God is not a Librarian

I love libraries and I love librarians. I even once considered becoming a librarian.

God, however, is not a librarian.

Generally we have been trained in Western Christianity to think of the gospel as the good news that Jesus died for our sins, taking our punishment for us, and that if we will believe in him we will be forgiven and get to live forever.

Inherent in this version of the gospel is the image of God as a great librarian in the sky – cataloging human beings into various categories: lost, saved, good, bad – and then shelving us in the appropriate storage place, either heaven or hell.

That’s why Jesus’ revelation of God’s Triune nature is such good news (gospel). Jesus tells us that he and his Father live in each other, together with the Holy Spirit, in an intimate relationship of joy and love. The very heart of God’s Triune nature is a relational, inclusive, loving embrace.

Therefore, when God relates to humanity in Jesus it means that the Father, Son, and Spirit are relating to us in a relational, inclusive, loving, and embracing way because that is the nature of who the Triune God is. As the Son of God, who is fully God, Jesus cannot be anything or anyone other than who he truly is with the Father and the Spirit in the Triune life.

When the Son became human as the man Jesus, while never ceasing to be God the Son, he opened the circle of the Trinitarian life and extended the inclusive, loving embrace of God’s nature to include humanity.

This reality – that God is the Trinity relating to humanity in Jesus – is the gospel!

The good news (gospel) for us is that God is not a forensic categorizer who is obsessively checking to see what we have done to earn his love. He is the Triune love of the Father who embraces and loves the Son in the Spirit. That means that he will never relate to humanity in any other way than who he really is: the God who includes, embraces and accepts others into his life.

~ Jonathan Stepp

4 comments so far

  1. buttermilk80 on

    When God finally opens his library, billions will be astonished to note how there are only two books there. You’re right. God does not have many variations of judgment. There is only one standard; Jesus or guilt.

    By His Grace.

  2. Efren on

    No alcanzamos a vislumbrar el inmenso amor de Dios, puesto que a pesar de nuestros delitos y pecados, nos ha incluido, a través de Cristo, en la Trinidad. Con razón nos pide Pablo que nuestro sacrificio vivo para Dios Trino, debemos ser nosotros mismos.

  3. Pastor Jonathan on

    I did this using Google translate so please forgive any errors:

    Estoy de acuerdo, Efrén, el inmenso amor de Dios para nosotros es difícil de comprender. Para ser nosotros mismos tenemos que creer que el inmenso amor de Dios en Cristo nos hace aceptables y amado.

  4. Boyd Merriman on

    The theme I feel coming from God the past couple of years (and always of course, we are just now waking up to it) is Relationships.

    And relationship is something the holy spirit excels at! God is so relational, that any relationships that exists on earth is because God, being who and what God is (Father, Son, Holy Spirit in eternal relationship) is involved. Good relationships cannot exist without God, whether they are Christian or not. It’s because God created us to be relational is proof that humanity cannot exist or relate or do anything without first being who and what we are in Christ.

    Anything attempt outside of that is a broken relationship, a.k.a., sin.

    I keep reminding people, especially the “hell bell ringers” that “gospel” means good news, not bad news.

    So I focus a lot on the good news, which drive many of the hell bellers crazy!


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