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Sunday, January 26, 2014 am                Basics Index

 

BACK TO BASICS
January - A Study of God
Who is God?

 

This month we are studying the subject of God as He is at the foundation of our faith.  Thus far we have made the case for God (both that He exists and why we should consider the God of the Bible).  Now we turn our attention to who God is.  A few years back we devoted the year to a study of God.  In this lesson today we will present a BASIC introduction to who God is in keeping with our theme of “Back to Basics 2014”.   So with that let us get started.

 I.                    The Character of God

a.        He introduces Himself to us –
To Moses HE said,  , “I AM who I AM” Exodus 3:14-15
Deut. 10:17 – “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe.

Jer. 10:10, “But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth will tremble, And the nations will not be able to endure His indignation.

b.       He is a person – a person is a thinking, intelligent being that has the ability to reason, reflect, and can consider itself.   On earth, only human beings are persons.
 The point being is that God is not merely a force or an entity.  He is a specific being with qualities of personhood.   For example: God speaks, He has emotions (such as love and anger), He has will, He even repents, and HE is keenly aware of each of us individually.
Heb. 1:1-3  God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

c.        God is Spirit – John 4:24 says this plainly.  Being a person does not necessarily mean one has to be human.  God gave us, as humans, the qualities of personhood (cf. Gen. 1:26-27).
God as Spirit means that He is a person of a different realm than this physical universe.  It is because of His Being that He could create the world and us. 

d.       He is eternal – while we as humans have difficulty grasping the concept of eternity, we know something is eternal and it must be outside the natural realm.  God is that eternal being. 
Deut. 33:27 says, “the eternal God is your refuge.”   This is in a text describing the excellency of God above all else.
Psa. 90:2 says, “Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

a.        He does not change – while man at times is inconsistent, God is not.  Because He created this world and knows all things we can count on His consistency.   
Heb. 1:10-12 “And: “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail.”” (From Psa. 102:25-27)
 In Malachi 3:6 we read, “For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.

 James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

It is this consistency that makes His word reliable – both His instructions and promises!  “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?” (Numbers 23:19, NKJV)

b.       He is sovereign – the idea of God’s sovereignty means that being the creator of this universe, He has the right to do whatever He wants.  He is the universal Ruler!  His law reigns supreme.  Ultimately, in this we can rest assured that God is in control!
Isa. 46:9-11 says, “Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’ Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man who executes My counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it.

Psa.115:3, “But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.
Jer. 32:17, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.

What this means for us is that we ought to respect His word and His will.  It matters not if we agree with it, understand it or like it!  Rom 9:20 is one example that says, “But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?”   

 He created this world and us and one day will hold each of us accountable (like it or not).  Therefore it behooves us to submit to Him. 

 II.                  Qualities of God

a.        He is Holy – the idea of holiness is to be separate (as opposed to common or average).  That God is separate is because He is GREATER than all of His creation and thus ABOVE it. 
Because God holy it means that HE is to be revered and is worthy of highest veneration.  We should not treat Him in a common way.
 Lev. 19:2 said to Israel in the wilderness, ““Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.
In Isaiah 6:3 where the prophet is called he sees a vision with Seraphim singing of God saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts…”  The mention of the word “holy” 3 times is remarkable meaning it is of extraordinary degree.  This expression is also found in the throne scene of Revelation 4:8.

In the New Testament we read in 1 Pet. 1:15-16, “but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”  See also Heb. 12:14

b.       He is Omnipotent – this means that God is all powerful.  There is nothing He cannot do! He is restricted to the boundaries of this earth (He created it all). 
Gen. 18:14 speaking to Abraham about Sarah conceiving at an old age (and her laughing about it), the angel said, “Is anything too hard for the Lord? 
Jesus said in Luke 18:27,
The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”

Rev. 19:6 finds angels singing, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!
Because God is all-powerful, we must realize that we can never defeat Him!

c.        He is Omniscient –a word meaning that God is all knowing.  Just as He possesses infinite power, so He possesses infinite knowledge.  Not only does He know all things about this world, He knows what WILL happen.  He knows every thought in our minds.
Psa. 139:1-6,
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. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.
Psalm 147:5,  Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says 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.” (Isaiah 55:8–9)

There are many unanswered questions in this life, including questions about God and His ways,   But just because we don’t have answers doesn’t mean they are not there.  God KNOWS best.  Our task is simply to trust Him.

d.       HE is Omnipresent – this means that God is everywhere.   
Jeremiah 23:23-24 says, “Am I a God near at hand,” says the Lord, “And not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?” says the Lord; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord.

Psa. 139:7-12“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. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

e.       A God of Love- If you want to understand the greatest love, study God.   We have often defined the term “agape” as “caring enough to sacrifice for what is best.”  We see that so greatly demonstrated in God sending His Son.  John 3:16 tells us He so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten Son.
Rom. 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 John 4:8, “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

Because of God’s love for us, we ought to love Him as well (1 John 4:19)

f.         He is good – this is such a simple word, but very profound.  It is a word associated with excellence of character.  God is the ultimate example of what is good.  His very being is good. Every attribute is of good quality.  And His standard is THE standard of what is good. 
Luke 18:18-19,  Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.
Romans 2:4 warns us to NOT despise the riches of His goodness.

g.        God of grace and mercy – grace is a term that means unmerited favor.  God has given us what we don’t deserve (and have not earned).  First and foremost that is demonstrated in sending Jesus to die for us AND in all things He has done to make our salvation possible.  Eph. 2:5-9 speaks of God’s grace AND His mercy.
The idea of the mercy of God is that He is compassionate and forgiving.  Even though we are sinners, God will still forgive us through His Son.  When we see the mercy of God we see Him NOT giving us what we deserve (punishment) associated with His giving us what we do NOT deserve (grace).
Psa. 103:8, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.

h.       He is righteous and just – righteousness means that God is RIGHT!  In His judgments He is true and fair.   Psa. 11:7 says, “For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright. Psa. 145:17 says, “The Lord is righteous in all His ways, Gracious in all His works.
His righteousness is revealed in the Gospel (Rom. 1:16-17)

Associated with His righteousness is His impartiality -  He sent Jesus to die for all mankind.  He judges without respect of person (Acts 10:34-35, Rom. 2:11)

i.         He is jealous – the qualities that we have discussed thus far are generally accepted by those who profess to follow Jesus and the God of the Bible.  But often left out are some other passages that warn us of His exactness.  What God commands He expects to be followed and such within the prescribed boundaries He has set.  We cannot make up our own rules to follow Him.  The folly of idolatry is that is a manmade god or system or worship.  Such things are repulsive to God. 
He tells us that He is a jealous God – in giving the 10 commandments to Israel the LORD said there were to be no other gods before Him (Ex. 20:3-5).  He emphasized, “For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God…”  This is repeated again in Exodus 24:12-14.
1 Cor. 10:22 speaks of provoking the Lord to jealousy.  It is in a context challenging us to flee form idolatry. 
God’s jealousy is not some childish reaction to someone having something he wants.  It is His concern for purity, righteousness and that which is good.

j.         He is severe – The final quality we discuss is that God is severe.  Rom. 11:22, “Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.
Romans 2:5-9 says, “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek;

The point being that God WILL punish those who disobey Him.  To the same degree that He will reward those who are faithful to Him, so He will hold into account and punish those who reject Him.  One of the reasons we see such severe consequences for what is perceived as a minor violation of the law of God (eating forbidden fruit, touching the ark of the Covenant, using unauthorized fire, etc.) is to warn us that God is SERIOUS!  He demands obedience – whether we like it or not. 

 

And thus we have a very brief introduction to the God of the Bible, OUR God!  The better we understand God, the better we are able to serve Him and the greater our reverence (and attitude) for Him will be.  He has revealed Himself to us through His word.   Unlike the gods of many world faiths, God does care about us and He wants what is best for us.  May we, with this understanding, seek to learn more about Him and to live lives that are pleasing in His sight.  It is a fundamental principle to our faith!