We live in a world in desperate need of a revolution.
In cosmology, the word revolution refers to “the rotation of a celestial body on its axis.” From that origin, the word came to refer to any “fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something.” So, there are political revolutions, economic revolutions, and technological revolutions. But what our world most needs is a theological revolution—a complete “rotation” of thought and feeling, perception and emotion, regarding the character of God.
Well, because our world is filled with confusion regarding who, or what manner of person, God is. Religion itself—the very institutions that claim to represent God—has done more damage to humanity’s view of God than any other force in the world. In fact, atheism isn’t the worst thing in the world, bad religion is, because bad religion is the primary influence that produces atheism. God endowed human beings with rational minds and a sense of justice, so when religion portrays God as irrational and unjust, people may turn from the very notion of God. The Bible has a word for religions that misrepresent the character of God. That word is Babylon, which is a biblical symbol for religious systems that peddle “confusion” regarding God’s character. Scripture goes so far as to tell us that Satan himself specializes in crafting religious concepts, or theologies:
“For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15, NIV).
Apparently, Satan is a “theologian.” He spins distorted ideas about God that pass for “light,” or doctrinal truth. How, then, are we to distinguish truth from all the false “light” that misrepresents Him? Very simply, by looking at the underlying idea of any given truth claim.
A single concept forms the foundation of every false doctrine: salvation by works. This is the idea that God needs to be moved toward us humans by deeds we perform.
Apparently, Satan is a “theologian.” He spins distorted ideas about God that pass for “light,” or doctrinal truth.
And a single concept forms the foundation of every true doctrine: salvation by God’s grace alone, through the faith of Jesus alone. This is the idea that human beings are moved upon by God, so that their salvation is wholly His work, arising from His goodness.
Either God is who He is, who He is, who He is, with faithful constancy, or we must do something to change His posture, attitude, or character toward us.
Either God is love, and His love alone moved Him to save us, or God’s love is activated by our good moral deeds.
Either God’s actions in Christ are the powerful agent that changes us, or our actions are the powerful agent that changes God, making Him willing to save us, whereas apart from our good deeds He was unwilling.
I’ve created a series of Bible lessons called TruthLink, specifically designed to explore twenty-eight key Bible truths in the light of God’s love. Consider this introductory premise from TruthLink:
As we study Scripture we need a direction, an orientation on the biblical landscape. In this series of TruthLink Study Guides we will discover over and over again that the core truth of all truths is the paramount reality that “God is love” (1 John 4:16). God’s love is the one truth that defines every other truth. Truth is not merely a list of factual topics, but rather a composite whole that paints a picture of who God is in character. In other words, since the core reality of God’s character is love, it follows that all truth is simply and profoundly an extension of it. We can expect, then, that every true doctrine reveals some dimension of God’s love, and we can be certain that any teaching that contradicts God’s love is, by definition, false. This will be our working criterion in the TruthLink Study Guides. With the “God-is-love” premise before us, we have the base equation for working out all truth. Our compass is now set to true north. We know where we’re going and what we’re looking for as we make our journey through Scripture.
God’s love is the one truth that defines every other truth.
Do you want to revolutionize your picture of God, fall more deeply in love with Jesus, and rapidly increase your biblical knowledge, or teach the truths of the Bible to others? TruthLink is for you.
TruthLink is available in two forms: in print, as a beautifully designed series of lessons, and as a free online course. TruthLink can be used as a personal Bible study devotional and as a tool for studying the Bible with others, either one-on-one or in small groups. Check it out at truthlink.org.