The Attributes of God
This week's Thought has been written by David Wilson.
These thoughts were inspired by an article by Matt Redman at this link.
Warning: Theology Ahead
I do not claim in any way to be an expert on the attributes of God, and I thoroughly recommend reading Tozer’s The Knowledge of the Holy for a much better exposition of these, but reading the article referenced above made me reflect on how we approach God in worship, and how important it is to have a right understanding of God and his attributes as we approach Him.
Tozer lists the Attributes of God as Follows:
The Incomprehensibility of God - Rather than find comfort and joy that we can’t explain God we try to define and limit Him so that we can feel more comfortable. We need to reconcile ourselves to the fact that our human minds will never comprehend God in His entirety.
The Omniscience of God – God knows everything and always has so therefore He has no need to learn. God knows all things, all possibilities, all causes, and all outcomes.
The Omnipotence of God – God has all power. He is self-sufficient and does not need to rest or recharge.
The Omnipresence of God – God is everywhere and because of that He is always near to everything and everyone. “This great central truth gives meaning to all other truths and imparts supreme value to all his [man’s] little life. God is present, near him, next to him, and this God sees him and knows him through and through.”
The Self-Existence of God - God is the only thing that is entirely self-existent. There is no dependency on anything or anyone else in order for God to exist.
The Self-Sufficiency of God - God has no need. If God needed someone or something He would, by definition, be incomplete. This is good for us to hear because many believe that God created people because He needed someone to love.
The Eternity of God – God has no beginning or no end. God is outside of time. He can see every moment at once.
The Infinitude of God – God is entirely limitless.
The Immutability of God – God does not change. He does not have traits, characteristics or qualities that ebb and flow. An attribute of God is something that God is, and is at all times
The Wisdom of God – One aspect of wisdom as the ability to develop plans and to perfectly complete those plans.
The Transcendence of God – The fact that God is exalted so far above any part of His creation.
The Faithfulness of God – God is completely faithful and on that fact our hope relies. If God was not faithful to His promises how could we live in hope and peace?
The Goodness of God – God is good, and He is the source of all good things in our lives. It is easy to sometimes forget His goodness, especially when we’re experiencing negative emotions. By directing our attention and focus on His goodness, our attitude and energy will shift.
The Justice of God – Tozer briefly explains how God can be just yet let some sinners free of direct penalty. He talks about the fact that the penalty for our sin was poured out on Jesus on the cross. He was our voluntary substitute.
The Mercy of God – “If we could remember that the divine mercy is not a temporary mood but an attribute of God’s eternal being, we would no longer fear that it will someday cease to be. Mercy never began to be, but from eternity was, so it will never cease to be. It will never be more since it is in itself infinite; and it will never be less because the infinite cannot suffer diminution”
The Grace of God – God’s grace is God declaring our debt erased. Men have always been saved by God’s grace not man’s merit.
The Love of God – God is the genesis—beginning—of love; He is it’s source; and it is by Him that we experience love, and that love is infinite and boundless.
The Holiness of God – God's holiness is not an aspect of who He is or what He does; no, God's holiness is the essence of who He is. If you were to ask, "How is the holiness of God revealed?" the only right answer would be, "In everything He does." Everything God thinks, desires, speaks and does is utterly holy in every way.
The Sovereignty of God – God is and must be completely sovereign. Nothing can stop or hinder Him. He has all power and all knowledge.
Because our minds cannot comprehend God, we can fall victim to some misconceptions of the nature of God. Some believe that the God of the Old Testament is mean and vindictive, and that Jesus came to reveal a different face of God, but this view is incorrect, as we know from His attributes that He is unchangeable.
Another incorrect view that some people hold is that these attributes are held in some kind of tension, but again based on the attributes of God, we know that they are all perfect and therefore must be perfectly in balance, and not pulling against each other.
Some like to think of God as some kind of Buddy or Big Brother who comes whenever we need help, but that is an unbalanced view and does not bring God’s holiness into the picture. The same God who poured out Judgement and wrath on Sodom and Gomorrah is the God who calls us to receive His mercy and grace at the Cross.
We tend to think of Holiness as being synonymous with purity, but in fact it is much broader than that. In its root meaning, to be holy means to be set apart.
God is holy (Set apart from all others) in every attribute and every action: He is holy in justice. He is holy in love. He is holy in mercy. He is holy in power. He is holy in sovereignty. He is holy in wisdom. He is holy in patience. He is holy in anger. He is holy in grace. He is holy in faithfulness. He is holy in compassion. He is even holy in his holiness!
God’s holiness is at the heart of all His attributes. As Reman says in his article “the New York-based pastor Jon Tyson reminds us, in his insight into the worship responses of the angels in heaven: “The angels have been locked in a room with God for thousands of years and they still haven’t gotten past the word holy.”
In conclusion, I recommend meditating on God’s holiness and other attributes and coming before Him with a right idea of who He is as that will help us approach in true worship for who He is.
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