7 Attributes Of God Sunday, March 9, 2014
In this Study we will address Seven of the Attributes of God and the way that they interact with each other. These Seven Attributes in no way are the completeness of God's character and fullness.
The Attributes of God are those distinguishing characteristics of the nature of God which are inseparable from the idea of Deity, which constitutes the basis and grounds for His manifestations to His creatures.
When we say that these Attributes are inseparable from the idea of Deity we mean that these attributes are constant with Him. Man can demonstrate some of these Attributes at times but can be separated from any of them.
These are fundamental Attributes of God because they are constant facts of God and have their origin in Him. Without Him they could not exist. These are things which make Him God.
To establish the fact of the Deity of Jesus Christ we note the manner in which he demonstrated the Attributes that are peculiar to God alone, while He lived an earthly life.
There are no known characteristic of God which is not ascribed to Jesus Christ in the New Testament, from creation (Colossians 1:16), To judgment (Acts 10:42), And the final restoration of all things (Ephesians 1:10).
This fact helps us to escape the idea of two or three separate Gods.
Colossians 2:9. For in him (Christ) dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. (KJV)
We are to understand that the totality of the Divine Attributes, the sum of the Divine perfection, dwells in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ Remained Deity In Every Manifestation Of Time.
Philippians 2:6. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (KJV)
Jesus retained the Attributes of God, and remained God, during His entire Earthly Ministry.
Hebrews 13:8. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (KJV)
Jesus Christ was God because all of these Attributes of the Godhead were manifested in the man Jesus in His earthly life.
These Attributes of God exist as qualities objectively distinguished from the Divine Essence and from each other. Separate but a part of each other.
All of these Attributes of God operate in harmony and for a purpose towards His creatures. In fact, they must actually form the reason for all of His manifestations towards His creatures. Each of these Attributes have a distinctive purpose to exist.
We Will Start By Asking, What Is The Chief Attribute of God?
The Chief Attribute Of God Is Holiness
Holiness can be defined in the simplest terms as self affirming purity. This is something that no human being now possess, or ever would possess.
Man can, on occasion, manifest personal purity, but this impulse to decency generally come from some source of power outside of their own nature, and can be maintained only as long as the source of power is available to them.
In man Holiness can be sporadic, temporary, and all too rare in its appearance. (Romans 7:8-25)
But you cannot separate the two ideas of Almighty God and purity. You cannot think of God any other way.
Psalms 145:17. "The Lord is righteous in all of His ways, and holy in all of His works." (KJV)
You will note that the righteousness and Holiness of God are not seen in some of His ways and works, but are apparent in all that God does.
Isaiah 6:3. (The Seraphims) And one cried unto another, and said, Holy. Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is filled with His glory.
No earthly being can lay claim to this idea of Holiness.
There are some orders of beings, both angelic, and human, which reflect the Holiness of God, or partake of His benefits by imputation, but no created being possesses a self-affirming purity. This is reserved for God Himself.
The Old Testament stoutly maintains that Holiness is resident in God alone,
The New Testament lays claim that Holiness is also resident in Jesus Christ, who became the High Priest and Redeemer.
Acts 4:27. "For of a truth against Thy Holy Child Jesus, whom Thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, were gathered together."
Hebrews 7:26. "For such a High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens."
The historical record of establishing the Passover Lamb in The Old Testament says, "Your lamb shall be without blemish." (Exodus 12:5)
The New Testament Record Says,
1 Peter 1:19. "But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot."
A Blemish is something that is inherently wrong with the fabric itself. a flaw.
A spot is dirt which has been acquired by contact with that which defiles.
Jesus Christ Had Neither Spot Or Blemish.
Being incarnated by the miracle of virgin birth, Jesus, the Son of God, was without blemish in His nature.
He lived for thirty three years among men in contact with a world of sin, from which, suffering no defilement, He was also spotless.
John 8:46. Which of you convinceth me of sin? … (KJV)
Can we even ask our friends that of ourselves?
John 14:30. …: For the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. (KJV)
Jesus is saying, "Nothing in Me belongs to Satan."
The manner in which His enemies sought to meet His dare is written in.
Matthew 26:59. Now the Chief Priest, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;
60. But found none: yea many witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses.
The inherent purity of Jesus Christ was so perfect that not even perjured witnesses, paid to blacken His Character, could prove, to the satisfaction of a prejudiced court, one charge against Him.
We are satisfied that every Attribute of God, including the chief attribute, Holiness, dwelt in the person of Jesus Christ.
Revelations 4:8. And they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, which was and is, and is to come.
The Second Attribute Of God Is Justice
Justice is that principal which affirms the certainty of the punishment of wrongdoing.
Justice is given as the second Attribute of God because it is the guard and defense of Holiness.
All Sin Is An Offence Against The Holiness Of God.
Therefore, if Holiness is to be vindicated, and God is to remain supreme, all rebellion against holiness must be ruthlessly stamped out and punished.
Just as no orderly nation can survive without courts and penal codes, so must divine governments be safe guarded with powerful forces.
Very often the legal procedures of human governments are diverted from true Justice and perverted to political purpose.
Therefore Justice is not an attribute of human government.
Justice is not constant or inseparable from human thought.
By contrast, Justice is resident in the very nature of God, so that errors of judgment, and mistakes in its application, are unthinkable in His dealings with men.
It is not enough to say that "God is just," or is ruled by Justice, in his dealings with his creatures.
For this reason, from the very beginning of His dealings with created beings, God operated through the dictum of, the soul that sinneth, it shall die (Ezekiel 18:4)
We call to your mind the long record of God’s conflict with evil which is engraved alike, in holy writ, and on the pages of human conduct.
It may be said that the Justice of God is implacable, it never fails. It must, and always does, operate.
We have the record of God's dealing with Lucifer when sin originated in him (Isaiah 14:12; Ezekiel 28:15).
We have the record of God’s dealings with Adam after his disobedience in the Garden of Eden.
Genesis 3:24. So He drove out the man. And he placed at the east of the Garden of Eden Cherubims , and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
Genesis 5:5. And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.
We have the record of God’s dealings with Cain after he slew his brother.
Genesis 4:11a.And now art thou cursed from the earth,…
13. And Cain said unto the Lord, my punishment is greater than I can bear.
16.And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord.
We read also of God’s Justice imparted upon the people of Noah’s day.
Genesis 6:5. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only of evil continually.
6. And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart.
7. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth.
On page after page the Justice of God is written for our admonition and example, to the intent we should not lust after evil things.
With nations and individuals alike the Justice of God has prevailed in every age and instance.
With Israel, the Midianites, the Amorites, with Korah, with King Saul, and the list goes on and on.
All this took place to guard the Holiness of God.
The New Testament bears record of Jesus also dispatching Justice.
Many are prone to portray Jesus as the meek and mild Shepherd, and never prone to violence.
The Savior was meek and mild when purpose was served by the exercise of mercy and love, but stern and severe in His character as Judge.
We have the record of a roused and angry Savior with whip in hand cleansing the Temple of God of the filthy racketeers who made a graft of the temple worship. (John 2:15)
With darkened brow and flashing eyes He thundered out the sternest denunciation that human ears could comprehend.
They fled in haste leaving their physical assets behind.
They somehow recognized His right to cancel their transactions.
Jesus was Justice in direct operation, guarding the Sanctuary, which stood for the Holiness of God, and the redemption of his people.
He is always merciful and kind where He can be.
He is stern and just where He must be.
The scriptures bear record of Justice being executed on Ananias and Sapphira when they lied against the Holy Ghost. (Acts 5:1-10)
(Revelations 19:11-16) Gives us a portrait of Jesus Christ as He shall be when He returns to this earth to take over His dominion as The Word Of God.
The purpose of the word which Jesus wields upon His return is not to convert, or comfort, or console; but to chasten.
He comes to rule with a rod of iron, "treading the winepress of the wrath of Almighty God.
(Matthew 13:37-43) Tells us that the son of man shall superintend the meeting out of due and just punishment.
The Justice Of God Always Guards The Holiness Of God.
The Third Attribute Of God Is Mercy.
Mercy is that eternal principal of God’s nature which leads Him to seek the temporal good and eternal welfare of those who opposed themselves to His will.
Psalms 100:5b..…; His mercy is everlasting; …
Exodus 34:6.…, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
7. Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; …
Psalms 78:38. But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned He His anger away, and did not stir up all His wrath.
Full Of Compassion, Not Sporadic But Always Merciful.
Very often the purposes of Mercy are attained at the cost of infinite sacrifice.
We will dwell more on that later.
(Genesis 18:16-32) Tells the story of God’s intentions at Sodom and Gomorrah, and as Abraham pleads with Him, He being so kind and forgiving, that He stands ready to forgive the guilty rather than bring suffering upon the sinless.
So we must say that God does not manifest Mercy, He is not swayed to the exercise of Mercy, but Mercy is an Attribute of God. Hence God is Mercy
For a thousand years Mercy sat enthroned on the Mercy Seat overlooked by two Cherubims, and almost shut out of contact with men by a curtain, or veil, and visited by the high priest only once a year, then love rent the veil on Calvary so Mercy could go free.
(John 8:3-11) A woman taken in the act of adultery was brought before Jesus by the stern and harsh guardians of the law which demanded that she be stoned.
Jesus defended her, 'He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.' (John 8:7b) (KJV)
The self convicted accusers slunk away.
Jesus said, "Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?" (John 8:10) (KJV)
She was humbled and shamed by His Holiness as she answered, "No man Lord." (John 8:11a) (KJV)
But because God is Mercy, He said unto her, "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." (John 8:11b) (KJV)
Recognizing all that was wrong and unclean in her conduct, He was Mercy, could say, "I do not condemn you."
The reason that He could say that is found in the fourth Attribute of God, which is love.
The Fourth Attribute Of God Is Love.
Love is the source of all that is courageous and kind in every human relationship.
Many have taken the statement in (1 John 4:16,) "God is Love," and wrests that out of its proper setting to make that His entire creed.
Because "God Is Love," The Gospel Works.
Because "God Is Love"
Is the reason for all of God’s revelation of Himself to a lost and sinful world.
But to fully understand how the Love of God works in the redemptive process we must realize that it must work in conjunction, and in harmony, with all the Attributes of God.
We have already made the statement that all of the Attributes of God operate in harmony, and for a purpose, towards His creatures.
Let us consider the basic philosophy of Christianity in a few short sentences.
We have said that the First Attribute of God is Holiness.
It is a characteristic of Holiness that, being purity, it can have no fellowship with sin. So God cannot take an unsaved, uncleansed, unredeemed, sinner into his presence, because the very Holiness of God would consume that vile wretch
So, because sin is an offence against Divine Holiness, Justice, which guards Holiness, has said, "the soul which sins must surely die."
The word "death" in the scriptures never means anything more than separation.
We say that your body is alive because you are in it. But the minute you are separated from your body, your body is called dead.
It is cut off from the source of life, hence becomes inanimate and decays. In exactly that sense, when a soul is separated from God, who is the source of all life, that soul is called dead.
Hence, to guard the Holiness of God from contact with defilement, Divine Justice says that the soul that sins must be "separated."
But God is also mercy, and mercy desires to save the guilty sinner.
Here we must note that no Attribute of God can work in offence to any other Attribute. They must all work together in a correlated harmony, functioning as one perfected and completed being.
Therefore, as long as a soul is guilty of sin, even though Mercy desires to save that soul, Justice says, "you cannot, I guard the Holiness of God," and Mercy cannot operate in opposition to Justice.
That’s when Love steps in to solve the impasse.
Love steps in to provide a substitute that will satisfy Justice so that Mercy can operate
Because God is Love, He Himself, who was offended by the sin of man, incarnated Himself in the flesh of a man, and did Himself, die to expiate the sins of man.
When God had thus provided Himself as a substitute, and sacrifice, Divine Justice said, "I am satisfied."
Mercy then could operate because Love had provided a means by which the sinner and his sins could be separated and dealt with individually.
Hence Justice can now guard Holiness by ostracizing sin from God’s presence, and Mercy can save the guilty by bringing the separated sinner into God’s presence.
And all this comes to pass because God is Love, For this reason we have the unfathomable revelation of,
John 3:16. "For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
We said before that very often the purposes of Mercy are attained at a cost of infinite sacrifice.
And what a price God was willing to pay whereby the sinner could be saved.
There is no such thing as a simple Gospel.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is so profound and incomprehensible, we must simply accept it by faith.
We can grasp some dim conception of the magnitude of the work of Christ when we learn that He was, Himself, The Love Of God saving the world, and that God who loves him has his every interest bound up in the thing for which He shed His blood.
The Fifth Attribute Of God Is Truth.
Pilate saith unto Mim, What Is Truth?" (John 18:38)
Truth is that which agrees with reality.
Truth is any conception, that coincides with facts.
This is inseparable from the idea of God.
There are men who, under certain circumstances, will tell the Truth, and all men are presumed to be truthful, unless their own interests are served by contrary conduct.
But no one can conceive of God telling the Truth part of the time and hedging by deceit in other dealings with his creatures.
In offering men salvation through faith in Jesus Christ the integrity of God is pledged as an earnest and a guaranty.
Gods word of honor has been given "that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
Since the honor of God is bound up in my salvation I rest in warm, confident, possession of a redemption because, God is Truth.
John 1:17. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
John 14:6. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. (KJV)
The Sanhedrists said that "Truth is the seal of God."
We must come to the conclusion that God is the source from which all Truth originates. God is Truth.
Psalms 33:4. "For the Word of the Lord is right; all His works are done in Truth."
His moral being. And all of the creatures whom God has formed, which possess sovereignty of conduct and understanding must be dwelt with on the basis of these Five Attributes.
Mighty Kings and Emperors have been brought to that realization.
Daniel 4:37. Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of Heaven, all whose works are Truth, and His ways judgment: …
The Bible writers recognized the importance of this Attribute of God by using it so many times.
The Apostle Paul used the word "Truth" more than fifty times in his writings, while John, the beloved disciple, used it more than twenty two times.
It must be noted that these Five Attributes, Holiness, Justice, Mercy, Love, and Truth, all bear witness to God’s moral being, and all of the creatures whom God has formed, which possess sovereignty of conduct and understanding, must be dealt with on the basis of these Five Attributes.
The Sixth Attribute Of God Is Omniscience.
Omniscience means possessing all knowledge and all understanding.
These next two Attributes of God are more commonly recognized, because they relate to creation, and are seen in the visible manifestations, or works of God, they are emphasized the most in the thinking of men when they attempt to construct a philosophy of deity.
But just as the Five Moral Attributes Of God were manifested by Jesus Christ in His Life and Ministry, so also the Attributes of God which operate in relation to creation are seen in the works of the man, Jesus Christ.
The first of these Attributes, Omniscience, was perfectly displayed in the first meeting between Jesus and Nathanael.
Since the Jews were taught from early infancy to worship none but God and to bow to him only.
Why did Nathanael worship Jesus the moment they first met?
The answer rest in the statement that Jesus made to him as he approached Jesus.
John 1:47. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and saith of him, behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!
48. Nathanael saith into Him, whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.
49. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.
50. Jesus answered and said unto him, because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? Thou shalt see greater things than these.
Nathanael recognized Omniscience.
They had been separated by span of seven miles yet Jesus knew who he was and where he was sitting.
Jesus claimed Omniscience and positively demonstrated it.
John 2:24. But Jesus did not commit Himself unto them, because He knew all men.
25. And needed not that any should testify of man: for He knew what was in man.
Again and again He discerned the unspoken thoughts of His enemies as they sought to debate against Him, and laid bare their motives and secret plans.
He pulled back the curtain of time and looked ahead into future ages, describing events of the past two thousand years, and foretelling others which have not yet come to pass.
On one occasion He described the destruction of Jerusalem in terms so graphic that when, thirty-five years later, Titus fulfilled his predictions, the record of the destruction reads like the prophecy of its events. (Luke 19:41-44)
Because He had Omniscience, He could stand on a hill with the fallen angel Lucifer, and see all the kingdoms of the earth.
This power of unlimited sight and unrestricted knowledge concerning all things is resident by nature in the person of God.
No man can claim it, nor any demonstrate it.
The Wise Man Wrote Of Wisdom In,
Proverbs 8:22. The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before His works of old.
23. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
30. Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;
The Seventh Attribute Of God is Omnipotence.
To deal with This Attribute of God, we must first deal with the ability of the human mind to comprehend the word Omnipotence.
Omnipotence means to have unlimited power and unlimited authority.
The Bible uses the word "Almighty" fifty six times in referring to God.
Paul to Agrippa,
Acts26:8. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?
Paul is saying to Agrippa, "You cannot use the words, incredible and God, in the same sentence and remain logical."
Not if the incredible limits or restricts the power and operations of God.
Our philosophy of God should be condensed to three words, God Is Able.
God Is Able
Hebrews 11:3. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
When we use the word Creation in it's purest sense it means, to make something from nothing.
Through faith is the only way we can understand that, in the beginning nothing existed but God.
Again the only way we can understand that God has always existed is through faith.
In the beginning God began His acts of creation.
John 1:3. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.
Psalms 33:6. By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all host of them by the breath of His mouth.
7. He gathereth the waters of the sea together as a heap: He layeth up the depth in storehouses.
8. Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
9.For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.
While there is much natural law that we do not yet know, God, who is the author of all law, cannot be restricted in His conduct by our limitations.
So when Jesus said, "All power (omnipotence) is given unto me in heaven and in earth,"
We have an explanation that is satisfactory when we study the miracles which He performed.
God Wrought Them
God Is Able
There are no qualifications or explanations necessary to enlarge, enhance or develop that Philosophy of God.
It is sufficient for every crisis of life or thought that can possibly arise or perplex us.
These are some of the Attributes of God, and we must not limit God to only what we can understand about Him.
The limitations of human intelligence does not allow us to comprehend all of God's Attributes.
We hope you enjoyed reading this study of the Magnificence of God.
We invite you to read the other articles on our Web Pages.
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By, James L. Thornton