FOUNDATIONS OF OUR FAITH PART 3
The Characteristics of God.
The basic question we are asking tonight is the simple question, “What is our heavenly Father really like?” If we begin by looking in the bible what kind of a list do you think we might come up with. The list is long, and that’s the problem. With humans we tend to divide characteristics into one of two categories: good and bad. Such a division will obviously not work with the characteristics of God. One way is to consider certain characteristics that are the unique attributes of God and other that as humans we can maybe understand and to some extent even experience ourselves.
1st Category of attributes are those that are unique to God.
Things that are unique to God and God only and don’t exist in us and are not available to use as ordinary human beings. (Incommunicable)
1 God Reigns over all. (Sovereignty)
God is sovereign; that is. He rules over everything. God has absolute authority, to put simply, He’s the boss. (1 Chron. 29:11-12). In short – God is the king. God is the only ultimate authority and He has no limits. There is no other authority outside of Him.
This means that all things belong to God. (1 Chronicles 29:11) All physical things are His by the most absolute type of ownership. (Psalm 50:10). As the scriptures says many times, “God reigns over all.”
2 God is present everywhere. (Omnipresence)
“Omni” means “all;” thus omnipresent means, “all present” or “everywhere present. (Psalm 139:7-12).
The term used to describe this amazing state is, “everywhere present”. In the Lord’s Prayer, we are told to pray, “Our Father who art in heaven” (Mt. 6:9). So, he is in a place, a place called heaven. But at the same time, God is a spirit and as such is everywhere at the same time. Practically, this everywhere present God means two wonderful things. Firstly, it means that God is with every believer. Speak to Him, and He listens, but It also means His spirit can meet with your spirit;
3 God is unchanging. (Immutability)
He is the Same yesterday today and forever God is immutable. To be mutable means “capable of change.” Thus, to be immutable is to be unchangeable. (Malachi. 3:6).
God is perfect, and perfection doesn’t need to change. Coming from a human, that would be the worst kind of pride. Coming from God, it’s the plain truth. God’s person and personality is unchangeable. (Hebews13:8) But God’s unchangeability also applies to God’s promises.
God promises never to change
So, these are the unique attributes of God, we as humans do not have these charactistics, and they are not able to be taken upon ourselves from God.
2nd category of attributes.
Things that we can in part have passed on to us. Gifts we can know, in part anyway. Characterises that are communicable to a limited degree anyway
1 God knows everything, (Omniscience).
He knows all things, we can know somethings, but the bible clearly says God knows all things, (1 John. 3:20). God not only knows all things actual, he also knows and all things possible. The fact that God knows and sees everything to the Christian believer should be a comforting truth. Because God knows and God cares. He knows, so you, and I, don’t have to worry.
Consider what God knowledge ought to mean in relation to living the Christian life. Here is a God who knows all the pitfalls we might fall into. He also knows all the ways we might be happy and who has offered to give us His wisdom. It a great comfort to know this because he knows more than we can ever know, past present and future, case closed.
2 God is all powerful (Omnipotence)
God is also all powerful, omnipotent, which of course means God has unlimited power. (Revelation 19:6 NKJV). This simply means that “God can bring to pass everything He wills.” Can God can bring to pass everything He wills? – Yes. Can God can do anything – No Because God is a person, not a thing or a force He cannot do things that are in opposition to his moral character.
In this regard, several things should to be noted that od cannot do: He cannot sin, He cannot even be tempted (James. 1:13). God cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Num. 23:19; 1Sam. 15:29; Heb. 6:18). He cannot deny Himself or His purpose. (2 Tim. 2:13).
It should also be remembered that God’s attributes must be considered together. God is not a collection of attributes - God is a person, God being all powerful means by definition that God can bring to pass everything He wills. His self-limiting in respect to sin or morally damaging acts does not diminish the power of God. God is powerful and has all power, but He only uses it in keeping with his will and to bring about his purposes.
3 God is Holy.
God is holy (Lev. 11:44). The Hebrew word means “to be set apart.” God is set apart from His creatures and He is set apart from sin. (Leviticus 11:43-45) Just as health and wellbeing is more than absence of disease, so holiness is more than absence from sin. It’s the complete separation from the power, the penalty and even the presence of sin. He wants you also to be set apart from sin and, like Himself, be and become holy.
4 But God is Righteousness.
God is righteous. (Ezra 9:15). In Hebrew (Old Testament) and in Greek (New Testament) the words for “righteousness” and “justice” are the same. The basic idea in righteousness means “being obedient to the law.” But, this is not a law above Him, but a law within Him. God is always right, even when He punishes sin. God does what is right because it is in His nature to do what is right. More importantly for us, God is also righteous when He forgives sin, remember (1 John. 1:9).
5 God is Faithful.
God is faithful (1 Cor. 10:13). He is trustworthy and dependable, and He will always fulfill His promises. Faithfulness is more than an attribute of God it lies at the heart of who he is and how he operates.
6 (The Big One) – God is Love
God is loving and Gracious (1 John. 4:8). God is loving, gracious, merciful, and kind. (Psalm 116:5). The biblical concept of love is that it does what is best for the other person even when that means a sacrifice to the one who is doing the loving. The most gracious act of love of all was God was in giving His Son to die for sin. (Titus 2:11) If you wish to know the love of God, look at the nail-pierced hands of Christ on the cross of Calvary.
God’s characteristics can be divided into two parts: Those that are unique to him and those that in some part he blesses us with. His incommunicable and communicable attributes. His unique attributes include his sovereignty, the fact that he is everywhere present, and totally reliable and unchanging. His attributes that we in part can inherit through relationship with him include, holiness, righteousness, graciousness, faithfulness and love.
One final thought.
One potential problem of dividing God’s attributes into categories like this is that it does not result in a felling of a harmonious loving father. Somehow, we need to always hold these characteristics together in a real person. God is not just a collection of attributes. God is a person and ultimately God’s love is His chief attribute.