Essence of God

 

 

 

 

 

To understand the trinity, we need to understand who and what God is. God has revealed Himself to us through His essence made up of His attributes. Essence is the being or nature of a person. Attributes are those qualities that compose the essence of a person.

 

Each member of the Trinity has identifiable and identical attributes.  Therefore, God has one essence – the oneness or unity of God refers to the identical essence of the three persons.

 

God’s essence can only be known through His attributes. Each attribute is equally ascribed to each person of the Trinity.  No individual attribute is separate from His essence as a whole.  Each attribute is an intrinsic (the essential nature of a thing; inherent) quality of the nature of God.

 

God cannot and does not deal with man in any one singular attribute.  All must and do work in conjunction with each other.

 

Deut 6:4; "Hear O' Israel, the Lord is God, the Lord is one."

 

   The 10 Major Attributes of God are:

 S                -        Sovereignty

+R              -        Righteous

 J                 -        Justice

 L               -        Love

EL               -        Eternal Life

OS              -        Omniscience (All Knowing)

OPt             -        Omnipotence (All Powerful)

Opr             -        Omnipresence (Everywhere)

  I                -        Immutability (Unchanging)

 V                -        Veracity (Absolute Truth)

 

The Attributes of God.

 

1.  The essence of God equals His being or substance plus His attributes.  Essence is the being which is attributed to God, since these characteristics are eternally inherent (fundamental, basic, existing as an essential constituent, or characteristic; intrinsic) in Him.  Essence means the combined attributes.

 

2.  Since the grace of God and the work of God are manifestations of His essential attributes, it is important to understand the divine attributes, and to understand the thoughts and functions of God.  You are designed as a royal priest to understand the thoughts and functions of God.

 

3.  The difficulty in the study of divine essence is that it brings the finite human mind into constant contemplation and concentration on the infinite.  But the Holy Spirit makes these things clear.

 

4.  This study therefore includes who and what God is.  This study is designed to include the attributes of God which are both inherent to His eternal glory and related to mankind.

 

5. Gods Attributes have three major characteristics; they are Eternal, Functional and Directional.


          a. Eternal - There was never a time when each member of the Trinity did not possess all of the divine attributes.

 

b. Functional - His attributes have function or capacity for operation.  Functional towards Themselves and each other member of the trinity and towards man.

 

          c. Directional - The objective of the attributes of God are to have direction toward which they function.

1)     Righteousness is the point of responsibility of the attributes. Rom 1:17

2)     Justice is the point of contact of the attributes. Heb 12:6

3)     Love is the point of reference of the attributes. John 3:16

 

6.  Theology recognizes two categories of divine attributes.

a.  The Absolute Attributes of God are inherent and intransitive (It does not require an object to complete it's meaning.).  They are primary and incommunicable (They cannot be related to something we understand.). We do not come into contact with these. These attributes are most important in God's relationship to God; they are not related to man.

 

They include Spirituality, Infinity, and Perfection.

 

1)     Spirituality - God's Life and Personality. Jer 10:10; John 4:24 w/ 2 Cor 4:7,16; 1 Thes 1:9

2)      Infinity - Self-existence, Immutability and Unity. Psa 8:3; Heb 1:3: John 17:3

3)     Perfection - Truth, Love and Integrity. Deut 32:4: 1 John 4:8; 5:20; Ex 15:11

 

b.  The Relative Attributes of God are:

 

1)      Related to mankind. 

2)      Secondary and communicable (We can define and understand them).

3)      Transitive (Expressing an action which is carried from the subject to an object) and anthropopathic. 

 

Anthropopathic means that God often reveals Himself in terms of man's experience and activities. 

 

For example, anthropopathic terms used in the Bible to describe God include integrity, love, faithfulness, happiness, and grace.  (See definition of Anthropopathism in “Terms Used”)

 

There are three categories of Relative Attributes:

 

a)      Those related to time and space - Eternity and Immensity. Deut 32:40; 1 Tim 1:17

b)     Those related to creation -
Omniscience: Psa 33:13-15; Mat 6:8; Heb 4:3

Omnipresence: Psa 139:7-8; Acts 17:27
Omnipotence: Isa 44:24; 2 Cor 4:6; Eph 1:19-21; 3:20

c)     Those related to moral beings - Veracity and Faithfulness, Mercy and Goodness, and Righteousness and Justice.

 

7.  What makes this study challenging is the fact that God is composed of things immaterial. 

 

Jn 4:24, God is a spirit; they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth."  Spirit and truth are both immaterial.

 

a.  Therefore, we cannot understand God apart from the function of the human mind under the enabling power of the Holy Spirit in delving into what is immaterial and absolute. Deut 29:2; John 14:26; Rom 8:16, 26; 1 Cor 2:10-16

 

Deut 29:29, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.”

 

Rom 8:16, The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.”

 

Rom 8:26, In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

 

          b.  Spirit does not have flesh and bones; Spirit is not material, Lk 24:39, as Christ taught the disciples post resurrection.

 

Luke 24:39,  “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

 

          c.  Jesus Christ in Hypostatic Union is the only visible manifestation of God. Jn 1:18, 6:46; 1 Tim 6:16; 1 Jn 4:12

 

When those who were alive during the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union saw Christ, they saw only His humanity; they didn't see His deity. 

 

No one has seen deity because it is spiritual. John 1:18 (Not even Moses, Ex 33:18-23)

 

John 1:18,No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”

 

Yet God assumed visible form which men saw in Old Testament times. Gen 32:22-30; Ex 24:9-10; Judge 13:22; Isa 6:1;

Dan 7:9

 

In Jesus men could see God, John 14:8-9, because:
1) Christ gives life, John 1:12.
2) He reveals, vv 14, 18.
3) He gives grace and truth, vv 16-17.

 

          d.  But the spiritual can be understood by absolute truth. Heb 4:12

 

e.  God is invisible, but God is also personal.  Even though He is invisible, He is living, an active spirit, eternal, infinite, and unchanging in existence.

 

f.  Therefore, we say God is immanent (Existing or remaining within; inherent) and transcendent (Surpassing others; preeminent or supreme. Lying beyond the ordinary range of perception. Being above and independent of the material universe), as a spiritual being.

 

8.  In this study, we will note ten major divine attributes.

 

 The 10 Major Attributes of God are:

 S                -        Sovereignty (Ultimate Authority)

+R              -        Righteous (Perfect Good)

 J                 -        Justice (Perfect Fairness)

 L               -        Love (Perfect Love)

EL               -        Eternal Life (Without Beginning or End)

OS              -        Omniscience (All Knowing)

OPt             -        Omnipotence (All Powerful)

Opr             -        Omnipresence (Everywhere)

  I                -        Immutability (Unchanging)

 V                -        Veracity (Absolute Truth)

 

 

Sovereignty:

 

God is sovereign, the Supreme Ruler of the universe, King of the heavens and earth.  He is absolute authority and will.

 

a.       God is the Supreme Being of the universe. Deut 4:39; 1Sa 2:6-8; 1Chron 29:11-12; 2Chron 20:6; Psa 83:18; Acts 17:24; Heb 6:13

b.       He is the King of heaven and earth. Psa 47:2,7; Psa 93:1; Mat 6:13; Heb 8:1; Rev 4:2-3

 

c.       God has absolute will and does as He pleases. Job 9:12; Psa 115:3; 135:6; Pro 21:1; Dan 4:35; 1 Cor 12:11

 

d.       God is a perfect gentleman.  He will never coerce the volition He has given to the human race. John 7:17

 

e.       The meeting place between God's absolute will and free will is the Cross. John 3:36, 2Pe 3:9, Rev 22:17

 

f.       God has a sovereign plan for mankind.

 

1.       Phase One - Salvation. Psa 24; Acts 16:31; John 1:12

 

2.                 Phase Two - Believer's life, Christian walk in time, filled with the Holy Spirit and the daily intake of Bible Doctrine.

Eph 5:18; 2Ti 2:15-16

 

3.       Phase Three - Eternity. 2 Cor 5:8

 

 

Righteousness:

 

The righteousness of God is perfect goodness, sinless in character and person. 

 

His attitudes and actions conform to the flawless standard of His own nature. 

 

a.                  God is absolute righteousness (R+). Holiness = Righteousness + Justice combined. 1 Sam 2:2; Lev 19:2b; Psa 145:17; John 17:11; Rev 3:7; 6:10

 

b.                 Man does not have perfect righteousness (R+), Man has relative righteousness (R-).  Isa 64:6; Rom 3:10-12

 

c.                 God (R+) can not have fellowship with man who is (R-) when he is a sinner. Isa 59:2

 

d.                 God demands that His creatures have the same (R+) that He has. Rom 3:21-26

 

e.                  God who is free from sin was satisfied with Christ's work on the Cross where (R+) can now be imputed to man (believers).

2 Cor 5:21; 1John 1:5-10  - (Perfect fairness)

 

The scriptural designation of the Spirit as Holy signifies that He too possesses absolute righteousness.  Răéďň - Hagios:  In a moral sense, pure, sinless, upright, Holy. –  Joseph Thayer Greek English Lexicon.  Physically pure, morally blameless or religious, ceremonially consecrated. -  Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionary.  Set apart to or by God, consecrated; holy, morally pure, upright. – Concise Greek English Dictionary of the New Testament

 

 

Justice:

 

An integral part of God's justice is fairness; it is impossible for God to be unfair to any member of the human race. 

 

Man' point of contact with God is divine justice. God’s justice is the source of both judgment and blessing. 

 

What the righteousness of God demands, the justice of God executes. 

 

What God's righteousness rejects, our sin nature and personal sin, His justice punishes. 

 

What the righteousness of God accepts, His own righteousness in the believer (1 Cor. 1:30), the justice of God blesses.

 

The justice and righteousness of God combine to form His integrity or holiness.

 

As an expression of God's fairness the Holy Spirit supplies common grace—His work that convicts "the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment" (John 16:8‑11).

 

a.                  God's holiness includes His justice as well as His righteousness; it's impossible for Him to be unfair. 2Chron 19:7

b.                 His perfect justice demands that disobedience to His law be punished. John 3:36

c.                 God as supreme judge placed a penalty on sin. He is no respecter of persons. Psa 50:6; Rom 6:23; 2:11

d.                 God's justice is satisfied with Christ's death; the payment for the penalty is spiritual death. Col 2:14

e.                  God is just to :

1.                  Forgive; pardon the sinner who excepts His saving grace. Rom 3:21-28; 4:5; 8:1

2.                  To condemn to the Lake of Fire those who reject Christ as the Savior. John 3:18; 3:36

 

 

Love:

 

Definition: 

 

A deep, tender, indescribable feeling of affection and care or concern toward a person, such as that arising from kinship.

 

Recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.

A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person. (American Heritage Talking Dictionary.)

 

God is eternal, unchangeable love. 1 John 4:8b, 16

 

As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have come to know and have believed the love, which God has for us.

 

God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.  1 John 4:7-17

 

God's love is:

Infinitely superior to any human type love,

 

Not dependent on emotion,

 

Needs no response, recipro­cation, reassurance, or demonstrations of faithfulness to sustain it.

 

It exists with or without a created object, because God loves His own perfect essence.

 

There are no strings attached, God has decided to treat man in Grace. Rom 8:32; Eph 2:8-9; 1John 4:16-21

 

The love of God is expressed in three categories. 

 

Divine Self‑Love:
The love of each member of the Trinity directed toward the other members based on their perfect righteousness.


It is totally justified because of the perfect character of God.

 

John 17:24, Father, I desire that they also [believers], whom You have given Me [the Son], be with Me where I am, in order that they may behold My glory, which You have given Me; for You loved Me [divine self‑love] before the foundation of the world.”  w/ 1 John 4:9

 

Divine Personal Love
God's love for all believers because they possess His perfect righteousness.

 

Rom 5:5b, "Because the [personal] love of God [the Father] has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."

 

Divine Unconditional Love:

God's love for all of mankind, which motivates Him to do the most He can for sinful man. John 3:16; Rom. 5:8

God's unconditional love is based on the integrity (Righteousness and Justice) of God rather than the merit or attractiveness of mankind.

 

He personally and eternally loves us because we possess His righteousness.

 

Principles:

1. God's love can only be known through Bible Doctrine. 1 John 4:18; Phi 3:10

 

2. God is able to love every carnal or apostate believer who is unfaithful and antagonistic towards Him, because we have His perfect righteousness and God always loves. 2 Tim 2:13

 

3. Those that have entered into salvation can never be separated from God's love. Rom 8:35-39; John 10:27-30

 

4. In His love, God sent His unique son to die on the Cross for the sins of the whole world. John 3:16; 1 John 4:9-10

 

 

Eternal Life:

 

a.  God is absolute existence. He is the self‑existing one, Yahweh, the great "I am" (Ex. 3:14), who has neither beginning nor end. Ps. 9:7; 90:2; 102:27; Gen 1:1; Deut 32:40; Isa 43:13; Job 36:26; Lam 5:19: Hab 3:6: 1 John 1:2

 

b. The self‑existing life of God means His existence is entirely self‑contained and does not depend on anything external to Himself.  

 

c.  Eternal Life means no beginning and no end.  Everlasting life has a beginning but has no end.  Eternity is Everlasting for both believers and unbelievers

 

d. The New Testament affirms that eternal life was with the Father. 1 John 1:2.

 

And this same life is in His Son. 1 John 5:11  This is why the Lord Jesus Christ {TLJC} is described as the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. Rev 1:8

 

The Holy Spirit gives eternal life in Gal 6:8.   In fact He is called the eternal Spirit. Heb 9:14

 

Gal 6:8, “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

 

Therefore, again we see the trinity each possessing the divine attributes of divine essence.

 

Where deity is concerned time is non-existent; God merely invented time for humanity!  Time is actually the boundary lines and the race that man has been placed within.  Whether you realize it or not we are all slaves to time.  Our lives, our jobs, our leisure are regulated by the clock.  We think in terms of past, present, and future; of short or long periods; of years, months, days, hours, minutes, and seconds...

 

e. Yet a loving, eternal God cares enough to extend a gracious offer for us to share His eternal life. Mat 25:46b; John 8:51; 10:27-28; 2 Cor 6:2; 1 John 5:11-12;

 

f. In order for God to share eternal life with us, the Son was willing to leave heaven and become humanity and die for the sins of the world. John 10:17-18; Phi 2:6-8; Heb 2:14-15

 

g. God will not share His eternal life with unbelievers. Mat 24:51; 25:46a; 1John 5:12b

 

John 3:36, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

 

h. Our lives are likened to vapor trails. James 4:13-14

 

James 4:13, Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”

 

We are here today and gone tomorrow.

 

However the promise is that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

 

 

All Knowing (Omniscience):

 

God is All Knowing.  He has perfect knowledge. 1 Sam 2:3; Job 26:6; 42:2

 

Job 37:16, “Do you know about the layers of the thick clouds, the wonders of one perfect in knowledge."

 

Also see Psa 139:1-6, 12.

 

God is able to count and number the stars. Psa 147:4

 

Omniscience in the Latin is omni, which means "all," and scientia, "knowledge."

 

Eternal God in three persons has always known all things, which include both the actual and the possible past, present, or future events. Job 31:4; 34:21 

 

Job 31:4, “Does He not see my ways and number all my steps?”

 

Job 34:21, “For His eyes are upon the ways of a man, and He sees all his steps.”

 

Before the creation of the world, God knew every problem, every heartache, every moment of your life, including every sin you would ever commit. Heb 4:13

 

Even though His knowledge transcends time and eternity, His knowledge of events before they occur does not violate or interfere with human volition.  Ezek 11:5

 

Ezek 11:5, “So you think … for I know your thoughts."

 

By Divine design human beings are free agents who can choose to partake of God's grace or reject Him.

 

We usually can go back and evaluate things that have happened in the past, see our failures and hopefully, learn from them.  We can even speculate about the future and even make some pretty accurate guesses....but none of us knows exactly what will happen tomorrow.

 

We are slaves to time!

We are limited by time!

However, God is not and therefore His knowledge is superimposed over time.

 

We continue to learn as long as we live on this earth.

God has never had to learn a thing!

 

He has always known everything, every thought, every motive, every event and every action of every person who would ever live!

And He knew this billions and billions of years before they existed.

 

You are accountable to God for all your decisions and actions and will give an account to God. Rom 14:12

 

Jer 16:17, "For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity concealed from My eyes."

 

2 Cor 5:10, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad."

 

God is not ignorant of who is saved and who is not. 2 Tim 2:19

 

God in His omniscience works all things together for the good of those who belong to Him. Nah 1:7; John 13:7; Rom 8:28

 

TLJC said to Peter one day in Jn13:7..."What I'm doing you do not realize now, but you shall understand later on"

 

He knows the end from the beginning!

 

Isa 46:8-11, “Remember this, and be assured; Recall it to mind, you transgressors.  9 Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’; 11 Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man of My purpose from a far country.  Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass.  I have planned it, surely I will do it.”

 

Notice vs 8 again it says, “Remember this, and be assured; Recall it to mind, you transgressors.”

 

Assured is the Hithpolel of the Hebrew word ASHASH. Literally it means "fix it in the mind" (King James Bible – “show yourselves men”)...it means to have assurance and confidence - "show yourselves firm in understanding".

 

This is why I say to the believer who understands omniscience, “It is a very comforting attribute to understand!”  It means that there is nothing in your life that could ever happen that God didn't know about billions and billions of years ago.  And knowing about it and being perfect, He provided a perfect provision and perfect solution for every problem we would ever face!

 

Our Lord shared this principle with his disciples when he said in:

 

Mt 10: 29-30, "Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father's knowledge.... but the very hairs of your head are numbered."

 

Because He is omniscient, He knows what is best for those who trust in him!  We may not understand the adversities and the sufferings which come into our lives; yet in the end, we will discover that God knew all along exactly what we needed and what was best for us!

 

No one in the human race can ever really understand in depth the principle of omniscience; we can only touch the surface!  Yet, Knowledge is imputed to the believer through the Word by the Holy Spirit. 1 Cor 2:9-12, 16; 2 Tim 2:15; Heb 4:12

 

As the apostle Paul said in Rom 11:33. "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable are His ways."

 

However, it is God's intention that every believer come to understand everything in the Bible, and that is "in time"!

 

Anything which God did not intend for us to know was not included in the Canon of Scripture.

 

As Deut 29:29 says, "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and our children forever."

 

Certainly, you will not understand the doctrinal content of the Bible all at once, for knowledge is built upon knowledge; but if you stay with it long enough it can be done!  And it should be done!

 

Remember, every book in the Bible was written by a human author who understood what he was recording.

 

Principle:  Knowing these divine attributes increases your personal love for God!

 

 

Everywhere at the Same Time (Omnipresence):

 

The English word omnipresence comes from the Latin word omnis, meaning “all.” Thus, omnipresence means God is everywhere present, but not in everything as Pantheism says, (i.e. may the force be with you).

 

Pantheism denies the personality of God and fails to show that God is distinct from the universe.

 

The Bible teaches that God is in all parts of the universe, but He is not the universe. Isa 66:1

 

Isa 66:1, “Thus says the LORD, “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest?”

 

He existed before the universe because He created it.  Acts 17:24-28

 

God is transcendent to the universe. He exists beyond any spatial limitations. 1 Kings 8:27

 

1 Kings 8:27, "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house which I have built!"

 

He is present in all parts of His creation and yet apart from it.  He may be in the wind or the storm as its source, but the storm is not God.  It is a product of His creation. Ps. 104:1-13

 

In the fullness of God’s essence, He fills all parts of the universe.

“God, in the totality of His essence, without diffusion or expansion, multiplication or division, penetrates and fills the universe in all its parts.” (A. H. Strong, Systematic Theology, Judson, p. 279)

 

This means that God is everywhere present in the totality of His essence or Divine Being.

 

We cannot think of one part of God being here and another there, because pure spirit cannot be divided. Material things have to possess extension to fill space, but this is not true of God, who is spirit.

 

God is immanent and transcendent. 

 

Immanence means His entire essence is always present everywhere in nature, in history, in all the affairs of mankind. Jer. 23:23‑24; Acts 17:27‑28

 

Jer 23:23-24, “Am I a God who is near,” declares the LORD, “And not a God far off? Can a man hide himself in hiding places so I do not see him?” declares the LORD. “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the LORD.”

 

Transcendence means He is independent of the created universe so that no particular place exclusively contains Him. Ps. 113:5‑6; Isa. 55:8‑9; John 8:23

 

Isa 55:8-9, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

 

Immanence and transcendence exist in balance, so that "the whole earth is full of His glory." Isa. 6:3

 

He pervades the universe, while at the same time He is free to be in a specific location. The fullness of God’s essence is in every place while His residence and the manifestation of His presence varies with the purposes of God. For example:

 

1.     Giving the Law to Moses. Deut. 4:10

2.     In a Theophany. Gen. 18:1 (Abraham, birth of Issac); Ex. 3:2‑6 (Moses, burning bush); Num. 14:10 (Moses, in the tent of meeting)

3.     The incarnate person of Jesus Christ. John 1:14

4.     Indwelling of the believer. John 14:20, 23; 2 Cor. 6:16

 

The Bible may speak of God as localized for some point of emphasis, but this never denies His omnipresence.

 

The Father is spoken of as in heaven (Matt. 6:9) to draw our attention to His sovereignty and ability to answer our prayers, but He is also present throughout the universe.

 

Christ had to lay aside deity in order to confine Himself to the Cross. 1Peter 2:24; Phi 2:6-8

 

Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father (Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1), but He is also with us. Mat. 28:20; Heb. 13:5-6

 

The Holy Spirit dwells (has taken up residence) in the church and in the believer, Eph. 2:22; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19, but Psalm 139:7-10 shows the Spirit is everywhere present.

 

We can faith rest every situation in life because of God's omnipresence. Deut 4:7; Psa 23:1-6

 

Why, because the New Testament assures that no believer will ever be alone (Heb. 13:5b) and teaches that all three Persons of the Godhead in an undiminished and an undivided sense dwell in every believer. Rom 8:9; 1 Cor. 6:19; Gal 2:20; Eph 4:6; Col. 1:27

 

Eph 4:6, “One God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”

 

There is a two-fold application to this doctrinal truth.

 

1. The doctrine of God’s omnipresence can become a comfort to the believer if he will recognize and rest in the fact that:

 

a. You can experience no adversity apart from the presence and care of God. Not only is God always present, but:

 

b. He has promised to be at our side in a special way as our rock and strength. Josh 1:9; Mat. 28:20

 

Josh 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

2. It is also a warning against disobedience and a preventive against sin.

 

No one can hide himself or herself from God.  Psa 139:7-12; Pro 15:3; Jer 23:23-24

 

a. We cannot commit a single sin without God being there.

b. We have not a thought or intent of the heart without His knowing and feeling it.


c. No wrong desire ever escapes His presence.

d. No matter how we may fool others, we never fool our omnipresent, omniscient God.

 

e. We can never run away or escape the presence of God.

 

Psalm 139:7-12, “Where can I go from Thy Spirit? Or where can I flee from Thy presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou art there. 9 If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea. 10 Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night,” 12 Even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.”

 

 

All Powerful (Omnipotence):

 

Omnipotence means that God's authority and ability are all-powerful and unlimited. He has power over His power.  He has the ability to do whatever He pleases with or without secondary means (directly or indirectly). Psa 24:8; 93:1; Isa 40:26; Jer 27:5

 

His omnipotence guarantees that "nothing will be impossible with God" and that "God is able". Luke 1:37; 2 Cor 9:8

 

If God is limited in any sense, the restriction is self‑imposed, to be consistent with His essence.  His limitless power is exercised under the control of His holy and wise will.  Or to put this another way, God’s power is subordinate to His wisdom, will, and holy character.

 

God will only do that which is in harmony with His perfection, nature and Person, and will not do wrong or act foolishly. Gen 1:1-3; 17:1; 18:14; Isa 44:24; Mat 3:9; 19:26; Rom 4:17

 

God can do all He wills to do, but He may not will to do all that He can. Eph 1:11  God can do anything, but He will only do what His infinite wisdom, holiness, and love dictate.   God cannot do that which would contradict His own holy character or essence.

 

God cannot:

(1) Annihilate Himself because He is eternal, unchanging, and all wise.

(2) He cannot lie because He is absolute truth. Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18

(3) Go back on His Word because He is faithful. 2 Tim. 2:13

(4) Be tempted because He is absolute holiness, He is self-sufficient and needs nothing. Jam. 1:13

(5) Be imperfect. Sin is imperfection and it would be contradictory to say that the perfect One could be imperfect. To say that the perfect One cannot be imperfect, is not really putting a limitation of God.

 

God does however:

(1) Uphold all things by the Word of His power. Heb 1:3; Psa 33:9; 1Chron 29:11-12; Rom 13:1

(2) Have the power to save (Phase One). Neh 1:10; Heb 7:25

(3) Share His power with the believer. 2 Cor 4:6; Phi 4:13

(4) Have the power to keep. Jude 24; 1Pe 1:5

(5) Have the power to raise in resurrection (Phase Three). 1Co 15:43

 

Regarding creation, God needs no blueprint to work from, no time to work in, and no instruments to work with.  The power of God gives activity and makes effective all His other perfections.   As God’s holiness is the beauty and purity of His attributes, so His power gives life, action, and validity to all His essence.

 

For instance:

His eternal counsels would be vain if His omnipotence were not there to execute them.

 

His promises would be empty if He could not fulfill them.

 

Without His power, the assurance of His presence would be meaningless, and

 

His warnings of judgment would be but empty words, a mere scarecrow.

 

Psalm 62:11 speaks of the lovingkindness of God who recompenses men for their work, but it is the power of God, mentioned in verse 11, that he has heard of the most that gives the Psalmist the assurance of the action of God’s mercy and reward.

 

“One thing God has spoken; Two things I have heard: That power belongs to God; and lovingkindness is His, O Lord, For You will reward a man according to his work.”

 

Unlike man, God has both the authority and the power to do all His will.

 

Psalm 62:11 declares, “power belongs to God (i.e., alone).”

 

After the mystery of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream had been revealed to Daniel, Daniel clearly acknowledged this important fact about God as the source of all power in his praise to the God of heaven.

 

First, he said, “… for wisdom and power belong to Him (i.e., God),” but later in his praise, he said this, “… for You have given me wisdom and power; Even now You have made known to me what we requested of You.”  Dan. 2:20 and 23

 

All other power in the universe regardless of its nature is derived power, power derived from God who is the source of all power.

Therefore, God is sovereign and you can depend on Him regardless of what powers in the world you may face

 

Daniel 3:16-18, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. 17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

 

The king’s power was a derived power and these godly Jews knew that God’s power could overrule if that was His will and purpose. They rested in God’s power according to His wisdom and purposes.  Note how they did not presume upon God’s power, but rested in the wisdom of God.

 

The omnipotence of God is a wonderful ground of trust and confidence for the believer in the reliability of the Scriptures and its many promises, in the truth of the resurrection, in the miracles of the Bible, and in God’s provision and care for believers in every realm of life.

 

So it was that the Apostle Paul, knowing and experiencing the greatness of God’s power, prayed that we might know what is the surpassing greatness of His power towards us who believe.  Ephesians 1:18-23

 

Still, with God’s powerful Word in our hands and with the experience of His power in our lives, God’s power is so great that, according to Ephesians 3:20, God is able to do beyond all we can ask or think according to the power at work in us, all to the glory of God.

 

Eph 3:20 "Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us."

 

 

Unchanging (Immutability):

 

God is not subject to change. He is invariable.

 

In His nature and character, God is absolutely without change. He is neither capable of nor susceptible to change. He is absolute stability. Num 23:19; 1 Sam 15:29; Ps 33:11; Isa 14:24; James 1:17

 

Psa 33:11, “The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The plans of His heart from generation to generation.”

 

James 1:17, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”

 

God is devoid of all change, not only in His Being, but also in His perfections, and in His purposes and promises … and is free from all accession or diminishing and from all growth or decay.

 

The trinity is always all of the attributes of their essence without change. Heb 1:12; 13:8

 

God's sovereign decisions, His omniscience, His holiness, all His characteristics are eternally the same and of equal stature (Psa. 102:27; Mal. 3:6). His Word and His works are unalterable.

 

Psa 102:27 "But You are the same, and Your years will not come to an end."

 

All of God’s attributes or perfections are included in His immutability. There can be no increase nor decrease in their number, capacity, or power. God could not be more or less holy, righteous, omnipotent, etc. It would be an absurdity to suppose He could.

 

Immutability, however, is not immobility. It does not mean that God cannot change His actions, or way of dealing with men in different situations and times.

 

It simply means His character and attributes do not change. It means that His eternal purposes do not change, for He has even purposed all things that come to pass.

 

Jonah 3:10, “And God repented of the evil that he had said that he would do unto them?” (KJV)

 

Gen. 6:5-6, “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” (KJV)

 

Repent - naňcham [naw-kham']

To sigh, breathe strongly; by implication to be sorry, (in a favorable sense) to pity, console, comfort (self), ease [one’s self], repent.

 

When we read that God repented or changed His mind, that does not mean God has changed.  It means the people or individual has changed and God must treat them differently. Num 23:19; 1 Kings 8:56-61

 

These passages are not suggesting there was a change in the character of God, only in His actions toward man based on the actions of men.  It is man who changes and due to the changeless character of God, He must change His actions or dealings with man.  God must deal with men in accord with His holy character.

 

He must eventually deal with sin in judgment as He did in Genesis 6, or He acts in mercy when men repent as He did with Nineveh.

 

The Genesis passage does not say that God changed His mind in the sense that He wished He had not made man, but only that He was grieved over man’s behavior. The translation of the NIV makes the point clear.

 

Genesis 6:5-6, “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.” (NIV)

 

Compare also the translation of the NIV for Jonah 3:10:

 

Jonah 3:10,When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.” (NIV)

 

When used of God as in some translations, the term “repentance” is simply an anthropopathism, a term ascribing human feeling or emotion to God to show us God’s attitude toward sin.

 

The question is frequently asked, If God is all-powerful could He not alter anything He desires?

 

No!  Each Attribute is consistent with His integrity.  No attribute can supersede or operate independently of God's other attributes. 

God will never act capriciously or arbitrarily, or in violation of what He has already decreed. 

 

(Capriciously (ke-prishes-us-lee), characterized by or subject to whim; impulsive and unpredictable.)

 

From God's immutability comes His faithfulness. He is always faithful, reliable and will never let anyone down. Lam. 3:22‑23; Heb. 6:17‑19

 

God's faithfulness is not dependent upon us.  Even when we lack faith, He remains faithful. 2 Tim 2:13

 

God is faithful:

 

1.                 In keeping us saved. 2 Tim 2:12-13

 

2.                 To forgive our sins because of Chris's payment. 1 John 1:9

 

3.                 In keeping His promises. Not one has ever failed. 1 Kings 8:56; 2 Co 1:20; Titus 1:2; Heb 10:23; 11:11; Ps. 119:86, 138; Deut. 7:9; Isa. 49:7; 55:3

2 Cor 1:20, “For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.”

 

Yes - íáß -nai [nahee]

A primary particle of strong affirmation; yes: even so, surely, truth, verily, yes.

 

PěŢí - ameôn = verily, amen

At the beginning of a discourse = Surely, truly, of a truth


At the end of a discourse = So it is, so be it, may it be fulfilled.

 

It was a custom, beginning in synagogues passed to Christians, that when a reading, discourse, or prayer was completed, the others responded Amen, making the substance of what was uttered their own.

 

4.                 To deliver us in and from testing, temptation or pressure. 1 Cor 10:13

 

5.                 In stabilizing and protecting the believer. 1 Thes 3:1-8

6.                 In supporting us in our suffering as the faithful Creator. 1 Pet. 4:19

 

7.                 In answering our prayers. Ps. 143:1

 

Psa 143:1, “Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications! Answer me in Your faithfulness, in Your righteousness!”

 

8.                 In the administration of His plan. 1 Cor 1:8-9

9.                 In disciplining us in love when we need it.  Heb. 12:5-7; Prov 3:11-12; Ps. 119:75; Rev 3:19

 

10.             In His provision if the believer is on target.  1 Thes 5:12-24

 

Lam 3:21-23, “This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. The LORD’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness.”

 

Psa 36:5, “Thy lovingkindness, O LORD, extends to the heavens, Thy faithfulness reaches to the skies.”

 

 

Veracity:

 

God is absolute truth.  Ex 34:6; Psa 31:5; Isa 65:16

 

What is Truth?

Truth is:

 

(a) that which is real, as compared to the fictional or imaginary.  The God of the Bible is the true God, while the gods of the heathen are vanity and nothing, mere imaginary beings, having neither existence nor attributes.

 

(b) that which completely comes up to its idea, or to what it claims to be. A true man is a man in whom the idea of manhood is fully realized. The true God is He in whom is found all that deity implies.

 

(c) that in which the reality exactly corresponds to the manifestation.  What you see is what you get. God is true, because He really is what He declares Himself to be; because He is what He commands us to believe Him to be; and because all His declarations correspond to what really is.

 

(d) that which can be depended upon, which does not fail, or change, or disappoint. In this sense also God is true as He is immutable and faithful. His promise cannot fail; His Word never disappoints.

 

Veracity (a transitive word) is the truth of God in relationship to His creatures in general, and to His people in particular. Psa 138:2; John 3:33; Rom. 3:4

 

Veracity is that perfection of God, which makes all His actions and words conform to the truth. God can not lie. Num 23:19; Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18

 

All He does and all His statements are in perfect accord with His being.

 

In Mat 6:16 the Lord warned, “Do not be as the hypocrites,” because truthfulness is who God is and hypocrisy is being far from God, or being opposed to God.

 

This also means that God wants His people real and true. Rom 12:9, “Let love be without hypocrisy.”

 

God's veracity is evident in:

 

His words. 2 Sam 7:28; Psa. 12:6; John 8:45‑46; 17:17; 2 Cor 6:7

 

His works. Psa. 33:4; 111:7-8; Dan 4:37

 

His ways. Psa. 25:10; 86:15; Rev. 15:3

 

God is truth means He is absolutely dependable, without falseness of any kind.

 

God’s plan, principles and promises are completely reliable, accurate, real and factual. Isa 25:1

 

This attribute is the ground of all our assurance.

 

His veracity provides truth in His Word for us. 1 Kings 17:24

 

There is veracity in salvation. John 14:6; Eph 1:13

 

John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

 

God means what He says in all His revelation, including mandates, promises, judgements and warnings. Psa 19:9; 119:142, 151; Rev 16:7

 

His faithfulness upholds His Word of truth. Psa 100:5 

 

Psa 100:5, “For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.”

 

The Father is said to be truth by the Son. John 7:28f; 17:3

Jesus Christ is "the way, the truth, and the life". John 14:6

"The Spirit is the truth" in 1 John 5:7.

 

God’s truthfulness is a rock of assurance for the people of God. Mic 7:20

 

His faithfulness in fulfilling His promises is the basis for our joy, inner peace and happiness. 3 John 1:4; Josh. 23:14; 1 Cor. 1:9; 2 Cor. 1:20; 2 Tim. 2:13; Heb. 10:23-25; 6:17-19

 

3 John 1:4, “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.”

 

Regardless how things seem in this life, because God is truth, we can count on the Lord, always.

 

Conclusion: Understanding who and what God is, and relying upon His perfect character for both adversity and prosperity, builds a foundation of confidence and inner peace.

 

The results are wise decisions and actions in every circumstance of life.

 

 

The Practical Relevance of God’s Character

Outline by Robert Deffinbaugh
 Biblical Studies Press
1995

 Let Me See Thy Glory
 A Study of the Attributes of God

 

The study of God’s character is not just a matter for preachers and theologians. Such a study has practical value for every believer.

 

J. I. Packer says about the study of God's essence. (J. I. Packer, Knowing God (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 1973), pp. 14-15)

"Most people clearly assume that a study of the nature and character of God will be unpractical and irrelevant for life. In fact, however, it is the most practical project anyone can engage in. Knowing about God is crucially important for the living of our lives . . . Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfold[ed] as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul."

 

I challenge you to embrace the topic of the Essence of God and have that as your own personal commitment.

 

Consider the following ways the study of the attributes of God impacts your life.

 

(1) The way to “see” God is to come to know Him through a study of His character as revealed in the Scriptures.

     Mat 5:3-8

 

No man can see God and live. Ex 33:20

No man has seen God at any time. John 1:18.

 

Men have “seen” God partially at various times when He has appeared in various forms. Ex 24:9-11; 33:17-34:7; Isa 6:5.

 

In every instance when God manifested Himself visibly to men, there is only a partial revelation of His glory, for you can no more look upon the full display of God’s glory than you can look directly into the sun.

 

Even in the coming of our Lord, who manifested the Father to men (John 1:18; 14:8-9; Heb 1:1-3), the full revelation of His glory was “veiled” with only an occasional glimpse of that glory, such as at His transfiguration. Mat 17:1-8

 

It was not the physical appearance of our Lord which impressed men. Indeed, we know absolutely nothing about our Lord’s physical appearance, other than it was not particularly appealing or attractive so men might be drawn to him on the basis of His appearance alone. Isa 53:2

 

We are among those who have not “seen” our Lord. John 20:29; 1 Peter 1:8

 

Our grasp of the nature of God as revealed in Jesus Christ must be limited to what the Scriptures teach concerning His teaching, ministry, and character.

 

In the final analysis, we can “see” and know God through the Scriptures as they reveal His character to us.

 

(2) The character of God is the basis and standard for all human morality.

 

The final verse of Judges reads:

Judges 21:25, "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes."

 

One might think the solution to this dilemma was a human king, but it was not.

 

The kind of “king” Israel wanted was in effect an idol.

 

They wanted a king whom they could see, a man who would go before them into battle.

 

They wanted a king like all the other nations. Deut 17:14-17

 

When the people approached Samuel and demanded to have a king, God indicated they really were rejecting Him as their king:

1 Sam 8:5-7

 

When the Israelites demanded a human king, they were rejecting God as their king.

 

When the Book of Judges informs us the Israelites had no king, it means the nation did not acknowledge and serve God as their King. Ex 15:18; Psa 10:16; 29:10

 

And it is without God as King that men set the standard for their own conduct; every man “does what is right in his own eyes.” Prov 14:12; 16:25

 

God gave the Law to the nation Israel after He became their “King” at the exodus. Ex 15:18

 

He demonstrated His power and sovereignty, even over Pharaoh.

 

And as Israel’s “King,” God set down the constitution for the kingdom He was setting out to establish. The form of the Mosaic Covenant, as has been observed by scholars, was the same as other treaties of that day between kings over their subjects.

 

God was the standard of morality, and God therefore set the standard for the conduct of His people.

 

The laws God set down at Mount Sinai were those which proceeded from His own character.

 

God said to His people, “You shall be holy, for I am Holy”

Lev 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:7; 1 Peter 1:16

 

Is it any wonder “every man does what is right in his own eyes” today?

 

It is not difficult to explain why our culture rejects and abhors the thought of moral absolutes, why churches have become so wishy-washy about morality.

 

The Bible tells us why. We have ceased to think about and appreciate the moral perfection of God.

 

Once our view of the holiness of God is diminished, our moral values decline proportionately.

 

A study of the character of God will establish and set the foundation of morality and living the Spiritual life.

 

(3) Failure to think rightly about God is the sin of idolatry, and it leads to countless other sins.

 

A. W. Tozer, in his book, The Knowledge of the Holy, rightly identifies mistaken or distorted views of God as idolatry:

 

"Among the sins to which the human heart is prone, hardly any other is more hateful to God than idolatry, for idolatry is at bottom a libel on His character. The idolatrous heart assumes that God is other than He is.… Let us beware lest we in our pride accept the erroneous notion that idolatry consists only in kneeling before visible objects of adoration, and that civilized peoples are therefore free from it. The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him."

 

Thinking wrongly of God is idolatry and is demeaning to Him because it always views God as being other (and less) than He is.

 

But this idolatrous evil of thinking wrongly of God is also the root of many other evils.

 

Thinking wrongly about God leads to sin. Tozer writes,

"I believe there is scarcely an error in doctrine or a failure in applying Christian ethics that cannot be traced finally to imperfect and degraded thoughts about God."

 

Wrong thoughts about God were the root of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden.  In Genesis 3, the character of God is first demeaned by Satan. By Satan’s devious question and answer tactics, God is portrayed as a liar (“Has God said . . . ?” verse 1), (“You surely shall not die!” verse 4).

 

Based upon the assumption that God was less than He first seemed to be (and was!), the woman acted independently of God, and she and Adam disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit.

 

An inadequate view of God is at the root of many sins.

 

(4) Knowing God intimately is our calling and destiny, our future hope, our great privilege and blessing, and thus it should be our great ambition. Jer 9:23; 1 Cor 13:12; Phil 3:10; 1 John 3:2; Eph 3:14-19

 

Jer 9:23, “Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches.”

 

1 Cor 13:12, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known.”

 

Phil 3:10, “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”

 

1 John 3:2, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.”

 

(5) A study of the attributes of God is the basis for our enjoyment of God and our spiritual growth.

 

A personal relationship with God requires that we know God personally, as a Person.

 

The attributes of God are descriptions of the character of God, and it is through the knowledge of His characteristics that we come to intimately know and enjoy God as a Person.

 

By faith in Jesus Christ, we have been saved so “we might become partakers of the divine nature.” 2 Peter 1:4

 

We have become a part of the church, the body of Christ, which is growing up “to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.” Eph 4:13

 

By “seeing Him as He is” we become like Him (1 John 3:2); knowing God’s character is therefore the basis for our own transformation into His likeness.

 

(6) The attributes of God are foundational to our faith and hope.

 

Knowing the character of God assures us that He can and will do all that He purposes and promises.

Faith in God is trusting in God, and His attributes are the basis for that trust because He is able and willing to do all that He has promised. Heb 10:23; 11:6; 1 Peter 4:19; 1 John 1:9

 

Heb 10:23, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”

 

Heb 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please [Him], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and [that] He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

 

1 Peter 4:19, “Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.”

 

1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteous­ness.”

 

(7) A study of the attributes of God enhances our worship.

 

We worship God for who He is.

The attributes of God are a description of who He is.

 

When God is worshipped in the Bible, He is worshipped in response to His attributes.

 

He is worshipped as the eternal One: Rev 4:8

 

Rev 4:8, “And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, [is] THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.”

 

Especially in the Psalms we find the worship of God linked to an acknowledgment of His attributes: Psa 7:17; 107:1

 

Psa 7:17, “I will give thanks to the LORD according to His righteousness, And will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.”

 

Psa 107:1, “Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.”

 

(8) A study of the attributes of God should enhance our prayer life.

 

Knowing God’s character not only instructs us about what we should pray for—that which is in accord with His character—but it also assures us God is able and willing to answer our prayers.

 

We do not pray to just anyone; we pray to Him who hears our prayers and is willing and able to answer them.

 

Once again, in the Book of Psalms we see the petitions of men linked to the attributes of God. Psa 5:1-5

 

(9) A study of the attributes of God enhances our witness.

 

Men can only be saved when they come to recognize they are lost, and they will see their sin only when they begin to recognize God as the One who is holy and righteous and just.

 

Paul’s conversion is a dramatic illustration of this recognition of human depravity in the light of God’s glory. Acts 9:1-22

 

Our principle task is not the winning of souls, but the demonstration and promotion of God’s glory: 1 Cor 10:31; 1 Peter 2:9-10

 

1 Cor 10:31, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

 

1 Peter 2:9, “But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR [God’s] OWN POSSESSION, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.”

 

The attributes of God are both His characteristics and His “excellencies.”

 

His nature and character are His excellence, His perfection, His glory.

 

Knowing God’s excellence is the starting point for practicing and proclaiming it among men.

 

In so doing, some will be saved, but God will be glorified whether or not men are saved.

 

The elect will be saved to the glory of God (Rom 9:23), and the lost will glorify God in the day of His visitation (1 Peter 2:11-12).

 

(10) Seeking to know the character of God enhances and enriches our study of the Scriptures.

 

The Scriptures are the primary source for our instruction concerning God’s attributes.

 

We know there are three primary sources of revelation concerning the character of God:

 

a) God’s creation, nature. Psa 19:1-6; Rom 1:18-20,

b) The Son of God. John 1:14-18; Heb 1:1-3

c) The Word of God. Psa 19:7-14; 119; 2 Peter 1:3-4

 

It is only in the Word of God that the Son of God is described. John 20:30-31; 1 John 1:1-4

 

As we seek to learn the character of God, we will soon discover that we have a new outlook on the Scriptures.

 

Even those texts we may have considered boring come to life as we begin to see God’s character described therein.

 

Imagine coming to the place where, like David, we could pray these words concerning the Old Testament law: Psa 119:15-18, 97

 

Psa 119:15, “I will meditate on Thy precepts, And regard Thy ways. 16I shall delight in Thy statutes; I shall not forget Thy word. 17Deal bountifully with Thy servant, That I may live and keep Thy word. 18Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Thy law.

 

Psa 119:97, “O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day.”

 

Seemingly obscure and difficult to understand portions of the Bible come to life when we look to them for insight into the character of God.

 

Prophetic texts (like the Book of Revelation) have much to tell us about God’s character.

 

Perhaps we spend too much time and effort trying to solve mysteries we were not intended to comprehend (Deut 29:29) rather than focusing on the character of God, which is often quite clearly portrayed in highly symbolic or obscure texts.

 

When we come to the Scriptures to learn what God is like, we shall not be disappointed.

 

(11) When we focus on the attributes of God, we begin to view life from a new perspective—from God’s perspective.

 

Nothing will more radically change the way we look at life and our circumstances.

 

In Psalm 73, Asaph confesses that when he began to view his life from God’s perspective, he saw things in an entirely different light.

 

When our desire is to know God, to know His nature and character, then we welcome those circumstances which facilitate a more intimate acquaintance with God.

 

And so the apostle Paul tells us that he welcomes suffering when it facilitates knowing God: Phil 3:8-10

 

A desire to know God intimately by the knowledge of His character puts our service into perspective and protects us from what some call “burn out.”

 

Think of the account of Mary and Martha in the Gospel of Luke: Luke 10:38-42

 

Mary chose the “one thing,” the “better thing,” to worship and adore the Lord, sitting at His feet, delighting in all that He is.

 

Martha chose a lesser thing and became embittered that Mary was not working with her.

 

When knowing God becomes our priority, serving Him becomes an outworking of our devotion, not a hindrance to it.

http://www.gracedoctrine.org/word/Doctrines/The%20Essence%20of%20God.htm