By Bill McMilleon
In opening this article I suppose it would be advantageous to define what I mean by the term “personality.” Webster defines the word thusly, “the quality or state of being a person.” That definition will suffice for our study with the single proviso that we are studying a divine “personality.”
The purpose of this article is to show that the God the Christian deals with is not some abstract impersonal force but a God which has all the characteristics that constitute a personality. Some may consider this article as ridiculously unnecessary. After all, what Christian would deny the fact that God is personal (i.e. has an individual personality)? Ostensibly no Christian would assert such, but I believe that in a practical sense many do.
To demonstrate what I am referring to let me give a example. A lady once confided in me that when she thought of Jesus she associated Him with all the love, mercy and tenderness of a personal loving Savior. In contrast, she identified God (i.e. the Father) with judgment, severity and a certain aloofness. In short, she felt that she could really know Jesus but there was a certain abstractness when it came to understanding the Father. This kind of thinking makes a dichotomy between Jesus and God that does not exist.
In John 14:8 Philip requested of Jesus, “Lord show us the Father. ” Evidently even Philip had a mistaken concept concerning the Father and the Son. Jesus’ answer silences for all time those who would divorce the personalities and intentions of God and Jesus. Jesus said, “He who has seen me has seen the Father, how do you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (Jn. 14:9). In Hebrews 1:3, speaking of Christ, the inspired writer says, “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person . . . . ” Certainly we can see from this verse that whatever personal characteristics we attribute to one we must attribute to the other.
The attitude that associates Jesus with only those personality traits of mercy, love and tenderness and attributes to God such traits as severity, judgment and aloofness must be relinquished. A false view of God will hinder our having the proper relationship with Him. The truth is that Jesus is identified in the scriptures as one who is severe when confronting sin (see Jn. 2:13-16; Matt. 26:15; Matt. 18:6,7). All judgment has been given to the Son (Jn. 5:22). God’s stated purpose for doing this is that “all may honor the Son even as they honor the Father” (v. 23).
Further, it is the love of God (i.e. the Father) that gave Jesus for the redemption of the world (Jn. 3:16). His personal interest in our every problem is explicitly and undeniably declared in such passages as Philippians 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:6, 7. It is He that supplies our needs (Phil. 4:19). God is the one who will confirm, establish and perfect us (1 Pet. 5:10). Indeed, the Scriptures declare that He gives us “all things” relative to our spiritual welfare (Rom. 8:32).
What I have said in this article is not intended to detract from the truth that God does all of these things through Christ (Eph. 1:3). The very fact that it is through Christ reveals to us, in the best possible way, that Christ and the Father are “one” (Jn. 10:30).
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 10, p. 302
May 17, 1984