Knowing God, pt. 2

Last time I wrote, I gave you the first part of a two-part series on the attributes of God. Today, is part two.

I mentioned in that first post that this study came about through a series of teaching with my youth group. I profited much and now I wished to pass it along to you. Besides what greater person could you spend time learning about that the Person of God?!? (no one!!) John-17_3Now, of course, when talking about God, there is no realistic way to be exhaustive in a blog post, but summaries are helpful and a good launching point for your continued understanding of our great God and Savior as revealed in His Word.

Last time, I covered the attributes of: omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience, omnisapience, aseity, eternality, and immutibility. If you have any confusion about what those are, please go see that post.

Today, I want to finish this series with two more omni’s. “Omni” just means “encompassing all.”

  OMNI-JUSTICE

  HOLINESS RIGHTEOUS JUSTICE WRATH
Definition “God is wholly different than His creation and specifically separate from sin and evil.” “God always acts in accordance with what is right and is Himself the final standard of what is right.” “God’s righteous character in that He requires other moral agents to adhere to His standard.” “God intensely hates sin and evil.”
The Bible says Ethical/Moral PurityLev 11:45, “Be holy, because I am holy.”

Ps 11:4-6 & Hab 1:13, God does not condone evil nor can be part of its activity.

Cf. Isa 6:1-7

Ps 11:7, “For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteous-ness…” 

Ps 145:17, “the Lord is righteous in all His ways…”

1 Peter 3:18, Jesus is called THE righteous One.

Cf: Deut 32:4

Punishes EvilPs 96:13, “H will judge the world in righteous-ness..”

Rewards based on deeds

Ps 62:12 & Prov 24:12, “He will give to man according to his works.”

Judgment comes in God’s timing

Ps 37:1-13 & Ecc 8:11

God’s wrath is always filled with anger, fury, and fire. 

Cf. Exod 32:9-10; Deut 9:7-8; Rom 1:18; Heb 3:11; Rev 19:15.

 

 

Simply “God is the standard of what is morally pure and good.”  “What God calls ‘right’ is always right and what God calls ‘sin’ is always sin.”  “God rewards faithfulness and punishes evil because He is righteous and holy.” “God hates all my sin.”
Implication Practice the holiness of God by holding to God’s standard of “good” and “pure” and separating ourselves from evil (cf. Heb 12:14b). Practice the righteousness of God by conforming your life to God’s moral character because He is the final standard. Practice the justice of God by thanking God for acting upon his righteousness in giving due reward for evil and good. Practice the wrath of God by hating sin as God hates it.

Concerning the God’s wrath, I found this quote to be intensely helpful:

“As with the other attributes of God, [God’s wrath] is an attribute for which we should thank and praise God. It may not immediately appear to us how this can be done, since wrath seems to be such a negative concept. Viewed alone, it would arouse only fear and dread. Yet it is helpful for us to ask what God would be like if he were a God that did not hate sin. He would then be the-wrath-of-goda God who either delighted in sin or at least was not troubled by it. Such a God would not be worthy of our worship, for sin is hateful and it is worthy of being hated. Sin ought not to be. It is in fact a virtue to hate evil and sin (cf. Heb. 1:9; Zech. 8:17; et al.), and we rightly imitate this attribute of God when we feel hatred against great evil, injustice, and sin.”[1]

So the chart above shows us that the one true and living God is not one who takes sin lightly or turns a blind-eye to evil. Rather, as a the Judge of the whole world (Acts 17:31; Ps 9:8) he properly and fairly judges evil.

And since this is the case, we need to understand our predicament:

Rom 3:10-12, “there is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside…”

Eph 2:1-3, “you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.”

2 Thess 1:8-9, God will be “dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”

Matt 10:28, “fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell.”

This is the bad news! We are all sinners and God, being just and righteous, must pour out wrath upon us as sinners. We have transgressed His holy commands, we have sinned in missing the standard He upholds, and have perverted worship by worshipping the creation rather than Himself, the Creator.

Thankfully, Eph 2 does not stop at verse 3. Read these familiar words and revel in God’s great attribute of love:

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing richbut-godes of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

Concerning Eph 2 above:

“There may not be two more hopeful words that we could utter. Once we were dead to any real love for God at all, buried under the compounding and disorienting blindness of our sins (Ephesians 2:1), but God. Once we were deceived by our own lust for glory and self-determination; once we were unknowingly led by the pied piper called “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2), but God. Once we lived enslaved to the passions of our flesh, being driven and tossed between the impulsive waves of our flesh and mind (Ephesians 2:3), but God. Once we were God’s enemies (Romans 5:10), hating him (Romans 1:30), children of his wrath. But God.

But God being rich in mercy, but God showing his incomprehensible “love for us in that while we were yet sinners” (Romans 5:8) he said to us God-dead, God-ignoring, God-rivaling, God-hating, dry-boned children of wrath: ‘live.’”[2]

So God is not merely wrath or just or righteous, but He is equally full of love (Ps 51)! He is love is so much a part of who He is that He knew He would be the only One who could reconcile humanity back to Himself. Here we find the study of God’s omni-benevolence.

 OMNI-BENEVOLENCE

(aka: goodness, love)

  PATIENCE(“slow to anger”) GRACE MERCY
Definition “God delays His deserved wrath and pours out His love and grace on creation while sinners are brought to repentance.” “God shows goodness/love toward the ill-deserving; unmerited favor in the face of merited wrath.” “God shows goodness/love/pity to those who are in misery or distress.”
The Bible says *Logic: God had the right to wipe out humans after the fall (Gen 3), but was patient. 

Acts 17:30 & Rom 3:25 (God “overlooked” sin before Jesus – now God calls everyone to repent)

2 Peter 3:9,15 (God provides the opportunity to repent, even throughout person’s whole life – fyi, not guaranteed, Heb 3:7-19)

Gen 6:8, Noah found favor/grace from God.1 Peter 5:10, “the God of all grace.”

John 1:14, “full of grace.”

Common grace: Col 1:17 & Acts 17:28

Saving grace: 1 Cor 15:10; Rom 11:5-6

Sanctifying grace: Rom 12:6; 2 Cor 12:9-10

Hosea 11:8-9, “My heart is turned over within me, all my mercies are kindled. I will not execute my fierce anger.” 

Ps 103:13, “Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has mercy on those who fear Him.”

Cf. Luke 7:13; Eph 2:4-5; Titus 3:3-7

Simply “God is slow to exact punishment on my sin.”  “God gives favor to me though I am undeserving.”  “God shows pity on me as a helpless sinner.”
Implication Practice the patience of God with others because God has and had patience with you (cf. Col 3:12; Eph 4:2). Practice the grace of God by saying “no!” to sin and living godly until Jesus returns (Titus 2:11-14) Practice the mercy of God by also being merciful (Matt 5:7; 18:23-33)

In Application for the Christian: Practice the holiness, righteousness, justice, and wrath of God by living your life to please Him who has saved you from eternal Hell. You life should be summed up the practical truths found in Rom 6 and Heb 12-13. And let grace have its work in you by saying “no!” to ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age (cf. Titus 2:11-14).ps91-2

In application to non-Christians: see the holiness, righteousness, justice, and wrath of God and then see your own sin and its good, just punishment; eternal Hell. Now realize that only God can save you and that it through repentance from your sin and faith in Jesus Christ. “Today…do not harden your hearts!” For a understanding of the full gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, click here.

 

More Resources

John Feinberg, No One Like Him

John Frame, The Doctrine of God

John MacArthur, Our Awesome God

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[1] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, 206.

[2] Jon Bloom, “But God,” http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/but-god.

  • Jason

    thanks Greg!!!