Thornleigh Seventh-day Adventist Church (Sydney, Australia)

Home > Online Magazine > Online Magazine: Edition 6 - August/September 2005 > Pastor's Piece - What God is Like

Pastor's Piece

What God is Like

by Dr Barry Wright

What sort of a picture do we have about God?

What do we know about His character?

How can we find out what He is like?

These questions are not new. After a long association with Jesus, Phillip, one of His disciples, made the following inquiry of Him. How can we get to know God? Show us the Father.

Jesus' reply showed His sense of frustration with one who should have known the answer. His reply is not only given as a reproof, but also as counsel to a disciple who previously had declared that Jesus was the Messiah.

How did Jesus answer him?

In John 14: 9 Jesus replied, 'Have I been with you all this time, and yet you haven't known me? If you have seen me you've seen the Father.'

All that were to see Jesus through faith were able to see the Father through Him. The Holiness of God was to shine through the spotless purity of His life along with His grace as shown through his acts of mercy to those He associated with day by day.

You see a man coming to the edge of a large crowd down by the lake. He has leprosy. As he comes forward to meet Jesus the people fall back. To their astonishment Jesus not only invites this wreck of a man into His presence, but touches him saying, 'They consider you under the curse of God? I will make you clean.


You see a woman being dragged through the dust into the presence of Jesus. Her accusers stand at the ready to carry out the punishment they believe is due. They are ready to crush the life out of her by stoning her to death.

What does Jesus say?

'I don't condemn you. Go, and sin no more. THAT'S GOD SPEAKING. This incredible response was to show the blend of His love and justice for this piteous human being.

You see a man hanging on a cross. He turns his head and says in very few words, 'Lord, remember me.'

What is Jesus' response?

'I will. You will be with me in heaven.' THAT'S GOD - the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13: 8).

After observing these wondrous acts of mercy and grace, Phillip still asks Jesus to show him the Father.

Jesus, in His answer, reproves Phillip for not taking the opportunity and time to improve his relationship and his knowledge of God through Him. This is a reminder to us all that we are not to remain as spiritual dwarfs but to grow in grace as we mature in the faith during our lifetime.  

Jesus was born into a world that had a wrong impression about God. The Scriptures make it clear that one of the reasons He came was to set the record straight. He came to demonstrate to the world, not only what God the Father was really like, but what He always has been like and always will be like.

An inscription on an early American grave reads: 'Here lies Lem S. Frame, who killed 89 Indians in his lifetime. He was hoping to have killed 100 by the end of the year, when he fell asleep in Jesus in his house at Hawk's Ferry.'

What type of picture does this give us of God? How do these misunderstandings of God's character affect our view of His love and justice?

This gives rise to the extreme views held by many people that picture Him on one hand as being a God who never harms anyone and on the other extreme as a God who looks for every chance He can get to destroy His creatures.

This misunderstanding of God's character has caused many people during this period to turn their backs on religion.

We need to come to know Jesus better so that we are not placed in the situation where we have to ask Him as did Phillip to: 'Show us the Father'.

Jesus' response is for us today '…he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.'

Home > Online Magazine > Online Magazine: Edition 6 - August/September 2005 > Pastor's Piece - What God is Like