No One Has Ever Seen God

HomeChristianity and the BibleNo One Has Ever Seen God

There are a lot of Bible verses about love. Some tell us what God is like: God is love.. Some tell us what to do: love your enemies. There’s a verse about love that’s very precious to me, and I’d like to spend a few minutes on it:

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us (1 John 4:12).

This verse is special to me because it does something that many of the other verses don’t. It shows me that I bear a particular burden of responsibility. What is that burden?

I represent God. I depict God to others. If others are to know what God is like, I must show them. Not with mere words, but with action. God is invisible, but I am not. Following Jesus is not an intellectual exercise alone. Jesus could have come simply as a teacher, but He did not. He came to teach, certainly…but not only with words. Jesus loved. He was moved by compassion. He came not for the healthy, but for the sick. He came to undo the lies that our enemy has sown since humanity’s beginning, not only because the truth matters, but because we are harmed by the lies. The truth sets us free, and the lies keep us in bondage.

Our lost and dying world needs to know that God is love. They need to know that He demonstrated that love by dying in our place, paying the penalty for our rebellion and hatred and selfishness and spite. This isn’t a message that can be taught in a classroom, or a sanctuary. It must be lived in the out-of-doors, in the streets, and in our homes. We can’t express our understanding of God’s love on Sunday only, dressed up for church, smiling and shaking hands. God’s love is best seen not when things go well, but when they fall apart.

My own family history is full of mental illness, addiction, depression, and sickness. God’s love is best seen in the ugliness, in the mud. When things are awful. When a loved one relapses. When the diagnosis is tragic. When they want you to go away and leave them alone. When they leave you alone, and don’t come back. When they tell you they don’t love you. When you let them down, and when they let you down. That’s when we need God’s love the most…and that’s when our burden of responsibility can give birth to hope.

Please take a few minutes to watch this video. It’s The God Who Stays by Matthew West. Read the lyrics. If you belong to Jesus, please take seriously our responsibility to make God visible to those around us. They can’t see Him, but they can see us. When we represent God well, others will find it easier to turn to Him…to trust Him as we have. We have been loved, and God has been gracious to us. God loves them too: the mean, the angry, the addicted. Those whose lives seem out of control, who seem determined to make their lives even more difficult, day by day. Those who suffer and those who, in their pride, refuse to acknowledge their deep and desperate need.

More than anything, our family and friends and neighbors need hope…that God is who we say He is. If we represent Him well, they may see God in us.

Lyrics:

If I were you
I would’ve given up on me by now
I would’ve labeled me a lost cause
‘Cause I feel just like a lost cause

If I were you
I would’ve turned around and walked away
I would’ve labeled me beyond repair
‘Cause I feel like I’m beyond repair

But somehow you don’t see me like I do
Somehow you’re still here

You’re the God who stays
You’re the God who stays
You’re the one who runs in my direction
When the whole world walks away
You’re the God who stands
With wide-open arms
And you tell me nothing I have ever done
Could separate my heart from the God who stays

I used to hide
Every time I thought I let you down
I always thought I had to earn my way
But I’m learning you don’t work that way

Somehow you don’t see me like I do
Somehow you’re still here

You’re the God who stays
You’re the God who stays
You’re the one who runs in my direction
When the whole world walks away
You’re the God who stands
With wide-open arms
And you tell me nothing I have ever done
Could separate my heart from the God who stays

My shame can’t separate
My guilt can’t separate
My past can’t separate
I’m yours forever

My sin can’t separate
My scars can’t separate
My failures can’t separate
I’m yours forever

No enemy can separate
No power of hell can take away
Your love for me will never change
I’m yours forever

‘Cause You’re the God who stays
You’re the God who stays
You’re the one who runs in my direction
When the whole world walks away
You’re the God who stands
With wide-open arms
And you tell me nothing I have ever done
Could separate my heart from the God who stays

You’re the God who stays
You’re the one who runs in my direction
When the whole world walks away
You’re the God who stands
With wide-open arms
And you tell me nothing I have ever done
Could separate my heart from the God who stays


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