Tag Archives: God’s attributes

Behold Your God — Week Ten, Day Five

4 Aug

When it comes down to it, life always boils down to the character of God. If I view God unbiblically or incompletely, I will find in my own character some manifestation of sinful attitudes. Failing to believe that God is in control may lead to an anxiety-ridden life. A lack of confidence in God’s promises may produce a similar anxious spirit. If you don’t believe God provides your needs, you may seek to provide your own, becoming greedy or angry when things don’t go as we wish. If we are not confident in God’s love and sufficiency, we may look to other things for help and hope. If we do not believe that relating to God in prayer is a positive help to bring us peace we may seek peace in entertainment or food or sinful things. If we don’t believe that Jesus is the only way to God, we may feel no need to share the gospel with others as we are commanded to do. If we believe that God will only bring good things into our lives if we trust Him, we will be devastated when something difficult comes.

In short, virtually all of our sin problems can be traced first and foremost to a problem in our view of God. This is why if we try to attack sins we will often end up defeated. The problem isn’t normally related to that sin problem, it is normally some deficiency in our view of God. Therefore, one of the most effective ways to fight sin is to behold your God. Seeing who He really is and grounding your life in that reality makes all the difference. Since the primary way that happens is through abiding with God in the Word, the Bible becomes a central means of our growth in holiness.

Local churches should make sure all members are grounded in the truth of the gospel and the attributes of God. Families would be well served to return to the older tradition of the catechism, teaching the children the basics of God’s character. Individuals should read every passage of Scripture with a view toward what God has said to us about Himself more than what a passage says about us.

When we think about our living and where it is deficient or incomplete, it is most often an issue of our view of God. Therefore, our Behold Your God study is one of the best things we could have done this summer as a church. Soon we will be moving on from this study but we should never move on from its central concept, expressed by AW Tozer, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”

Behold Your God — Week Five, Day Two

27 Jun

One of the most common questions of a child is “why?” When they really begin to learn, they begin to ask “why?”. This is a good thing in the natural realm, because these why questions lead them to look for answers. But eventually this questioning leads most children to God, and to the question of why God made things the way they are. The common answer is that God didn’t do it, but we did through our sin and rebellion against Him. But a perceptive child knows that this answer still doesn’t quite get God off the hook, because since He is God, He has to have Lordship even over this rebellion. In other words, the rebellion of man is something which at the very least, He permitted. So why did God allow sin into the world? Why does God allow evil to continue? Why does the wrong seem oft so strong? These are the kinds of questions children (and sometimes adults) ask. These questions have troubled many souls through the years. But interestingly, there are not a lot of “why” questions in the Bible and where they do appear, God often redirects them. The question God is concerned with is “who?”, specifically, “who is God?” This is the all important question. This is the question that resolves the why questions, so that even if we can’t answer every question we can have confidence that God has a good reason for doing what He has done. The attributes of God become the ground of our assurance. When we are confident in who He is we are not ultimately sidetracked and discouraged by the why questions. Of course, sometimes the way the world is can be troubling. But we will not yield to despair in the face of confusion if we are spending time consistently beholding God and believing what we behold of Him.

Behold Your God — Week Three, Day Two

13 Jun

Today’s study focuses on the book of Job. Job has traditionally been viewed as the book in the Bible which wrestles most fully with the problem of suffering, one of the deepest problems of human existence. Through Job’s trials and the dialogues he has with his friends we see the struggle with suffering described and debated, but never fully explained. When God steps in in chapters 38-42 of the book, He comes not to explain so much as to reveal His character to Job. In fact, one of the most fascinating characteristics of the Bible is that it often doesn’t answer our thorny life questions by directly addressing the issue in question. Instead, when times are confusing and life is baffling, the Bible consistently tells us to do one thing: Behold Your God.

When we remember who God is, when we live in the light of His character as described in Scripture, we can know certain things are true which, while not answering all our questions, will give us strength to endure. When we know God will do what is right, when we know He is good, when we know He is all-knowing and almighty, this shapes how we approach our trials. Far from a kind of aimless and wistful hoping that God will do something, we have sure confidence, like an anchor for the soul, that no matter what comes He is real, He is true and He is with us. And that makes all the difference.

 

Behold Your God — Week One, Day Two

30 May

Today’s study brings us into the presence of God, the great attraction. Three points are made at the outset which will guide us throughout the twelve weeks if we will keep them in mind . . .

  1. An attribute is something that God has revealed to be true about Himself. This is not a truth that we discover on our own.
  2. An attribute is something that is essentially true of God.
  3. An attribute is something that is in perfect harmony with all other attributes.

God is sovereign, holy, merciful, etc. These are not things He does (though these attributes do shape His actions) they are who He IS. But God is not divided into a hundred different attributes which He exercises at different times. He is multifaceted but united in His person.

In applying these truths about God’s attributes, day two considers just one of them: God’s incomprehensibility. God is beyond our understanding. We can know Him, but we cannot fully figure Him out. God is incomprehensible because He is infinite. There are no limits on His person. There are many Scriptures which show His incomprehensible fullness (Ps. 145:3; Jer. 23:23-24; Ps. 139:17-18; Job 5:8-9; 9:10;  11:7-9; 36:26).

I liked the illustration in day two of the Mayflower coming ashore. Only a fraction of a vast land was visible from the ship. For us in this lifetime, we come to the shore of relationship to God and see something of Him, but there is always with God a vast undiscovered country. This makes God, as John Piper says, “endlessly fascinating.”

We might feel tempted to be frustrated at God’s incomprehensibility, but day two points us in other directions. First, we should feel profound comfort. As AW Tozer says, “How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none.” Second, the fact that we cannot fully comprehend God should lead us to humility before Him. God has great things to say in the Bible about humility. Humility is the key to the door of a deep and personal relationship with God.

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