Richard Stamp
None Like Him

The human race has never really been that good at embracing difference. Sure, in many communities we maintain the veneer of civility, and for the most part, we manage to maintain law and order, and work together to achieve professional aims. But you don’t have to scratch too far beneath the surface to see the lines that divide us.

Throughout history, humanity has warred against ‘the other’. Tribes, racial groups, nations, political ideologies. If there’s one thing that the human race works well to achieve, it’s marking – and often punishing - our differences. As I write this, I can think of at least three major international conflicts - three ‘differences of opinion’ going on in the world today.

But what if it is our difference from God that is at the heart of our community with him, and each other?

Joan Osborne once asked, “What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us? Just a stranger on the bus?”. Before I knew Jesus, I used to think about this a lot. What if God was like us? We are created in his image after all. What if God could grow old, get ill and die? What if God showed a preference for racial groups? Would he be alt-right? Would he vote Labour? Would he misinterpret emails and body language and get resentful of us? Would he worry about the future, about how he would provide for in his old age, about how his kids would turn out? What kind of a God would that be? And why would you want to invest your hope and trust in one like that?

How can we be like God, and yet exhibit traits that seem completely at odds with his personality? How can we be created in his image, and make choices to ignore him and isolate ourselves from him, and set ourselves up against our neighbour, and fire rockets into neighbouring countries and overtax the poor, and go on holiday when children are dying in Syria? How is any of this possible, and how are we to find hope in any part of this?

This is where we start: there is none like him. And that’s good.

There is none like him. There is none like him. There is none like him. Say it over and over until it etches itself into your mind and then ask, so what?

Here are 5 truths about God, about his difference from us, and why that’s good.

  • We are created in the image of God. Gen. 1:27 tells us so. The image of God, the Imago Dei, sets us apart from any other part of creation, enables us to commune with our maker, and equips us to play the part in creation that we were meant to. We are meant to be like God, but we must recognise that we aren’t God. Nor is anything else. There is none like him.
  • We are fallen. God isn’t. This doesn’t mean that we can’t reflect God, or his goodness. It just means that, unlike God, we will stumble at times, our labours can appear fruitless, and our hearts can grow weary. God’s won’t. There is none like him
  • God is uncreated. You can’t invest your life, your family and your eternity in another human, or anything that a human creates. That’s idolatry, and nobody has ever found the meaning of life that way. You can trust in only One. There is none like him.
  • God is ‘omni’. We aren’t. We can no more know how our dinner will taste than anything else that there is to be known. But, God is not like that. He knows every hair on every head and the outcome to every decision and situation. That’s how he can produce a book of life that tells us how it all ends when finally every warring faction,  every colour and every difference will come together and sing in unison, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (Rev. 7:10). There is none like him.
  • God is the same, but different. Hebrews 13:8 tells us this, “Jesus Christ [the exact representation of the Father] is the same yesterday, today and forever.” We don’t worship a God who gets moody at his boss, has ‘off’ days, or worries about his pension plan. He is 100% Sovereign, 100% of the time. He is 100% Father, 100% of the time. He is 100% good (Mark 10:18), 100% of the time. Thankfully, this means that in our limited understanding we can glory upwards at the limitless God. He is God. We aren’t God. He is good. That is good. We are made by him, for him. Not the other way around. There is none like him.

We put our hope not in weakness and decay, or corruption or ineptitude, or frailty, or incompetence. That happens when we put our trust in our retirement pot, our health, our work. We who are weak, put our trust in the most supreme, sovereign, right, good, perfect, stable and loving Rock. And by that we are made strong.

This Sunday, we start a 10-part preaching series exploring this very theme based on Jen Wilkin’s excellent book of the same name. Join us as we explore 10 ways that God is different from us, and why each of them are a good thing.

There is none like him.