God is very, very, very Big. God is God and I am not. I serve kids. We sing songs together. My God is so Big is a classic. We sing it loud and sing it soft, sing it high and sing it low, sing it fast and sing it slow. We sing it over and over again. God is very, very, very Big.
As a child the whole world is big, everyone is bigger than you. But as we grow we fool ourselves. We get bigger. We make ourselves so big we’re at the centre of it all. God is nowhere to be found. When people are big and God is small, I am biggest of all.
Welch re-examines the leaky love tank, a person is a cup imagery. We don’t need to be filled. We need forgiveness. God smashes and breaks self-centred desires and needs. The old self dies and we are new creation in Christ. Christ is where we see the true image of God. He shows God’s glory, full of grace and truth.
People as cups is very self-focused. Better to say, humans are mirrors. A person truly and properly expresses their humanity as they show the image of God and express a character that is like God. Humans are worshippers, we’re made to glorify God. Welch explains this practically by saying we give human expression, as far as creaturely possible, to be like God. Any image God gives of himself, Welch says, is to be applied to and lived out by Christians. In Christ, we’re priests, children, slaves, friends, fellow workers, brides, warrior, living stones, evangelists, prophets, pastors, teachers, husbands.
I love the God-centred, Christ-focused thrust of these chapters. I’m screaming on the inside for Biblical theology to effect the exegesis and application of the images. The allegorical use of the priestly garments left me confused. Welch didn’t explain why only human images of God were being picked up and not something like God as rock. Welch drives the image of God as his main focus, but because I’m not convinced of his precise definition I felt uncomfortable by the end.
Yet at the same time these are the most revolutionary and convicting chapters. They challenge my self-centredness and self-definition. Who am I? I am a creature made in the image of the triune redeeming holy Lord. Jesus must be at the centre of my life and not my felt needs.
Welch’s look at humanity is very refreshing in the face of self-help and how to and try harder solutions that are fruitless and guilt inducing. Yet he is clear and structured and practical in his approach. Jesus is the key.