Intoduction to God’s Attributes

ATTRIBUTES OF GOD

Intro

Look at a piece of jewellery. You know that some person designed and either oversaw or did the crafting of the jewellery. It may be very beautiful and grand; this denotes great talent but can you establish an understanding beyond the apparent talent before you? Can you ascertain his personal affections and manners, his disposition of emotions, or even his moral character ?

Ps 19:1‑6

1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.

3 There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.

4 Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,

5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

6 It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.

Ps 8:3‑4

3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained,

4 What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?(NKJ)

Rom 1:20‑21 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (NKJ)

Isa 40:25‑31 “To whom then will you liken me that I should be {his} equal?” says the Holy One.

26 Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these {stars,} the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; because of the greatness of His might and the strength of {His} power not one {of them} is missing.

27 Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD, and the justice due me escapes the notice of my God”?

28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. (NAS)

“The foundation of all true knowledge of God must be a clear mental apprehension of His perfections as revealed in Holy Scripture. An unknown God can neither be trusted, served, nor worshipped.”[1]

“The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base[corrupt], as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.

For this reason the gravest question before the church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact is what a person deep in his heart conceives God to be like.”[2]

“This New Age stuff today or some of this other stuff wants you to think we all have little gods within us, that we’re all little gods with amnesia or that you can find Him in rocks and trees. But He’s God. He’s not part of His creation. He’s separate from it, and He’s greater than it.”[3]

Hosea 6:3a Then shall we know, if we follow on [in the path of obedience] to know the LORD: (KJV)

Hos 6:3 Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, Like the latter and former rain to the earth.

Dan 11:32 “Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.

God sustains all this creation, but is Himself independent of all of it. God is transcendent.

Ps 50:21-23 These things you have done and I kept silent; you thought I was altogether like you. But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face.

22 “Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with none to rescue:*

23 He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.” NIV

* Prov 1:28-33 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me.

29 Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord,

30 since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke,

31 they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.

32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them;

33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” NIV

Heb 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

If God were to choose for you to die, die you will, and there is no fight you can put up to prevent it. If God’s sovereignty chooses our eternal state, whether hell or heaven, there are no words of persuasion, whining or threats that can have any impact upon His judgements.

God is not like any human being, or New Age god or goddess, or voodoo doll worship. He CANNOT be manipulated at all!

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

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

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

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.

We will never be able to understand what God is like if we measure him by any earthly standard or hold to any conception of what we hope He is like. We must accept all statements God makes as accurately true in the reality He has created in the laws of nature and soul.

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?

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.

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

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”

Excerpt form God/Holy (notes):

“Seeing holiness is being bathed in incredible light and beauty beyond our self-esteem.

A short science fiction story I read as a young lad has stuck with me over the years and lately I see an application to God’s Holiness – Light. There was a man who desired to appreciate the experience of an alien species as it related to music. They told him that they would not allow him the experience for it can only be experienced once by a human mind and then would forever be unrepeatable. This man insisted and they caved in. He experienced sound beyond human ability to produce or experience naturally, he saw along with the music colours beyond human limitation and the two played out an experience then enraptured him. Then it abruptly ended, had it continued his host told him he would kill his cells and be dead. After this experience he became very depressed, all stimulation, even the best music and art was so below the beauty and wonder he experienced that he eventually withered away in sorrow.”

[Can you imagine the unsaved encountering this wonder as they stand before God and then the beauty is snuffed out forever? This may explain a bit about the ‘wailing and gnashing of teeth’ Christ described regarding the unsaved at the judgement].

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.

We are inconsistent.

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

Ps 121:4 Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

“Such a God cannot be found out by searching. He can only be revealed to the heart by the Holy Spirit through the Word. It is true that creation demonstrates a Creator so plainly that men are “without excuse”; yet we still have to say with Job, “Lo, these are parts of His ways: but how little a portion is heard of Him? But the thunder of His power who can understand?” [4](26:14) – Job 29:2-4[ii]

Nor can we discover God through the intellectual exercise alone. God is Spirit, we are flesh and carnal and naturally tied to this life experience and science and unable to transcend this lost humanity. God is entirely independent of our needs or nature. We ourselves are totally dependant on His good pleasure.

“The golden rule for understanding spirituality is not intellect, but obedience. If a man wants scientific knowledge, intellectual curiosity is his guide; but if he wants insight into what Jesus Christ teaches, he can only get it by obedience. Intellectual darkness comes through ignorance; spiritual darkness comes because of something I do not intend to obey… Every time I obey, absolute Deity is on my side, so that the grace of God and natural obedience coincide. Obedience means I have banked everything on the Atonement, and my obedience is met immediately by the delight of the supernatural grace of God.”[5]

[See Revival Quiz for heart searching]

Heb 11:6 But 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 diligently seek Him. NKJV

John 7:17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

A disposition to do His will is a readiness to yield our intellects, our feelings, and all that we have entirely to Him, to be governed according to His pleasure.

[He shall know] He shall have evidence, in the very attempt to do the will of God, of the truth of the doctrine. This evidence is internal, and to the individual it is satisfactory and conclusive. It is of two kinds.

1 . He will find that the doctrines which Jesus taught are such as commend themselves to his reason and conscience, and such as are consistent with all that we know of the perfections of God. His doctrines commend themselves to us as fitted to make us pure and happy, and of course they are such as must be from God.

2. An honest desire to obey God will lead a man to embrace the great doctrines of the Bible. He will find that his heart is depraved and inclined to evil, and he will see and feel the truth of the doctrine of depravity; he will find that he is a sinner and needs to be born again; he will learn his own weakness, and see his need of a Saviour, of an atonement, and of pardoning mercy; he will feel that he is polluted, and needs the purifying influence of the Holy Spirit.

Thus, we may learn:

That an honest effort to obey God is the easiest way to become acquainted with the doctrines of the Bible…

We see the goodness of God in giving us evidence of his truth that may be within every man’s reach. It does not require great learning to be a Christian and to be convinced of the truth of the Bible. It requires an honest heart, and a willingness to obey God”.

(from Barnes’ Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A WEAK WILL ONLY A DEFICIENT BELIEF.

1 Cor 2:14‑15 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. (UNITY IN TRUTH)

Ps 119:160 The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.

Ps 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;

God knows what is real, what is truly real. Every human is at a disadvantage in knowing actual real truth because all our assumptions are derived from a corrupt and fallen experience among fallen human beings. We may hide behind masks and pretend; we may justify ourselves, we may even feel victimized and therefore not responsible for being the person I have become. WE MAY HAVE AN IDEA OF HOW GOD SHOULD TREAT US OR JUDGE US, OR EVEN THAT IN HIS LOVE HE WILL LET THINGS SLIDE. But God is not like our earthly parents who through love overlook and become partial in our dealing with the children we love. God is totally impartial!

Is it the LOVE of God that is our safety from judgement? No, we are free from condemnation of sin to hell through Christ, but God’s impartiality has Him judge our sin, not ignore it as though He is partial to His children’s misbehaviour. It is not the love of God that is our safety but our righteous walk in the love of God (Jn 14:21 loves me keeps my commandments). God does not tolerate unrighteousness, whether by the ungodly or the disobedient Christian, and it requires just action by His hand. My love for God, or His love for me, does not exclude me from discipline for unrighteousness.

THE GOD OF SCRIPTURE CAN ONLY BE KNOWN BY THOSE TO WHOM HE MAKES HIMSELF KNOWN! AND HE FIRST MAKES HIMSELF KNOWN THROUGH THE WORD WHEN WE RECEIVE IT. Then from this first foundation, learned and received, we enter a deeper communion.

John 14:21-23

He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” 22Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

NKJV

Luke 16:31 “But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.'”

Acts 28:23‑24 So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.

24 And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved.

Col 1:10 that you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

God hides His revelation from science and from the wisdom of this world so they cannot prove He exists and Is to their satisfaction. But He proves himself to His children through REVELATION! WHY?

Our wise God chose humility to be the doorway to His wisdom, instruction, and salvation. GOD HIMSELF IS HUMBLE AND SO MEETS THE HEART OF THE HUMBLE.

Matt 18:4 “Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

James 4:6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Phil 2:6-8 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

(KJV)

1 Pet 5:5, 6,10 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,

10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

Only true understanding and wisdom only comes from God and it can only be received from God on the basis of purity (not perfect but honest before God and man). Wisdom comes so we can apply and live the Law of Righteousness with understanding and Holy Spirit empowerment. Through Thy precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. PS 119.104 cf DEUT 29:29

Jn 18:37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

WISDOM

This Christ who is the essence of the mystery of God is described as the One “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Two thoughts are contained in this statement. The false teachers claimed to have, through their relation with a supposed hierarchy of supernatural beings, a higher knowledge than that possessed by ordinary believers. Against this, Paul argues that all wisdom and knowledge are in Christ and their treasures are accessible to every believer. Second, the treasures of wisdom are in Christ in a hidden way. “Hidden” does not, however, mean that they are concealed but rather that they are [available to a select people, not individuals, but a people, the people of God.”[6]

Once we have obtained the truth –Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (John 17:17) – and received it by faith, then comes the affirmation by the Spirit – AFTER THE STEP OF FAITH! Only if we choose absolute surrender to the revelation of God and His will in my life through Christ – no experimental belief will be rewarded.

“…many evangelicals are guilty of idolatry. I am appalled at what some Christians assume God to be. God is appalled too, when He says in Psalm 50:21ff “These things you have done, and I kept silent; you thought that I was altogether like you; …Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; and to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God.” Contemporary Christianity has lowered God to its level, robbing Him of majesty and holiness. This is as idolatrous as worshipping a rock.”[7]

Eph 1:13‑14 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

John 1:12‑13 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Based on this how shall we then live?

Tit 1:16; 2:6-8.. is acceptance based on conformity to our social peer pressure? Isa 29:13; Appeasing God for fear of punishment or loss? or thanksgiving – Eph 2:4-10

How shall we then work?

2 Cor 1:12.. self-righteous by comparison with others? Gaining merit by our obedience. Or faithfulness 1 Cor 4:2; Lk 17:10.

GOD NEVER FORGETS, FAILS, FALTERS, OR FORFEITS HIS WORD.

IT IS SUGGESTED ONE GET A BOOK OR TWO AND READ THEM e.g.; TOZER’S KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY; OR PINK’S ATTRIBUTES OF GOD.

Jer 9:23-24

Thus says the LORD:

“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,

Let not the mighty man glory in his might,

Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;

But let him who glories glory in this,

That he understands and knows Me,

That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.

For in these I delight,” says the LORD.

NKJV


[1] Arthur W. Pink; The Attributes of God; Baker House

[2] The Knowledge if the Holy; A.W. Tozer; Harper and Row, 1961, p.9.

[3] Anne Graham Lotz; God’s Story.

[4] Oswald Chambers

[5] Oswald Chambers.

[6] The Expositors Bible Comm

[7] The Ultimate Priority; John MacArthur, Jr., Moody Press.


[i] Genesis 6:1-8 The force of yinaacheem, “it repented the Lord,” may be gathered from the explanatory yit­±atseeb, “it grieved Him at His heart.” This shows that the repentance of God does not presuppose any variableness in His nature of His purposes. In this sense God never repents of anything (1 Sam 15:29), “quia nihil illi inopinatum vel non praevisum accidit” (Calvin). The repentance of God is an anthropomorphic expression for the pain of the divine love at the sin of man, and signifies that “God is hurt no less by the atrocious sins of men than if they pierced His heart with mortal anguish” (Calvin).

(from Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.)

[ii] Topical Sermons (OT Texts)\Job’s Regret and Our Own — Job 29:2-4

Moreover, Job deplored the loss of divine illumination. “By his light,” he says, “I walked through darkness,” that is to say, perplexity ceased to be perplexity; God shed such a light upon the mysteries of providence, that where others missed their path, Job, made wise by heaven, could find it. There have been times when, to our patient faith, all things have been plain. “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine” John 7:17; but, if we walk far off from God, then, straightway, even the precious truth of God is no more clear to us, and the dealings of God with us in providence appear to be like a maze. He is wise as Solomon who walks with God, but he is a very fool who trusts his own understanding.

(from Spurgeon’s Sermons, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)