“Always, everywhere God is present, and always He seeks to discover Himself to each one”
Last week in Back to Basics: God -Part 1, I discussed the being of God. I explained that it is impossible to fully comprehend the being of God but that God gave His people an entire book that helps one see past the agendas of man and focus on the purity of who He is. Though we cannot fathom His being, we are able to see His silhouette through His attributes expressed in the Word of God. His attributes can be found all throughout the Bible in both the Old Testament and in the New Testament. Last week I focused on the Old Testament and the attributes of God that could be found there. They included His lack of a beginning, His trustworthiness and His love. This week I will focus on the New Testament. These attributes of God are found in Jesus Christ, the Son and in the Holy Spirit, both of which are persons of our Triune God.
Attributes of God:
- John 15:9-11- God loves us
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
I ended last week’s post with God’s attribute of love. This is also where we will begin this week. God loves His people more than we will ever understand. We fail him. We don’t give Him the respect He deserves, nor do we obey His commands, and, yet, He still loves us. God’s attribute of love is probably most evident in the life of Jesus Christ. This is because the entire reason Jesus Christ lived was to reveal God’s love to the world. Understanding God’s love (as I have learned through my own experiences) is the foundation of Christianity. And it is through His love that God chose to save humanity. It is through His love that our “joy may be full.”
- Luke 2:9-11- God is Savior to His People
“Now there were shepherds nearby living out in the field, keeping guard over their flock at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were absolutely terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! Listen carefully, for I proclaim to you good news that brings great joy to all the people: Today your Savior is born in the city of David. He is Christ the Lord.”
The love of God and His saviorhood cannot and should not be separated. It is by His love that He chose to save humanity and it is through His saviorhood that His love was fully revealed to mankind. He loves us so much that He sent His Son to save man’s relationship with God. This verse is the announcement of the birth of Jesus Christ, perhaps the biggest event in human history. Yet, who does God choose to announce such an event to? Shepherds. No offence to you shepherds who are reading this blog, but back in biblical times, shepherds were the lowest of the low. They were considered “unclean” which means, because of their jobs, they were unable to keep the ceremonial law which, in Judaism, was of the utmost importance. Shepherds were looked down on so much that they were banned from testifying in courts and were considered extremely unreliable. Yet, God chose to announce His arrival on earth to these people. He said to the shepherds, “Today YOUR Savior is born…” God is the savior of kings and the savior of shepherds. He wants all to be in relationship with him. Thus, He became the savior of all.
- John 11:33-35/ Mark 3:4-5- God has emotions
“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the people who had come with her weeping, He was intensely moved in spirit and greatly distressed. He asked, “Where have you laid him?” They replied, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.”
“Then He said to them, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath, or evil, to save a life or destroy it?” But they were silent. After looking around at them in anger, grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and His hand was restored.”
The Gospels allow many attributes of God to be brought forth through the person of Jesus Christ. One of these important attributes is the emotion of God. The emotion of God, like most of His attributes can be found throughout the Old and New Testament. However, the expression of His emotion seems to be most prominent in Jesus Christ. There are several times that Jesus wept in the Gospel and there are several times throughout the bible that God expressed anger including within the Gospel. God has emotion. He understands emotion. Thus, as followers of Christ, it is important that we understand that emotion, even negative emotions such as extreme sadness and anger, are not sinful. God shares these emotions with us and He understands them and empathizes with His people.
- Matthew 9:35- God heals
“Then Jesus went throughout all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and sickness.”
The healing heart of God. God heals numerous times in the Bible. There are many things that can be discussed concerning the healing of God and, unfortunately, there are many controversies and disagreements within the church surrounding God’s attribute of healing. However, at this time, it is important to understand one thing. Healing is an attribute of God; healing is a part of His being. When God came to earth, He came with the purpose to heal man’s soul, through salvation, to heal man’s heart through teaching and preaching and to heal man’s body through supernatural intervention. God is a healer and He asks us to be, as well. Healing is a part of who He is. As His people, His healing should be a part of who we are.
- John 10:14-16- God is our Guide
“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me just as the Father knows me and I know the Father and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not come from this sheepfold. I must bring them too, and they will listen to my voice, so that there will be one flock and one shepherd.”
Let’s be honest, Compared to the rest of the animal kingdom, sheep are very dumb. Ask anyone who works with livestock. Sheep inherently need to be led. Throughout the Bible, humanity is often referred to as sheep and God is often called our shepherd. This analogy is used, not because God considers humanity to be dumb (though I know that God must often roll His eyes at our stupidity), but instead, God uses this analogy to express both humanity’s inherent need to be led and God’s will to lead His people. And God is the perfect guide. He is the Good Shepherd. His people know His voice and follow Him because they trust His guidance for their lives. God is our guide. He is a faithful and trustworthy guide, and we, as His people, should choose to follow His voice and His direction.
- Acts 1:8- God is power
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.”
The person of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps He is the most perplexing person of the trinity. Unfortunately, a discussion on the Holy Spirit will have to wait for another post. Our focus is on the attributes of the Holy Spirit, who is God. God’s attribute expressed in this verse is that He is power. He is not only powerful himself, as can be seen through the numerous miracles in both the old and new testament, but He also, through our relationship with him, empowers us to help in seeing His will come to fruition in humanity. His empowerment of His people allow them to spread the message of His love and grace to ALL of humanity. Thus, God is power, but He also shares this power through the Holy Spirit, with His people.
- John 16:13- God is truth
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own authority, but will speak whatever He hears, and will tell you what is to come.”
God is also truth. The last two attributes discussed were the guidance of God and His power as well as His empowerment of His people. God’s attribute of truth and these other two are connected in a very special way. These three attributes answer perhaps the three most important questions a person can ever ask. “What does God do for me?” The answer is that He guides us. This will often lead to a second question, “How does He do it?” the answer is with His power and His empowerment of His people. This will many times lead to a third question; “Where does God guide us?” the answer is to truth, which in effect is Himself. God guides His people with His power to truth which is God himself. This is effectively our relationship with God. Once these questions are answered, we must answer one final question; “what am I to do about it?”
- John 17:20-24- God is one
“I am not praying only on their behalf, but also on behalf of those who believe in me through their testimony, that they will all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me. The glory you gave to me I have given to them, that they may be one just as we are one I in them and you in me that they may be completely one, so that the world will know that you sent me, and you have loved them just as you have loved me.”
I wanted to end the attributes of God by bringing the entire thing full circle. Last week, one of the first attributes that I mentioned was that God is one. God is one being, no more and no less. In this post I discussed two specific persons of the Trinity of God, the Son and the Spirit. I do not wish to discuss the complexities of Trinitarian Theology at this time. However, I do wish to point out that even though there are three persons of the trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, they are all one. The son is in the father and the father is in the son. And we, as His people are brought into oneness with Him through the mediation of the Holy Spirit. I find peace in knowing that not only is God one but He invites His people to be one with him. He loves us so dearly that He wants us to be with Him, He in us and us in Him. The God of the universe wants me and wants you.
Bonus: What about us?
- Deuteronomy 10:12-22- Our role in the relationship
“Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you except to revere him, to obey all His commandments, to love him, to serve Him with all your mind and being, and to keep the Lord’s commandments and statutes that I am giving you today for your own good?”
Previously I stated that the reason one needs God is because He guides us with His power to truth, which is Himself. This leaves us with a choice; our response to the truth. Let me be clear, there is a right and wrong answer. God gives us the answer in His word. The only response God requires of His people is to love him, obey Him and to serve him. This is the right way to respond to God. Oddly, this seems like an easy response until one sees the phrase “with all your mind and being…” God asks for all of us. We must respond to the truth with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, and this giving of all of our being is a continuing struggle of mankind.
Before I finish this post, there is one thing I want to clarify. I organized this post and the previous one in a specific way to show that the attributes of God are found throughout the Bible and are found within each person of the Trinity. To some, the organization that I have chosen may appear to be an acknowledgement or even an acceptance of certain beliefs concerning the Trinity that are false and heretical. I want to make it clear that I do not subscribe to the Trinitarian heresy of Modalism, or the theological belief that the persons of the Trinity act independently of each other, typically in different eras; the Father in creation, the Son in redemption and the Holy Spirit in sanctification. I fully believe that the Trinity act through “Inseparable Operations.” This is the orthodox belief that all three persons of the Triune God work together and have worked together for all eternity, to see His will to fruition. Each attribute of God expressed, both, in the last post and in this post, are attributes of the entire Trinity and can be seen in each person of the Trinity at any given time. I hope to discuss the Trinity and heresies surrounding it, in a future post, soon. Until then, I hope that this glimpse of a few of God’s attributes expressed throughout the Bible and discussed in this and in the previous post, may sharpen your view of God and help you see past the constant bombardment of opinionated theology and reveal a slight glimmer of the Holy Biblical God.
 For more information on “Inseparable Operations” Check out this link: http://www.etsjets.org/files/JETS-PDFs/56/56-4/JETS_56-4_781-800_Claunch.pdf