A teenager walks home from school wearing a t-shirt that features the sentiment: “It’s all about me.” Born years after Kennedy administration, this young girl is not interested in what she can do for her country, but rather, she is solely interested in what others will do for her. During her lifetime abortion and gambling remain legalized, and same-sex marriage has become an accepted (and even legal) “norm.” She has been indoctrinated through years of public education that the only real “sin” is the sin of intolerance, and thus, she should be accepting of everything that comes her way.
She walks into her parents’ six bedroom, four-car garage home—a home that exudes wealth and materialism. As she enters the family room she decides to spend a few minutes finishing up her science project. This year’s topic is “The Evolution of Man,” and she has collected dozens of pictures of alleged missing links. She knows she’ll have no problem demonstrating an evolutionary progression from apes to man.
One might think that this young girl has been isolated from the religious world. But the truth is she attends a local “Christian” church every weekend with her parents. So at exactly what point did she lose sight of what was really important in life? At what point did she abandon God? This young girl (and thousands like her) would argue that she has not abandoned God. In fact, she and her friends consider themselves very religious. The problem lies in the fact that God has been recast in their eyes. In her mind, God is simply a loving grandfather-like figure Who is full of love and grace. After all, that is the message she has heard on countless occasions from the pulpit. This young teenage girl, and millions just like her, has cultivated an incomplete portrait of God. They have replaced righteous judgment with unconditional acceptance and have completely ignored His holy sinless nature, His commands, and His ultimate will for mankind.
In teaching future generations about the nature of God, we need to give careful consideration to His attributes and His qualities that are found in the Bible. Yes, God loves us—we were the pinnacle of His creation (Genesis 1:26-27) and He lovingly sacrificed His own Son for our sins (John 3:16). But this does not mean that God will overlook sin (Galatians 6:7), or subdue His wrath against disobedience (Ephesians 5:6). In order to love and obey our heavenly Father, we need to fully comprehend His all-powerful nature. Fear of God is beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:8; Psalm 33:8).
James Denney, a Scottish preacher/teacher/theologian used to warn his students against thinking they could learn all there was to know about God during their university and seminary studies. “Gentlemen,” he would tell them, “to study infinity requires eternity.” His point is well taken. It would be impossible to give every characteristic of God in just a few short paragraphs. However, thanks to His Word we can acquire a better portrait of Who God really is. Consider the following brief survey:
God is eternal
God is the only eternal being—He has been called the alpha and the omega. If there was a time in which absolutely nothing existed, then we can rest assured nothing would exist today. Simply put, nothing produces nothing. But we know that the Universe does exist, so logic follows that something must have always existed. That “something” is God. Moses wrote: “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, Who rides the heavens to help you, and in His Excellency on the clouds. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you” (Deuteronomy 33:27). We serve an eternal God.
God is the Creator
Even though atheism, evolution, and humanism are actively promoted within schools and the media, the complexity of life clearly points to God as Creator. Evolution cannot explain how life allegedly evolved from non-life, or how irreducibly complex systems could have arisen from some cosmological accident. The most logical explanation is that God created the heaven and the Earth precisely as it is described in His Word. The inspired psalmist described Him in the following manner: “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth….For He spoke and it was done, He commanded and it stood fast” (Psalm 33:6,9). We can also read: “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for He commanded and they were created” (Psalm 148:5). Moses wrote: “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:11). God is the creator and giver of life (Acts 17:28-29). Indeed, everything around us is a product of His handiwork.
God is alive
During natural disasters or times of crisis many individuals question the existence of God. Many would argue that He either never existed, or that He is now dead. Inspired biblical writers confirmed otherwise. “There it shall be said to them, you are the sons of the living God” (Hosea 1:10, emp. added). “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12, emp. added). Jesus, in responding to the Sadducees observed: “But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Matthew 22:31-32). Additionally, we know that unlike human beings who are clothed in a mortal fleshly body, God is a living spirit. “But the hour is coming, and now is when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24). The eternal nature of God demands we are the servants of a living God.
God is love
Thanks to God’s incredible love (1 John 4:8), humanity has been endowed with free will (see Genesis 2:15-17; Joshua 24:15; Isaiah 7:15; John 5:39-40; 7:17; Revelation 22:17). We read: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 3:7-10). His love has also provided a means of salvation for all men (John 3:16; Hebrews 5:9). In addition, His love can strengthen and sustain faithful men (Matthew 6: 26-33). The love of God has been demonstrated for all men. One cannot read the account of the crucifixion without coming to knowledge of just how much God loves humanity.
God is Holy
After Isaiah described the Lord and the seraphim surrounding Him, he concluded: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5). We know that God is holy (1 Peter 1:16) and that sin separates man from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). The holiness of God is frequently referenced in the Bible. The inspired psalmist observed: “But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel” (22:3). Additionally, we read: “Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His footstool—He is holy” (Psalm 99:3). The prophet Isaiah noted: “But the Lord of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God who is holy shall be hallowed in righteousness” (Isaiah 5:16). He also stated: “Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘For your sake I will send to Babylon, and bring them all down as fugitives—the Chaldeans, who rejoice in their ships. I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King’” (Isaiah 43:14-15). Moses wrote: “For I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves and you shall be holy; for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44). The acknowledgement of the holiness of God is one of the first keys to obedience.
God is longsuffering
Thankfully, the Lord is also longsuffering. We read: “And the Lord passed before him [Moses-BH] and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious and longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth’” (Exodus 34:6). Moses also recorded: “The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression” (Numbers 14:18). This characteristic is reiterated in the New Testament: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). He truly wants all men to be faithful servants.
God is Just
Fortunately, God is a righteous judge. Unlike some judges adorning courtroom benches today, God cannot be bought, swayed, or tricked. Revelation 16:7 records: “And I heard another from the altar saying, ‘Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.’” Additionally, God is not a respecter of persons. In Acts 10:34-35 we read: “Then Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.’” It is this just God Who we will face on that appointed day (Hebrews 9:27) and face judgment (1 John 4:17). His judgment will be just and final—something that we should all reflect upon daily.
God is omniscient (all-knowing)
In accordance with his judgment, we need to fully comprehend that He is all-knowing. The psalmist wrote: “He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. Great is our Lord, and mighty in power. His understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:4-5). In the New Testament we find that “known to God from eternity are all His works” (Acts 15:18). Nothing is hidden from the eyes of the Lord. The writer of the book of Hebrews observed: “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (4:13). These words should be extremely sobering to those who do things in secret thinking they will never have to give an account of evil doings.
God is omnipresent (Present everywhere)
Additionally, God is everywhere (Jeremiah 23:23-24). A well known English deist, Anthony Collins once asked a man: “Is your God a great or a little God?” The man replied: “He is both, sir.” Collins asked: “How can he be both?” To which the young man noted: “He is so great that the heaven of heavens cannot contain him; and so little that He can dwell in my heart.” Collins later declared that this simple answer had more effect on his mind than all the volumes he had ever read about God. The inspired psalmist noted: “Where can I go from Your spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there. If I make my bed in hell (Sheol), behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall lead me” (Psalm 139:7-10). Indeed, He is everywhere.
God is omnipotent (All-powerful)
Toward the end of the book of Job we find God questioning Job about His creation and His power (see Job chapters 38-41). Afterwards Job remarks: “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You” (42:2). The only limits on God’s power are those things that go against His very nature. Jesus reminded us that “with men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). In the New Testament we read: “Alleluia! For the Lord God omnipotent reigns! (Revelation 19:6). The inspired psalmist inquired: “O Lord God of hosts, Who is mighty like You, O Lord?” (Psalm 89:8). Is anything to hard for God (Jeremiah 32:27)? God alone has the power to conquer sin and death.
God is immutable (unchanging)
The perfection of God demands that He is unchanging—because all change must be to better or worse, and God is already perfection. There is no need to change. That should be reassuring to those who are obedient to His Word. The promises God has made to us will be kept (Hebrews 6:17-18). In Malachi 3:6 we read: “For I am the Lord, I do not change;” James observed: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (1:17, emp. added). Christians should find comfort in knowing that the God of Moses, Abraham, and Jacob is the same God we worship and praise today. The promises made to first century Christians are still applicable to Christians living today. For God does not change!
This has not even touched the hem of the garment on the nature of God, but one can rest assured that an accurate portrait of God produces knowledge and obedience. Had that teenage girl comprehended the true nature of God, her t-shirt would have read: “It’s all about Him.” Because, indeed, it is all about Him!