THE CHARACTER OF GOD
Taken from Fast Facts on False Teachings
Ed Decker/Ron Carlson
We talk a lot about God. Some of it is good talk and some of it isn't. Some of the time, the way we use the name of God is not just disrespectful, but even downright blasphemous. The Greeks declared that the greatest activity of man was to think. And, from the Christian perceptive, the greatest thinking anyone could do is to think about God. That is the greatest activity of man.
As we read the things that men incorrectly say to God and about God, we need to think concerning the true nature and character of God. It is very important that we spend some time here, because this is where the cults step away from sound doctrine and go off on their many tangents from the truth. Most of them break down on the doctrine of God.
- W. Tozier said "Worship is pure or base as one entertains high or low thoughts of God."
- He also said that "we tend, by some secret law of the soul, to move towards a mental image of God. What you think about God will directly affect how you live as well as how you worship." The sad thing is that too many people have too small a concept of God, an inadequate view of God.
Tozier said, "An inadequate view of God is actually idolatry. To worship God or to worship anything less than what God has revealed Himself to be is idolatry." It fits what we have seen throughout the world.
So many millions of people bowing before little stone images of their gods. Were we to make a statue of Buddha that was 100 times the size of the largest Buddha in the world, it would still be a little idol, compared to the God who created the whole universe. To what end? Siddhartha Gautama Buddha still lies in his grave, dead and unrisen.
There are many humanists and many philosophers today who seek to study God from man's viewpoint. We have the study of the philosophy of religion, the anthropology of religion, and the psychology of religion. Man, beginning with the image of himself, as the model, seeks to define what God is like. And man beginning from himself, can only arrive at a very small concept of God.
This is where we end up in many of our aberration theologies, such as pantheism, deism and a variety of other concepts. J. D. Phelps wrote the book, "Your God is too Small" because he felt that too many people have an entirely inadequate view of God. The more reasonable question is to ask is "What has God revealed to us concerning himself?"
If we merely look at it from man's viewpoint we will run into the danger that C. S. Lewis tells about concerning a wise mystical barnacle. He tells the story of a barnacle that was at the bottom of the ocean. One day he gathered his disciples around him and in a moment of religious vision, he got a glimpse of what man was like. And he began to expound to his disciples what his concept of man was. He said first of all that man does not have a shell, that man is not attached to a rock, and that he is not surrounded by water. Well, some of his disciples were able to grasp some of what man was like.
But as the time passed, the barnacles began to speculate on the nature of man. And they taught in their philosophy of man and their psychology of man that man must be, since he has no shell, a shapeless blob of jelly. And since he is not attached to a rock, he obviously has no location and he must not eat since there is no water surrounding him to float food to him. And obviously man is far less definite than a barnacle, and from the barnacles' viewpoint, from their own environment and their nature, they extrapolated an extremely limited and warped concept of man.
We have that same danger if we begin with ourselves in order to discover what God is like. It is most probable that we, too, will end up with an extremely limited and warped concept of God which will be far less than what He truly is.
What we must do in our study is to see what God has revealed to us concerning His nature. God has given us the scriptures for one purpose: He gave us the Bible, His revelation, to reveal His nature and character to us. As you go through the scriptures you see God revealing Himself to us. If you read the book of Jonah, it is relating God's universal love for mankind and His desire to bring mankind to a relationship with Him.
In the book of Genesis, we read, concerning God's creation and also about God's judgment. If you read the book of Hosea, it tells us concerning God's overwhelming compassion and love for mankind. In the book of Amos we read about God's righteousness. In Micah, we read about God's justice. In Isaiah, we read about His holiness and His redemptive love. In the book of John, we discover that God loved us so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die for us, to redeem us from the curse of sin. As you go throughout the scriptures, God reveals to us who He is and how we can know Him.
Let's briefly look at God's personal revelation to us concerning His nature so that we might have an accurate concept of what God is like, so that rather than worshipping something less than who He is, we might lift up God as He has revealed Himself.
God is Spirit
We first discover that the Bible declares that God is spirit, life and personality. Jesus tells us in John 4:24 that "God is Spirit." Now the logical question is "What is a spirit?" In Luke 24:39, after he was raised from the dead, his astonished disciples thought he was a spirit. Jesus told them, "Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have." When he asked his disciples who they thought he was, he again opened a window so they could see the true nature of God.
"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven."
(Matt. 16: 15-17 )
This is not something that man had to wait until New Testament days to discover about God. In the book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 4, verse 12, we find something interesting. "Then the LORD spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice." They heard the sound of words, but saw no form, only a voice.
God's declaration of Himself and His very nature continued in Verse 15:
"You saw no form of any kind the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully."
Now look at this, as the Word continues with God's warning
to any who would corrupt His very nature:
"...so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below.
And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars --all the heavenly array --do not be enticed into bowing down to them and
worshipping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven. (Deut. 4:16 -19)
God spoke to Moses out of the fire.
Moses heard only a voice. There was no man standing there in the flames, but God, who says He is Spirit was there.
In the Science Digest a while back, there was an article concerning a discovery that had just been made by several scientists. They had just discovered that the best amplifier of sound known to mankind is fire! They found that as sound is projected through fire, the molecules increase and it projects and amplifies the sound.
It's interesting that God used fire to speak through. You see, He is the creator of the world, and understood quite well the molecular structure of fire and its amplification quality. It simply took three thousand years for mankind to catch up with what God knew all the time.
The scriptures tell us that God is not only a spirit, but that He is a spirit with life and personality. It says that He is a living God, He is not merely an impersonal force, He is not merely a principle, but He is a living God.
The 10th Chapter of the book of Jeremiah is one of the greatest chapters in the Bible, dealing with the nature of God. Here we see distinction between idols made with the hands of man and the living God. Beginning at Verse 6, it says:
" No one is like you, O LORD; you are great, and your name is mighty in power. Who should not revere you, O King of the nations? This is your due. Among all the wise men of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is no one like you.
They are all senseless and foolish; they are taught by worthless wooden idols. Hammered silver is brought from Tarshish and gold from Uphaz. What the craftsman and goldsmith have made is then dressed in blue and purple-- all made by skilled workers.
But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath.
"Tell them this: `Thee gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.' But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.
When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar; he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth.
He sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses.
Everyone is senseless and without knowledge; every goldsmith is shamed by his idols. His images are a fraud; they have no breath in them. They are worthless, the objects of mockery; when their judgment comes, they will perish. He who is the Portion of Jacob is not like these, for he is the Maker of all things, including Israel, the tribe of his inheritance-- the LORD Almighty is his name. (Jeremiah 10:6-16)
There is no other god like our God!
Verse 10 said it plainly enough: "But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. "
He is not like those idols that cannot speak. No, He is a living God. God is spirit, life and personality. He speaks, He hears, He sees, He declares, He creates, He wills, He expresses anger, remorse, joy. He loves, He judges. God is personal, and God is a personal creator and is personally concerned about each of us as His personal creations. God is alive with life and personality.
To say that God is devoid of these attributes is to make Him far less than who He is. This is where many of the cults make their major mistake. Mary Baker Eddy, taught in Christian Science that God is merely a divine principle.
The same is true with the Unity School of Christianity. They say He is merely an impersonal force. But a "divine principle" and an "impersonal force" never loved any- body. Only a personality can love. God, who created this world, can love because He is living and personal. It isn't something He learned to do. He always was God and He always had this nature.
The Bible declares that God is the self-existent one.
He has always eternally existed. He has no beginning and no end. He alone was God. There were no others. As Isaiah 44:6 says "I am the first, I am the last; besides me, there is no God."
Moses was told by God in Exodus 3, V. 14: "when they ask who I am, tell them 'I am' has sent you.." And God declared 'I am that I am." God was declaring that He was unique from man. He was the self-existent eternal one. He had no beginning and He has no end. You cannot label God or define Him the way you would a man. He is the eternal one.
This is a mistake that many philosophers and humanistic theologians have made, those who hold to a naturalistic system. They have set up a definition so small that God can't fit. And many people are saying that the only reality today is what we find in our three-dimensional world of naturalism.
But God is far bigger than our three dimensions. He is more than eight dimensions. He is more than fifteen dimensions. We don't have any idea how complex He really is, in our understanding. But He has broken into the narrow confines of our small box called Earth to communicate to us who He is. He is the self-existent one who has life alone in Himself.
The very first verse of the Bible tells us a little about the width and breadth of His life and power. It says : "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Acts 17:25 tells us that He is the giver of life to all things. In Colossians 1:16 & 17 we read:
" For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."
That doesn't leave much else out there without Him, does it?
We also discover that God, by His nature, is immutable. By "immutability" we mean that God does not change. Malachi 3:6 tells us: "I am the Lord. I change not." Ecclesiastes 3:14 affirms that everything God does, remains forever and nothing can be added to it or taken from it. Hebrews 6:17 and 18 tells us that God is immutable. He does not change and He does not lie.
These are tremendous truths to understand because we are living in a world of constant change and turmoil. But we have a solid foundation, a solid rock, in God. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. God does not change as to His nature or purpose. He never has in the entire history of mankind and He will not through the end of time. He said so.
Many of the groups that we will discuss in this book have gods who change and who vacillate. Their worshippers live on a seesaw of doubts and fear, manipulated by the holy priests of their faiths. They cannot conceive of the peace that comes from being at the altar of a never changing, loving, caring God.
God, while never changing, may still use different methods with us. He dealt with Moses one way, He dealt with Noah another way and Abraham in still another way. He may have dealt with you in one way and us in some other, but His purpose is the same. His nature remains the same. God is immutable, and because of His immutability, God is always going to be consistent in truth.
When God reveals something to us, He is never going to contradict Himself. And, it is because of His immutability that we can test all the latter-day revelations, coming from all the false teachers of all the cults today, because God does not change. It is almost humorous to see how quickly many of these latter-day prophets fall by the wayside when tested with God's Word.
Since He does not change, He is consistent in truth. He is never going to communicate one truth to one generation and then another, contradicting truth to another generation. He is always going to be consistent in truth. Simply put, truth is truth. How many times, when we were children, did we try to bend the yoke of truth at home or at school. It rarely worked with mom and the teacher and it never will work with God.
Therefore, should God choose to give a new revelation today, it must be consistent with His oldest revelation, the Word of God, the Bible. But, if a revelation given by someone today contradicts the earliest revelation, then we immediately know it is not of God. Somebody else was communicating. The Bible says that even if it did match the earlier revelation, but comes with other false teachings, that one who brought it is in very serious trouble:
"If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says,
"Let us follow other gods" (gods you have not known) "and let us worship them," you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer.
The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere.
Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.
That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he preached rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery; he has tried to turn you from the way the LORD your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you. (Deut. 13:1 - 5)
We can test all things by the word of God, and hold fast to that which is good. This is a tremendous truth and blessing we must understand: the immutability of God.
The Bible also declares that God is omnipotent.
He is all-powerful.
He told Abraham, "I am the Almighty God, walk before me." (Gen 17:1) Matthew 19:26: says that "with God, all things are possible." Revelation 19:6 tells us, "Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth!" His name is written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." (Verse 16). There is no middle of the road here, friends.
And if you turn to Isaiah, Chapter 40, you will find an exciting chapter that gives the meaning of the mighty omnipotent power of our God. Beginning with V 12, we read:
"Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? Who has understood the mind of the LORD, or instructed him as his counselor? Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge or showed him the path of understanding?
Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires, nor its animals enough for burnt offerings.
Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing. To whom, then, will you compare God? What image will you compare him to? As for an idol, a craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and fashions silver chains for it.
A man too poor to present such an offering selects wood that will not rot. He looks for a skilled craftsman to set up an idol that will not topple.
Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
And its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.
"To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One.
Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God"? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40: 12-31)
What a tremendous chapter! If you want to wake up and be inspired every morning, read Isaiah 40, and get a glimpse of what God is like. He holds entire heavens by the power of His hand! And not one of them is lost. He knows every star in the universe by its name. He knows the count of every hair of your head. That's the God whom we worship.
Have you have ever really, truly thought about
How great God is?
Have you even imagined what the magnitude of those heavens really is? The speed of light is a hundred and eighty-six thousand, two hundred and eighty-two miles per second. That means in the time it takes to blink your eye, light can travel around the Earth at the equator seven and a half times! Now that's moving!
I have this marvelous “app” on the I-Pad my kids gave me for my birthday last year. It is called “Star Walk” and is so amazing.. It has opened up the magnitude of just the near universe to me.. I can walk out on my patio and raise the I-pad to the sky and it immediately displays the enter heaven to me.. And if I click on a star or a section, it zooms in as much as want and gives me the minute details of what the naked eye can’t even see. This thing sees the heavens even if I point it down below the skyline. I am blown away every time I use it.. Even in the daylight it works..
If you go outside on a clear night, you can see a band going across the sky which appears as dense clouds across the center of the sky. Actually, that is the rim of what we earthlings call the Milky Way. What you are seeing is not clouds but stars, so many millions of stars that it appears to us to be clouds.
If you were traveling at a hundred and eighty six thousand, two hundred and eighty-two miles per second, at the speed of light, it would take you four and a half light years, to reach the nearest star you can see at night. A light year is how far light travels in one year. In one year, light will travel six trillion miles. Now the nearest star is Alpha Centauri, four and a half light years away, which means that the nearest star that you can see at night, is something like twenty-seven trillion miles away! And that is just the nearest star in our galaxy.
If we could get in a spaceship today and leave planet earth at that speed, it would take us only eight and a half minutes to pass the sun, which is ninety-three million miles away. And as we headed out through our solar system, past Mars and Jupiter and Saturn, Neptune and Uranus and Pluto, we would be heading out to the Milky Way galaxy, which is still part of the galaxy we live in, and there are over one hundred billion stars the size of our sun or bigger in the Milky Way galaxy.
As huge as this sounds, ours is one of the smallest galaxies in the universe! In fact, astronomers with the two hundred inch telescope at Mount Palomar in California estimate that in the cup of the Big Dipper constellation alone, there are over one million galaxies the size of our Milky Way or bigger! Just in the cup of the Big Dipper.
Now, at the speed of light, in our space ship, it would take us one hundred thousand light years to cross the Milky Way galaxy. That means our small galaxy is six hundred thousand trillion miles across. And astronomers can see over one million galaxies that size or bigger in the cup of the big dipper. Think of the magnitude of what we are saying.
Let our imaginary space ship leave the Milky Way galaxy and begin to head out into outer space. The farthest thing that astronomers can see or hear with their most sophisticated equipment is a quasar, which is fifteen billion light years away, which means it's ninety billion trillion miles away.
We have no idea what's beyond that, but that is a quasar, ninety billion trillion miles away emits more energy than one million galaxies do in one second! It emits enough energy in one second to supply all the electrical needs of the universe for one billion years. That's just one quasar and there are millions of quasars in the universe. Do you begin to get the picture? The Bible says that the God who created all of this holds it together by the power of His hands. And some people wonder of God is really big enough to solve their problems?
Albert Einstein said he became a firm believer in God because he realized when he looked at the universe that there had to be some intelligent being of unbelievable power who was holding it all together. He knew that it was held together by formulated mathematical laws and principles and it wasn't ever going to fly apart, as it should, unless that being changed the formula.
What overwhelmed him was that intelligence can only reside in a person, even though it may be a supernatural person Yet, he knew that the being who held all of this together by the power of His hand would have to be the Creator God, that His energy would have to transcend all the energy in the universe by infinity. The God Einstein found would have to be operating beyond infinity, beyond the scope of the formula of our existence. Meditate on that for a while!
God is far bigger than our finite minds can hope to comprehend.
Yet, the God who does that, whose energy transcends all the energy in the universe beyond infinity, that God loves each of us. And that God is personally concerned about you, personally.
The Bible says that God considers you more valuable and important than all those galaxies put together. What a tremendous truth. And as you begin to get a glimpse of what God is really like, it will change the way you pray. When you come into the presence of the Almighty Creator, it's an awe-inspiring thing. It's a thing of wonderment.
Not only is God omnipotent, but He is also omnipresent.
His omnipresence means that God is everywhere present at once. From the farthest corner of the most distant galaxy to the deepest part of your heart, God is there. Listen to the rejoicing of God's ever presence in the 139th Psalm, beginning with the fifth verse:
"You hem me in --behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,
"Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them! " (Psalms 139: 5 - 17)
Have you ever gone down to the beach and tried to count the grains of sand on just one beach? And God says He thinks about you continually and the sum of His thoughts outnumbers the grains of sand on the earth. God says that He is on real time hookup with you. He is on-line, in computer terminology. God must think you are pretty special. He created you to love you that you may love Him.
We cannot limit God.
When we speak of His attributes we speak of His transcendence. He is part of His creation and it is not a pantheistic philosophy. Pantheism holds that God is the creation.
No, He brought forth the creation apart from Himself and He is not His creation. Nor is He is a deistic God who has wound up the universe and is just letting it run on its own.
Rather, He is eminent. He is conspicuous. He is active in His creation, pervading and working through it. He is neither pantheistic nor is He deistic. He is not His creation, He is apart from it, and is working in and through His creation.
We also refer to the omniscience of God, that God is all-knowing. The first part of Psalm 139 tells us:
"O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD."(Ps. 139:1 - 4)
The Bible also speaks of God's sovereignty.
He alone is the supreme authority, the only God, Creator and Ruler in the universe.
" Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory
and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.
Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.
Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name." (1Chr. 29:11- 13)
Those are tremendous verses. In Isaiah 45:5-6, He tells us that:
"I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you,
though you have not acknowledged me, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no other."
He alone is God. Before him there was no God and therefore there will be none after Him. He alone is God. Colossians 1:16 tells us that "all things were created for Him and through Him." 1st Timothy 6:15 tells us that "He is the sovereign. He is the King of Kings." And Revelation 4: 11 says:
"You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things,
and by your will they were created and have their being."
He is the sovereign creator, He alone is God,
and He alone is the Lord.
Now we come to a third area: We have shown that God is spirit with life and personality, that He is self-existent, eternal, that He is immutable, omnipotent omniscient, and omnipresent. He is the sovereign Lord of the universe. The last area we want to look at is His moral attributes. And the basis of His moral attributes is His holiness. We are referring to God's absolute purity, perfection and majesty.
Out of His holiness come three areas: His righteousness, His truth, and His love. Isaiah 6:3 tells us: "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory." Isaiah 57:15 tells us His name is Holy; He dwells in the high and Holy place. In Hosea 11:9, He tells us:
"I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim.
For I am God, and not man-- the Holy One among you. I will not come in wrath. "
God is Holy
Because of His holiness, He demands righteousness. When we speak of His righteousness, we speak of three things: His mandatory righteousness, His punitive righteousness and His redemptive righteousness. God demands righteousness because
His holiness is our standard for living. In Leviticus 19:2, He says, "Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: `Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy."
In 1st Peter 1:15 -16 , we read, " But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."
What does require? How are we to approach Him in His holiness and in our sin? In the book of Micah, Chapter 6, verses 6 through 8, there is an answer.
"With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and
to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. "
This is what God requires.
He does not want our sacrifices or our burnt offerings. What God demands is justice, loving kindness, and that we walk humbly with our God. God is far more concerned with the heart of man. He is far more concerned with our attitude of life, that we walk and grow with maturity in Jesus Christ, that we might become more like Him. He has given us the standard to be holy as He is holy.
We are to grow in maturity in Jesus Christ that we might become more and more like Him. And one day the glorification God will perfect us, but we are to grow in maturity and grow towards God's holiness to conform to His nature. He has given us tangible evidence of this, to live as a conscious attitude of our life. He also has given us revelation concerning His punitive righteousness. If you turn against His mandatory righteousness, if you turn against God's love you will meet His justice. God is holy and in His holiness, He loves mankind. But, God is perfectly balanced in His nature and in His holiness.
Psalm 96:13 tells us that He "would judge the world in righteousness." Acts 17:30 -31 repeats that word:
"In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."
While His righteousness demands justice, He did not leave us sinners to stand before the judgment seat, uncovered in our sin. God is not merely parceling out justice but He offers fallen man redemption. This is God's redemptive righteousness, desiring the redemption of mankind. That is the heart of God. Psalms 51 tells us that God is ready to restore to us salvation when we seek forgiveness with a contrite heart. Romans 3: 23-26 tells us:
"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
and are justified freely by his grace
through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement,
through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice,
because in his forbearance
he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished--
he did it to demonstrate his justice
at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies
those who have faith in Jesus."
In II Corinthians 5: 17 -21, we have this glorious promise:
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
the old has gone, the new has come!
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ
and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ,
not counting men's sins against them.
And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
We are therefore Christ's ambassadors,
as though God were making his appeal through us.
We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us,
so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
Now this brings us to our last points concerning the love of God and the truth of God. John 3:16 says:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
This eternal life is not something that is out there somewhere in the future. The eternal life mentioned here starts the moment one believes in him. This is not only for eternity but as a qualitative life right now.
Psalms 103:17 says that God's loving kindness is everlasting. John says:
"This is how God showed his love among us:
He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." (1 John 4:9 - 10)
Jesus was that infinite sacrifice. There needed to be that spotless lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world.
Down in Australia, on the sheep ranches, at the time when the mother ewes are giving birth to their lambs, there will often be a ewe who gives birth to a stillborn, or a dead lamb. And, usually, somewhere else in the flock, there will be a ewe who gives birth to a live lamb, but who will die in giving birth. So there will be an orphan lamb here, and over there , a mother ewe that has had a still born lamb.
Now the ranchers found that if they took the orphan lamb and brought it to the mother ewe that lost her lamb, the ewe would simply kick it away. She would smell that lamb and would know that it was not her own. So what the ranchers do in Australia, is cut off the skin and the fur of the newborn lamb that was born dead and they place it on this orphan lamb just like a coat. They will put its legs through the pelt and cover its body with the skin of the dead lamb. Then they will bring the orphan to the mother, the mother will sniff it, recognize the lamb as hers. She will immediately accept it and she will let it nurse.
It's the same way with God.
God is holy and will not look upon our sin. When the blood of Jesus Christ covers us and cleanses us and forgives us, God who is holy looks down upon us and He does not see our sinful nature. But, He sees the blood of Jesus Christ that covers us and He accepts us as His own. It's the blood of Jesus Christ that covers us and cleanses us and brings us and reconciles us to a relationship with God. What a tremendous truth.
And finally, a word about the truth of God. Psalms 100:5 tells us that God's truth endures to all generations." Deuteronomy 32:4 says that God is a God of truth. His faithfulness remains forever.
In the book of John 8: 31 & 32, we read:
"To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said,
"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Jesus said He wants to make us free. His truth will make us free. He says "If you abide in my word" then you are truly disciples of me and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. The truth of God is abiding in His word. Christ, praying for those who called themselves his disciples, asked the Father, " Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. " (John 17:17)
God has given us a faithful and true revelation of His nature. You must never bow down and worship before something less than what God has revealed Himself to be.
This is taken from a chapter from the best-selling book,
Fast Facts On False Teachings,
By Ed Decker and Dr. Ron Carlson.
Get your copy of the entire book, covering facts about today’s major cults and false teachings and the Christian response at our Bookstore or call 1-800-861-9888