God Is Spirit
“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).- John 4:24
Perhaps one of most insulting comments a Christian could ever hear from another person is “your God is too small.” As believers committed to the grandeur and majesty of God, we never want to be accused of having an inadequate conception of the Lord. We desire to love a God who is as great as Scripture describes.
As we continue our study of the divine attributes, we note that at times our discussion has been very abstract. These concepts can indeed be difficult to grasp at first, but they are essential to our spiritual well-being. We can only trust a Lord who is good, loving, holy, merciful, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and faithful as the biblical Creator truly is. At the same time, we recognize that we can study for a lifetime and only scratch the surface of His immensity. But this will be worth the effort, for as we deepen in our knowledge of Him, we will become ever more established in our faith (Heb. 5:11–14).
The verse we have selected for today’s study tells us that “God is spirit” (John 4:24). This may immediately conjure up images of a ghost or other such apparition, but we must be clear that to say the Lord is spirit does not mean He is wispy or ethereal. When Jesus says “God is spirit,” He simply teaches what the Father is like — divine, not limited by physical corporeality, life-giving, and incomprehensible.
As human beings we are defined by our locality. We can be localized at one particular place at one particular time. Though we are composed of body and spirit, our spirits are always where our bodies are, at least while we are alive. God, on the other hand, cannot be localized. When we say that He is spirit, we are saying that He is invisible, not contained. There is some analogical similarity between our spirits and the being of the Lord, but they are not identical.
To be physical is to have extensions. Our bodies extend out from our core to a definite boundary. However, our Father has no such extensions or limitations. We cannot be in more than one place at a time, but God is everywhere. Even our spirits have this limit (Luke 16:19–31), but God is forever omnipresent. We will examine this attribute more next week.
Wherever our bodies are, there our spirits are as well. However, God does not have this limitation. He is as present in Moscow as He is in Washington and as is as present there as He is in the jungles of the Amazon. Think of how amazing that is — no matter where we find ourselves, the Lord is always at hand! Do you feel as if He is far from you today? Pray that He would make His presence felt and encourage another who feels like God is far away from him.
Passages for Further Study
Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you do not make more than 500 physical copies. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred (where applicable). If no such link exists, simply link to www.ligonier.org.
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: From Ligonier Ministries, the teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul. All rights reserved. Website: www.ligonier.org | Phone: 1-800-435-4343