Before plowing into the attributes of God, let’s begin by confessing that we cannot fully know God, however, we most certainly can know Him. There will be aspects of the attributes listed here that we will not know, nor fully understand in this life. This does not preclude the fact that God can be known.
What Is Meant By The Attributes Of God
In a general sense, it can be said that human conduct has its basis in what we believe. No one in their right mind lies or steals because they think they will be caught. If the risk appears too great, then our conduct will be altered accordingly.
I do not run stop signs because I believe eventually the practice will be detrimental to my well-being. I perform functions for pay because to do otherwise would cause my family hardship. This is why what we believe dictates our human conduct.
So this is well and good when we are discussing human nature, but what about the nature of God? What determines how God works and what God is like? What controls God?
God has qualities of character that describe who He is. There are qualities like holiness, justice, and love. We call these His attributes. As God never changes, then these attributes are true of Him eternally. They describe the very essence of His nature.
This is why John the Apostle, when trying to describe God, made the statement, “God is Truth.” You and I tend to read this statement, and then we render our own mental interpretation, “God possesses Truth.”
However, the attributes of God are not a possession of some other part of His identity. They are His identity. They are His essence, the very core of His being, the underlying source of all His manifestations. God’s actions are always a perfect representation of His being.
For instance, God’s justice says that sin must be punished. At the same time, His love desires to restore fallen man. When considered on the surface, these two attributes appear to be contrary against each other. However, when we examine the atonement of Jesus Christ and see that it bore our punishment for sin and restored fallen man, thereby satisfying both requirements, the incompatibility vanishes.
You need to remember the fact that humanity was created in the image of God. When we do, it becomes very apparent that as we know more about Him, then we will also know more about ourselves and how God expects us to live in this world.
Briefly, God “is” the following:
- Eternal: Psalm 90:2; 102:25-27; Isaiah 57:15, Revelations 1:4.
- Immutable, unchangeable: James 1:17; Malachi 3:6; Psalm 33:11; Isaiah 46:9-10; Num. 23:19.
- Omniscient, all knowing: Psalm 147:5; Ezekiel 11:5; Acts 15:18; Matt. 10:30; I John 3:20.
- Omnipotent, all powerful: Matt. 19:26; Jeremiah 32:17,27; Revelations 19:6.
- Omnipresent, everywhere present: Psalm 139:7-10; Jeremiah 23:24; Matthew 6:6.
- Just, Righteous: Genesis 18:25; Psalm 7:11 (margin); Psalm 96:13; 97:2
- Holy: I Samuel 2:2; Psalm 99:9; Habakkuk 1:13; Revelations 15:4; Isaiah 6:1-5.
- Truth: Titus 1:2; Numbers 23:19; I Samuel 15:29; John 1:14; 14:6.
- Sovereign, Absolute: Psalm 115:3; Daniel 4:35; Ephesians 1:11; Romans 11:36.
- Love, Good: I John 4:8, 10; Ephesians 2: 7; John 3:16.
Note: We can also say that God is Spirit, and that all these attributes are His in infinite perfection.
As we stated, human conduct is generally controlled by our system of beliefs. The logical extension of this is that conduct extending from a false premise will eventually get us into difficulty.
We need to have beliefs that are true and correct so our conduct will be right. In this respect, the only source of absolute values is God Himself.
A true knowledge of who He is and His ways will provide evidence to help us alter our belief system and therefore affect every other area of human relationship.
If someone sincerely believes God judges sin they will control their conduct accordingly. If they really believe Jesus will return to judge Christians commensurate with their obedience, their purpose in life will be affected.
The attributes of God are the foundation of Christianity. Consider them carefully. Memorize them. Meditate on them. Seek to know Him for yourself. I mean really know God, not just know about Him. Your worship, life, and system of values will change forever.
“…show me now thy way, that I may know Thee and that I may find grace in thyr sight…” Exodus 33:13