2000-09-09 - God's Character
Originally Published 1999-05-08The Character of God is seen in Exodus 34:6&7. This is God's own seven-fold statement about Himself. All references are from the 1901 American Standard Version.
"And Jehovah passed by before him, and proclaimed, Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness and truth, keeping lovingkindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin; and that will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation." Exod 34:6-7
Anyone emphasizing God's love to the neglect of the other aspects of His character misrepresents Him. In presenting His people in the scriptures, God always reveals their vices as well as their virtues. Being a God of truth, we can rest assured that He represents Himself correctly in the above sevenfold statement about His nature.
The dominant characteristics of God as seen in the seven-fold statement and as seen throughout the scriptures, are His truth, love and holiness.
The Truth of God is that His being (His existence) and His knowledge eternally conform to each other. This is an unchanging truth. God brought everything into existence, He stands behind everything and He is directing all things. He sees the end from the beginning. This truth is characteristically the Almighty's: His very being corresponds eternally with His knowledge. Proof of this rests in the fact that all things develop and occur exactly as He had foreseen and foretold them in the Scriptures, through His prophets.
God's Love surpasses all our understanding. The Triune Gods love unceasingly flows from one person to the other of the Godhead, and to all His creation. If God were only love, then His great love alone would bring all creatures into the closest fellowship and communion with Himself. He would - in such case- pour out His riches and grace upon them and all would be saved and blessed eternally regardless of their will and spiritual condition.
Holiness is God's third and dominant characteristic. Holiness is not a mere vacuum absence or freedom from all evil or sin. His holiness is positively set and fixed upon purity; it cannot in the least tolerate evil. If holiness were His only characteristic His wrath would be stirred to deal drastically with the sinner. His love is in the proper balance with His holiness.
God cannot tolerate sin. This being true, He permitted sin to arise in His kingdom. God foreknew when he created Lucifer,and made him the anointed cherub,the highest of His created beings,that he would pit his will against divine authority and corrupt his own nature, and that in his fallen state- as Satan-he would lead others into rebellion. God also foreknew when He would create man that he would rebel against Him and bring untold misery, sin and suffering upon all his descendants. Although God foresaw all- Satan's rebellion and the subsequent acts of disobedience and their consequences-- both on the part of angels and men- He brought into being theses creatures whose willful acts were to bring the curse of sin upon the universe.
In His Service,