What the Bible Says About God Part 2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
Now, we have come to our third question, “What are God’s moral attributes.”
First, God is capable of the hatred of evil and of those things that oppose and seek to interrupt His divine purposes.
Second, God is impartial (1 Peter 1:17).
He does not show “respect of persons.” And the judgment of God will not respect persons. There is no external relationship, such as church membership, baptism or good works that will protect anyone from God’s judgment. He will judge every man according to his works. Those who have been saved through faith in Christ will be rewarded according to their works. Those who reject Christ will be judged according to their works. They can plead their case, but God has already warned that there will be no clemency shown at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Third, He is longsuffering (Exod. 34:6).
God’s longsuffering attitude toward sinful humans is one of His most amazing characteristics. The prophet Nahum wrote, “The LORD is slow to anger…” We should be grateful that God is patient with us and that His judgment has been delayed until all men, both great and small, come to stand before Him. There is still time for some to repent and turn to Christ and be saved. But there are some who will choose to end life without Christ, and for them, God’s patience is at an end.
Perhaps God’s greatest attribute is that He is love (1 John 4:8, 16).
God does not possess love, He is love. Love is the essence of His nature and character. Listen to these two verses from 1John, “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” And then it says, “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” Love is not a definition of God—God is infinitely more—but God is the definition of love. Without Him, love does not exist. The Greek word for God’s love is agape; it is active, yet selfless. Though most graphically and fully illustrated in God’s love for us, agape love is also God’s pattern for our love for Him (1 John 4:19) and for our love for one another (Eph. 5:25; 1 Pet. 1:22). Its basis is God’s deliberate, active, sacrificial giving of His Son for our redemption. To be loved by God means that He has set His sights on us and is actively wooing us toward Himself at all times.
God’s love is self-starting, indestructible, undeserved, compassionate, constant, immeasurable, voluntary, and a gift. He did not begin loving at the Cross, nor will He love us more tomorrow than He does today. There is nothing we can do, think, or say that will change His love because there are no surprises for God—He knows us totally and loves us anyway. The goal of God’s love is to have us with Him throughout eternity. He presented and made possible the accomplishment of this goal through Jesus and His sacrifice on the Cross.
Finally, God is capable of showing vengeance (Rom. 12:19).
God’s vengeance, unlike human vengeance, is not a calculated retaliation because of personal hurt. Our refusal to respond to God’s loving invitation ultimately releases His judgment.
We have come to the last question, “What are the roles of God.
First, He is Creator (Gen. 1:1).
He is the one who conceived and created all things. That’s what it says in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.” God is Creator—the only being capable of making something from nothing. The Bible teaches that God existed before creation and called the physical world into existence out of nothing. Everything begins with God and fulfills His purposes for His glory.
He works by the power of His Word, the same Word that can work in our lives.
He works according to a plan: first He forms, and then He fills.
He formed the earth and filled it with plants and animals.
He formed the firmament and filled it with stars and planets.
He formed the seas and filled them with living creatures.
He can form and fill our lives today if we will yield to Him.
Persons who have trusted Jesus Christ are a part of the new creation.
Second, He is Judge.
God judges us through His Word, by His Spirit, and by His perfect and holy name. When God judges, He either dispenses justice or mercy; never injustice. We should always pray for mercy because if we got what we deserved, we would go into eternity without God.
The third answer is, “He is our shepherd” (Gen. 49:24; Ps. 23, John 10:11, 14).
One of the most beautiful descriptions of Jesus’ concern for people is that of Shepherd. Jesus is the Good Shepherd, who gave His life for His sheep. Jesus’ life exemplifies the traits of a shepherd. He knows His sheep. Sometimes several shepherds will pen their sheep together at night. The next morning, the shepherds call to their own sheep. Each sheep knows their shepherd’s voice and responds immediately. Jesus knows each of His sheep intimately. He said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me,” (John10:27).
Next, we know He watches over His sheep.
Sheep are curious, but dumb animals and they wander off and get lost or hurt. Jesus never takes His eyes off His sheep, but if one of His sheep wanders off, He will search for it until He finds it and carry it back to safety.
He provides for His sheep. That’s the next answer.
Shepherds have always had to search diligently for water. Often the shepherd carries a small pail, patiently filling it many times for the thirsty sheep who cannot reach the available water. Jesus cares for His sheep and provides for all their needs.
Another answer is, “He provides protection.”
A trusted shepherd provides loving protection for the flock. Shepherds on the Bethlehem hillsides still use a sling to protect their flock from dangerous animals. At times, shepherds throw their rods at stubborn, straying sheep that refuse to hear their voice. At other times, shepherds gently nudge the sheep with the end of a six-foot staff.
Jesus protects His sheep from Satan and from the terrors of the world. The psalm says, “Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.”
There is another answer to our question and that is, “He gives comfort.”
Our Shepherd gives us comfort. Christians are comforted by the presence of the Lord. Jesus is our Door; nothing can touch our lives without touching Him first. This is a perfect picture of shepherds, who literally become the living door of the sheepfold. They curl up in the door or in the entrance of a cave. They put their bodies between the sleeping sheep and ravenous animals or thieves.
The last and perhaps the answer that we look forward to the most is, “He is coming back.”
One day, Jesus the Chief Shepherd will return, gather His whole flock into one fold, and divide the sheep from the goats; the saved from the lost. (Matt. 25:31–33). Until that time, Jesus continues His search for every lost sheep (Matt. 18:12–14). His sheep are to yield themselves to Him for His useful service; until, at last, they “will dwell in the house of the LORD forever” (Ps. 23:6).
Human intellectual limitations make it impossible for us to exhaust our descriptions of God. Every day lived as a member of His family produces new insights and discoveries concerning Him. We can say with Paul, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out” (Rom. 11:38).