‘Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone. Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name.’1 Chronicles 29:11-13 (All Scripture quotations are from the NASB ’95)
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.1 Timothy 1:17
From the above Scriptures we are provided a summary of who God is. For instance, we see that God is the only true God, sovereign, invisible, and worthy of honor, glory, and praise. Let us take a further look at the attributes of God. Be sure, too, to take note of the relation between the attributes.
Spirit. God is immaterial and invisible. Put another way, He is incorporeal and cannot be seen by the eyes of man.
God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.John 4:24
Eternal. God has no beginning and no end. He is the Uncaused Cause, the Unmoved Mover, having life in Himself and dependent on no one.
Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.Psalm 90:2
Immutable. God does not change. Whereas change assumes progress and imperfection, God is perfect.
Even they will perish, but You endure; and all of them will wear out like a garment; like clothing You will change them and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not come to an end.Psalm 102:26-27
Infinite. God is immeasurable and incomprehensible. There is no limit to God and His perfections. While we may know something of God from creation (His unwritten word) and the Bible (His written word), the finite creature cannot exhaust the infinite Creator.
Can you discover the depths of God? Can you discover the limits of the Almighty? They are high as the heavens, what can you do? Deeper than Sheol, what can you know? Its measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea.Job 11:7-9
Omnipotent. God has infinite power. There is nothing that God cannot do that is not contrary to His nature or logic. Nothing can stay His hand.
But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.Psalm 115:3
Omnipresent. God has infinite presence, or He is everywhere present. Everything is laid bare before Him; the hidden things of man are open to Him.
‘Can a man hide himself in hiding places so I do not see him?’ declares the LORD. ‘Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?’ declares the LORD.Jeremiah 23:24
Omniscient. God has infinite knowledge, or He knows all things (actual and potential). Creation testifies to the infinite knowledge and wisdom of God.
The LORD by wisdom founded the earth, by understanding He established the heavens. By His knowledge the deeps were broken up and the skies drip with dew.Proverbs 3:19-20
Sovereign. God’s will is ultimate and He reigns over all the earth. He decrees the end from the beginning, accomplishing all His purpose to the end of His glory and the good of His people.
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.Romans 11:36
Holy. God is wholly unique or wholly other. He is pure and loves good and hates evil.
And one called out to another and said, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.’Isaiah 6:3
Good. God is kind, loving, and caring. He is neither indifferent nor cruel, but abundantly beneficent. He is also creative, and wonderfully so.
Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.Psalm 136.1
Just. God does that which is right, and He is always in the right. Like a good judge, He administers justice in the world and will one day bring final judgment to the unrighteous. His justice is the plumb line for the governments of the world.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; lovingkindness and truth go before You.Psalm 89:14
Merciful. God is compassionate and slow to anger, showing patience to sinful man. He is understanding towards us and knows that we are but dust.
Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.Psalm 103:13-14
Faithful. God is trustworthy and unfailing. His word is a solid foundation upon which we may build our lives. Far from being a covenant breaker, He both establishes covenants and sees them through. He cannot lie.
Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments.Deuteronomy 7:9
Triune. God is one God existing in three distinct, yet co-eternal and co-equal persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is not the Father. They are of one essence, meaning the above attributes apply equally to all three persons, undivided. The Athanasian Creed (late 5th Century to early 6th Century; not actually written by Athanasius who died in AD 373) is an historical articulation of the Trinity. Following is a portion of the creed:
And the catholic [i.e. the Church universal] faith is this: that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Essence. For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Spirit. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is; such is the Son; and such is the Holy Spirit. The Father uncreated; the Son uncreated; and the Holy Spirit uncreated. The Father unlimited; the Son unlimited; and the Holy Spirit unlimited. The Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Spirit eternal. And yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one infinite. So likewise the Father is Almighty; the Son Almighty; and the Holy Spirit Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties; but one Almighty. So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Spirit is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God.Athanasian Creed
Although mysterious to our finite minds, this doctrine is abundantly testified to on the pages of Holy Scripture.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.2 Corinthians 13:14
The above descriptions of God’s attributes — God’s nature — are by no means complete or exhaustive (far from it). In a nutshell, we may say: Great is our God and greatly to be praised! Additionally, we see God’s attributes, such as His love, mercy, and justice, the most clearly in Jesus Christ, who is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15).
For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.2 Corinthians 4:6
For a fuller study on who and what God is, I recommend to you God Is: A Devotional Guide to the Attributes of God by Mark Jones.
Gospel means “good news,” and it is the good news of God’s mighty works in bringing about reconciliation with sinners in and through Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Although God made all things good (Genesis 1:31), the goodness of God’s creation was corrupted by the entrance of sin through the first couple, Adam and Eve. Since Adam served as a representative head of all mankind in the covenant that God had established with him, due to Adam’s transgression of that covenant — a breaking of God’s word/law — all of mankind is now born into an environment of sin and with a nature of sin. We are “by nature children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3). This sinfulness — our sinfulness — calls for God’s judgment; for as we have seen above, God is a holy and just God. As the Scripture says, “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; no evil dwells with You” (Psalm 5:4) and “God is a righteous judge, and a God who has indignation every day” (Psalm 7:11).
That’s the bad news which gives understanding to the good news and makes it all the more glorious.
The good news is that God has not left us to our sins and sin’s condemnation. As we saw above, God is also good and loving. God demonstrated His love by sending His Son into the world, “born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4b-5). This Jesus — who is eternally God yet took on flesh, the unique God-man (John 1:1-3, 14-18) — mediates salvation through His perfect life (He was without sin), substitutionary death (He bore the sin, guilt, shame, and punishment of sinners), and vindicatory resurrection (rose in victory from the grave having defeated sin and death, thereby confirming the accomplishment of His redemptive work). The Son did this freely and joyfully.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.Mark 10:45
He [the Father] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.2 Corinthians 5:21
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.1 Peter 3:18
Though we come into this world under the covenant made with Adam, our first parent, a covenant broken and promising now only punishment, God calls us into the covenant of His Son, ratified in His crimson blood on the cross (Romans 5:18-21).
In response, then, God’s word tells us “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Those who repent of their sins and believe in the gospel are made sons and daughters of God and are kept by the power of the Holy Spirit until the day of glory when all things will be made new and His people, the Church, receive their eternal inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14).
The first Q/A of the Heidelberg Catechism (AD 1563), or the Orthodox Catechism (the Particular Baptist version of the Heidelberg Catechism), is a fitting conclusion to the salvation we have in Christ:
Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own but belong — body and soul, in life and in death — to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.
Because I belong to Him, Christ, by His Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for Him.
Soli Deo Gloria! (Glory be to God alone!)