Who is God?
There is an increasing tendency in our society to strip away all acknowledgement of God and influence originating from the Bible. The ultimate consequence of this “new atheism” of the 21st century is a world that is completely characterized by anarchy. The very thought of this absolute decay of our civilization and the severity of such an idea gaining a stronghold must drive us toward becoming closer to our God and better acquainted with His desires. The problem is that many of us are totally in the dark when it comes to better understanding who God is. We have all heard lessons and read in our Bibles about God, but because that is where we leave Him, He is not able to impact our everyday lives. Sure, we will call upon Him in times of distress and trial, but in moments of peace and tranquility we are pacified with the pleasures of this world that is quickly passing away (1 John 2:17). Therefore, the question is laid before us, “Who is God?” This is a very important question that all of us must answer. The consequences of not knowing God are detrimental, both physically and spiritually. If we are going to stand before His throne in judgment, is it not crucial to first understand a little more about who the Judge is (2 Corinthians 5:10)?
Our God is eternal. The God whom we serve is not described as I was, I will be, or I were, but He is affirmed to be the great “I AM” (Exodus 3:14). He is the One who the Hebrew writer said, “They (creation, vs. 10) will perish, but You remain” (Hebrews 1:11a). This attribute of God describes only what can be held by deity. Another characterization of the eternal God is His unchangeable nature. Malachi revealed to us that our Lord does not change (3:6). In a world, that is riddled with changes daily, what comfort and safety can be found in God remaining constant? We do not worry whether God will be harsh today and lenient tomorrow, because His justice remains unalterable. Our eternal God cannot lie and His words will remain forever (Hebrews 6:18; 1 Peter 1:25). This testament of God’s unchangeable nature is also attributed to Jesus Christ (Hebrews 13:8). We are once again comforted by the thought of a Savior that does not change from day to day, but continues to be faithful to His duty. We are certainly in awe of the eternal nature of God. Our minds, in their finite condition, are not always able to understand this attribute of deity, but we do not walk by sight but by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Our God is spirit. This once again drives man away from viewing God as another human, or a being limited to a physical body. We have already described the eternal aspect of God, but He also displays the trait of being omnipresent. Therefore, there is no hiding place from His presence, but He literally is able to dwell in every corner of this world. In the 139th Psalm, David recorded this attribute of God: “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there. If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there” (139:7-8). The Hebrew writer captures this aspect in relation to our lives when he said, “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13). It is with this mindset that we must come to the conclusion that there are no secrets among men that are hidden from God, but all things will eventually be brought into the open. This conviction leads man to desire divine forgiveness. A part of our desire to live for God is expressed and proven by our worship to God. Once again, man is not left without a clue or design, but Jesus revealed to us that, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). We have been given everything necessary to offer unto God spiritual worship that is pleasing to His sight (1 Peter 2:5). These things do not originate within our minds but are revealed from the Word of God. Therefore, when man desires to worship God, we are commanded to worship in spirit and truth. The lack of either one would rule our worship void.
The final two characteristics to be considered are our God’s sovereignty and justice. We must realize that these two attributes work hand-in-hand and bring about God’s scheme of redemption for man. The Psalmist speaks of God’s sovereignty in this manner, “Whatever the Lord pleases He does” (135:6a). Therefore, God is not held to any limitation based upon time (eternal) or boundary (omnipresent), but He has absolute control and power over all things. God does not have to neglect one to take care of another, because of His power and omnipresence He is able to care for all at the same time. It is through His sovereignty, that we have the greatest picture of God’s love for man. He truly could have done whatever He desired, but instead of scrapping the whole lot and starting over, He chose to send Jesus to us. This guides us to better understand the justice of God. God’s love is so great that He was unwilling to allow mankind to die without the chance of salvation (2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 2:2). God did not send His Son while we were His friends but enemies (Romans 5:8, 10). It would be profitable for us to revere God and to honor Him by fearing His justice for this simple fact. The very wise Solomon said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7). The justice of God and His scheme of redemption ought to cause us to fear Him and give complete allegiance to His control.
God is not a mystical being who is hidden from the view of all of mankind, but through His creation His invisible attributes are evident to all (Romans 1:20). The ability to study and learn better the attributes of the God whom we serve is essential for our own survival in this world. How does one draw near to God without first learning who He is and how He desires for us to draw near to Him? All of the attributes given above are not meant to be exhaustive, but to be a firm foundation for coming to know who God is and why He loves us so much. It is the love that God first showed to us that should stimulate us to better deeds, a life given to faithful obedience to His revealed word. When was the last time you thought about your heavenly Father? Maybe it is time to give a little more attention to God and a little less to this world.