Character of God

GOD & CHARACTER

Portions borrowed from other lessons

This is difficult to do in one message. But we can establish the basic misconceptions related to God’s character. To do this we need to compare the character of man with God’s so we may understand how God is different.

“We must choose to be good and that takes effort on our part. Sinning takes no effort for our nature to sin.” from 6Holy

Think of the kindest person you know – God is not like that. Think of the smartest man you know – God is beyond smart. Do you know someone who has a lovely personality – God is beyond that loveliness. Gentle, just, powerful, ungullible, and many more such qualities can be mentioned.

We will never be able to understand what God is like if we measure him by any earthly standard or hold to any conception we hope He is like.

Isa 40:18 To whom, then, will you compare God? What image will you compare him to?

Isa 46:5 “To whom will you liken Me, and make Me equal And compare Me, that we should be alike?

Ps 89:6 For who in the heavens can be compared to the LORD? Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened to the LORD?

We tend to respond emotionally to God like we do with friends, authorities and the like. We know God is different but we don’t know how. So we often respond to Him like we do to other people.

The kind of person you are is revealed by what you would do when you know you will not be caught. You find a wallet with $1,000.00 in it in the middle of nowhere. What you say or do on a chat line or what you look at on the Internet. What you would do when away from home and friends in another country or city where no one knows you. How you behave when no one is looking. How we behave according to the expectations of the people we are with at the time. What are your thoughts that no one can ever know. These kinds of situations prove what type of character we really are!

“Character,” said Mr. Moody once, “is what a man is in the dark,” and if we knew what you were in the dark, would there be any hope of white apparel? I answer most emphatically, yes. That is the Gospel I am here to preach. It is not to the heart of childlike innocence that the white raiment of our text is promised. It is to every one who overcomes; who rises from his past and is ashamed; who cries, from the very margin of despair, “Create within me a clean heart, O God.” Morrison 12/20/05

“Somweone has well said, ‘If the best of men had his innermost thoughts written on his forehead, he’d never take his hat off.’ As quoted in Stedman’s Understanding Man, pg87

Ps 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

TLB – Create in me a new, clean heart, O God, filled with clean thoughts and right desires.

“The matter of behaviour is ours, not God’s. God does not make our character; character is formed by the reaction of our inner disposition to outer things through our nervous system. God does what we cannot do: He alters [our focus] and [establishes] in us a totally new disposition; then begins our work, we must work out what God works in. The practising is ours, not God’s. We have to bring the mechanism of body and brain into line by [habitual choices] and make it a strong ally of the grace of God.” Oswald chambers

What is a clean heart?

Phil 2:13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

God is faithful to guide us into the light and empower our choice to follow Him there.

1 John 1:5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

He is what He says he is. There is no misunderstanding concerning His character by what He says of himself in the Word, only our ignorance or rebellion causes our blindness.

Num 23:19 God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

Heb 6:18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. NIV [Heb 6:18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. NKJV]

The holiness of God is not that God loves. 1st John says He is love. God doesn’t merely decide to practice justice; He is all that justice could ever be. God doesn’t choose to do good, He is all that goodness could ever be. God cannot be anything but just, merciful, good, wise for these virtues exist because God’s person is the foundation from which all this comes. God does not learn to do anything perfectly; He is the perfection by which all these virtues exist. God cannot lie, it is not that He chooses not to lie, He intrinsically is truthful. He doesn’t choose to be perfect, He is inherently perfect.

Mal 3:6a For I am the LORD, I do not change ;

Stephen Charnock eloquently declares: “Power is God’s hand or arm, omniscience His eye, mercy His bowels, eternity His duration, but holiness is His beauty”

Ps 30:4 Sing praise to the LORD, You saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.

God has nothing to prove, He is God and he is perfect beyond our imagination. He doesn’t have a need to impress us – He doesn’t need to pretend to get anything. God can tell the truth bluntly because He gains nothing by fudging the truth. He is honest because he doesn’t need to manipulate to have us love him. He has no need to sell himself to the unconvinced because those who do not believe do not diminish who he is in any way.

We cannot add to Him by our works and we cannot diminish Him by our sin.

SO WHAT IS OUR CHARACTER LIKE COMPARED TO GOD’S?

God is most emphatically referred to as Holy; it is the crown of all words that describes Him. Holiness is the description of all His attributes beaming forth at one time, each and every attribute fully functioning and operating, where not one of His attributes is less in display than all others. The ultimate balance of personality and character.

We are inconsistent.

Ourselves and everyone else will know our character at the judgement seat of the Christian. The quality of each persons work will be judged, not just what was accomplished. Commendable high quality work only comes out of good character. Bad character can produce visually good work but that person is motivated out of selfish heart and cancels out any value to himself before God.

“In present day language, that means every person’s work will be brought to light so that his actual character will be known. The hidden [motives] will be revealed.” Present Day Labour & Future Rewards by Theodore H. Epp

What is a clean heart?

Ps 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

TLB – Create in me a new, clean heart, O God, filled with clean thoughts and right desires.

What I personally fear most is not hearing my Lord say to me on that great day – Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter the joy of your Lord. MATT 25:23

If I don’t hear that – my life will have been a waste, a waste to my Lord, an unprofitable life for me, and an eternity that will reflect that truth forever!

GOD WORKS IN US THE CHARACTER OF HIMSELF IN CHRIST JESUS AS WE COOPERATE WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT.

Rom 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

1 Cor 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.

2 Cor 3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. NIV

This is the ultimate reason God saved those who come to Him through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross for their sins. The ultimate purpose is:

2 Peter 1:4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. NIV

How do we acquire a clean heart? How do we come to the Judgment seat of Christ clean and commended?

1. By accepting God’s goal in our life. “If you come to pay homage to God so that He may merely help you cope in this life, you are using God not worshipping Him. That reveals self centred and selfish character. Worship is a voluntary, purposeful act to God.”[1]

Rom 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

2. By realizing that God wants to change our heart focus in life from the things of this world to those things above.

Col 3:1-4 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

3. By accepting the changes He convicts us to deal with in our lives that are contrary to true life.

Matt 16:24-26 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

4. By giving God permission through prayer by asking that that He change your character by whatever means.

Ps 51:10 create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

6. By choosing to obey His promptings even if it goes against your own selfish preference. Acknowledge, admit your need, repent, choose to do contrary to your feelings and desires.

CHOOSE AGAINST YOUR WAY, SAYING I CHOOSE NOT TO and if you are His child the Holy Spirit that dwells in you will EMPOWER YOUR CHOICE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.

The central statement to this is:

THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL NOT EMPOWER YOU ­TO MAKE THE CHOICE AGAINST YOURSELF! THE SPIRIT WILL EMPOWER YOUR RIGHTEOUS CHOICE TO FOLLOW GOD’S DESIRE; DENY SELF TO FOLLOW CHRIST.[2]

Jesus learned obedience by the things He suffered. But Jesus had no sin, TRUE, but He was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. WE must experience suffering the loss to our sinful desires to obey God’s convictions that affirms our loyalty to God over ourselves. Deny self not empower self!

The Christian often wants the self-life and Christ to dwell in harmony. To this there is no harmony. Only Christ.[3]

God is our teacher through the indwelling Spirit to those who are His through Jesus Christ. God desires we follow and trust Him, for He is trustworthier than any human being on earth, so He may create in us character that is like Himself.

“…a marvellous… description of what happens to one who discovers the true wisdom of righteousness as a gift from God, one who walks with God in fear of God.

“First, it will make that person a unique human being. One of the follies of life is to try to imitate somebody else. The media constantly bombard us with subtle invitations to look like, dress like, or talk like some popular idol. If you succeed in that, of course, you will be nothing but a cheap imitation of another person. The glory of the Good News is that when you become a new creature in Jesus Christ, you will be unique. There will be no one else like you. You will become more and more like Christ [in attitude], but unlike everyone else in personality. You will become uniquely yourself. You will not be a cheap copy, a cheap imitation, but an original from the Spirit of God.” [4]

YOU CAN TRUST GOD THAT HE DOES MEAN THE BEST FOR YOU AND THAT BEST WILL EXCEED ALL OUR EXPECTATIONS AND DESIRES. GOD CANNOT LIE; GOD IS TRUSTWORTHY (NOT LIKE HUMANS WHO OUT FOR THEMSELVES)[5]; GOD IS GOOD; GOD IS LOVE. GOD IS NOT LIKE OTHER PEOPLE WHO MAY FAIL US OR DISAPPOINT. GOD IS MORE PERFECT BEYOND ANY HUMAN BEING; IF HE SAYS THIS, THEN HE MEANS IT AND YOU CAN BET YOUR LIFE ON IT!

“Of course, birth involves life; and spiritual birth from above involves Gods life. John uses the word life thirty-six times in his Gospel. The opposite of life is death, and the person who has not believed on Jesus Christ does not have God’s life, eternal life, abundant life. You do not manufacture Christians any more than you manufacture babies! The only way to enter God’s family is through the new birth (John 1:11-13).”

(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

This process is painful sometimes (John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.) but the reward exceeds all the tribulation involved!

1 Peter 4:13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.

John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.


[1] From 7worshi[p

[2] Luke 19:23

[3] from 2have you died

[4] Is that All There is to Life; Ray C. Stedman; Discovery House Publishers; p 105f

[5] Rom 8:31-32 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?