to live in relationship with our Creator.


  1. Life-Time-Matter-Love-All-Space-Wisdom-Power. I find these revelations by Mr Sherlock to be digestible by anybody and not arouse the slightest bit of opposition. (Matt10:22) But every time the Apostles(bar one) preached Jesus they were killed. So just try to imagine Mr Sherlock's revelations being preached by Paul? I note that he did not support each characteristic with Scripture. I wonder why? Few of his revelations refer to the reason or purpose of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and therefore do not provide a "detailed description" to enable "a complete image of God". On the contrary, it may give us a incomplete image. Here are a couple more I thought of: The Lord of -Wrath(Rom1:18)-Unchanging (Heb13:8)-Justice & Mercy(Rom3:23)-Truth(Jn1:17).

    1. This is a paper that I wrote summarising some of Charles Sherlock's points as an assignment for college, not actually his writing. Therefore, your comment "I note that he did not support each characteristic with Scripture. I wonder why?" jumps to incorrect conclusions, as his chapter my paper is based upon is a part of a larger work and is lot more detailed and thorough in presenting his exegesis. Having been directly under Charles Sherlock's teaching at Ridley College in Melbourne, I would attest to him being one of the best theologians I've had the privilege of learning from.

      I've shared my paper in this summarised form as I felt it offered some helpful insights into a revelation of God through Jesus Christ.

  2. I hope that as I add my thoughts to the description as posted it will bless also.