May 28, 2023
We Believe in the Holy Spirit
May 21, 2023 Outdoor Worship
We Believe the Best is Yet To Be
May 21, 2023
We Believe God Forgives
May 14, 2023
We Believe Our Family is Everywhere
May 7, 2023
Walter Fenton, Guest Preacher
April 30, 2023 Outdoor Worship
We Believe in the Church
April 30, 2023
Gideon Speaker Bruce Condrey
April 23, 2023 Evening Service
We Believe in His Return
April 23, 2023
We Believe in the Glorified Christ
April 16, 2023 Evening Service
We Believe in the Uniqueness of His Birth
April 16, 2023
The Heart of the Creed
April 9, 2023
The Belief That Makes the Greatest Difference
April 2, 2023
We Believe in the Power of the Cross
March 26, 2023
We Believe in God, the Father Almighty
March 19, 2023
Do Beliefs Matter?
March 12, 2023
A Battle Fought With Prayer
March 5, 2023
The Skillful Use of the Sword
February 26, 2023
The Unbreakable Helmet of Salvation
February 19, 2023
The Shield of Faith
February 5, 2023
The Breastplate of Righteousness
Aldersgate 125th Anniversary
February 20, 1994
January 29, 2023
The Belt of Truthfulness
January 22, 2023
The Reality of Unseen Enemies
January 15, 2023
Human Relations Sunday
January 8, 2023
War is Happening, and We Are In It
January 1, 2023
December 25, 2022
Greatest Christmas Ever
December 24, 2022
Christmas Eve Service 2022
December 18, 2022
December 11, 2022
Christmas Music at Aldersgate
December 4, 2022
Three Things Worth Getting Ready For
November 27, 2022
When the Mule Egg Hatched
November 20, 2022
What Kind of Prodigal Am I?
November 13, 2022
Joyful Homecoming at the Father's House
November 6, 2022
Pigpen Life Lessons
October 16, 2022
God Is Overwhelmingly Love
God Is Overwhelmingly Love
Scripture reveals many truths about who God is, but the greatest is that God is love. Everything God does is done in the totality of His being, so His love must be consistent without contradicting, conflicting with, or negating any of His other attributes. Rather love is the source of everything about God that influences all His attributes. Since love is so central to God's nature, we will never know and understand who God is until we realize and experience His love for us. How do we know God loves us--look to the cross. Our message: God is Overwhelmingly Love
Psalm 103:11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
I John 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 16 So we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
To understand the Bible you have to see it as the greatest love story ever told. The theme of Scripture is the self-revelation of the God of love. The Bible is the story of God’s love for humanity despite our sin. God takes the initiative in offering us a way to be right with him. It is a love story with an element of mystery; the mystery of divine love. God looks for Adam after his sin not to put him to death, but to reestablish a relationship with him. God, the Lover, will not allow sin to stand between him and his creature. That seeking reaches its pinnacle when God sends his Son into the world to rescue sinners and to provide them with eternal life. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. The mystery of divine love is that for a lost world, Christ should leave His Throne of glory, become one of us and die on a cross motivated by divine love. You see in Jesus an ocean of love without bottom, without bounds, overflowing the banks of heaven, streaming down upon this world to wash away our sins in a mighty eternal flood of glorious love by the God who is love! God's love permeates all of His attributes. In 1 John 4:8 declares," God is love." God defines love, generates love, and demonstrates what true love looks like. Love is the most powerful motivating force in God. The love of God is in a class by itself transcending our experience. It is eternal, holy, sovereign, unchanging, and infinite. God is love's source; and it is by Him that we experience love. God loves His creation and better than His creation, God loves His people; those whom He will take into eternal glory! This is one of the greatest truths of Scripture: in spite of who we are as fallen, sinful human beings, in spite of all this, God still loves us! “It is a strange and beautiful eccentricity of the free God,” Tozer writes, “that He has allowed His heart to be emotionally identified with men. Self-sufficient as He is, He wants our love and will not be satisfied till He gets it. Free as He is, He has let His heart be bound to us forever. He doesn’t love in some vague sense, he personally loves you and me. Love it is a declaration of God's nature and attitude toward us. It is a summing up of what God is to every believer who has come into a relationship with the Jesus Christ. .
God and love can never be separated. They are so closely linked that where you find the one you will always find the other. God is love but love is not God! The love of God is NOT a quality of God that can be isolated, made to stand on its own; or made to seem superior to, contrary to or negating any of his other attributes. God is love doesn't mean that and everything else is excepted and excluded in His great nature. You can proclaim, My god is a God of love as long as you don't cancel out other attributes like His justice, righteousness, holiness or wrath. We commit idolatry every time we substitute a lesser concept for His glory, whether that substitution takes the form of stone gods or the form of redefining God's character to suit our tastes. A god stripped of justice, holiness, etc reduced to love is as much an idol as a statue of wood or stone. We must be careful not to substitute for the biblical God a god who is exhausted in his character by the one attribute of love, especially as popular culture defines it. The modern understanding of love is so different from what the Bible calls love. The kind of love that describes the God people wish for today is more akin to sentimentalism than Biblical truth. Due to the shallow romanticism of secular culture, we tend to view the love of God in the same way as culture views love. Our concept of the love of God will stay on track only as we understand His love in relationship to His other attributes.
God's love is far different and greater with our limited human love being a distant metaphor. God's love is much more than human love simply multiplied and expanded. God's love for us will ever be mystery; unfathomable, awesome, entirely beyond human expectation. The love the Bible equates with God is holy and godly love. It's firm, unending, unchanging, committed love. It's love that is willing to discipline and chastise and do whatever is necessary to bring about the greatest growth and the greatest good of the one loved; even if the method used involves pain, struggles, or very difficult situations. It's love is gentle when necessary, but also stern when needed. It's love that loves the unloving; love that's willing to sacrifice, suffer, and even die! It's love so deep, high, wide and long that we can never plumb its limitless depths. It's love that lives, speaks, heals and sacrifices like Jesus for it was manifested most fully in Jesus. A love so far above and beyond anything the human soul is capable of producing that it can only be received as a gift from Him who is its only Source. It is a love that He shares in part with us and expects us to manifest to each other. Romans 5:5 says, He grants to His people His holy love.
That God has always been love is an argument for the Trinity. C. S. Lewis says: 'The words 'God is love' have no real meaning unless God contains at least two Persons. Love is something that one person has for another person. If God, then, was a single person before the world was made, He was not love. Jesus revealed that there was a love relationship between the persons of the triune Godhead from eternity past, when He said to His Father, “Thou didst love Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24). God existed from all eternity past in an unbroken, fullness of contentment, happiness, and peace, with the Father delighting in the Son as the exact representation of His being and the Son delighting in the Father before He created anything! There is an eternal love shared among the three Persons of the Godhead since eternity past and will be forevermore. God is love because he himself is a community of Persons where the Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father and the Holy Spirit. God was nor bored or lonely before creation even one second, and has never needed anything, or anyone, other than His own Triune Self in order to be infinitely happy. Creation did NOT fill a need in God, but flowed out of the inexhaustible abundance of all that He is! He created because He IS love not to become love.
God's love is infinite, eternal, unconditional and sacrificial. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us”. Consider the magnitude of God’s love. Let’s suppose you want to go east trying to reach the west. Circumnavigate the globe and you will find that no matter how far east you go, you will never find the west. God’s love is greater, vaster, larger, deeper, longer, broader, and bigger in all dimensions that the universe itself. Go as far as you can go, to the end of the known universe and beyond and when you have gone as far as you can go, look up and see God’s love is still going. Here is great good news for all the sinners of the world. When God forgives, he removes our sins and he puts them so far away from us that we could never find them. Our sins can never come back to haunt us; they are gone forever.
His love is eternal, infinite, from everlasting to everlasting. When we say God's love is infinite, we are saying He loves without limit. No human tongue can express or human mind comprehend this love. There is nowhere we can go and nothing we can do to remove ourselves from this love. There is never a split-second when God ceases to love us or exhausts His love for us. He knew us and loved us before He made us, when we were but a thought in His mind. He will love us for eternity to come, as Paul assured us, nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God. He will love us to the end of our waywardness and wanderings. He will love us to the end of our deepest need. He will love us to the end of our lives, to the end of time, to the farthest extremity of eternity.
God’s Love Is Unconditional. One of the most amazing things about God’s love is that it is extended to us when we do not deserve it and continues even when we do not respond to it. That is different from our love. We show more love to the people who love us and less love to the ones who do not. There is not one good thing in any of us that merits God’s love. He does not love us because we are so lovable or because we can somehow make ourselves worthy of His love. Whether or not we ever return His love, He keeps on extending it to us. There is nothing we can do to make Him love us any more, and nothing we ever do will cause Him to love us any less. God loves us so much that He even gives us free will to ignore or resist having a relationship with Him. His love is unchangeable regardless of what we are not or what we are. Accepting God’s unconditional love for us is the basis of a Christian life.
God's love is sacrificial. If we want ultimate proof of God's love for us, we must look at the Cross where God offered up His Son as a sacrifice for our sins. Calvary is the one objective, absolute, irrefutable proof of God's love for us The Cross is the ultimate evidence that there is no length the love of God will refuse to go in effecting reconciliation. Augustine once called the cross "a pulpit" from which Christ preached God's love to the world. Whenever we are tempted to think that nobody loves us, we need to think of the cross. Jesus bore that shame and suffering because He values us so highly that He was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to secure for us eternal joy. True love must give and since God is the epitome of true love, He demonstrated His love by giving us the greatest gift possible: Jesus Christ. Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ Jesus died for us.” What greater love gift could we ever want than God Himself? Judgment is removed and God's love is now available without measure thanks to the work of Jesus Christ. But we can also say it was God's love that moved Him to send Jesus Christ in the first place. 1 John 4:10, "This is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." We are reconciled to God, not because Christ's death changed God's attitude toward us, but because God's love sent Christ to make the way by which sin, which bars us from the realization of God's love, might be removed forever" You can easily find the beginning of your love to Christ, but his love to us is a stream whose source is hidden in eternity. From the beginning, and continually, and throughout eternity, we have a God who longingly looks at us and says, “I love you.” Our salvation is part of an unbreakable chain that guarantees His love from eternity past into eternity future (Rom. 8:30).
God’s Love is Life-Changing. We are tiny, lonely specks on the face of an almost infinite universe, quantitatively insignificant, and constantly threatened by our impending death. Into this sense of insecurity there shines the love of God. God's answer to the question of identity ("Who am I?") is: "I love you. You mean everything to Me. You are worth the life of My Son, Jesus Christ, because that is what I paid for you. You belong, and you're supposed to be here. Dwight L. Moody said, “If we could ever really get people to believe God loves them; the whole world would soon come him.” The Lord loves you not because of anything you are doing, being, saying, or thinking, but he loves you because his heart is full of love running over to you. It is not about winning His love, it is about accepting His love! Even when we feel unacceptable, God accepts us. Even when we fail God, God forgives us and is ready to give us another chance. Even when we see no future for ourselves, God prepares a way opening the future in ways we cannot imagine. We matter immensely. We can find all the acceptance we crave in Jesus; then with the confidence that we are loved, we can extend love to others. A father wanted to teach his son the lesson of God's great love. He took him to the top of a high hill and pointed northward over Scotland, southward over England, eastward over the ocean, westward over hill and valley, and then sweeping his arm around the whole circling horizon, he said, "Johnny, my boy, God's love is as big as all that." "Father," the boy exclaimed, "then we must be right in the middle of it." Thank God, so are we! God is overwhemingly love so know He loves each and everyone of us.
October 9, 2022
God Is Where Grace Trumps Wrath
God Is Where Grace Trumps Wrath
The attributes of God are the clearest expression of who God is. You cannot take away, ignore, minimize or disregard who God has revealed himself to be and still have God be who He is. The attributes are inseparable from each other so that each one enhances and supports the rest. All of God's attributes stand on one leg so to speak, pull out and disregard one the rest topple down.
In that respect, it is only when grace is displayed with God's wrath that it is fully understood and appreciated. Wrath and Grace met at the cross with wrath being fully expressed and grace fully triumphant. Our Message: God Is Where Grace Trumps Wrath
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!
Ephesians 2:3b Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
Imagine two contrasting signs trying to get people to slow down while driving through a construction area. One sign looked like a child had written it. It said, “Slow down, my daddy works here!” The next sign, less than a tenth of a mile up the road, was written in bold threatening letters: “HIT A CONSTRUCTION WORKER—TEN YEAR PRISON SENTENCE!” Both signs were trying to accomplish the same goal—safety. Both are needed. There are two sides to the nature of God—kindness and sternness, but our common perception of God is out of balance. We’ve emphasized God’s grace so much that he’s envisioned as a adoring grandfather who would never hold anyone accountable for sin. We’re shout grace and only whisper repentance so it’s not surprising that people are becoming increasingly cavalier about sin. God is a God of grace but he’s also capable of wrath. When we ignore His kindness, God seems a ruthless tyrant; when we ignore his sternness, he seems a doting Father. When we say that God’s grace and God’s wrath are two sides to his nature, we do not mean that God has a good side and an evil side. The love of God is a righteous love, and the anger of God is a righteous anger. There is no more evil in God’s wrath than there is in his grace. The same righteousness of God that would justly condemn and punish us is also able to offer us salvation and forgiveness.
Wrath is considered to be the black sheep of the family of attributes. God’s wrath is difficult to comprehend, so in some ways, this is a doctrine that is easy to overlook. The thought that people will someday face judgment and condemnation is so overwhelming that we’d much rather not think about it at all. Most of us would rather hear about love and grace. However when you divorce grace from wrath then something is lost. Take away the wrath of God and what you have left is not amazing grace but cheap grace. Much modern gospel preaching is anemic precisely because we preach less than the whole truth to guilty sinners. If all we say to the lost is “God loves you,” we are in danger of making them think that their continued rebellion doesn’t matter to God. The Gospel is good news because we have understood the bad news.
Many Christians feel as if they have to apologize for this doctrine as a blemish on God’s character. Others think that God’s wrath is inconsistent with his love. Many seem to believe God’s wrath is an Old Testament truth, and that with the coming of Christ, we are now safe to think only in terms of God’s love. This is wrong thinking about God. Wrath is actually is an essential component of God's nature. God is just as infinite in his wrath as any other attribute. Two facts stare us in the face: The Bible says more about wrath than about love. Jesus spoke more about hell than about heaven.
Part of our misconception is when we use the word wrath we tend to think of uncontrolled anger. While that may be human wrath, it is far from the truth about God’s wrath. God’s wrath is not uncontrollable rage, vindictive bitterness or God losing his temper. The Bible says in more than one place that God is slow to anger. God cannot help but manifest his wrath as necessary to his holiness, justice, righteousness, but even at that he tempers his wrath by his love, mercy, and grace. God’s wrath is the character that God’s righteousness takes on in relationship to sin. The wrath of God is a reminder of the holiness of God and a measure of God’s holy hatred of sin. God’s wrath is provoked when men rebel against His Word. Romans 1:18: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness.” The truth is, we’ve got the problem—not God. First man rebels and then God responds with his wrath. Wrath is God’s natural response to sin in the universe. He cannot overlook it, he cannot wink at it, he cannot pretend it is not there. God’s wrath is his settled hostility toward sin in all its various manifestations. God’s wrath is his holy hatred of all that is unholy. It is his righteous indignation at everything that is unrighteous. Wrath is what happens when holiness meets sin; when justice meets rebellion and when righteousness meets unrighteousness! As long as God is God, he cannot overlook sin. As long as God is God, he cannot stand by indifferently while his creation is destroyed. As long as God is God, he cannot dismiss lightly those who trample his holy will.
There was a man in England by the name of William Cowper. At one point in his life he became extremely depressed and fearful that he was under the wrath of God. “I flung myself into a chair by the window and there saw the Bible on the table by the chair. I opened it up and my eyes fell on Romans 3:25, which says of Christ, ‘Whom God has made a propitiation through faith in his blood.’” “Then and there, I realized what Christ’s blood had accomplished and I realized the effects of his atonement for me. I realized God was willing to justify me and I trusted Jesus Christ and a great burden was lifted from my soul.” William Cowper wrote a hymn that is still in our hymnbook. There is a fountain filled with blood Drawn from Immanuel’s veins. And sinners plunged beneath that flood Lose all their guilty stain. God’s Son has made propitiation. Propitiation is a rare word only used six times in the New Testament to describe the work of Christ on the cross. To propitiate means to “turn away wrath by offering a gift.” Think of a husband after having a big fight with his wife stopping to buy flowers on the way home. He hopes the offering of flowers will turn away wrath and restore a right relationship. In the Old Testament the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement to sprinkle an offering of blood on the Mercy Seat, the lid of the Ark of the Covenant. That blood was accept by God as an “atonement” or a “covering” for the sin of the people. 1 John 2:2 says, He is the propitiation (atoning sacrifice) for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. When Jesus died on the cross, the blood that he shed was like the blood on the Mercy Seat. It turned away the wrath of God forever and covered the sin of the entire human race. When Jesus hung on the cross, he cried out, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?. In that moment all the wrath of God was poured out on Jesus as he became sin for us. To call the death of Christ a “propitiation” means that God’s wounded heart is now satisfied with the death of his Son. Because Jesus Christ died, God’s justice is now satisfied and wrath has been turned away. It is impossible to truly proclaim the grace of God apart from the wrath of God. The gospel of the grace of God is not a promise that God will be lenient with our sins, or that He will forgive if we are deeply sorry for our sins, or if we repent, or pray, or pay, or say, or do anything whatsoever to make amends for our wrongdoing. It is rather the good news that the infinite penalty for our sins has been paid by Christ at Calvary. The cross is the place where grace and wrath meet and praise God by divine plan grace trumps wrath. When we come to God through Christ, we come to a friendly Father and not to an angry God. Some years ago talk-show host Phil Donahue listed the various reasons why he had become disillusioned with Christianity. Among them was this: “How could an all-knowing, all-loving God allow his Son to be murdered on a cross to redeem my sins?” That’s an excellent question because it goes to the very heart of the gospel. Why would God put his own Son to death, especially to save people who had rebelled against him? In searching for the answer, it helps to think of another question: Since God is both all-powerful and infinitely gracious, why didn’t he simply offer forgiveness to anyone who says, “I’m sorry”, but there is no justice in just that. Because God is holy, he cannot allow sin to go unpunished. His justice demands that every sin be punished-no matter how small it may seem to us. If he were to forgive sin without proper punishment, he would cease to be holy and just. God would no longer be God because he would have denied his own character. All offenses against God must be punished. That’s why sinners can’t simply say, “I’m sorry” and instantly be forgiven. Someone has to pay the price and God pays it himself at great cost. God’s problem was to devise a plan of salvation whereby he would remain holy and just, and still provide a way of forgiveness for guilty sinners. Somewhere, somehow, there had to be a place where grace and wrath could meet. That place is the cross of Christ. The good news of the gospel is that those who have placed their trust in the Lord Jesus as the “Lamb of God” are no longer under the sentence of divine wrath. God can be righteous and merciful at the same time, executing his justice against sin and extending his mercy to sinners. Why? Because Jesus took the place of sinners. Because Jesus is our substitute. Phil Donahue asked a second question: “If God the Father is so ‘all-loving,’ why didn’t He come down and go to Calvary?” The answer is, he did! God came down to this earth in the Person of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and died for our sins. Because he is an infinite God of infinite holiness, all sins committed against him are infinite in magnitude. Only a gift of infinite value could turn away the infinite wrath of God. Only God himself in the Person of his Son could make such an infinite gift. That gift is extended to us by and only through grace. God declares us righteous when we have nothing but the sewage of sin in our veins. As mercy is God’s goodness confronting human misery and guilt, so grace is His goodness directed toward human debt. It is by His grace that God imputes merit where none previously existed and declares no debt to be where one had been before. Grace is the good pleasure of God that inclines Him to bestow benefits upon the undeserving. Too many Christians even, failing to understand the great message of grace, think of God only as a Being of infinite love, who gave His Son to die for man, forgetting that it was His infinite justice that demanded so terrible a price for sin because of God’s hatred of sin, and His righteous indignation at man’s rejection of His grace.
When God saves people, he doesn’t do it because of any potential he sees in them. When God saves, he saves us by free grace, wholly apart from anything in us or anything we might bring to the table later. Grace cannot be mixed or watered down with religion or works. Acknowledging our unworthiness, we must accept salvation as the gift of God’s grace alone. We think that going to church, being baptized, saying our prayers, being good, stopping a bad habit or “trying hard to be better” will somehow merit God's forgiveness. God’s gift of salvation costs us nothing, even though it cost Christ everything. The Lord now says to us, “Take it by faith! It’s yours for free; paid in full for you." The story is told about an elderly country woman named Betty who trusted in Christ for salvation. One of her skeptical friends heard about it, and intending to make fun of her, asked if she had indeed become one of the saints. “Yes, I have,” she replied. “Well,” said the skeptic, “are you now an expert in theology?” “I’m no Bible scholar,” Betty replied. “I’m simply positive that God loves me enough that he’d rather go to hell than have me go there, and that God loves me enough that he’d rather leave heaven and die than for me not to get to heaven to be with him.” The skeptic insisted, “Is that all you know? Can’t you at least explain what being saved by grace means?” Betty thought for a moment, then answered: “Jesus stood in my shoes at Calvary, now I’m standing in his.” It would be hard to find a better explanation of justification by grace. Grace and wrath have met at the cross and the result is the free offer of salvation to everyone who believes. The most obvious implication is that sinners desperately need to repent and place their trust in Christ, who bore God’s wrath for their sin at Calvary. If you have any stirring in your heart, any sense of your need, any desire to be saved by grace, that desire has been placed in your heart by God. Now the rest is up to you. Has the blood of Jesus ever been applied to your heart? God’s Son has made propitiation. He has turned away the wrath of God. He shed his blood and what was a place of judgment is now a mercy seat for anyone and everyone who will come to God through Jesus Christ.
October 2, 2022
God Is Repeatedly Meriful
God Is Repeatedly Merciful
God's attributes always compliment who God is without contradiction, but in comparison one attribute gloriously stands out. To know who God really is and peek into his heart, it is not the display of his holiness, righteousness or power to which you should look, but his mercy. The mercy of God overreaches all His other attributes. There is no other attribute of God that the heart of God is as eager to highlight as God is merciful. Imagine how horrible a just, holy God would be if He had no mercy, but his mercy is everywhere and to everyone. The eternal essence of God is infinite mercy so He is predisposed to manifest mercy in every way possible to us. Our message: God is Repeatedly Merciful
Psalm 51:1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
Micah 7:18 Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.
Ephesians 2:4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
I Peter 2:10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
What was the most often request of people made to Jesus? the most prominent request made of Jesus is, “Have mercy on me!”, which is precisely what he did in his perfect life, sacrificial death, and triumphant resurrection. God sent his own Son not simply to dispense his mercy, but to embody it. Jesus is the Mercy of God made human. He didn’t just teach his people to echo God’s mercy in their lives, but he himself was, and is, the mercy of God to us.
God Is Merciful; He is infinitely compassionate and kind. Mercy is not something God has, but something God is. Mercy is the withholding of a just condemnation. God being merciful basically means that, when we deserve punishment, He doesn’t punish us, and in fact blesses us instead. Mercy is a concept integral to an understanding of God's dealings with humankind. Mercy in God is not merely His pardon of offenders, but His attitude to man, and to the world generally, from which His pardoning mercy proceeds. God’s mercy expresses his heart in a way that the demonstration of any of his other attributes do not. When God shows his mercy it seems to highlight some of his attributes like goodness, kindness, love and grace while at the same time it softens others like holiness, justice and wrath.
Tozer writes, “Mercy is an attribute of God, an infinite and inexhaustible energy within the divine nature which disposes God to be actively compassionate.” As judgment is God’s justice confronting moral inequity, so mercy is the goodness of God confronting human suffering and guilt. Were there no guilt in the world, no pain and no tears, God would yet be infinitely merciful; but His mercy might remain hidden in His heart, unknown to the created universe. No voice would be raised to celebrate mercy of which none felt the need. It is misery and sin that call forth the divine mercy.”
His mercy is always undeserved. Spurgeon writes that, “It is undeserved mercy, as indeed all true mercy must be, for deserved mercy is only a misnomer for justice. There was no right on the sinner's part, to the saving mercy of the Most High God. Had the rebel been doomed at once to eternal fire — he would have justly merited the doom; and if delivered from wrath, sovereign love alone has found a cause, for there was none in the sinner himself. Without the mercy of God, we would have no hope of heaven. But because of mercy, we don’t get what we deserve. Instead, because of the mercy of God, we get life through faith in Christ.
You find God's mercy four times more in the Old Testament than the New Testament. Banish the thought that the God of Israel is an angry God of judgment; but the God in the New Testament is full of mercy. God is an unchangeable God! He is the same yesterday, and today, and forever! God has always been, and always will be, a God of mercy; for that's what He is in Himself, mercy. One of God's great reveals to Moses was his unfailing mercy even when his chosen people turned their backs on God. The prophets celebrated him as gracious and merciful with countless psalms that affirm God's mercy. David began his great psalm of confession, Psalm 51, “Have mercy on me, O God according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions”.
God's mercy is closely aligned with his grace and love. Because of His love for us, God wants us to be with Him. His mercy is required for that to take place. His mercy is the manifestation of His love, the arm of God's love is His mercy. Mercy has in view misery and its relief; grace is His free grace gift displayed in the forgiveness of sins--extended to men as they are guilty; His mercy is extended to them as they are miserable. In his mercy God withholds WHAT WE DO DESERVE; in his grace God heaps upon us infinite blessings WE DO NOT DESERVE. In mercy he withholds what we DID MERIT – eternal wrath; and in grace pours out upon us what we COULD NEVER MERIT: Eternal life, infinite joy, being one with Christ, being made like Christ. Mercy precedes grace because mercy withheld what we deserved so grace could make what did not deserve available. Both mercy and grace reveal the character of God. In his mind-boggling mercy, he doesn’t give us what we deserve. Rather, he gave that to Jesus. In his outrageous grace, he gives us what we don’t deserve. He gives us the rewards earned by Jesus.
God’s mercy is inseparable from his justness/righteousness. The question arises how then can a just God justify the unjust ? Through the work of Christ in atonement, justice is not violated but satisfied when God spares a sinner. His mercy is does not forbid him to exercise his justice, nor does his justice forbid him to exercise his mercy. He is both fully merciful and fully just. There are some who might, in error, say that God is too kind to punish the ungodly. But to believe this means we dull the reality of his justice. God will have justice for sin, either from Christ’s atoning death or, for those who will not accept it, eternal judgment. The saved get mercy and the unsaved get justice.
There is no contradiction between God’s justice on one hand and his mercy on the other. He is both abounding in steadfast love and yet he punishes sin. This apparent contradiction is one only in our minds because of faulty definitions and because of a lack of understanding of God’s revelation. The true opposite of mercy is not righteousness, but cruelty; and the true opposite of righteousness is not mercy, but unrighteousness or injustice. Justice is the stem upon which the flower of mercy is beautifully displayed.
Justice satisfied, the price paid, mercy available. What an awesome thought. God’s wrath is real, but so is his mercy. He satisfied his own wrath by offering his own Son on the cross. God has no mercy apart from the cross! When God withholds the judgment from us that we rightly deserve, he lays it squarely on the blood-soaked shoulders of our Redeemer. The cross points us to the supreme display of both God’s justice and his mercy. It is where God’s justice is executed and his mercy is extended. When Jesus died on the cross the mercy of God did not become any greater for it was already infinite. God did not show mercy because Jesus died. It was the mercy of God that gave us Calvary, not Calvary that gave us mercy. If God had not been merciful there would have been no incarnation, no man on a cross and no salvation. Amazing love, how can it be, that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
It is no coincidence that in the Old Testament sacrificial system, the place where the blood is offered for the sins of the people is called the “mercy seat.” That was the lid on top of the Ark of the Covenant. There the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies once a year, on the Day of Atonement, bringing with him the blood of a bull. When he sprinkled the blood on the Mercy Seat that blood was accept by God as an “atonement” or a “covering” for the sin of the people. Through the blood God had mercy! The Lord Jesus Christ is God's mercy seat. At the cross, in holy love, God through Christ paid the full penalty of our disobedience himself. He took the judgment we deserve in order to bring us the forgiveness we do not deserve. On the cross, divine mercy and divine justice were equally expressed and eternally reconciled. Wasn't it said, prophetically, of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Psalms, 85: 'Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other' - the mercy seat! Calvary is where God meets the sinner and extends mercy. Have you been there? Have you been to Calvary?
As a policeman on night duty walked the streets, he heard a crying. Shining his flashlight into the darkness, he saw a little boy in the shadows sitting on a doorstep and tears were running down his cheek. The child said, “I’m lost. Please take me home.” The policeman began naming street after street, trying to help the boy remember where he lived. He named the shops and the hotels in the area but the little boy could give him no clue. Then he remembered that at the center of the town there was a church with a large white cross that towered above the rest of the city. The policeman pointed to the cross and said, “Do you live anywhere near that place?” The little boy’s face immediately brightened up. He said, “Yes, sir. Take me to the cross and I can find my way home.” Go to the cross and in mercy you will find your way home to God. Mercy there was great and grace was free Pardon there was multiplied to me There my burdened soul found liberty At Calvary
Because Christ in mercy bore the full weight of God’s wrath, we now enjoy the full blessing of God’s grace.
If you are living with a guilt complex because you think God hates you, how little you understand of the cross of Christ. All the sin in the world which we may do or think is no more to the mercy of God than a solitary lighted match dropped in the sea. The table of Communion is God’s proof that he loves you and is merciful towards you. Don't be so self-righteously stupid that you don't realize how desperate you need mercy and that is the only appeal you have to God, but when you cry out for mercy that touches the heart of our merciful God. Because God is just and merciful, God requires justice and mercy from us. To keep mercy freely flowing into your life freely offer mercy to others. Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy. The only way to cut off God's mercy is to be unmerciful yourself. If you refuse mercy to others you invariably block God's mercy.
Jesus laid down His life and became the sacrificial lamb so that God’s mercy could be extended to us. That is the ultimate act of God’s mercy. To our eternal benefit, as James 2:13 says, “mercy triumphs over judgment”. Our God is the mercy-having God who invites us to look not only at the totality of who He is, but to set our eyes on his mercy and see into his very heart. Entrust yourself to the God who has mercy. Come to the mercy seat that is ours in Christ Jesus.
God Is Consistent and Balanced
September 25, 2022
God Is Consistent and Balanced
September 25, 2022
God Is Consistent and Balanced
John Wesley taught that all God's attributes will never contradict each other saying, "God's attributes are inseparably joined: they cannot be divided, no, not for a moment." God is not made up of his attributes, but each is an expression of his eternal essence. We never have to worry about God overreacting, or doing something contradictory to one of his attributes because all exist in harmony with each other. It might seem that God would have trouble squaring all of his attributes, but there is no conflict due to God's eternal unity. In the most glorious way that could ever be conceived God is totally true to who He is while combining and reconciling His every attribute to provide for our salvation. Our Message: God Is Consistent and Balanced
Exodus 34:4 Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning, as the Lord had commanded him; and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands. 5 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. 6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”
Psalm 103:8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Romans 2:4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, patience and forbearance, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
Can the true identity of God be known? Is HE the God of nature, or the God of the Bible. Is He impersonal, silent, uninvolved and distant God who works solely through the laws of nature He established as the deist's suggest. OR is God a personal, loving, redeeming, prayer - hearing, miracle working God, who cares about our lives, what we do, and will even break in upon the affairs of this world to speak, guide, heal, protect, help, punish or save. What the Bible teaches is not just the simple belief that God exists, but who He is and what we can affirm about his character. The Bible assumes that everyone believes in God, except the fool, who has somehow managed to convince himself otherwise, against overwhelming evidence, reason & common sense. Scripture affirms that God has revealed himself to us in specific ways. What does it tell us about the God who is? It tell us He is good, all powerful and faithful. That He provides, protects, can and does works miracles and that nothing is impossible for him! That He's a God that's all knowing, everlasting, unchangeable, righteous, just, perfect, wise and right in all He does! A holy God to be revered, feared, adored and obeyed because He alone is worthy of our worship. A God who keeps His covenant, fulfills His promises, judges evil and punishes sin. A God who is the uncontested Lord over the entire universe and all that is in it. Scripture's intent is not to simply solicit belief in God, but give us specific details about that one God and call us to believe each one! God would say if you think you know and worship God yet don't think He is like Me in the Bible, then you don't really know the God you think you know and worship! God is a God of absolute integrity and truth. That's why David calls Him, "the God of truth." God is so true that it is impossible for Him to be otherwise. We can speak the truth or we can tell lies. The Bible helps us know and understand the truth about God, about ourselves and about life. God manifested truth to us in the person of Jesus Christ who said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” Jesus was sent into this world to reveal the nature of God as He really is. Only Jesus could honestly claim to be the truth. That's why the question every person needs to answer is NOT do you believe in God! But, do you believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior? Do you believe He is Deity clothed in human flesh and thus the clearest revelation of what the Father He is One with is truly like. Because if that's what God is really like and His Word says it is any description of Him that denies it is idolatrous and sinful. Jesus is our anchor of truth in a society of relativism and falsehood. Do your decisions and lifestyle demonstrate that you are listening to Jesus? Are you consistently spending time discovering truth in God’s Word?
Theologians speak of the simplistic nature or singular perfection of God. God cannot be divided, he is without parts. That means God in his very essence, within himself and by himself, is the unity of his attributes. His essence is his attributes and his attributes his essence. All that is in God simply is God. God does not possess qualities; He is those qualities. God must be true to everything He is without division. Not one attribute can be discounted or cancelled by another. When Scripture speaks about God’s attributes, it never singles out one attribute of God as more important than all the rest. No attribute can diminish or eclipse another attribute. If you could put any one on a scale it would be balanced perfectly with any other one. Every attribute is completely true of God and is true of all of God’s character. Attributes are not like a pie sliced into different pieces. Every attribute exist with the rest as 100% of who God is. There is no competition, conflict or disunity in God. God is consistent and unified. For example, God does not sacrifice His justice in order to demonstrate His love. All of God’s attributes work together in harmony with one another in everything He does so a singular wholeness exists. This is why attributes like justice, righteousness, holiness, and truth are harmonious with others life patience, longsuffering, mercy and love.
Consider how the truths of God's attributes hold together in a beautiful unity. God’s love and mercy must be harmonized with His righteousness which cannot be compromised. The righteousness of God is all that God is, all that He commands, all that He demands, all that He approves, all that He provides through Christ in the gospel. God is always righteous and His righteousness causes Him to always think and do what is right. The righteousness of God is virtually synonymous with His justice in Old and New Testaments. The most common Old Testament word for just means ‘straight,’ and the New Testament word means ‘equal,’ in a moral sense they both mean ‘right.’ When we say that God is just, we are saying that He always does what is right, what should be done, and that He does it consistently, without partiality or prejudice. God’s righteousness or justice is the natural expression of His holiness. If He is infinitely pure, then He must be opposed to all sin, and that opposition to sin must be demonstrated in His treatment of His creatures. Justice/righteous are not optional products of His will, but an unchangeable principle of His very nature. He cannot being infinitely righteous, do otherwise than regard and hate sin as deserving of punishment. God is His own self-existent principle of moral equity, and when He sentences evil men or rewards the righteous, He simply acts like Himself from within, uninfluenced by anything that is not Himself. God is not defined by the term “righteous,” as much as the term “righteous” is defined by God. God is not measured by the standard of righteousness; God sets the standard of righteousness. The righteousness of God and the justice of God are not secondary matters; they are primary. The righteousness or justice of God is to be the guiding principle for the people of God. When the Old Testament prophets sought to sum up the essence of the Old Testament teaching regarding man’s conduct, it was that men practice righteousness and justice.
Did you know God has the attribute of jealousy? He is depicted in Scripture as Israel's husband and is a jealous God because Israel's idolatry was spiritual adultery. Joshua said to the people, "You will not be able to serve the LORD, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgression or your sins. (Josh 24:19) God's jealousy does not refer to our shallow, childish human emotion but emphasizes that He does not tolerate a divided heart. God gives incalculably more love than others, and He is moved with a deeper indignation when you suffer a rival to reign in His place. His divine jealousy describes Jehovah's justifiable intolerance to any and every rival and is God's rightful demand for our exclusive loyalty. In short, God's jealousy is just as appropriate and part of who God is as His love, mercy or grace.
How could God be wholly all of his attributes when from our perspective they don't really jell. You consider some of God's attributes such as his holiness, righteousness, jealousy wrath and justice and it would seem that we are up the proverbial creek without a paddle, but the good news is that all the attributes complement and support the entirety of God. Exodus 34:6-7 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. God could have justly destroyed every sinner (which is all of us) the first time (and every time) they sinned (which we all do!). II Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. Here is where God's attributes like patience, longsuffering, compassion and mercy must be figured in. Longsuffering or patience is a Divine title for God, Paul refers to Him in Romans 15:5 as the God of patience. The patience of God— the excellency which causes Him to sustain great insult without immediately avenging Himself.. In the Old Testament, God is repeatedly described as "slow to anger". God's longsuffering is that power which He exercises over Himself, allowing Him to bear with sinners, forbearing long in punishing them. Inherent in God's longsuffering is His power of self-restraint. His anger has a "slow burn" or a "long fuse" so to speak. God has A long fuse – “slow to anger”, A short memory-“does not harbor his anger forever”, A thick skin-“does not treat us as our sins deserve”, and A great heart-“so great is his love, so far has he removed our sins”. I’m glad we have a God like that because that exactly the kind of God we need. God patiently endured (and continues to endure) rebellion rather than giving sinners the punishment which every sin immediately deserves! God continues to endure the unbelief, rejection, hatred, blasphemy, and iniquity, while patiently allowing time for repentance. Every day we ought to be thanking God for His great patience and for the loving way that He treats us. Where would we be without it? Where would we be if every transgression received immediate punishment? Our sins cry out for punishment. But God does not treat us according to our sins. Lamentations 3:22-23 says, "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." God's patience is designed to lead people to repentance. Romans 2:4: "Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?" God does not want people to perish. He is kind and compassionate toward them. This patience is designed to bring them to repentance.
According to a traditional Hebrew story, Abraham was sitting outside his tent one evening when he saw an old man, weary from age and journey, coming toward him. Abraham rushed out, greeted him, and then invited him into his tent. There he washed the old man's feet and gave him food and drink. The old man immediately began eating without saying any prayer or blessing. So Abraham asked him, "Don't you worship God?" The old traveler replied, "I worship fire only and reverence no other god." When he heard this, Abraham became incensed, grabbed the old man by the shoulders, and threw him out his tent into the cold night air. When the old man had departed, God called to his friend Abraham and asked where the stranger was. Abraham replied, "I forced him out because he did not worship you." God answered, "I have suffered him these eighty years although he dishonors me. Could you not endure him one night?" Christians, be patient with unbelievers. Don't give up praying or witnessing to them. Christians, be patient with one another. Others have faults needing correction but do it with patient love. Trust others will be as patient with you.
How could God love sinners and yet not overlook their sin? The paradox of salvation is this: God is a God of love and therefore wants to forgive sinners. But he is also a God of righteousness who must not and cannot overlook sin. No one would ever have dreamed of his answer. God sent his own Son to die for sinners. In that way, the just punishment for sin was fully met in the death of Christ, and sinners who trust in Christ could be freely forgiven. Only God could have done something like that. This God who is mighty and fearful is also a God of love and compassion. He has also chosen to love finite sinners in a very personal and intimate way. No greater proof is needed than Jesus Christ. He would condescend to become as His creation by taking on human flesh and dying for our sins on the cross. Jesus would accept the wrath we deserve and purchase us as a people for His own special possession. God would love us before we loved Him making salvation available to us as a gift that we receive by faith alone in Christ.
As Paul puts it, He is “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26). In light of God’s other attributes of goodness, mercy, love and grace, there are some who might, in error, say that God is too kind to punish the ungodly. But to believe this means we dull the reality of his infinite, unchanging justice. God will have justice for sin, either from Christ’s atoning death or, for those who will not accept it, eternal condemnation. Justice was done on the cross of Calvary. God did not reduce the charges against men; He did not change the standard of righteousness. God poured out the full measure of His righteous wrath upon His Son on the cross of Calvary metering out justice. All of those who trust in Christ by faith are justified. Their sins are forgiven because Jesus paid the full price. Spurgeon: "Behold His flowing wounds and thorn-crowned head! He is the Son of God, and therein He is greater than Moses, but He is the Lord of love, and therein more tender than the lawgiver. He bore the wrath of God, and in His death revealed more of God's justice than Sinai on a blaze, but that JUSTICE is now vindicated, and henceforth it is the guardian of believers in Jesus. Look, sinner, to the bleeding Savior, and as you feel the attraction of His love, fly to His arms, and be saved. On the lion of JUSTICE the fair maid of salvation rides like a queen." My hope lives not because I am not a sinner, but because I am a sinner for whom Christ died; my trust is not that I am holy, but that being unholy, He is my righteousness. My faith rests not upon what I am, or shall be, or feel, or know, but in what Christ is, in what He has done, and in what He is now doing for me. This is the heart of the gospel: God’s holiness, righteousness and justice demands that sin be punished. God’s grace provides the sacrifice. What God demands, he supplies. Thus salvation is a work of God conceived, provided and applied by God. Every aspect of our Great God combines to secure our salvation and bring us into intimate relationship with our God.
God Is All the Time Good
September 18, 2022
God Is All the Time Good
No matter what else we may say or know about God until we can affirm His goodness in everything we really don't understand God. The goodness of God is the sum total of all of God’s attributes. His goodness is one facet of His glorious nature and character and also the overall summation of who God is and what He is about. The goodness of God is the essential core of our Christian faith. It is because of God's desire for our good that He provided salvation through His son and that is ultimate good on our behalf. Our message: God Is All The Time Good
Exodus 33:19 Then Moses said, “I pray Thee, show me Thy glory!” And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion”
Psalms 107:1 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting
Matthew 19:16-17 And behold, one came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” 17 And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments”
In C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, Susan hears about the great lion Aslan from Mr. Beaver. Afraid she asks, “I'd thought he was a man. Is he quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion"..."Safe?" said Mr. Beaver. "Who said anything about safe?’ Course he isn't safe. But he's good.” In Christian gatherings, you will hear the phrase…God is good all the time—all the time; God is good. Whether or not you believe and can affirm by faith God's goodness is critical. How do we know GOD is good? People have been asking it since the very beginning. Job asked this question when he was going through his time of trials. David’s wondering about God’s goodness led him to write tons of psalms on the subject. It makes all the difference in the world that God is good. We call all kinds of things good "This steak is good. He's a good friend. That was a good movie." But all that we call "good" on this earth is tainted and imperfect. No way any usage of the word good applied to anything does justice to the goodness of God. We cannot separate what is good from God. You cannot have goodness without God, just as you cannot have God without goodness. That's exactly what Jesus meant when He said, "No one is good but One - God."
We sing and say it that God is good but what is meant by this attribute? The word “good” means to be excellent in quality, worthy of approval. Although every aspect of God is good, primarily when the Bible says that God is good, it is speaking of His moral goodness. God’s character is good, and that goodness is pure through and through. The goodness of God tells us that God is beautiful, excellent, lovely, precious, kind, righteous and absolutely perfect in all His ways. A. W. Tozer says that God’s goodness is that which disposes Him to be kind, cordial, benevolent, and full of good will toward men.” God is never more good than He now is, nor will He ever be less good. Plus, He’s not good to some people and bad to others. He’s not good because of us or the things we do. The cause of God’s goodness is Himself. His goodness means He cannot feel indifferent about anything. People are indifferent but not God. His goodness also means He cannot love sin.”
God is eternally good just because of Who He is. He does not need to prove or earn His goodness. We must simply recognize it. There is such an absolute perfection in God’s nature and being that nothing is wanting to it or defective in it, and nothing can be added to it to make it better. Good is God's very essence. God depends upon no other for his goodness, he has it in and of himself. Man has no goodness from himself; God has no goodness outside of himself.” God is the only wellspring source of goodness. Nothing else has its own goodness; only God does. God is the original definition of good. All that emanates from God cannot be otherwise than good; it comes naturally for Him. God would still be good even if he never shared any of his goodness with us, but praise God he shares his goodness with us in so many ways. The goodness of God is a character trait which applies to every other attribute. God’s wrath is good. God’s holiness is good. God’s righteousness is good. God is good in His entirety. There is nothing about God that is not good. Nothing which God creates, nothing which God accomplishes, is not good. James 1:17 Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow. We cannot separate “good” from “God. God is not good because it is attractive for Him to be so, nor does He follow after some sort of standard for goodness. God doesn’t try to be good, or act good. He doesn’t put on goodness at the beginning of each day. God alone is the measure of what we truly know to be good.
The Bible says over and over again that God is good. "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good" (I Chron. 16:34). "Taste and see that the Lord is good!" (Ps. 34:8) "Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him and praise His name! For the Lord is good and His love is eternal, and His faithfulness endures to all generations." (Ps. 100:4-5) Psalm 106:1 Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Psalm 107:1 O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Psalm 118:1 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever. Moses boldly pleaded with God, "Please, show me Your glory," He was asking to see God for who He really is. "Show me as much as I can stand, Lord." What did God show him: "I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you and I will proclaim the name Yahweh before you." Moses wanted to see God's glory. God showed Him something so wonderful and accessible that it caused the skin of Moses' face to glow with the radiance of God's presence. He showed him His goodness.
Affirming the goodness of God is essential to having the right perception of God. In the biblical account of the fall of Adam and Eve, it is significant that Satan’s attack was on this dimension of the character of God's goodness. Satan intended to undermine Eve’s confidence in the goodness of God. Once Eve doubted the goodness of God, it was a great deal easier for her to disobey Him. If God was not good and was not acting for her good, then why should she obey Him? It is apparent from what happened as a result of the eating of the forbidden fruit that God forbade that fruit for man’s good. Eve did not understand why God forbade it, but knowing that God was good should have been enough. God’s character prevents Him from being bad. Even in those times when we don’t understand why something has happened, we can be sure that it will ultimately turn out good because God is good. The goodness of God is a perspective from which we can and should view all of God’s commands. What a good God forbids must be evil, and what a good God commands must be good. We must know the truth found in the Word of God to avoid Satan when he tempts us to change our perspective of God. God grant that His goodness becomes a truth we not only accept, but embrace, so that it becomes the perspective from which we view all of the events of our lives. If your as old as me you remember the slogan of Maxwell House Coffee? “Good to the last—drop.” God is perfect to the last drop, he is good in everything. God is the only and greatest of all beings, but not only the good and great but also the best.
Here are three evidences of God's goodness. It is seen in the goodness of creation and the evidence is literally everywhere you look. All of nature displays this attribute of God, because, as 1st Timothy 4 says, “Everything God created is good.” Would a BAD Creator give us the beauty of sunsets and sunrises, and flowers, and trees? Would a BAD creator make glorious star formations? Only a GOOD God would create beauty of this type. For the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies, for the love which from our birth over and around us lies; Lord of all, to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise. For the beauty of each hour of the day and of the night, hill and vale, and tree and flower, sun and moon, and stars of light; Lord of all, to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.”
God's goodness is seen in his providential care. The lyrics of an old chorus say “God is so good; He’s so good to me.” Christians see the goodness of God in the midst of an un-good, fallen world. God is constantly working, showing us his goodness, but too many times we don't recognize it. We're waiting for the big, spectacular things. We're waiting for the Red Seas to part. That happens from time to time but if you'll have the right perspective you'll see the goodness of God even in simple things. Whenever something good happens, large or small, God is saying, "That's a sign of my presence". If you're seeing good, you're seeing God. We see God all day long but many times we don't recognize it. If we love other things for the goodness which we see in them, why do we not love God, in whom is all goodness? If you see any good in the creature, remember there is much more in the Creator.
When we search through the pages of Scripture we quickly find that God is good no matter what we’re going through, and that His purposes and methods are beyond what we can comprehend. As with God’s other perfect attributes, Christians find it easier to affirm the goodness of God when things are going well. When life takes a nosedive, though, that’s when we begin to question God’s goodness to and for us. No matter what, the fact that God is good, NEVER changes regardless of your circumstances. God knows what’s good for us and when we don’t get what we want it is often a blessing in disguise. That doesn’t change the reality of our pain at certain times, but as real as the suffering is, the rewards and blessings for those who remain faithful are monumentally greater. Our Father knows what is best for us better than anyone. God allows nothing to happen to the Christian which is not good. Whatever comes into our lives is a part of God’s purpose to bring about our good and His glory. Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” The goodness of the Lord is a security. In the midst of sorrow and unanswered questions, this we need to know to be bedrock truth--God is good.
God's greatest expression of goodness is Jesus. The best way to KNOW God is good is to look to Jesus. Nowhere is the goodness of God more evident than in the person of our Lord. The climax of God’s goodness is seen in the gospel, by the Father sending his Son as an atonement for our sin, and making us his children. God is GOOD because as our Heavenly Father he came looking for us. We didn’t deserve it—and that show’s His goodness because He came anyway. Romans 5:8 says that “God commends His love for us in this. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” In His goodness, God provided a way for sinners to be forgiven and to be declared righteous. Think of all the good that came our way when we put our faith in Jesus. Our sins are forgiven—washed away. Death is defeated. We need no longer fear the grave! When we ask Christ into our hearts—He comes—and from that moment on, He is always with us. We are never alone again. Because Jesus is in us—if we need direction or guidance—He gives it. He empowers us to say no to temptation. We need no longer be slaves to sin. All this GOOD comes our way—because GOD came our way. In Jesus our infinitely good and loving God came down here to seek us lost people and bring us home. If that’s not proof of God’s goodness what is! It doesn’t get “GOOD-ER” than that!
When the psalmist invites us to taste and see that the Lord is good, he isn’t just talking to those who have everything going great in their lives. He’s talking to those who are struggling with troubles that weigh down on your shoulders. He’s talking to those who are sad or confused. He’s talking to those who are struggling just to hold onto hope. It is tasting the Lord’s goodness when nothing else seems good – and finding that His goodness is even sweeter because of the hardship we’re walking through. That sometimes it’s when our hearts are raw that our hearts are most sensitive to God’s goodness. It is an invitation not just to believe that God is good but to experience God’s goodness. The more we know God is good, the more we trust that His heart is good towards us, and seeks our good, the more our confidence in our God will grow. It is when we really believe that He is good, then we believe that there is nothing in the universe more solid than His promises because God never lies, and He is able to do anything He wants, and what He wants is our good. We taste that the Lord is good, and we see there is nothing better than that.
God Is Wisely All Knowing
September 11, 2022
God Is Wisely All Knowing
Our knowledge is gained through a succession of experiences; God just knows. We can forget what we know, but not God. Nothing can surprise, blind-side or take Him unaware. You will never hear God say, “I didn’t see that coming!” or “Who would have thought?” God’s omniscience means that He can never learn anything new since God has known all things from before the foundation of the world, and this knowledge remains intact forever. God not only knows the outcome of history, but He is also familiar with every human thought and action throughout history. The truth is God knows us far better than we know ourselves in the most loving way possible. God Is Wisely All Knowing
Psalm 139:1 You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. 5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Hebrews 4:13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
I John 3:20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
Has it ever occurred to you that nothing has ever occurred to God? That sounds odd because things occur to us all the time, but it’s true: Nothing has ever “occurred” to God. He never wakes up and says, “A great idea just occurred to me.” He never sleeps, therefore he never wakes up. All his ideas are great. Lastly, nothing ever occurs to him. He knows all the great ideas all the time from the beginning of time. Since God perfectly knows Himself and, being the source and author of all things, it follows that He knows all that can be known. This He knows instantly and with a fullness of perfection that includes every possible item of knowledge concerning everything that exists or could have existed anywhere in the universe at any time in the past or that may exist in the centuries or ages yet unborn.
God’s Omniscience is his attribute by which he knows all things past, present, and future, and all things possible as well as actual, and he knows them all at the same time. “Omni” means “all” and “science” in its original sense means “knowing.” He not only knows what was, and what is, he also knows what will be. More than that, he knows everything that could be but is not. That God knows everything about everything is no exaggeration. God fully knows all actual things; and all possible things. There is nothing that is outside the scope of His conception, understanding, or attention. He knows everything that is going to happen. He even knows everything that could happen, under any set of circumstances. God neither studies nor learns for one cannot increase a knowledge that is already insurmountable. Neither does probability exist for God; all things either are or are not in His perspective. There is no maybe. There is one reality and God knows it in its entirety, as it exists by, through, and for Him. God is neither surprised by the way the world works itself out, nor shocked by the choices we make. God is never taken by surprise by events, circumstances or people.
The doctrine of God’s omniscience is explicitly taught in the Scriptures. 1 Samuel 2:3 the Lord is a God who knows 1 John 3:20 God knows everything. Psalms 147:5 Great is our Lord his understanding has no limit. Hebrews 4:13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
That God knows everything was part of our basic Sunday school training. But it also tends to be one of those doctrines we affirm without much thought about what it means for our everyday lives. God’s omniscience has profound practical importance. It is not just an abstract truth, but a source of assurance, confidence, reward, and motivation. God fully knows himself, his infinite knowledge encompassing his infinite being. God’s omniscience includes perfect knowledge of Himself, the triune Godhead. The three persons of the Trinity know each other fully, with no gaps in their knowledge. As Scripture notes, the Father knows the Son, and the Son knows the Father, and the Holy Spirit knows all the mysteries of the Godhead. God knows Himself, completely, fully. We're not like that. We don't know ourselves completely, fully. We sometimes surprise ourselves by what we do or think. We sometimes forget what we have done. God is not like that. He knows Himself fully. Though no human can fathom the thoughts of God, He knows them completely.
God fully knows the past, present, and future. God knows the past and the future at the same time. Jesus is our El Olam. He is the King of the Ages. Hebrews 1:8 says, But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever. Not only will God exist undiminished everlastingly into the future, but He has existed identically throughout the infinite past. So also has His plan for His creation. Before the foundations of the world, God ordained the Creation, the Fall, the Incarnation and Resurrection, and the Salvation of people. God fully knows the past, which is as vivid to him as the present. God’s “forgetfulness” of our past sins refers to his commitment not to count them against us. God fully knows the present, from its loftiest realities like the number of the stars in the universe; to its smallest details--the number of the hairs on one’s head and the death of a sparrow. A criterion for deity is possessing the ability to foretell the future. False gods and idols fail to meet the test, but God, who is omniscient, knows even the future demonstrating that he is the true God. The concepts of past, present and future only apply to our ability to experience time. God lives in eternal now ness. God is just as much living in a tomorrow that has not happened for us as he is living with us in today. Suppose you could see a movie from start to ending with every frame all at the same time. God is out of time, but sees all of time including what is future for us. In the Spirit John the Revelator stepped outside of time into the eternal and was enable to see all the way to the end of the world. He didn't see what might happen, but what will happen. A thousand future years for us is just as much present to God as is today. He surveys the past, present and future, the creation, cross and second coming. Eternity past and an eternity future are before Him at the same moment.
Have you ever met someone that was a know-it-all person, no matter the topic he or she knows more than anybody else. Omniscience is an excellent quality in God, but suspect in everyone else. God’s knowledge is independent, ours is dependent. No one has ever taught God anything because his knowledge is complete from the beginning. But our knowledge is dependent in that we must learn what we know. God’s knowledge is infinite, our is partial. He knows everything that could be known, we know a tiny fragment of what could be known. What difference it makes in all God's knowledge that He wisely knows. Do you know the difference in knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is knowing tomato is a fruit, wisdom is knowing it doesn't work in a fruit salad. God's omniscience under girds His wisdom. Wisdom is not just knowledge, but “know how.” God’s wisdom enables Him to “know how” to do anything (see 2 Peter 2:9). His knowledge is undefiled by any distortions or wrong perspectives. It is totally true and accurate. God knows the answers to all of life’s questions. Unlike us, God is never surprised, bewildered, mistaken or wrong about anything. God cannot devise a bad plan or fail to bring His purposes and promises to their conclusion because He knows everything.
Amazingly God knows us from every aspect and in every way possible. God knows us better than we know ourselves. God knows what is in the human heart. That is why David prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart” (Psalm 139:23). Search literally means to dig deep & was applied to the search for precious metals. God has examined our thoughts, motives, agonies, angers, triumphs, ethics, pains, pleasures, ideas, imaginings, studies, feelings and intellectual pursuits. God is a heart and mind searching God. How awakening it is to understand how intimately acquainted God is with each person. The Lord knows us as thoroughly as if He had examined us minutely and pried into the most secret corners of our being. God knows things about us we don’t know about ourselves. Charles Spurgeon described God’s knowledge of our hearts saying that everything in the heart is “transparent” to God. Nothing is hidden, everything is clearly seen. 1 Chronicles 28:9 “The Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts” He numbers the hairs on your head. Luke 12:7 He knows your words before you speak them. Psalm 139:4 He knows your thoughts before you think them. Psalm 139:2 He knows your prayers before you pray them. Matthew 6:8 He knows when you get up in the morning and when you go to bed at night. Psalm 139:2-3 He knows everything you are going to do tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, and every moment of every day until the moment of your death. Matthew 12:36 He sees everything you do in secret—both the good and the bad. Matthew 6:4 He hears every whispered word and will one day shout them from the housetops. Luke 12:3. Omniscience means that God will take into account every word and every deed. Nothing will escape his penetrating gaze in the last great day. Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” To those who are oblivious to or comfortable with sin and want to live in it without interference from God, his omniscience leaves them with nowhere to hide. To those who are burdened by sin and want to escape its clutches, God’s omniscience means that he fully knows their repentant heart, their cries for forgiveness, and offers salvation.
Omniscience helps us understand the relationship between free will and predestination. From our human standpoint, we are completely free. When you wake up in the morning, you have a choice to get out of bed or to stay in bed. You can put on a red dress or a blue one. When you get in your car, you are free to drive to work or you can drive to St. Louis if you like. Every decision you make is a free choice. You do not feel constrained by some divine power that forces you to eat at Wendy’s instead of McDonald’s. As far as you are concerned, you “pay your money and you make your choices.” You have free will but you are 100% responsible for every choice you make—that includes the choices you make in the words you say and the thoughts you think. God won’t just judge the “big” things; he’s going to judge the “little” ones, too.
Predestination means that God works in, with, through, and sometimes in spite of your decisions to accomplish His will for your life. He controls both the circumstances, the environment, and the thoughts of your heart. Everything that happens to you is part of his plan for your life. There are no accidents with God. He doesn’t roll dice. That’s why Joseph could say, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good”. Even the evil that men do serves his purposes, often in ways we cannot see and would not understand even if he told us. When you came to Christ, you made a decision of your will. You chose him. But by grace, God chose you first and if he didn’t choose you first, you would never have chosen him. Salvation is of the Lord. It is a work of God from beginning to end made possible only by God’s Spirit enabling us to believe and be saved. Think of the gate of heaven, and above it is a large sign, “Whosoever will may come.” As you pass through the gate, you look back and from the inside the sign reads, “Chosen from the foundation of the world.”
Because God is all-knowing, we can trust that he knows everything we’re going through today and everything we will go through tomorrow. He's aware every moment of every day, exactly what we're up against. He knows our way, and is with us always. There's no place on this earth we can go that He doesn't see and know of.” When we meditate on this truth, especially in light of his other attributes of goodness and love; it makes it easier to trust him with all we have going on in our lives. A firm belief in God’s omniscience gives the Christ-follower extraordinary peace, security, and comfort in every area of life.
Compared to vehicles today the Model T Ford was a very simple automobile? Just crank up the motor, hop in, and drive off. No fuel injectors to clog up. No air conditioner to break down. No electrical system to short out. But if you were driving one of those marvels of automation down the road in 1915 and it conked out on you, you were stuck. You couldn't call AAA to come haul you to the neighborhood service station, because there weren't any. One Model T owner's car died beside the road, so he got out and made all the adjustments he knew how to make. Yet his car wouldn't respond. Just as he was about to give up, another car pulled up. The back door opened and a tall, thin, energetic gentleman got out and offered to help. He tinkered under the hood for a few minutes and said, "Now try it!" Immediately the engine started. Then the man introduced himself. "I'm Henry Ford," he said. "I designed and built these cars, so I know what to do when something goes wrong with them." Do you sometimes feel a little like a broken-down Model T? Like there's something wrong with you that can't be fixed? Maybe it's a frustration you are experiencing. Or perhaps it's a physical difficulty that continues to bother you. Or a cherished relationship that is falling apart. If so, it's time to hand things over to the One who designed you. Put your life in His hands and say, "Lord, You know me. You made me the way I am for a reason. Please take my life and make it work for You." When your life needs fixing, you should go back to the Master Designer. He has the know how and wisdom you need.
God Is Constantly Everywhere
September 4, 2022
God Is Constantly Everywhere
The three omni's of God are necessarily connected and inseparable from each other so we must keep them together in our mind. Omniscience-Omnipotence-Omnipresence: the first means that God is all-knowing, the second that he is all-powerful, the third that he is present everywhere. Working in tandem that means God knows what to do, has the power to do it, and is always wherever he needs to be to do whatever needs to be done. Of the three, omnipresence, is the most mysterious for us to grasp. We understand a little about power and knowledge, but we sure cannot be two or multiple places at the same time. God can over see the whole of creation and yet be present right where you and I need him the most in our lives, He can be on the throne of heaven and on the throne of our hearts at the same time. Our message: God Is Constantly Everywhere
Psalm 139:7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
Jeremiah 23:23 “Am I only a God nearby,” declares the Lord, “and not a God far away? 24 Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord.
Where is God? The seeker wants to know and often so does the guilty sinner so he can run the other way. What about the hurting person who feels abandoned by the Almighty. Where is God when I need Him? The doctrine of God’s omnipresence is the answer, but it is one of the more difficult doctrines of the Bible. We can only be one place at one time, but God is everywhere at the same time. Our problem is that we have nothing to compare to it. Is God all powerful? Yes, and we can slightly grasp that concept because we have power and strength. Is God all wise? Yes, and we can conceive of that because we have wisdom and knowledge. There is no sense in which we are can be present everywhere or even be two places at once.
Omnipresence means God is not limited or bounded by space, does not have size or spatial dimensions, yet he is present throughout all space. The doctrine teaches us that God is wholly present everywhere. “God is not like a substance spread out in a thin layer all over the earth—all of Him is in Chicago, in Calcutta, and in Cairo, at one and the same time. All of God is completely present at every point in the universe all the time. He is present as fully as though He were nowhere else. God is everywhere present in the fullness of His being. This allows Him to interact in any places at any times (even in multiple places simultaneously). His presence extends to all three Persons of the Godhead. What if I needed to talk to Jesus and found out that he was over in India and wouldn’t be back in Jackson for a month? Or what if the Spirit were in Nebraska when someone needed him in Florida? Thank God, all three Persons of the Trinity are everlastingly available to all the children of God. God and is present in every point of space in his entire being. The Lord Our God is everywhere at once. He is everywhere present all the time. Just as God is unlimited or infinite with respect to time, so God is unlimited with respect to space. If God is everywhere in the entire universe and beyond you might think God must be immense in size--hundreds of light years across and trillions of light years tall. The trouble with that is that the category of size or really human category, measurement, or description really can't be applied to God. God fits in none of our categories. We usually think of 'immense' as meaning 'big' or 'huge'. That doesn't do justice to the Bible's teaching. Immense really means God is incapable of being measured because He is infinite. In 1 Kings 8:27 at the dedication of the temple, Solomon said about God, "But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!" Nothing created can contain the creator. For God “to be” in a place is not the same way we are in a place. God’s being is all together different from physical matter. He exists on a plane wholly distinguishable from the one readily available to the five senses. God is not spatial or dimensional in existence as we are; it is beyond the scope of our understanding to work out how it is that God can be ubiquitous but act locally. Because God is an infinite Spirit, He is not restricted to being in one location at a time. He fills every inch of space throughout the universe with His attributes. Although God is distinct from creation, all his creation exists within Him.
Only God is omnipresent. All other beings are restricted to a given place at a given time. Satan is Not Omnipresent and must rely on his own demonic forces. Because Satan is a created being, he is limited and localized in the spirit realm, as are all the angels and demons. This should give comfort to those who feel overwhelmed by attacks they believe to be Satanic in nature. While we would surely agree that Satan works today through a vast array of spirit beings who work his infernal will, he himself is no more omnipresent than you or I. Either you are omnipotent or you are not. There is no such thing as being 90% omnipotent, or 60% omniscient for that matter. By the same token either you are present everywhere all the time or you are not. There is no such thing as “partial omnipresence.” God’s perfection demands 100%. Some years ago a certain brand of soap advertised itself as “99 and 44/100th pure.” But God knows no such sliding scale with regard to himself. A 99% God is no God at all! If your God is not present everywhere in the universe, then he is not the God of the Bible.
The greatest statement of omnipresence is found in Psalm 139:7-12 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
As David contemplates how God knows him inside and out, he wonders where he might go to hide from the Lord. Heaven, hell, east, west, the far side of the ocean—it doesn’t matter for the Lord is already there. God is imminent in His creation, that there is no place in heaven or earth or hell where men may hide from His presence. There’s nowhere in the entire universe, on land or sea, in heaven or in hell, where one can flee from God’s presence. God is present in places that are invisible to us. There is much to creation that we don't see. When someone dies, their body remains with us, but we don't see where their soul goes. It goes to a place that we can't see and can't visit. They are separated from us. But they are not separated from God. In the second half of verse 8 David wrote, "if I make my bed in the depths, you are there." Depths' or Sheol refers to the grave, the place of the dead. God is everywhere. Even death does not separate us from Him.
God is omnipresent in His creation, for He is ever mindful of all that is happening anywhere. God is inescapable. Being in all locations present in the whole of His being, means there is no place we can go and not be in God's presence; this is a comfort for Christians and a torment to unbelievers. You can't run away from God. Jonah tried to do that. He attempted to flee from God on a ship. God sent a storm to stop him. The sailors threw Jonah overboard and God prepared a fish to swallow Jonah. God was everywhere that Jonah went. You can ignore God but you can’t avoid him. This should be a serious warning to the unconverted. That’s why Genesis 16:13 calls him (in Hebrew) El Roi, which means The God Who Sees. In Jeremiah, God rebukes the prophets who think their words or thoughts are hidden from God. He is everywhere and fills heaven and earth: “‘Am I a God at hand, says the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him?’ says the Lord. ‘Do I not fill heaven and earth?’ says the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:23–24). God knows everything you do. There is no privacy. He is always there. You can't fool Him. One day you will have to deal with His presence. You can't escape God. Think of it! Every sin you commit is committed in the presence of God. He hears every white lie, he knows when you cheat on your taxes, he listens when you swear under your breath, he takes note of every broken promise, he records the evil men do under cover of darkness. At the end of this age, in those terrible days leading up to the return of Christ, the unconverted will suddenly realize the error of their ways. But then it will be too late. Revelation 6:15-17 describes the scene: Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, ‘‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?
There are several important implications of this truth. God cannot be contained in a building. Solomon said as much in the dedication of the First Temple in Jerusalem. God dwells among his people and in his people wherever they are and wherever they go. God cannot be localized in a city or a nation. God is not an American or any country's citzen nor does he exist to defend and perpetuate any form of politics other than the kingdom of God. God cannot be reduced to an image or a statue. This is why the Second Commandment warns against making “graven images.” It is also why the Jews refused to make any pictures, drawings or statutes of God. God is always present whether we believe it or not. In the early days of space travel, one of the Russian cosmonauts returned from orbiting the earth to announce that he had looked out his space capsule and had not seen God anywhere. A famous preacher of that time replied, “Let him take off his space suit for just one second and he’ll see God quick enough.” God is present even in the worst moments of life. God’s omnipresence means that he is there in the midst of suffering, sickness, sorrow, grief, divorce, betrayal, murder, sexual abuse, cancer, covid, warfare, every natural disaster, accidents, personal loss, and at the moment of death. His eyes are ever watchful; His ears speaking of God using human terms are always attentive to the cries of men, especially the oppressed and the penitent.
That God is omnipresent means He is everywhere, and there is nowhere He is not. However God is also very much somewhere. He is not the vague force of the Star Wars series. Heaven is God's home. While it is misleading to say that God is 'more present' in heaven than anywhere else, but it would not be misleading to say that God is present in a special way in heaven, present especially there to bless and to show forth his glory. God manifests his presence more fully in heaven than elsewhere." The great news is God's presence can be sought, experienced, felt and realized. God is always everywhere in general but specifically sometimes God shows up and shows out that changes lives and we know we have been in God's presence. God draws near to those who approach him in humble faith. In Psalm 145:18 we read that “the Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” James 4:8 challenges us to “come near to God and He will come near to you.” God is with you if you are with God! If you are far from God today, who moved? He’s right where he always said he would be. If you aren’t conscious of his presence, perhaps it’s because you have moved away from him.
God’s presence is not only among His people but is now in His people, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. This is why Jesus could tell His disciples it was better for Him to depart from them so the Spirit could come. When the Lord ascended into heaven, He sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in His people, so that He is ever-present with every believer, no matter where he or she might be. It is the Holy Spirit of God who conveys the presence of God in His people. We live in His presence every moment of every day. We have the presence of Almighty God living inside us. I Corinthians 3:16 says, "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you. God wants us to consciously live in His presence each day. God is always with us. We are never away from His presence. We are, as Jesus said in John 10:28-29, in the hand of the Good Shepherd. Jesus said about His sheep. "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand." God is with us, around us, in us, in the midst of us, behind us, underneath us, near us and before us.
The God who is exalted on high (transcendent) is also present with His people (immanent). Contrary to the popular song by Bette Midler, God is never, "watching us from a distance. God sees everything from the closest possible perspective. He sees the soul of the person as if He were looking at it through a magnifying glass! He sees the center of an atom as if He were examining it from under a microscope ! He does it all while observing the birth of new galaxies hundreds of billions of light years away. Only an infinitely immense God could possibly indwell each one of His children, and know their innermost thoughts and desires and dreams, and attend to each silently whispered prayer , and be fully aware of our every need, and meet each one in each of His children, all over the globe, all at once! He can hold such stars in His hands, while He holds me and you in the grip of His grace. He can sit enthroned in the heavens, and at the same time rule from the throne of your heart! God's transcendence rightly understood NEVER negates His immanence, closeness, but rather it's what makes it possible.
Omnipresence means we may rely fully on God no matter how complicate our circumstances or desperate our situation may be. God is always available to us wherever we go, 24 hours a day. We always have his full attention, we don’t have to make an appointment, he’s never too busy to hear us when we pray, he’s never preoccupied with other problems. All of God is completely available to you no matter where you are. Though there be a thousand wars in a thousand places, our God hears you as if you were the only one praying. The (omni) presence of God should inspire us to “practice the presence of God.” Practicing the presence of God is living each day as though God were present—which He is! Let us remember that our conduct, our witnessing, our service, is always conducted before Him who is ever present.
Let’s learn to meditate on His presence when we’re tempted, when we’re troubled, and when we’re tasked with the work of His kingdom. Don’t run from Him; run to Him. Exalt in the One who has promised to never leave you or forsake you. God's presence is all we need for any challenge that may come our way. No person or circumstance can ever remove us from the presence of our loving God. He is always with us, hearing our cries for help. He is our ever-present God, Savior, Lord and Master-our dearest friend. We can commune with God anywhere at anytime, but especially at the very table where Christ serves as our host and has promised to be with us in a precious way. God is constantly everywhere, but no place more that right here as we celebrate Communion.
God Is All Powerful
August 28, 2022
God Is All Powerful
King Nebuchadnezzar, perhaps the most powerful sovereign in all of history encountered the true God of Heaven and it was no contest. As a result this pagan king makes one of the greatest statements in the Bible about our all powerful totally sovereign God. Our God is omnipotent and our imagination staggers at the thought that God is powerful enough to do anything. Even more mind blowing is that an all powerful God desires to use his power to redeem and help us. Our message: God Is All Powerful.
Daniel 4:1 King Nebuchadnezzar, To the nations and peoples of every language, who live in all the earth: May you prosper greatly! 2 It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me. 3 How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Ephesians 3:19 To him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Summing up A. W. Tozer insights: The Christian conception of God current is so decadent as to be utterly beneath the dignity of the Most High God and actually to constitute for believers something amounting to a moral calamity. The Church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low as to be utterly unworthy. Not recognizing God’s true nature often leads to a weak view of God. No religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshipper entertains high or low thoughts of God. The heaviest obligation lying upon the Church today is to purify and elevate the concept of God until it is once more worthy of Him.”
What we believe about God is all important? Some people have a God that is too big. To them God is so far removed and distant that He has little to nothing to do with us individually The other extreme is having a God that is too small and that is the majority opinion. How big is your God? Is he big enough for your problems? Is he big enough for your future? Is he big enough for your pain? Is he big enough for your fears? Is he big enough for whatever you’re facing? If he isn’t, maybe you need to trade him in for the God of the Bible.
God is all powerful which means he has the attribute of omnipotence. That word means all powerful and refers to the truth that God's power is infinite and unlimited. Omnipotence comes from two Latin words. Omni means "all," and potens means "powerful." He can do with power anything that power can do. He has both the resources and the ability to work his will in every circumstance in the universe. God’s power is inherent in His nature. All power has always been His and will continue to be His for all eternity. Because God is all-powerful, He has the ability and strength to do whatever He pleases. God does not do things because He is compelled to do them. It is not forces outside of God that causes Him to act. God acts and rules according to His pleasure. Isaiah 46:9-10 God said, "I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please." The things God does are neither difficult nor easy for God; they are only either done or not done. This is because difficulty is a factor that comes about only through the potential for not accomplishing a task. This does not apply to God for potentials do not apply to Him — only actuals. God's decisions are always in line with His character, and He has all the power to do whatever He decides to do.” A simpler definition requires just three words—”God is able.” He is able to do everything he needs to do or wants to do.
Omnipotence does not mean that God can do anything at all but, rather, that he can do anything that is possible according to his nature. God will not and cannot do anything that is contradictory or contrary to his nature. There are at least four things the Bible says that God cannot do. He cannot deny himself (2 Timothy 2:13); he cannot lie (Titus 1:2); he cannot be tempted to evil (James 1:13); and he cannot change his basic nature (Numbers 23:19). In short, God will never act contrary to his own righteous, holy, unchanging character. God cannot perform logical absurdities; he cannot, for instance, make 1+1=3. Likewise, God cannot make a being greater than himself because he is, by definition, the greatest possible being. God is limited in his actions to his nature. It is sheer stupidity to ask if God can make a square circle. It’s a self-contradiction, a confusion of categories. There is no such thing as a square circle or a rock so heavy an omnipotent God can’t lift it. In the words of C. S. Lewis, “We may attribute miracles to God, but not nonsense.” God could not do anything or create any situation that would, in effect, make God not God. God can do all things consistent with his holy nature and will; nothing can frustrate accomplishment of his sovereign purpose. On the other hand, there are no limits to what God can do because there are no limits to GOD
There are four categories of scripture that lead us to the doctrine of omnipotence: Nothing is too hard for God. “Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” Jeremiah 32:17 “For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37 No one can stop God’s plans. “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2 He made all things and all things serve him. “Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you.” Psalm 119:91 He does whatever he pleases. “Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.” Psalm 115:3 In Genesis 17:1 God speaks to 99 year old Abraham who has been promised a child by God. By this time his body is “as good as dead”. In the face of all his very understandable doubts God reassures him by calling himself El Shaddai, which means Almighty God. It was God’s way of saying, “Don’t look in the mirror, Abraham. Look at me. If I say you’re going to have a son, it’s going to happen. Age means nothing to me. I am Almighty God.”
Inseparably connected to God's omnipotence is his divine sovereignty. To call God sovereign means that he is the undisputed Boss of the Universe. God has the right and the power to rule over all things; he is not obligated to anyone outside himself but acts always according to his own purpose and will. To say that God is sovereign is not to say merely that He is stronger than everyone else, although this is true. Rather, to call Him sovereign is to ascribe to Him a rule and authority that transcends space and time, leaving nothing outside its scope. God is in charge of all things at all times and in every situation. He knows what he is doing, and he is doing it. If God is not sovereign, then he is not God. If God is not sovereign, then who is? God’s sovereignty is the answer to the biggest question of all: “Who’s in charge here?”
No Bible doctrine is more obvious than the sovereignty of God. Here are a few examples: The LORD has established His throne in the heavens; And His sovereignty rules over all (Psalm 103:19). 5 For I know that the LORD is great, And that our Lord is above all gods. 6 Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps (Psalm 135:5-6). “But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases” (Job 23:13). Job understands that he cannot demand anything from the Lord. God does what he wants and Job is powerless to oppose him. “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). Job realizes this after God has given him a theology lesson which Job flunked miserably and being humbled leads Job to deep repentance for his foolish questioning of God’s plan.
The clearest definition of God’s sovereignty comes from the lips of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4:34-35, the king of Babylon, in his wonderful expression of worship and praise: 34 “But at the end of that period I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom endures from generation to generation. 35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, ‘What hast Thou done?’” .
“Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him” (Psalm 115:3). That’s pretty clear, isn’t it? The Lord of the universe does whatever he pleases. Nothing occurs without His divine permission. God commands the forces of nature and uses them to achieve His divine purposes. He established the scientific laws that regulate the universe, and only He can overrule their effect. Even Satan and his legions of evil spirits can operate only within limits prescribed by God. Our sovereign God is actively directing His creation on a course that has been charted before the beginning of time. Within the context of His master plan, He gives all of us the freedom to choose how we will participate. God's sovereignty does not exclude, but engages, human responsibility. It is God's sovereignty that grants human responsibility, that gives freedom and significance to human choices and actions, that ordains an important human role within God's plan for history." How can God be sovereign and we still make free choices for which we are responsible? Doesn't one exclude the other? No. Both doctrines are taught in Scripture. Both doctrines are true. The greatest moments in life are the miraculous moments when human impotence and divine omnipotence intersect - and they intersect when we draw a circle around the impossible situations in our lives and invite God to intervene.
Here is the good news: God is all powerful, but nothing demonstrates the power and really all of his attributes like God's power to save sinners. In the very place where God seemed to be defeated, there we see God’s power. Is the all-powerful God good and does he care for us? Look to the bloody cross and judge for yourself. He who had all power gave it up and became weak like us. There at the cross, in that place where the world sees weakness, there we find the power of God. Through the “weakness” of a cross, God brought salvation to men. Through the “foolishness” of the message of the cross, men are saved. Through weak and foolish men, God has chosen to proclaim His gospel. Through weak and unimpressive methods, the gospel is proclaimed, trusting in the power of God to convince and convert sinners. Many mistakenly think of God as if He were an insecure bully who likes to flex His heavenly muscles by putting down those who are weaker than He is. But God loves to show off His greatness and glory by being an inexhaustible source of strength to build up weak people like you and me. We come helpless to the God who is our help and weak to the God who is our strength.
No one who takes the Bible seriously can deny the power of God. This truth transformed the lives of people in the past, and it can transform our lives today. Here are ways the power of God intersects our lives today. The first thing we should do, in light of the power of God, is to fear, honor, and serve God and God alone. A study of the attributes of God allows no casual bystanders. We either respond in worship and service, or we turn from God, creating in His place a “lesser god” of our own making, a “god” in whose presence we feel comfortable, even while we sin. If we really believed God is omnipotent, we would come to Him in prayer first, not as a last resort after having tried every other means and failed. Prayer is omnipotent because it can do anything God can do. We would forsake trusting in the idols of our day and trust in Him. We would humbly acknowledge that all the blessings we have are a gift of His grace and the result of the working of His power. Our prayers would be filled with praise and thanksgiving, seeing God as the Source of every blessing. We would be filled with faith and hope, knowing that no purpose of God can be thwarted and that every promise God has made will be fulfilled, in His time, and exactly as He has promised. Recognizing God is infinitely powerful should remove the word “impossible” from our vocabulary. God has not only saved us by His power, He also works in us to sanctify us by His power: Our weakness is not a barrier to the power of God. Rather, recognizing our weakness is the basis for our turning to God, depending upon His power to work in us. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves. (II Corinthians 4: 7) When we minister in the power of God, we need not trust in our own strength and in human methods.
Romans 8:28 tells us that all things work together for the good of God's children and verses 38-39 implies that there is nothing beyond the control of God's powerful hand. God's power is a huge source of comfort to believers, for it helps us to know that no matter how chaotic any situation may seem, we really need not fear for God is still in charge and on the throne and that combined with His love is unassailable. The all-powerful God is with us. He exercises his power on our behalf. Whenever we need him, and even when we think we don’t, he is there. He never fails. All his plans for us will come to pass. We can trust him completely. Our God is able. If God were not omnipotent, Jesus would still be dead. but He is gloriously risen. He has the power to raise us also and if God can raise the dead, he can do anything. Let that thought encourage you this week as you face whatever. You’re not alone for Almighty God walks by your side.
Benediction (Ephesians 3:20-21) "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."
God Is Unchangeably Faithful
August 21, 2022
God Is Unchangeably Faithful
Scripture reveals that God is unchanging in his nature, character, perfections, purposes, and promises. That is referred to as his immutability. In this world where people disappoint us, fail to keep promises, change their attitude toward us, and revise their opinion of us for the slightest cause, is it not a source of strength to know that the God with whom we have to do changes not? His loving attitude toward us now is the same as it was in eternity past and will be in eternity to come. We need not fear that the God who loved us in Christ will change his mind and cease to love us in the future. I am combining the attributes of immutability and faithfulness for the message: God Is Unchangeably Faithful!
“In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end” (Psalm 102:25-27).
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows“ (James 1:17).
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
Promises mean less and less in our society today. It is harder and harder to find dependable sources and people. Rarely do people maintain deadlines, arrive on time or follow through on commitments. As a result, it is had to know who or what to really have confidence in. Add to that fact that we live with perpetual change. It is hard for anyone to go a day, even an hour, without changing in some way. Our thoughts and emotions are in a constant state of flux. Even our greatest desires and plans change over time. What about God? Can we depend on Him? Is He faithful? Does he change? God is unchangeable in his attributes. The word usually used to describe this quality is immutability, which means unchangeableness. Something is mutable if it is subject to change in any degree. To be immutable means to be unchanging. God never changes His mind, his basic character or His course of action in the world. He never grows in knowledge or wisdom or develops in any respect. He never differs from himself or improves upon his own perfection. A.W. Tozer says, "God, being who He is, cannot cease to be what He is, and being what He is, He cannot act out of character with Himself. He is at once faithful." In the biblical record, "God never forgets, never fails, never falters, never forfeits His word. To every declaration of promise or prophecy the Lord has exactly adhered, He will make good." God is an immovable rock, a mighty fortress, the only sure anchor in an ever-changing world.
Many hymns stress this aspect of God’s character such as Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father; There is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not; As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be. Many verses in the Bible teach this truth: “He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind”(1 Samuel 15:29). “I the Lord do not change“ (Malachi 3:6). “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows“ (James 1:17). “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). For God to change it would be necessary that the change be in one of three directions. He must go from better to worse or from worse to better; he must change within himself. God can move in none of these directions. His perfections forever rule out any such possibility. All that God is He has always been, and all that He has been and is He will ever be.” God Is Faithful; and His faithfulness cannot be understood apart from the fact that he never changes. The fact that he is unchanging means he can never not be faithful. God does not lie, does not change in his character, and he acts to ensure that his purposes are carried out. There are no gaps and performance failures with the Lord. He is faithful to himself, to his Word, and to all his creatures. God is faithful whether we see it or not, and he is faithful whether we believe it or not. A. W. Pink says, “In all His relations with His people God may be safely relied upon. No one ever yet really trusted Him in vain. We find this truth expressed everywhere in the Scriptures, for His people need to know that faithfulness is an essential part of the Divine character. This is the basis of our confidence in Him.” The fact that God is unchangingly faithful means that he never forgets anything, never fails to do anything he has set out to do or takes back a promise. We don’t always understand or see how his plan is faithful. In our limited understanding and finite minds, God’s faithfulness might look a lot like abandonment. How could a faithful God allow bad things to happen? But when we go through hard times we know that God is nevertheless faithful, good, with us and wise. The fact that God does not change his mind, his characteristics, his plan, or anything else is a security better than any earthly insurance. His faithfulness pours out from his love, so we can trust Paul’s word that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him.”
Look at several implications of immutability. God’s promises do not change. We break our promises all the time. We’ve got a thousand excuses for promises broken, don’t we? God never makes excuses. He never has to because he always keeps his promises. We may rely upon God to keep his word! God neither changes His plan, covenants, prophecies, love, mercy, grace; this lends greatly to His dependability God’s purposes do not change. We change our plans frequently. We make our list for the day and plan to do five or six key things. We do the first thing, then life happens throwing us an unexpected curve; we skip number two, take a mild stab at number 3, and never get around to numbers four, five and six. That’s the way life is. But God’s purposes never change. “The plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations” (Psalm 33:11). “The LORD Almighty has sworn, ’Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand’” (Isaiah 14:24). God’s character does not change. He is not fickle in his feelings nor changeable in his moods. He never has bad days or good days. He doesn’t treat us according to the whims of the moment. He is always completely consistent with himself. People change in their attitude toward us. All of us have been disappointed by people we felt were friends who let us down because they didn’t live up to our expectations. Don't you hate having to deal with inconsistent people, like the proverbial box of chocolate you never know what you are going to get. God feels about us the same way he did when he sent Christ to the earth. The same love that motivated him then motivates him now. Strain or shock can alter the character of a person, but nothing can alter the character of God. In the course of a human life, tastes and outlook and temper my change radically; a kind, equable person may turn bitter; a person of good will may grow cynical. Nothing of this sort happens to God. He never becomes less truthful, merciful, just, or good than he used to be. The character of God is today, and always will be, exactly what it was in Bible times. He’s the same God today that he was then, which means he is absolutely reliable and completely consistent in his dealings with his children. What about Bible passages that imply God changed his mind or that God “repented?” There are some verses in the Old Testament, such as Genesis 6:6, which says that God was “sorry” he had created the pre-flood world. Moses prayed to prevent the destruction of the people of Israel. The people of Nineveh repented and God withheld his promised wrath. Do such texts undermine our confidence in the immutability of God? Aren’t these instances where God did change? The attributes of God can no more change than deity can cease to be. God does change in some ways, but we must understand that these changes are not in His being or in His attributes. To say that God is immutable does not mean that His response to us will not change as we change in our response to Him. God does not change in His being and nature, but He does respond in keeping with His other attributes to changes in man. If the situation changes, then of course God’s expression of intention will also change. From our perspective, it seems like God does change His mind and plans. That's because we tend to look at only part of the picture looking at it from within time. In reality the change is not in God, but in man's relations to God. God is immutable but not immobile. He responds to changing conditions on the earth by presenting different aspects of his personality. Consider a father dealing with his children. When they obey, they experience his pleasure. When they disobey, they face his justice. When they are hurt, they feel his compassion. He’s always the same father, but with many sides to his character. The same is true with God. What may seem to be an inconsistency with God is simply God displaying another aspect of his character to us.
What difference does this doctrine make for us? A consequence for us of God's unchangeableness is that he is inescapable. God's immutability is very bad news for rebellious sinners. If he were a mere human being and if we did not like either him or what he was doing, we might ignore him knowing that he might always change his mind, move away from us or die. But God does not change his mind. He does not move away. He will not die. Even if we ignore him now, we must reckon with him in the life to come. If we reject him now, we must eventually face the One we have rejected. His attitude toward sin is now the same as it was when He drove out the sinful man from the eastward garden. God’s nature does not change which is bad news for those who hope that God will “change his mind” and let them slip into heaven. Many people hope that the God of the Bible is not the God they will someday meet. God will not compromise and He cannot be persuaded to alter His Word. The immutability of God has tremendous implications regarding the Bible, the Word of God. The immutability of God is closely related to the immutability of the Word of God, which means His Word is never out of date, never irrelevant to our lives or our times. J. I. Packer, in his book, Knowing God emphasizes the relevance of this attribute to our lives as Christians: “Where is the sense of distance and difference, then, between believers in Bible time and ourselves? It is excluded. On what grounds? On the grounds that God does not change. Fellowship with Him, trust in His word, living by faith, ‘standing on the promises of God’, are essentially the same realities for us today as they were for Old and New Testament believers. Amid all the changes and uncertainties of life, God and His Christ remain the same.
While God does not change, we must change in order to enter into the kingdom of God. The only change God will accept is the change which He produces in and through us, through the work of Christ and the Holy Spirit. This “change” is from one who is a sinner, deserving of God’s rejection, to a forgiven sinner, who now stands clothed in the righteousness of God, through faith in Christ. It is God who provides the means whereby sinners can be changed, transformed to new creations, forgiven and justified. For those who have trusted in God’s provision for sinners, there is no greater comfort than to know that the God who chose us, called us, and promised us eternal salvation changes not. If you have trusted in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you can be assured of eternal life. God is eternally committed to your redemption, your spiritual growth, and your eternal destiny. God’s commitment to you is as strong as He is eternally faithful.
What assurance it brings to realize that our Heavenly Father never differs from Himself. God never changes moods or cools off in His affections or loses enthusiasm. In coming to Him at any time we need not wonder whether we shall find Him in a receptive mood. He does not keep office hours nor set aside periods when He will see no one. Today, this moment, He feels toward us exactly as He did when He sent His only-begotten Son into the world to die for us.
Since God is unchangeably faithful, he is 100% dependable! Because the God who promised us eternal life is immutable we may rest assured that nothing, not trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword shall separate us from the love of Christ. It is because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever that neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, not even powers, height, depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord! Faithfulness is at the heart of all that God is and does. He is incapable of being otherwise. God’s unchangeable faithfulness allows us to have total confidence in every promise He has given to us. The Bible ends in Revelation 22:6 with the ringing declaration: “These words are faithful and true.” Set in stone, written in permanent ink, take it to the bank, drop the microphone and put it to bed-God is unchangeably faithful! Alleluia!
God Is Really, Really Holy
August 14, 2022
God Is Really, Really Holy
God's attributes reveal not only who God is but also what we can expect from him and what he expects from us. If we have to choose one attribute that most dominates God's character, it would be His holiness. All of His other attributes are beautified and summarized under the banner of holiness. No matter what else we can say about God until we acknowledge his holiness we miss the most essential key to understanding and knowing Him. Holiness is God’s central attribute; it is that which makes God to be God. The miracle of salvation is that through Christ unholy people are made holy by the indwelling Holy Spirit and given a desire to become ever more holy. Our message: God is Really, Really Holy!
Isaiah 6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
Psalm 96:9 Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.
Of all the attributes of God, holiness is the one that most uniquely describes Him and in reality is a summation of all His other attributes. I Samuel 2:2 “There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. It is the attribute that binds all the others together. The word holiness refers to His separateness, His otherness, the fact that He is unlike any other being. It indicates His complete and infinite perfection. The Bible calls God holy more than anything else. Holiness is the most difficult attribute to define because it deals with the essence of God’s character. Defining holiness is like defining God! It can’t be done completely. The word is used as a synonym for his deity. The word holy calls attention to all that God is. It reminds us that His love is holy love, his justice is holy justice, his mercy is holy mercy, his knowledge is holy knowledge, his spirit is holy Spirit. God Himself said, “once have I sworn by my holiness” (Ps 89:35). He could have sworn by any of His perfections, but He swore by His holiness because it is this attribute which gives the greatest meaning to all the rest. Holiness is an essential and necessary perfection of God. It is not maintained by an act of His will. He does not choose to be holy because He wants to be. Holiness is an essential and inherent part of His Being. Only God is absolutely holy because only God is God. Neither words nor descriptions are adequate to capture the awesome holiness of our God.
God is not like us. He is holy. He is absolutely transcendent. He is so exalted that we cannot even imagine how glorious He is. Even the exalted seraphim do not look on Him with uncovered faces. He dwells in light unapproachable. He is absolutely pure. He is wholly other. He is far, far, far above us. He is so far separated from sin and corruption that He cannot look on it without hating it. He is the Holy One of Israel. The Bible tells us that God hates sin, that he cannot sin nor will he tempt others to sin. God is so pure that he cannot tolerate sin in any form in his presence. When we're talking about God's holiness, we're talking about His absolute purity. He is perfect in every way, and perfectly good all the time. That leads to an important implication: holiness and sin cannot coexist. If you want to be holy as God is holy, you must adopt his attitude toward sin. You must abhor it as he does. If you coddle sin or excuse it or dabble in it, you cannot be holy as he is holy. The Hebrew word for 'to be holy,' means to cut, to set apart or to separate. To be holy is to be revered Its fundamental idea is that of a position or relationship existing between God and some person or thing." Anything set apart for God is called holy. The Bible repeatedly describes people, places, and things associated with God as “holy.”
The phrase “holy, holy, holy” appears twice in the Bible, once in the Old Testament (Isaiah 6:3) and once in the New (Revelation 4:8). Both times, the phrase is spoken by heavenly creatures, and both times it occurs in the vision of a man who was transported to the throne of God. The two visions of the angels around the throne crying, “Holy, holy, holy,” clearly indicates that God is the same in both testaments. Often we think of the God of the Old Testament as a God of wrath and the God of the New Testament as a God of love. But Isaiah and John present a unified picture of our holy, majestic, awesome God who does not change, who is the same yesterday, today and forever. God’s holiness is eternal, just as He is eternal. The three-fold repetition “holy, holy, holy” by the angels around the throne expresses with force and passion the truth of the supreme holiness of God, His awesome and majestic nature. Three holies expresses the triune nature of God, the three Persons of the Godhead, each equal in holiness and majesty. Jesus Christ is the Holy One who would not “see decay” in the grave, but would be resurrected to be exalted at the right hand of God. Jesus is the “Holy and Righteous One” whose death on the cross allows us to stand before the throne of our holy God unashamed. The third Person of the trinity—the Holy Spirit—by His very name denotes the importance of holiness in the essence of the Godhead. That is the greatest emphasis that can be put on anything or anyone in Scripture and this is telling us that this is the most important thing about God. This is the only attribute about God that is mentioned in the Scripture three times!”
Since God’s holiness is such a distinguishing characteristic, it is often the first thing people acknowledge when they encounter him. God’s holiness is so great that even the places he shows up automatically become holy. Do you remember when Moses had his encounter with God and the burning bush? When Moses started over to look at the burning bush, God told him not to come any closer, but to take off his sandals because the ground he was standing on was holy ground. The only thing that made that ground holy was the fact that God was present. God told Moses to take off his shoes to remind him of the infinite distance between God and man. He can come only so close, and no closer.
The more aware we are of God's holiness the more aware we will become of our own sinfulness. Whenever we see God for who he is, we will then see ourselves for who we really are. It was God’s holiness that made Isaiah aware of his own sinful condition. Even though Isaiah was a prophet of God and a righteous man, his reaction to the vision of God’s holiness was to be aware of his own sinfulness and to despair for his life. Even the angels in God’s presence, those who were crying, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty,” covered their faces and feet with four of their six wings denoting the reverence and awe inspired by the immediate presence of God. The seraphim stood covered in recognition of their unworthiness in the presence of the Holy One. If the pure and holy seraphim exhibit such reverence in the presence of the Lord, with what profound awe should we, polluted and sinful creatures, presume to draw near to Him! The reverence shown to God by the angels should remind us of our own presumption when we rush thoughtlessly and irreverently into His presence, as we often do because we do not understand His holiness. God’s holiness is the great equalizer because no matter how “good” you think you are, when you encounter the holiness of God you realize how wretched you really are. Isaiah felt like he was going to be destroyed, that he was going to cease to exist; he was exposed, made naked beneath the gaze of the absolute standard of holiness. What happened to Isaiah happens to anyone who catches a glimpse of God. The closer you come to God, the more you will recognize your own sinfulness. It’s like taking a white shirt that you’ve worn for a year and placing it next to a brand-new one. Suddenly it doesn’t look white any more, it looks dingy gray. That’s why when we stand before God, there will be no proud people because God’s holiness alone will humble you, and you will realize how far you have missed the mark. If you haven’t cried out, “I am a man of unclean lips lately,” it may simply indicate that you’ve not seen the King lately. From the Scripture we see the right reaction of those who came into contact with this thrice-holy God. Do we share this same sense of awe and reverence or has God become to us nothing more than our big-buddy up in the sky who stands subservient to our will?
Someone has said that the first principle of usefulness is to understand that you are not worthy to be used. That’s what happened to Isaiah. He saw himself when he saw the Lord, and that seeing led to confession, repentance, and cleansing. When people stand before the Holy Judge, they are going to feel the trauma that Isaiah felt when He saw God. Isaiah's sins were purged as indicated by the seraphs taking a coal from the altar and touching Isaiah's lips with it. If the holiness of God accomplishes in our lives what it did in the lives of those men like Isaiah whom we read of in the Bible, we will become increasingly aware of the depth of our own sin and our desperate need for forgiveness. God's holiness is the most frightening thing in the world to the sinner and yet the most beautiful sight to the saint.
How can a perfectly holy God be reconciled with sinners such as us. In his holiness God is repulsed by our sin. God is entirely separate from sin and evil, and therefore He is also separate from us sinful human beings. God’s holiness makes it impossible for us to approach Him. Without holiness, we cannot enter into God’s heaven. Hebrews 12:14 clearly states that apart from holiness, no one will see the Lord. The problem for us is that God’s standard of holiness is absolute perfection. His own unblemished holiness is the ultimate criterion by which we are judged. Jesus said: “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). This presents a seemingly impassible barrier for fallen humanity, because we have all sinned. What God requires of us, we simply cannot attain on our own. We cannot be perfect; we are already deeply imperfect—seriously and indelibly corrupted with evil desires, evil motives, evil thoughts, and evil deeds. We thus have no hope whatsoever of ever obtaining for ourselves the perfect holiness God requires.
How can anyone be saved? How can anyone dwell with a Holy God? The seraph cleansed Isaiah by taking a coal from the altar and applying it to Isaiah. An altar, a sacrifice is needed. The only way that we, a sinner, can be made holy is for God to make us holy; and this is exactly what Jesus does. God's holiness is one of the primary reasons why the coming of Christ is so incredible: it allows men who were once unable to come before God the ability to kneel before the throne of God and worship forever. God’s own perfect righteousness is imputed every sinner who believes in Jesus Christ. Just as Christ took our sin and paid for it, we get credit for His righteousness and are rewarded for it. By His sacrificial death on the cross of Calvary, Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins, and thereby made it possible for us to partake of His holiness. When we acknowledge our sin, and trust in Christ’s death on our behalf, we are born again and become a child of God. By all rights, a holy and righteous God must judge sinners, and the wages of sin is death; thankfully, we can escape the wrath of God by placing our trust in Christ Jesus as Savior. Were it not for the gospel of Jesus Christ, the holiness of God would be mankind’s greatest fear, for no sinner can stand in the presence of His blinding glory. But, through a simple act of faith, those who believe in Jesus as Savior have been pardoned. At the cross we see how our sin is punished in Christ and how a holy God can justify us by giving us the gift of Christ's righteousness that we receive through faith. It is only in this that we can hope to stand in the presence of the blindingly pure, perfect, Holy One.
Holiness is not something that we will possess as an inherent part of our nature; we only become holy in relationship to Christ. That is why we speak of God’s holiness as one of His communicable attributes—one of the perfections of God that His creatures can, to some degree, share and participate in. It is an imputed holiness. God is inherently holy while we, on the other hand, only become holy in relationship to Christ and we only increase in practical holiness as we mature spiritually. God conforms us to the perfection of His own holy standard. He instantly gives us a righteous standing, and then over time He makes us perfectly holy. Any holiness we have is coming from the indwelling Holy Spirit inside us. The Holy Spirit lives in those who have submitted themselves to God, who have repented of their sin, and placed their faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins.
An indication that we really have experienced God's holiness is our desire to be holy ourselves. Just as holiness makes God to be God; our holiness is what makes us truly Christian. We are to be holy because we have been made partakers of his divine nature. Worship of the Holy God should be our passion. The desire to be holy should be the main goal of a Christian's life. To speak of an unholy Christian is ultimately an oxymoron. It makes no sense to say our objective to be as unholy as possible and still qualify as Christian. Holiness is the mark of God’s children. In the Old Testament, we read how God set the people of Israel apart from the other nations, and required them to be holy as well. “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy’” (Leviticus 19:2). “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:15-16. This is a challenge to not live according to the sinful impulses of our flesh, but to live in accordance with the Spirit of God. It does not mean we become standoffish people, holy joes or holier than thou that can’t mingle with others. It means that even though we are a part of this world, there should be a distinction between how we live and how the world lives. That distinction is a result of living a holy life separated unto God. The New Testament emphasizes the pursuit of holiness in this world and the final attainment of holiness in the world to come. We are grow in holiness, strive for it and eventually in eternity to be perfected in it, but even then we are not going to out holy our holy God. Because His nature is holy, learning to be like Him, to love Him and others well, will help shape each person who pursues this relationship into a more holy person. It’s not impossible to be holy-even in this unholy world. The more we desire God the more we will desire his holiness. The Holy Spirit lives within us and will help us be as holy as we desire to be.
God Is Eternally Infinite
August 14, 2022
God Is Eternally Infinite
In the year 1855, at the start of his ministry in London, C. H. Spurgeon, aged twenty, proclaimed: The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father. Amen to Spurgeon; so in the sermon Series "God Is" we hope to deepen both our understanding of and relationship with God by looking at His attributes. Three attributes closely aligned affirm God is everlastingly infinite, eternally self-existent and unendingly self sufficient. Part of my struggle today is I am trying to preach on God's eternal infinity a subject transcending time in only about 20 minutes or so. Can we even begin to thank an everlasting eternal infinite self-sufficient, no needs God who loves us enough to sustain ever needy finite creatures and offer us the gift of eternal life! Our message: God Is Eternally Infinite!
Psalm 90:1Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. 2 Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. 3 You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.” 4 A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.
Acts 17:24-25 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.
Quick summary of last week: God is beyond human ability to be fully comprehended or understood, but he has revealed himself in his attributes. An attribute is a revealed truth about God's character, nature or essence Attributes are not merely attributed to God, but they are qualities inseparable from his very being. God does not acquire, gain or loss attributes, rather they sum up who he is. God's attributes are all perfectly manifest together so they cannot be ranked or separated. Some of God's attributes are unique only to him- incommunicable attributes, others of his attributes are shared though not perfectly with us-communicable attributes. Our sharing in God’s communicable attributes is for His glory and His enabling as we abide in Him. The way we come to know God deeper is through knowing and depending on his attributes for our lives.
Incommunicable attributes of God are those attributes exclusive to Him. They are things that only God can have and that make Him distinct from creation. We can define these attributes, but we do not fully comprehend them and can never call them our own. They are what makes God be God; His distinguishing features that only He possesses. The incommunicable attributes are cause for us to revere, worship, trust, and praise the Creator.
Most of us know the word “infinity.” Kids love to use the word (“To infinity and beyond!” “I promise times infinity!”). We understand “infinity” to mean something like “going on forever and ever.” What does the word mean when applied to God? Infinitude: God knows no boundaries. He is without measure. God is not subject to limitation; he is beyond measure, not bound or restricted by space or time. This attribute by definition impacts all of the others. Since God is infinite, everything else about Him must also be infinite. In every way that God exists, he exists without limit, that is, in perfection Tozer writes this about the confusing, head-spinning attribute: ‘To admit that there is One who lies beyond us, who exists outside of all our categories, who will not be dismissed with a name, who will not appear before the bar of our reason, nor submit to our curious inquiries: this requires a great deal of humility, more than most of us possess, so we save face by thinking God down to our level, or at least down to where we can manage Him.”
Moses’ first encounter with God revealed several important attributes of God. Moses learned that the God of Israel is an eternal God. The burning bush did not “burn up;” it simply “burned on.” It was a symbolic manifestation of God, who is eternal and like the fire does not end. When Moses asked God, "Who shall I tell Pharaoh has sent me?" God said, "I AM THAT I AM." From that comes the name Yahweh or Jehovah which means "self-existing," one who never came into being, and one who always will be. A more positive assertion of selfhood could not be imagined than those words of God to Moses: I AM THAT I AM. Is it any wonder the one psalm (90) Moses penned was a psalm reflecting on the eternality of God? In John 8 Jesus told the Jews that their father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing his day and that he saw it and rejoiced. They replied to him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and you have seen Abraham!" Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am! " Jesus didn't say, "I was Jesus' existence transcends time. Jesus is the eternal "I AM as is all three members of the Trinity.
We can understand divine infinity in three ways. First, God is infinite in relation to himself. All that God has he is, and all that God is he is ad infinitum. Second, God is infinite in relation to space. God is not constrained by physicality or geographic location. The God who made everything in heaven and earth does not live in temples made by human hands (Acts 17:24). “Am I only a God nearby, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him? Declares the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth?” (Jer. 23:23-24). There is nowhere where God is not and no way God can be contained by anything.
Third, God is infinite in relation to time. He is without beginning and without end. There never was when God was not. God has always been God and has always been, even before there was a universe or time as we understand time. God has no beginning, end, or succession of moments in his own being—he is timeless—and he sees past, present, and future equally vividly. To God, all of time since the creation is as if it just happened. Psalm 90:2: Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.” The phrase “a thousand years” is a figurative expression for as long a time as one might imagine. He created time as a temporary context for His creation. With God, everything that has ever happened or will ever happen has already occurred within His awareness. He can see the end and the beginning, and He is the infinite ground of all reality. He exists in all places, but He cannot be absorbed fully into His creation. Though He transcends time, He can still enter into it in order to accomplish redemption. Jesus is Lord before time, in time, over time and for all time.
Because God is infinite he is also Eternal. The eternality of God means He is without beginning or end. Unlike all created things, God has no origin and no starting point. He was already present at the beginning. God has no end for He lives forever, and His kingdom has no end. He is from everlasting to everlasting. Only God is eternal. God does not have it in him to go out of existence, just as we do not have it in us to live forever. We necessarily age and die, because it is our present nature to do that; God necessarily continues forever unchanged, because it is his eternal nature to do that.
Psalm 102:25-27. The psalmist wrote, "In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end." Scientists used to think that the universe was eternal—that it always existed. Then it was discovered that the universe is expanding, it couldn't be eternal and the big bang theory was suggested. The earth and the universe are wearing out. They are not from everlasting to everlasting. The universe will wear out and perish, but God remains the same. He does not grow old, He does not wear out. He has always existed. He will always exist. He is from everlasting to everlasting. In Revelation 1:8 God says, " I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." Alpha is the first letter in the Greek alphabet. Omega is the last letter. He is the A to Z. God is the Alpha and the Omega. One might be tempted to say that He is the beginning and the end, but God will not end. Rather "God is the Alpha Creator and the Omega Consummator. He is Lord of all—past, present and future."
God is transcendent above time. God is not bound or enclosed by time like we are. Time is a measure of creaturely existence. We know from Einstein that time is relative. It is not a constant. Time is related to space, gravity and matter and is affected by them. Before God created the universe, time did not exist. God created time when He created the universe. God started the clock of time. God uses time as a means for the manifestation of his eternal thoughts and excellencies; he makes time subservient to eternity. Our existence is marked off by days, weeks, months and years; not so the existence of God. Our life is divided into a past, present and future, but there is no such division in the life of God. God exists only in the dimension of eternal nowness. This means that nothing in time, (and that means nothing at all) can thwart God's purposes. Nothing can ever take Him by surprise. It's impossible. God holds time in His hands controlling it completely. This should give us Christians great confidence and hope. Romans 8:38, " For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Nothing in the present or the future can separate us from God's love because God controls the present, the future, the past. He is the Lord of ages. God is not only everlastingly infinite; he is totally Self-Existent and self-sufficient. God’s being is grounded only in himself. Self-existence of God means He exists without any cause. God did not come into existence; nor will He ever go out of existence. All living things, all matter, and all time have a beginning. God had no beginning, and is instead the beginning of everything. Unlike all other things that relate to our existence, God does not owe His being to any other thing. Origin is a word that can apply only to things created. By experience we are taught that everything ”came from” something else. All created things necessarily originated somewhere at some time. No wonder children ask, “Who made God?” Everything and everyone has an origin, save one and that is God. Aside from God, nothing is self-caused. God never needed to be made, because he was always there. God never came into existence because he always was and God does not have it in him to go out of existence, just as we do not have it in us to live forever. We age and die, because it is our present nature to do that; God necessarily continues forever unchanged, because it is his nature to do that. At the outset of his presentation of the unknown God to the Athenian idolaters, Paul explained that true God “is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else” (Acts 17:23-25). The word aseity (Latin “from himself) was coined by theologians to express this truth, meaning that God has life in himself and draws his unending energy from himself. He exists independent of the world, as one who is self-sufficient and self-existent. I owe my existence to my mother and father and all my ancestors. Our earth owes its existence to God who through whatever means and processes he saw fit, created the world. All events have causes. All creatures have been created. Except for God. God is the uncaused cause and the uncreated creator. God did not depend upon anything outside Himself for His existence, nor will He ever depend upon anyone for it. Man is a created being, a derived and contingent self, who of himself possesses nothing but is dependent each moment for his existence upon the One who created him after His own likeness. The fact of God is necessary to the fact of man.
God Is Self-Sufficient – He Has No Needs He is in no way dependent on his creation. God is a self-sufficient Being, and needs not anything from without himself to support himself, or to make himself happy. He is the "first" of Beings, the first and the last; before him there was no God formed, nor will be any after him; from everlasting to everlasting he is God; and therefore his existence is not owing to any; nor has he received any assistance or support from any; being self-existent, he must be self-subsistent; as he existed of himself, and subsisted in and of himself, eons, even an eternity, alone. The triune God existed eternally without anything or anyone else in the universe. Though alone, God was not lonely. God did not lack anything when He was alone, and He was not under any constraint or obligation to bring anything else into existence. The three persons of the Trinity enjoyed perfect satisfaction, fellowship, and delight in one another. God created the universe not by necessity but for His own glory to display His love and majesty. All creatures stand in need of God to supply them and support them; they consist in him, are upheld by the word of his power, live, and move, and have their beings in him; but he stands in need of none of them, being self-sufficient. God has no needs, does not need our help, cannot improve and does not change. We, on the other hand, as created beings rely completely on God for our every breath He only offers us the privilege of being involved with Him in the fulfillment of His purposes. Because God is self-sufficient, we can go to him to satisfy all our needs. We never have to worry about “drying up” his never-ending well of goodness, peace, mercy and grace.
We could conclude that we do not matter to God if he does not need us. We could also conclude that God is not relational if he is independent of us. But both of these conclusions would be wrong. While God does not need us and is in no way obligated to enter into a relationship with us, he created us in his image and made us to have fellowship with him . We matter because God determined that we matter to Him. The gospel depends on a God who does not depend on you. God's eternity means that God will never cease to love us. In Christ Jesus a divine bridge has been established which enables the finite creature and the infinite God to have personal discourse and true fellowship, The infinite Son of God who, in becoming clothed with finite flesh became the bridge between the finite and the infinite enabling us to step over out of time into a glorious eternal infinity. Through him we are able to become the recipients of eternal life. Joy of joy time will be no more for God gives us his own eternality as the greatest of all gifts. The Lord's Supper is our foretaste of the promise of sharing eternity in loving fellowship with God.
Is God Knowable or Not?
July 31, 2022
Is God Knowable or Not?
A. W. Tozer wrote, “’What is God like?’ God is not like anything. He is one of a kind, and there is nothing to compare him to, but we can ask what God has revealed about Himself that we can understand. When we meet someone for the first time, we do not consider that we really know that person. As we come to know more about someone, we better understand how to carry on a relationship. In the same way, a vibrant relationship with the triune God must be rooted in a firm understanding of who He reveals Himself to be. We can know God by understanding his attributes. Our Message: Is God Knowable or Not?"
Psalm 145:1 will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. 2 Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. 3 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.
I John 3:2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
What sort of God do I believe in? What is God like? What kind of God is He? How may we expect Him to act toward us? It has been said that what comes into a person’s mind when he or she thinks about God is the most important thing about him or her. People have many different perceptions of what God is like. Some see Him as an indulgent grandfather or a divine Santa Claus. Others see Him as a vengeful dictator. Many people fear God because they have a distorted understanding of His character. The view of God held by many even Christians is woefully inadequate. A. W. Pink said, "The god of this century no more resembles the Sovereign of Holy Writ than does the dim flickering of a candle the glory of the midday sun. The god who is talked about in the average pulpit, spoken of in the ordinary Sunday school, mentioned in much of the religious literature of the day, and preached in most of the so-called Bible conferences, is a figment of human imagination, an invention of maudlin sentimentality. The heathen outside the pale of Christendom form gods of wood and stone, while millions of heathen inside Christendom manufacture a god out of their carnal minds. How you view God and His involvement in your life touches every facet of who you are. Everything about your life is influenced by your perception of who God is. God not only wants you to view Him correctly, He wants you to know Him intimately.
Is God knowable or not? The answer is yes and no. God is not fully knowable. We will never know or understand God in his completeness in this life. God is unlike anything or anyone we could ever know or imagine. He is one of a kind, unique and without comparison. God is infinite. Unlike us, God has no limits or boundaries. He is not confined to the dimension of space. God is self-existent. Unlike everything else in the entire universe, He had no beginning. Because He is the Creator, He is the only One who exists outside of the created order. God is eternal. He is not bound by the dimension of time. With God, everything that has ever happened or will ever happen has already occurred within His awareness. God encompasses all of eternity! God is self-sufficient. All creation relies on God for existence, but He has no need for anything. He only offers us the privilege of being involved with Him in the fulfillment of His purposes. Even describing him with mere words truly falls short of capturing who he is; our words simply cannot do justice to or describe our holy God. God cannot be known through human self discovery. “Can you discover the depth of God? Can you discover the limits of the Almighty? They are high as the heavens, what can you do? Deeper than Sheol, what can you know?” (Job 11:7-8). Properly understanding how great God is, humbles us, exalts Him, and should lead to greater worship. An accurate understanding of God is foundational if we desire to know Him, serve Him, and become like Him. Only when we know God can we truly worship Him. Yes in one sense God is unknowable, but in another God desires that we not just know about him, but really know him in an intimate personal way. God is gloriously incomprehensible, but He is also a personal Spirit. “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:14). A personal relationship with God requires that we know God personally, as a Person. The attributes of God are descriptions of the character and nature of God, and it is through the knowledge of these attributes that we come to intimately know and enjoy God as a Person. God possess attributes that we can know (even in just in part) and he’s given us as a means to understand himself. A divine attribute is something we can affirm about God to be true, some aspect of his being and character. In speaking of someone’s or something’s attributes, we refer to the characteristics or qualities that express their nature. God’s attributes, therefore, are qualities or characteristics of God that express His nature, essence and being. God's attributes are lens through which we are able to comprehend something of God's divinity. When we talk about the attributes of God, we are trying to answer questions like, Who is God, What is God like, and What kind of God is he?
God's attributes have been made known to us in three ways: creation, Scripture and Jesus. No matter where you look in creation, it all screams that there is a Maker. Creation is not eternal; instead it points to the eternal God. God revealed Himself to us in His Word, the Bible. The Scriptures provide us with a clear description of what God is like and what is important to Him. The God according to His self-revelation, in both the Old Testament and the New Testament is the God of Genesis 1:1, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Moses, the God, the God of the prophets, the God of the Apostles including Paul, and the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, which God is one and the same in Biblical Christianity. The Scriptures are the primary source for our instruction concerning God’s attributes. When we come to the Scriptures to learn what God is like, we shall not be disappointed.
The fullest revelation of God to mankind is Jesus; because Jesus is God. For 33 years, human beings could observe the incarnate God through their senses as they walked and talked with His Son, Jesus. God destroyed the barrier of sin and self-centeredness that separated us from our holy God. Jesus, died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. God sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in Christians with His presence. Our Creator God did all this so we could go beyond just knowing about Him. We can actually enter into a warm friendship and intimate family relationship with Him. What a gracious offer and an awesome privilege.
The attributes are not abstract qualities, existing in their own right and somehow independent from God. God himself defines these qualities. He does not possess them as qualities; they are how God is as He reveals Himself. Here is a caution about using the word attribute which has the unfortunate connotation of some quality being added or “attributed.” But facets of God’s person are not derived or acquired, but have always existed in who and what God is and does. Love is not something God has and which may grow or diminish or cease to be. There is no entity called “love” floating around in the cosmos, by which God is measured; on the contrary, love is to be understood in the light of who God himself is. When God loves He is simply being Himself. Love, along with God’s other attributes, is defined by God, not the other way around. There are no “sometimes” attributes of God. All of his attributes are “always” attributes. We can rightly state that God is Always wise, sovereign, just, good, just, holy, merciful, gracious. Whatever God is, he always is. He always is what he is. To speak of God’s attributes does not mean speaking about parts of God but rather God Himself, only from different angles. While aspects of God’s nature are to be considered distinctively because the Bible does so, yet individual attributes must also be understood in relation to other aspects of God’s being. You cannot pick and choose God's attributes, for they all balance perfectly in God's nature. This means that God is not partially merciful and partially just but fully each; both are windows by which we are able to glimpse the nature of God. Each of these attributes have always belonged to God and will always belong to Him. God neither gains nor loses attributes. Those who claim that God is different in the Old and new Testaments misunderstand the nature of divine attributes. Each attribute characterizes every other attribute. It is impossible to divide God into parts, so as to separate His goodness from His wisdom or His wrath. Instead, each attribute describes the others. God has made Himself known, and we are to strive to know Him as He has revealed Himself. At the same time, we must be cautious not to add to or subtract from who He says He is.
Some have posted the “clever” question, “Could God make a rock so heavy that He could not carry it?” This foolish question attempts to pit one aspect of God’s being, His omnipotence, against another, His infinity. Rather such a challenge to God’s power must not be considered alone; He is not only omnipotent and infinite, but also wise. Hence He does not consider enacting foolish propositions proposed by finite man that attempt to engage infinity. We must keep the whole of God's glorious person before us. God’s attributes are not a patchwork quilt, an assembly of pieces of God’s being, but rather manifestations of the one true God’s indivisible being. God is one in essence, yet manifest in the trinity, who have the same attributes The Father is as just as the Son is as just as the Spirit. The Father is as loving as the Son is as loving as the Spirit. The Father is as powerful as the Son is as powerful as the Spirit. What is true of one member of the Trinity is true of every member. We can only know Him in truth when we know Him in His fullness.
God has “communicable(shares with us to a lesser degree” and “incommunicable(belonging only to God)” attributes – attributes that he shares with his creatures and attributes that are unique to him. . Being formed in God’s image, we are capable of love, mercy, goodness, etc. Such attributes are called communicable, while God’s incommunicable attributes exclusively describe Him (i.e. immutability, and omnipotence) Scripture commands us to be holy because God is holy, and to love because God is loving. But nowhere does Scripture command us, “Be omnipresent because God is omnipresent. Even with God’s communicable attributes, God Himself is that attribute in its highest degree and purest form. These attributes are called communicable attributes not because we can take a piece of these God-like attributes and make it our own. Rather, God shares them to us in a limited, finite, and creaturely sense. At this point, we can have an idea of what it means when we explain each of these characteristics because as human we also possess them in certain creaturely sense. When we look at the attributes of God, we find they are all unchangeably perfect, so there is no difference in their importance to God. In order to be truly “infinitely” perfect, a being has to be perfect in all qualities. Attributes such as omnipotence and omniscience can only exist in cooperation with each other. A being could not have all possible power unless he also has all possible knowledge. He could not be all-knowing unless he was all-present. And so on and so forth. For this reason, God’s attributes cannot be ranked on a scale of importance as if some were more critical than others to who God is. All of God’s qualities are equally perfect, equally “infinite,” and equally ranked.
From a human viewpoint, the way we understand God’s qualities has to come in a certain order. We need to understand attributes of God that are “beyond” mankind before we can make sense of those more connected to human experience. The starting point for understanding who God is, from a human perspective, is His holiness. Before anything else about God makes sense, we must understand that God is holy—without recognizing this uniqueness, none of His other qualities make sense. In order to grasp God to the extent the human mind is able, we begin with His holiness, extend to His power, and then to His personality (love, mercy, justice, etc.).
We worship God for who He is. The attributes of God are a description of who He is. When God is worshipped in the Bible, He is worshipped in response to His attributes. Seldom does a writer mention divine attributes as though he were writing a mere list of God’s characteristics. Rather, he appeals to a divine attribute as a basis for addressing some need of God’s people. Knowing the character of God assures us that He can and will do all that He purposes and promises. Faith in God is trusting in God, and His attributes are the basis for that trust because He is able and willing to do all that He has promised. Joni Eareckson Tada said, “If you’re hurting or confused, find one of God’s great attributes and, as Spurgeon says, use it ‘as… a great battering ram with which we may open the gates of heaven.’”
Nothing matters more than the personal knowledge of the God of the Bible. How can man possibly delight in some vague, generic entity designated as “God”? We delight in a house or automobile through the knowledge of numerous, distinctive features and aspects of beauty, performance, etc. What we delight in, particularly in romance, we have first examined and learned about in great detail. Upon learning of distinguishing personal features, only then can we boast in a person. So we can only glory in God when we have learned of the facets and fullness of His glorious person. It is to be expected then that God’s attributes will be reflected, by means of divine communication, from His children. The Christian looks to his Father with longing to be more conformed to that image. “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies Himself, just as He is pure. (I John 3:2- 3) Knowing God intimately is our calling and destiny, our future hope, our great privilege and blessing, and thus it should be our great ambition to know God and know Him better every way we can.
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