The Bible from beginning to end is the story of God. There is but one living and true God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Is. 45:5-7; 1 Cor. 8:4), an infinite, all-knowing Spirit (John 4:24), perfect in all His attributes, one in essence, eternally existing in three Persons–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14)–each equally deserving worship and obedience. To be God-centered is to know and experience the God of the Bible in the daily practice of our lives.
You and I live a world that is saturated with idols. From hobbies to entertainment, to workaholism to pornography and materialism, we are inundated with “gods” all around us. To be God-centered is to have a biblical view of God. Sound doctrine must be matched in our lives by sound living. When we have right doctrine, but don’t practice that doctrine, we may be able to answer people’s questions, but we will never do so in a loving Christ-honoring way. Doctrine not only transforms but should adorn our lives. In this article, I want to look at four ways that being God-centered matters and how it changes our lives (Titus 2:10).
God is the Gospel, John Piper has written. Our view of God has consequences (both good and bad). For example, people who grow up in broken and dysfunctional homes often have a view of God the Father as one of a harsh or angry god. They place their experience of their earthly father on God who is called Father. Instead of viewing God as the Creator of everything and as good, loving, and just—they instead consider Him as harsh, punishing, and demanding.
The gospel flips this perspective upside down and inside out. As Creator, God is the Father of all men (Ephesians 4:6), but He is Spiritual Father only to Christians (Romans 8:14; 2 Corinthians 6:18). He has decreed for His own glory all things that shall come to pass (Ephesians 1:11). He continually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and events (1 Chronicles 29:11). In His sovereignty, He is neither the author nor approver of sin (Habakkuk 1:13) nor does He abridge the accountability of moral, intelligent creatures (1 Peter 1:17). He has graciously chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as His own (Ephesians 1:4-6). He saves from sin all those who come to Him, and He becomes, upon adoption, Father to His own (John 1:12; Romans 8:15; Gal. 4:5; Heb. 12:5-9).
Understanding who God is helps His people to have a healthy God-honoring prayer life. Since Jesus has died in our place, for our sin, and risen again—He now serves High Priest and Intercessor over His people. Hebrews 4:16 invites God’s people, through Christ, to come boldly before His throne. Sometimes Christians think they have to clean themselves up before they can come to God. Yes, we must confess and repent of our sin (1 John 1:9), but we do so only because we have a right understanding and fear of Him (Proverbs 1:9; 9:10). Without a biblical fear of God, we would never desire God, grow in Christ, or long to pray to Him. When we understand God and that His ways are just, holy, and good, we will earnestly desire to come before the throne of God’s grace, knowing that He receives us warmly because of Christ, not because of our works.
Every true Christian should long to engage in the regular reading of the Word of God. Whether in audio or printed format, the Bible has never been more available than it is today in the history of man. Since the Bible is God’s story, His love letter to His people, and it is the inspired, inerrant, sufficient, and authoritative for faith and practice—His people should read His story in the Bible. After all, our story finds its completion in His redemptive story.
When we read the Bible, we do so not so we can say, “I read my Bible today.” Instead, Christians read the Bible because it is God’s story to help them know who God is and how through Christ, He gave of Himself completely for His people in His death and resurrection.
As God’s people, we read the Bible, not out of duty, but rather out of delight. It is a delight to read the story of God from the beginning of the Bible in Genesis 1:1 to the last words in Revelation 22:21. We need to read or listen to our Bible’s each day to grow in our understanding of our God.
God has called people, who were once not His people, to be His people in and through Christ (1 Peter 2:9-10). God has always had people whom He has called His own. Through Christ, He no longer calls them His enemies, but His friends (John 15:15). All who place their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual body, the Church (1 Corinthians 12:12, 13), the Bride of Christ (2 Cor. 11:2; Ephesians 5:23-32; Revelation 19:7, 8), of which Christ is the Head (Eph. 1:22; 4:15; Colosians 1:18). The Church is thus a unique spiritual organism designed by Christ, made up of all born-again believers (Ephesians 2:11 – 3:6).
There is much more that has, can, and will be said in the coming days about the God-centered nature of the Christian life. To be God-centered is to be focused on Him, to be all for Him, not just in word, but in deed. To be God-centered is to have our lives revolve around not only the question, “Who is God?” but also, “Why does having God in my daily life matter?”
Our God is a treasure to be enjoyed, worshiped, and obeyed. Our God does not leave us dead and stranded. Instead, our God is active and has intervened in history through Christ to redeem man from the death penalty they justly deserve by dying in place of man and for their sin and rising again on the third day.
Whether it’s from the angle of the gospel, prayer, Bible-reading, community, or any other perspective that we might consider—our God is good, just, loving, merciful, kind, and holy. God is the Gospel. Through understanding this critical truth, His people are enabled to have hope and access to the Fount in Christ Jesus, our Lord, Master, and Commander. To be God-centered is to increasingly have our theology match our daily experience as we walk day by day, week by week, and year by year with God in Christ.