"I Am Who I Am" ... WHAT??
What does it mean, to believe? Jesus says, if you believe in me, you will be saved. But what does that mean, exactly, to believe?
For a long time, I thought it meant, do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Well, yes. I do. Then I must be saved. Right? But does it mean that, really? Even Satan believes that Jesus is the Son of God!
Jesus means, do you believe me to be who I say I am? He is not just referring to being the Son of God.
His statement is along the same lines as God’s statement in Exodus 3:14, “I am who I am.” What does this sentence mean? It sounds redundant! God is saying that his name is, I am. His name refers to who he is, his character. His name is his character.
To believe in something, you first have to know what it is.
If Jesus is the Son of God, part of the Trinity, then his character must be the same as God’s. Therefore, if we are to know who God is, we must study either Jesus’s or God’s character. What is God’s character?
God tells us outright, who he is, in Exodus 34:6-7:
And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”
So God is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love and faithfulness. He wants, more than anything, to have a loving relationship with you. You have to rebel and disappoint God a lot to really piss him off.
But God is also just. If he let people get away with anything yet still gave them eternal life, we would not respect him very much, would we?
If we really get to know God’s character, if we really believe that God is who he says he is, all other doctrine flows from there. We can now predict how God will react to what we do. If we trust him, he will be faithful and keep his promises. If we disobey him, we will suffer the consequences. But if we repent, he will shower his mercy and favor us again.
Also, if we get to know God’s character, if we really understand how much he truly loves us - he send his own Son into Hell for us – it will stir love and gratitude in our hearts. We will want nothing more than to love him, obey him, and make him happy!