*THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD*
part 2 of 2
*2. GOD IS TRUE*
To say that God is true involves at least three distinguishing concepts. First, God gives factual truth. Secondly, He is true in the sense of being reliable and dependable as in the phrase “a true friend.” Thirdly, to say God is true means He is the real or genuine God as opposed to false or counterfeit gods. One could say that God is true in the sense of being factually true, ethically true, and metaphysically true. The proof-texts for God being factually and ethically true overlap.
a. God is factually true (Ex34:6;Jn14:6,17;15:26;16:13;17:17;1Jn4:6). These verses contain the following phrases: “I am the way, and the Truth,” “the Spirit of truth,” and “Thy Word is truth.” God does not make factual error. He is always correct
b. God is ethically true. God is trustworthy and reliable. His ethical truth is a synonym for His faithfulness. God would never lie to us or mislead us. He is not only factually correct, but He is faithful to His promises (Num23:19; Deut32:4; 1Sam15:29; 2Sam7:28; Ps19:9;25:10;31:5;33:4; 36:5; 57:3; 89:14;111:7;119:86,142,151; 138:2; Is25:1; Jer5:3; Lam3:23; Rom1:25; 3:4; 1Corl:9; 2Cor1:20; 1Thess5:24; Tit1:2; Heb6:18)
”God is not a man, that He should lie…” Num23:19
”And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind…” 1Sam15:29
”Thy lovingkindness, O LORD, extends to the heavens, thy faithfulness reaches to the skies” Ps36:5
”They are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness” Lam3:23
”let God be found true, though every man be found a liar”Rom3:4
”God is faithful…”1Cor1:9.
”Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass” 1Thess5:24.
”God who cannot lie”Tit1:2.
”it is impossible for God to lie”Heb6:18.
c. God is metaphysically true. God is real and genuine. All other claims to deity are false
”But the LORD is the true God…”Jer10:10
”And this is eternal life that they may know Thee, the only true God…”Jn17:3
”and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God” 1Thessl:9
”This is the true God and eternal Life” 1Jn5:20
*3. GOD IS GOOD*
The idea that God is good encompasses a massive amount of truth and numerous characteristics (mercy, longsuffering, grace, love, kindness, gentleness, and possibly even ethical holiness which equals sinlessness and ethical truth which equals faithfulness). While some would classify each of the above as a separate attribute, it is perhaps more logical to view them all as extensions of God’s goodness
”For the LORD is good; His loving-kindness is everlasting, and His faithfulness to all generations” Ps100:5
”The LORD is good to all and His mercies are over all His works” Ps145:9
”And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone” Mark10:18
”Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…”Jam1:17
a. God is merciful
God’s mercy is an expression of His goodness toward those who are in misery or distress. It is similar to pity or compassion (Ps103:13;116:5; Is55:7; Lam3:22; Matt9:13, 36; Lk1:50;Rom11:32;12:1;15:9; 2Cor.1:3,4; Eph.2:4;Phil1:8;Tit3:5;Heb2:17;4:16; Jam5:11; 1Pet1:3).
”Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him” Ps103:13
”The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail” Lam3:22
”And seeing the multitudes, He felt compassion for them…”Matt.9:36
”…that He might show mercy to all” Rom11:32
”But God, being rich in mercy…”Eph2:4
”He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy…”Tit3:5
”Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need” Heb4:16
”who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again” 1Pet1:3
b. God is longsuffering
Longsuffering is an expression of God’s goodness towards those who deserve punishment. He is patient with those who deserve immediate punishment (Ex34:6;Num14:18;Neh9:17; Ps86:15;103:8;145:8; Joel2:13; Jonah4:2; Nah1:3; Rom2:4;3:25;9:22; 1Tim1:16;2:4; 2Pet3:9,15).
“The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger” Ex34:6.
”The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness” Ps103:8
”The Lord is slow to anger…”Nahum1:3
See also: Rom2:4, 1Tim1:16, 2Pet3:9
c. God is gracious
God’s grace is also an expression of His goodness to those deserving punishment. However, there is a distinction between being longsuffering and being gracious. In being longsuffering, God withholds punishment to those who deserve punishment. On the other hand, being gracious is not just negatively withholding punishment, it is positively showing kindness and favor to those who deserve wrath and punishment. God’s grace is undeserved favor, unmerited kindness (Ex34:6; Jn1:14,17;Rom3:24;5:20; Eph2:7-9; Titus2:11;1Pet5:10).
“The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious” Ex34:6.
”and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.…For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ” Jn1:14,17
”the surpassing riches of His grace”Eph2:7
”the God of all grace”1Pet5:10
d. God is love
God’s love is an expression of His goodness. It is a commitment to do what is best for the objects of His love regardless of the pain or cost. God’s love is eternal, sacrificial and unconditional. One could classify kindness and gentleness under love (Jn.3:16;15:13; Rom.5:8; Gal.2:20; 1Jn.3:1;4:8-10).
”For God so loved the world”Jn3:16
”Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends”Jn15:13
”But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” Rom5:8
…”who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me”Gal2:20
…”God is love”1Jn4:8
*4. God is Righteous or Just*
Some would combine the attributes of righteousness and holiness, especially ethical holiness. However, in both Hebrew and Greek the words for righteousness differ from the words for holiness. Unlike holiness, righteousness conveys action. To say God is holy means He is separate from sin. He is holy because of what He does not do. To say God is righteous means He acts in righteousness and must demand that all other creatures do so as well. Holiness is more intransitive and pertains to His transcendence. It is what God is. Righteousness has been called God’s “transitive holiness.” It involves what a Holy God does and insists others do. It pertains more to His immanence. By the righteousness and justice of God we mean that phase of the holiness of God which is seen in His treatment of creatures. God is called righteous or just approximately 112 times in the Old Testament and 44 times in the New Testament (Deut10:17;32:4; Job37:23; Ps19:9; 33:5;89:14;92:15; 96:13; 103:6;111:7; Jer.9:23,24; Jn17:25; Acts3:14; 17:31; Rom3:26; 2 Thessl:5to9; and 1Jn2:1).
”For all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He” Deut32:4
”He loves righteousness and justice”Ps33:5
”Righteousness and justice are the foundation of thy throne”Ps89:14
”there is no unrighteousness in Him”Ps92:15
”I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth”Jer9:24
”O righteous Father”Jn17:25
”But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One”Acts3:14
”an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous”1Jn2:1
*5. God is Wise*
To say that God is wise can be different than saying He is omniscient. God is more than an “infinite computer.” He knows all, but He also can choose the best means for the best end.
He is wisdom in that He applies His omniscience to the best possible control of the universe (Ps.19:7; Prov1:7;8:22,27; Rom16:27; 1Cor1:24,30).
”The LORD possessed me wisdom at the beginning of His way….When He established the heavens, I wisdom was there”Prov8:22,27
…”Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom”1Cor1:30
*6. God is Blessed*
In references to God’s inner character, blessed means God is completely and eternally satisfied with Himself. He is joyful and content with His own perfection. It is best not to view this as an attribute. Rather God is inwardly blessed because of His perfections from His attributes. Human happiness is grounded in this aspect of God’s person. Our God, perfect in Person and works, is the source of our satisfaction in life. The sum of His attributes equals perfection. This perfection makes Him inwardly “blessed”
”the glorious gospel of the blessed God”1Tim.1:11
”He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords” 1Tim.6:15
*7. God is Glorious*
The sum of God’s perfection results in His internal blessedness and also His external glory. Again, glory is not an attribute in the truest sense. God is glorious in all of His attributes. Humans should recognize God’s glory and glorify Him (Ps.24:7-10; 96:3; 138:5; Is.6:3;42:8; Matt25:31;Jn1:14;17:5; Rom3:23; Eph1:17; Heb1:3;Jam2:1)
”I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another”Is42:8
”And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth”Jn1:14
”that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory”Eph1:17.
”And He the Son is the radiance of His the Father’s glory”Heb1:3.
”My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism”Jam2:1 Amen.