Dave Williams speaking on theology and the ways in which our theology – good or bad – dictates the way in which we view God. Focusing on the importance of the way we study the all-knowing and all-sin-forgivng God and the ways in which he reveals himself.
“Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.” Similarly, good theology must exist, not only because bad theology needs to be answered, but also because good theology ensures that we are indeed worshiping God “in spirit and in truth,” and that we “know Christ” as He would have us know Him.” – C.S. Lewis
Theology is the study of God and His nature. The term comes from two separate words.
The first being Theos, which means God in the Greek. The second word “ology” comes from the word Logos, which means word.
So it literally translates to Words about God. See your theology shapes your relationship with God.
The Feeling God (Psalms)
If your theology of God dictates that you have to feel him to have a relationship with Him then when you don’t feel him your relationship suffers. That is bad theology.
David says in Psalms 13: How long O lord? Will you forget me forever?
We read Psalms 22 last week where David cries out, “Oh Lord why have you forsaken me?”
Psalms 10:1 Why do you stand afar off, O Lord?
Or Psalms 71:12 “O God, do not be far from me.”
God never promised He would always feel close.
Yet we place feelings inside our theology that cause trouble in our relationship.
The On-demand God (John 11: 1-4)
Another misnomer that seeps into our theology is the idea that God’s answers are instantaneous and incredibly clear.
So what happens is we grow impatient and then fearful when we don’t get a response right away. We grow anxious because God has not responded as clearly as we want. And then it leads to disappointment in God Himself.
This God doesn’t exist.
Look at verse 21 “ Lord, if you would have been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give to you.”
Look where that theology got her. First He didn’t do what she wanted him to do. That led to her disappointment and lastly to her questioning if he was even God anymore.
Well she was right. Her theology drastically altered her relationship.
God never promised to answer in your time. He never promised to do anything but Save you. Can he do more, certainly, but will He, we don’t know that.
Looking back at John 11:4 we see that what is promised is that Christ will be glorified.
See some of our anxiety is due to our belief that God should and is required in the timeframes we set. Our anxiety comes from our disbelief that God simply will not move you out of a seemingly bad situation. It’s just bad theology.
David ran from Saul for seven years. God wasn’t going to change that. Paul was going to go to prison and die there. Christ was destined for the cross. Sometimes God wants us to go through the valley of the shadow of death as David described in Psalms 23.
The Guilt God (Romans 3:20-23)
Now this view of God is easy to let replace the correct view of God, let’s call it Guilt God.
We become saved and then we see our sin and are embarrassed, we cover it up, and then do our best to do enough good things to make up for the bad things. And in doing so appease God into liking us again.
We feel like if we do that we then can be in his presence because we made up for the bad stuff in our lives. It becomes this never-ending race of trying to stay one step ahead of our sins.
So this Guilt God theology teaches us that my works will justify myself to God. Which means “works” aren’t an act of service to Christ but instead used as a downpayment for eternal life.
That is just not good theology.
How do we study God?
The first step comes from our humility in our humanity.
Proverbs 1:7 says that the fear of the lord is the beginning of knowledge.
You want to study God and have a good theological foundation we must first realize the we don’t know, we are in great need of God in our life to make it work.
We must acknowledge what Paul says in Romans 3:23 “we have all sinned and fall short.”
Just admitting those two things shows us two great truths about God: He is all-knowing and all-sin-forgiving.
If He is all knowing that means that He knows our past, our present, and our future. So therefore He knows what’s best for me, what is not, and how He is wanting to proceed.
If I admit that then I then need to surrender the idea that I need to be all-knowing as well. I am not God. I don’t need to know.
See this idea of being in the know comes from the original sin. Gen 3:5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
We are not God. We don’t need to know.
Paul says this in 1 Corinthians 2:2 “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
That is what I need to know. If Christ chooses to tell me more than that it is a privilege but I am not entitled to it.
The cool thing is the more we study God the more He reveals to us.
However, I want us to ask ourselves the question: What God are we studying? The Feeling-God, the On-Demand-God, the Guilt-God, or the one True One, our Savior?
If you find yourself chasing something other than Christ, confess that to him. Let’s go to the all-knowing and all-forgiving God.