A second implication to these truths is that we must have a commitment to God as he reveals himself to be. God is not an abstract idea, he is a person. We must submit ourselves to God as the ultimate authority. I have heard recently that it is popular to use the phrase, “I don’t want to put God in a box” when someone points to the scripture to highlight God’s view on a particular issue. This phrase is the height of arrogance. What people normally mean when they say this is, “I see that God says that, but I don’t want to box him into that viewpoint. Really, I want to free him up to be more like me.” Whether it is homosexuality, gender, roles of men and women, social justice, family, or church order, the popular idea is to place God under judgement for his views instead of placing ourselves under the judgement of God. The bible is not a box that holds God back from his true potential. When we hold God to our standards, we are the ones placing him in a box.
From what biblical restraint do we need to liberate God? The Bible says that God is holy. Do we need to free him up to be unholy? The Bible says God is good. Should we free him from the box of scripture to be evil? God makes moral claims. Is it really liberating to disallow God to make those claims? Are we letting God out of “a box” by subjecting him to our whims and judgements? If we really want to “unbox” God, then let’s be people of the Bible! Let God define himself, and recognize God’s rule and authority by submitting to his word.
And to be clear, God is not ever actually “put in a box”. God does not need our permission to be himself. God is exactly who he says he is, irrespective of our opinions. Remember, “our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases” (Psalm 115:3). So let’s not think that we can actually restrain God. But there is a real danger of forming an image of god in our minds that is not the real God. When we create a god that is inconsistent with God’s word, we begin to worship a false God and therefore become idolaters.
Are you “putting God in a box” by placing yourself as the ultimate authority?
Are you committed to knowing God as he has revealed himself in Scripture?
©️Jacob Crouch 2020