Often Christians imagine God in one of two ways: as a being so divine and holy that He sits on His heavently throne far detached from the menial and elementary activities of humans’ daily lives or as a being understood only through Jesus who is our best buddy, someone who is always there to lift us up from pain or hardship.
The true God, however, is somewhere in between these two extremes.
As Christians, our entire theology centers on the identity of God and specifically on His earthly presence as Jesus Christ and an incorrect view of Christ’s character can distort ourunderstanding of God, ourselves and the entire world. When we have false views of Jesus or God, we formulate false views of ourselves and the world around us.
Often our errors in understanding God arise from our desire to make sense of the mystery of Jesus’ identity as both fully human and fully divine. To avoid uncertainty and to simplify our conception of God, people often seek errantly to understand Jesus as more one than the other. We either relegate Jesus simply to being God who is all-powerful and supremely detached from anything humans experience or we classify Jesus as primarily human and treat him as if he were our next door neighbor who loves everyone and just wants them to be happy. Each of these extremes fail to fully embrace the truth of Christ’s identity and lead Christians to miss out on God’s true role in our lives.
Christ was fully human, like us, but he is still more. Beyond his full humanity lies his full divinity. Christ is not only our model of perfect human-ness, but he is also the God that ultimately provides us with freedom from sin and life in its fullest sense. Jesus must be understood not simply as our example of human behavior, but also as the maker of the universe and the principal of the divine purposes.
The true identity of Jesus can be securely found between the tendencies to see Jesus as a best bud or so holy that he is unconnected to our experience. God is supremely holy, but he is also a being who has endured what we seek to endure, and we cannot arrive at a correct understanding of his relation to us unless we allow these natures to concur in one person, that of Jesus Christ.