|From the Pastors Desk||†|
|Redemption||Essence of God||Lesson 4|
Manchaca Bible Fellowship
|17 April 2005||Bible Lessons
(1) God is Sovereign
(2) God is Justice
(3) God is Love
(4) God is Omnipotence
(5) God is Omniscience
(6) God is Omnipresence
(7) God is Righteousness
(8) God is Eternal Life
(9) God is Veracity
(10) God is Immutable
(11) God is Holy
In our study of the essence of God, we have looked at an overview of both His justice and love.
God is not just because He acts justly, nor Is God love because He acts in a loving manner. God IS Justice!! Therefore, all His actions are just. God IS Love Therefore, all His actions are loving.
Yes, if God is justice (and He is) then He MUST, by vengeance, inflict punishment on all who have committed wrong against the commands of God. If God did not inflict punishment for breaking His commands, He would not be sovereign (more on sovereignty later in this study).
Romans 12:18If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place (get out of the way) to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.
Galatians 6:7Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
We could look at verse after verse in both the Old and New Testament stating that itís Godís will and purpose to "give to every one what is their due" If God is just (and He is) then every person MUST receive exactly what they deserve.
That scary fact does not bring much comfort to any one of us, when we look at our lives. Even when we look at our lives through the filter of our own ego, we know that we do not deserve to be children of God and have the privilege of spending eternity in the presence of God. Instead, based on our own behavior, we deserve, at best, to remain the children of "our father the devil" and spend eternity with him in the Lake of Fire.
John 8:42Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43 "Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 "But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.
These words were spoken by Christ to some of the most religious people the world will ever know. These were the religious leaders of the Jews in the time of Christ. They would, by any human standard, be considered fine upstanding moral people.
Iím sure that none of us, here today, could hold a candle to their religious fervor or their factual knowledge of the Old Testament. Yet, Christ stated that if we want to enter the kingdom of heaven, then we must have righteousness that exceeds theirs.
Matthew 5:20"For I (Christ) say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
Iíd say that if these extremely religious people were "of their father the Devilí.., then we, who do not hold a candle to their righteousness, would also be children of the Devil. Look at just a few passages that point to how far short we are from the standard of righteousness, which we must attain if we hope to avoid the justice of God, as He meets out, in vengeance, exactly what we deserve.
Isaiah 64:6But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Romans 7:18For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.
Mark 7:21"For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 "thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 "All these evil things come from within and defile a man."
When we see what we are, then we can have a little better idea of what we really deserve from God. When we have even a little idea of what we deserve from God, and we know that God is a God of justice, THEN it should strike fear within our hearts.
Romans 7:24O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
Hebrews 10:30For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, says the Lord." And again, "The Lord will judge His people." 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
If God is a God of absolute justice, then He must be a Ďol meany, just sitting up in heaven waiting with glee, to clobber us. Well, that assessment might have some validity, IF God, in His essence, were ONLY a God of justice.
As we have see already in this study, God has at least 11 equal qualities within His being or essence. There are obviously far more qualities within the person of God than the 11 we will look at in this study. However, one of those qualities of God, is Love.
Ephesians 2:4But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
Far different, than the nature of fallen mankind, God cannot simply act in love without being true to all other qualities of His nature. We humans, on the other hand, can meet out our version of justice WITHOUT a smidgen of love.
We are also very capable of overlooking some of the worst offenses and bypassing justice in the name of compassion. Because we compare Godís person and actions to our own depraved nature and reactions, we often place God on an equal or lower plane than humanity.
This devaluation of God, often brings up such statements and
Then in the next breath, these same people can ask:
These and many similar questions cannot find resolution, in our minds, without a clear understanding, from the Word of God, of Who God is and what God does. Notice a few references to those who do not know God and some of the results of NOT knowing God or knowing God.
Please keep in mind that we learn about God from the observation of what God does, harmonized with all Scripture. The Bible dose not give us a thesis on who God is, apart from what God has done.
Romans 1:20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
No one passage of Scripture is more important than another. However, there are some passages that give us a broad perspective of Godís plan and purpose. Sometimes these pivotal passages, at first glance, seem to be just "run of the mill" passages. However, with a closer examination and a comparison with the rest of Scripture, we find them to be "key" passages that unlock many deep truths. Romans chapters one and two are just such passages.
Notice, it is through the works of God, in this case creation, that
the attributes or essence of God is seen and understood. As pointed out before, Godís two attributes mentioned in
Rom 1 and seen in creation are:
To see most of the attributes of God, we must observe the actions of God recorded in the Scripture.
Very few of the attributes of God are described for us in the Scriptures. Instead, those attributes are demonstrated in the Scriptures.
Please note, that this information about God was not used properly by those in Rom 1 . Therefore, not only did they fail to understand God, they regressed in their knowledge of God, to only their own empty thoughts. As a result they were in total darkness as to who God really is.
1 Corinthians 1:18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent." 20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through (their own) wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
In Romans 1:21 , the Holy Spirit states that because they did not use the truth of God properly, God gave them over to their own thoughts, and those thoughts were empty of true God knowledge. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 1:21 , builds on those facts. He said that through their own wisdom they did not know God.
Folks, it is important that we know and heed this fact! If we do not use what we know of God, we lose that God knowledge and we will usually turn inward for our Spiritual "wisdom". This is true of non-believer and Believers.
Hebrews 5:9And having been perfected, He (Christ) became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, 10 called by God as High Priest "according to the order of Melchizedek," 11 of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. 6:1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits.
The writer of Hebrews states that there is a great deal to say about Christ, and it is hard to explain, BECAUSE they had become "dull of hearing". This dullness had come as a result of not properly using what they had already heard and observed.
We also see, in 1 Corinthians, that the Believers at Corinth had become carnal for this same reason. The results of that carnality was division in the Church and a hindrance to the proper declaration of the message of redemption.
That is one of the fears of this type of ministry. Here at MBF, a lot of Biblical information is dispensed through Bible Classes, AWANA, Sunday School, the Morning Service, etc.
People will either respond to the Word or rebel against that Word.
My prayer is that we will continue to grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, AND that we will respond to the Word and not rebel against it. Look at what Paul says about this matter inÖ
Galatians 4:7Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. 8 But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. 9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?
Paul is talking to those who are Believers, they are sons of God. He reminds them that when they "did not know" God, they were involved with the gods of the natural realm, devised from the darkened hearts of humanity. That was what they were before they had the knowledge of God.
Then the big question! Paul ask, "Why are you turning again to the natural?" A person will either respond to or rebel against the truths of God, and it matters not whether saved or unsaved.
1 Thessalonians 4:3For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. 7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. 8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.
Just a few more quick thoughts. Remember this knowledge of Godís person is seen through Godís actions as recorded in the Word of God. When we reject or rebel against this knowledge, found in the Word of God, we open ourselves to sexual immorality.
Titus 1:15To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.
Our knowledge of God is not to be academic only, BUT that knowledge must be translated into Biblical works. If we only use the knowledge of God to bolster our academic standing or receive some "goodies" from God, then the religious works we perform will actually be a denial of Him and will be done in our own strength. Having only the academic knowledge of God, disqualifies us from doing any work that will be recognized, by God, as "good".
2 Thessalonians 1:3We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, 4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, 5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; 6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Proper suffering is an evidence of the righteous judgment of God, because it develops within us a quality that makes us worthy of the kingdom of God. Within the purpose of God, one goal is to make Believers "worthy" of the Kingdom.
Therefore, any event in our lives or action that accomplishes that "goal" is within the realm of Godís righteousness. Even though we benefit Spiritually from proper suffering, God holds those, who brought that suffering to us, responsible for that suffering and will take vengeance on them.
Last but not least, another in this list of things resulting from knowing God or the lack thereof, is found inÖ
1 John 4:8He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
Review quickly some of the things resulting from knowing God or the lack thereof
(1) Gal 4:7-9 Without the knowledge of God, people will serve the natural gods. Even Believers will turn back to the natural gods unless their desire and motive is to continue IN that knowledge
(2) 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 When we reject (set-aside) the knowledge of God, we are in danger of sexual immorality
(3) Titus 1:15-16 When a person only professes to know God, but dose not have real knowledge, that personís works will be a denial of God, not an affirmation of Him
(4) 2 Thessalonians 1:3-8 God will take vengeance on those who do not know God
(5) 1 John 4:8 If a person does not demonstrate Divine love, that person shows that they do not know God
We are all sinners, and sins are not rated from bad sins that deserve punishment to little "white lies" that can be passed over. After all the "zinger sin" was when Adam and Eve went to the "fruit market" in the Garden and ate the wrong fruit. That certainly wasnít as bad as killing someone. Right? Well, one sin may be worse than another according to mankindís calculations, but Godís thoughts are far above our thoughts.
If that is all true, and it is, how can God love some and punish others? Weíre all in the same "sin boat", arenít we? Ah! Now you are asking a real good question, and God has the answer. Like any good answer to any good question, it will take a little more than "ho-hum" to discover that answer. It will take a little digging.
Romans 3:26to demonstrate at the present time His (Godís) righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
This verse sums up a small part of the problem facing God. How can God allow a person to be justified, even if that person has sinned and is worthy of justice. You know? I do believe all of us Believers have sinned and are worthy of justice.
How could God be fair or "just" by allowing some person here in Austin to be justified, just because that person came to church, heard the gospel, believed what they heard and accepted Christ as Savior. However, on the other side of the earth, where there is no church, another person who never heard the gospel did the best they knew and worshiped the sun, yet God holds that person responsible and acts in justice against that person.
That sure doesnít seem fair to my way of thinking. How about you? We all would like an answer to that problem, and we would like it summed up in 100 words or less, because we have many more important earthly things to do.
Yes, there is an answer. That answer was given by God, Himself. However, that answer is given in a Book of 1,189 chapters. We call that Book the Bible.
For God to be absolutely just, when justifying a person who deserves the sting of justice carried out in vengeance, requires a more complicated formula than the most intricate formula thought up by the wisest of the wise in the human realm.
Like any other subject, understanding God and His actions requires many progressive stages of learning and comprehension. One of those progressive stages is the reconciling of God justice with His love, and these must be in perfect harmony with His righteousness.
Romans 3:21But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
Because the human mind cannot comprehend the righteousness of God, God gave us a shadow picture of His righteousness. That shadow picture was the Mosaic Law found in the Old Testament.
As good as this picture was, it was only a shadow of the real thing, and was given for the purpose of making it possible for the human mind to recognize real righteousness, which IS Christ.
Up until Christ came to the earth, the only glimpse of Godís righteousness that humans had was the Law. Then for some 33 years, the world was exposed to Godís real righteousness, and for the first time, we did not have to look to the Law to see this aspect of God nature.
Letís go back and see a little of the immediate context of Rom 3:21 .
Romans 3:26to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Romans 3:21But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God which is through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth to be a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Time will not permit any further study of this passage right now, but look at several aspects of Godís person and His work that must be perfectly harmonized to accomplish the fact that God is JUST and the JUSTIFIER of those who put their trust in Christ, Who is God righteousness:
In closing this lesson, please allow me to point out some of the basic difference between Human Love and Divine Love. I want to do so by looking at the definition of Human Love, and recounting a incident of Divine Love demonstrated through human means. Then in the next lesson, we will dive headlong into the reconciling of Godís Justice and His Love.
- We love a friend, on account of some qualities which give us pleasure in his society.
In short, human love is whatever gives us pleasure and delight, whether animal or intellectual.
Danny was born with no ears. He could hear all right, but he didnít have ears like normal people. All his life, Danny endured ridicule and rejection because of his deformity, but he learned to live with it. Thankfully, he had loving parents and a strong family to sustain him.
When Danny was in high school, his doctor told him of a new procedure that made it possible to transplant ears from one person to another. That meant Danny could get new ears, if someone who was compatible to his physical make-up donated theirs.
This was exciting news! After all, people donated body parts all the timeóhearts, lungs, kidneysÖ However, Danny soon found that donor ears were extremely scarce. Danny didnít give up hope, however. He knew that someday he would get new ears.
He graduated from high school with honors and was accepted at a major university thousands of miles away. He kissed his parents good-bye and began his life as a college student. Again, he found it hard to make friends and fit in because of his ears, or lack thereof.
One day he got a phone call from his father. "Go to the hospital tomorrow, Danny. A donor has been found."
The very next day Danny checked into the university hospital where doctors were ready to perform the surgery. A few hours later, Danny had new ears. When the bandages came off, Danny gazed into the mirror for hours. He finally had ears like normal people. For the first time in his life, he wasnít ashamed of the way he looked. He not only had new ears, he had a new life.
A few weeks later, Danny received another phone call from his father. "Son, your mother is very ill, and She may not live through the night."
Danny was on the first plane home. When he arrived, his father gave him the sad news that his mother had died. Together they went to the funeral home, where Danny was able to see his mother for the last time.
He leaned over to kiss her cheek. Brushing her hair back from her face, he noticed that she had no ears.
It was a motherís incredible love that provided Danny with new ears, and it is our Heavenly Fatherís incredible love that provided us with our new life.
Romans 5:8But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
True Love always pays a price. True Love always costs something. True Love is expensive. When you love, Benefits enhances anotherís account. My love is for you, not for me. Love gives, it doesnít grab. Human love seeks personal pleasure and delight. Godís love seeks to restore life to a Spiritually dead human, by the sacrifice of His Own life
|© Clyde White, Austin TX, 2005|