28. Partake – Christian Discipleship and Who is God
I have heard people say to me, I believe in God’s existence but I don’t need to study the Bible to know Him! But belief in His existence is not enough! Even satan and his demons believe in God’s existence! It is only through the Bible we can study God and His relationship with the universe. All we can know about God is not contained in the Bible, but the Bible contains all we can know about God during our earthly life! That is because God is infinite and beyond our limitations of space and time! Yet the God we as Christian disciples follow and worship, is knowable through the Bible. This means that God is a personal God and not a remote being. That is a key to studying Him! He wants to be known and has given us the Bible in order for us to do so.
How can we know about God?
In the Bible, what we know of God are the fundamental qualities or powers of His being. The Bible elucidates statements about God, by God, through which we try and understand God, using our finite minds. The Bible reveals God to us! God is spirit, yet a personal and infinite being (John 4:24). He is one in substance, nature and being and incapable of division (Deuteronomy 6v4). Yet He is three coequal people, or the Trinity! It is through the Bible we discover what pleases, angers, offends, or gives joy Him!
The words revealed in the Bible describe His attributes! The fact we are able to take hold and understand this about an infinite God is evidence that God desires to be known by humans! So what are some of the attributes of God? There are two different kinds of attributes: natural and moral.
1. Natural Attributes
a. Transcendent – God’s self-existence apart from and independent of creation. This reflects God’s majesty and greatness. Romans 11:33; 1Chronicles 29:11; 1Kings 8:27
b. Immanent/Omnipresent – God is wholly present everywhere. God fills the universe in all it’s parts without division Psalm 139:7-12; Jerermiah 23:23-24
c. Omnipotent – God has power to do all things that are the object of power. With God all things are possible Luke 1:37. He is El Shaddai or God Almighty. Jerermiah 32:17-18 Nothing is too hard for you.
d. Omniscient – God has perfect knowledge of all things – actual, past, present, future and possible. 1 John 3:20 God knows all things; Psalm 47:5 Infinite understanding.
e. Infinite – God has no limits. He has an internal and a qualitative absence of limitation. Boundless activity – Romans 11:33; 1Timothy1:16; Psalm 147:5
f. Immutable – God is unchangeable. Malachi 3:6 – I AM God and I change not; Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.
g. Eternal – God is without beginning or end. He is the alpha and omega. God is outside of time – time is in God, and He is free from the succession of time. God lives in the eternal present – past, present and future, are NOW for God – He is the I AM YAHWEH Exodus 3:14. From everlasting to everlasting you are God. 1 Timothy1:17; Psalm 102:7
h. Spirit – God is a free personal Spirit
· God is not material. He is invisible and indestructible. John 4:24; 1Timothy1:17; 1Timothy6:15-16
· God is Life Jn 14:6. Energy & activity!
· God has Personality. Self-consciousness & communicative!
2. Moral Attributes
a. Goodness – absolute perfection. Seeking creations’ welfare.
· Love – God is love 1 John 4:8-10. God communicates and gives of Himself.
· Grace – God gives us what we do not deserve. God’s riches at Christ’s expense Ephesians 2:7; The unmerited goodness of God John 1:16.
· Mercy – God does not give us what we deserve. The goodness of God to those in distress – tenderness & compassion (Ephesians 2:3-5)
· Long-suffering – God is slow to anger. God longs to forgive (Exodus 34:6-7)
· Truth – John 14:6 The revelation source and foundation of all truth is God/Jesus
b. Holiness – moral excellence and perfection of God. Separation from sin. What God is!! Heb 7:26 “Be holy, for I am Holy”.
c. Righteousness – Holiness in action. God’s actions conform to His Holiness. Justice deals with the absence of righteousness. Sin must be dealt with – (Genesis 18:25 & Psalm 89:14)
Why do we study this God? There are at least 4 reasons!
a) Avoids confusion! As we study God, we come to know truths about Him and are able to discern what are true and false facts about Him! “Truth combats error” Satan distorts scripture to put people off the truth.
b) Truth develops character 2 Peter 1:3-9 – The strongest Christian disciples are those with a good growing knowledge of biblical truth. Since study increases our knowledge of God, it increases the possibilities of love, growth and service of the Christian disciple. We study it to put it into practice! What we believe about God, affects our behaviour! James 1:22 says “We must be doers of the Word not just hearers of this is to be effective.”
c) We are commanded to grow in our knowledge of God – 2 Timothy 4:2-4
d) This God is to be worshipped and part of our service and submission to this God, is that worship is given to Him alone (Deuteronomy 5v6-9). As humans we are created in His image, and as Christian disciples we were bought at a price when Jesus died on the cross and we accepted Him as our Lord and saviour. He is due our worship and reverence! It is on worship that I hope to discuss next time!
One of the best books regarding getting to know God is the appropriately titled “Knowing God” by JI Packer – it’s a thoroughly modern and readable classic! For more to think about, please do read for yourself 2 Peter 1:3-9. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.
Q1. From my knowledge of God, what do I find comforting?
Q2. From my knowledge of God, what do I find disturbing?
Q3. How has my knowledge of God grown and affected my behaviour since I became a Christian disciple?
As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partake(at)hotmail.co.uk. I would love to hear from you and if these are making any difference at all to your continual Christian discipleship! Thank you.