The Character of God

  1. The Character of God

The Holy Bible, the 66 books in the New and Old Testaments, reveals to us the character of God. We call it special revelation. Although God reveals aspects of His divine nature and Godhead in nature and the created order, we cannot know God savingly through natural revelation. Creation exhibits God’s beauty, we see this in sunsets or in different flowers and animals God has made. Creation exhibits God’s power, we see this when we hear a thunderstorm and when we see lighting. Animals feeding their young and birds caring and feeding their chicks, demonstrates God’s compassion and care for creation and living things. The complexity of the human body exhibits God’s intelligence and wisdom and insight. How ecosystems work and how all the different gasses and heat and oxygen come together with many other elements to make life possible on planet earth demonstrates and reveals that God is a God of order and wisdom and power (See Romans 1:18-23).

We can talk much more how nature reveals the divine nature of God, but the world we live in is fallen and we see this also in nature. We see things and plants and trees decaying and dying but that was not part of the original creation. When God made the heavens and the earth in the beginning, He made it perfect and very good (Genesis 1:27). There were no sickness, sin, death and suffering in the original creation. So when we see things dying we see God’s judgement on display. Fruitful seasons and rain from heaven also reveal and display God’s goodness. The stars and the galaxies in the sky reveal God’s greatness.

But if we only look at nature and the created order and the universe we will not enter into a personal saving relationship with God. We need another source, to know God redemptively. That source is the Holy Bible. In the Bible we find God being revealed in the following way. God revealed Himself to the prophet Moses like this:

“And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation” (Exodus 34:6-7 NKJV).

In Nahum 1:3,4; Psalm 103:11,12; and Psalm 145:8,9 we see God revealed in the same way. God is a merciful God and a gracious God, a God of truth and goodness, but also a God of justice and judgement and righteousness. Over and over again in the Old Testament we see God revealed as a God that executes justice and righteousness and mercy (Jeremiah 9:23,24; Psalm 99; Nahum, Amos etc.) God will by no means clear the guilty. He will avenge Himself on His enemies.

In Isaiah 6:1-6 God reveals Himself as the Holy One:

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!”

(Isaiah 6:1-3 NKJV).

Also in Psalm 99 and in the book Isaiah and in many other places in the Bible God revealed Himself as holy. The holiness of God refers to the fact that there is no evil or unrighteousness in God. God cannot steal, or lie or be deceptive or commit idolatry or dishonor His own Name. Everything God does is for His holy Name sake and for His glory. His glory lies not only in the fact of His holiness and purity but in all His divine attributes. God’s holiness makes us different from God, because even the angels who are in heaven are not as holy as God is. Even the Angels who cannot sin in heaven praise God for His holiness, because they are holy because God made them so. Because of God’s holiness and justice we as human beings are in a great predicament if we don’t receive His forgiveness. As Psalm 130:4 says: with God is forgiveness therefore He should be feared. If God was not a forgiving and merciful God He wouldn’t be God. All God’s divine attributes combined make God infinitely glorious.

God is not only merciful and just and righteous and wise and holy and gracious and good and forgiving and loving, which we call God’s attributes that He shares (His communicable attributes) with people and Angels, but He is omnipotent (All-powerful), and omniscient (All-knowing) and omnipresent (everywhere present). We call these God’s transcendent attributes. The things He will never share with us to their full capacity are called his incommunicable attributes. God’s transcendent and incommunicable attributes makes God forever unique and different from us. Christians are called to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, but not to His deity. God knows everything about everyone who has ever lived, He has all the power in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18-20) and He is everywhere present and always will be. No person or angel or demon or any created thing can ever hide from God. No person can ever keep something secret from God and no one can ever overpower God in any way. In Psalm 139 we read the following:

“O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me” (Psalms 139:1-5, 7-10 NKJV).

You might ask me: How do these truths about God have anything to do with evangelism? The revelation of God in Holy Scripture has everything to with evangelism. If we don’t know who the God is we proclaim how can we be effective in evangelism? I recommend the book: “The attributes of God” by A.W. Pink to everyone who shares the gospel with a lost and dying world. We have no business to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ if we do not know the character of Jesus Christ. It is pivotal that we study the word of God and be immersed in the revelation of God of Himself. When we study Scripture and when we study general revelation in nature we come to know the majesty and glory and holiness and nature of God. We get familiar with the God we have offended and the way we can be restored to His glory. Explaining the character of God should be the first thing we explain to lost sinners when we attempt to evangelize them. Without a good understanding of the holiness of God, the justice of God and the wrath of God against sin, people will not accept the good news we want to bring them.

Good news is no good news unless we know the bad news of how intensely we have offended God and the just punishments and wrath we deserve from the Maker of the Universe. We need to understand the seriousness of sin, the sinfulness of sin and God’s nature before we evangelize.

Another important thing we must realize about God which the Scriptures reveal is that God is unchangeable in His divine perfections. God’s gloriousness cannot change. God cannot become sinful or evil or not holy. There is no variables and shadow of turning with God. There is no escape from God’s holiness and nature, for no one in the Universe. We all will stand before Him one day. We will all give an account of the lives we have lived in the body (See James 1:17; Malachi 3:6; Numbers 23:19; Romans 2:14-16).

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