Do you entertain “high” or “low” thoughts about God?
Why is it super important that we know God’s true nature? In his classic book, The Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer puts it this way: “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
Tozer is saying that if we are to truly experience the life-changing power of Christianity, we have to see God as He really is — not as we’d like Him to be, or as we think He should be to gain our love and respect.
The five attributes we cover below point to who God is: All-powerful, sovereign, holy, merciful and good. Some of us may not see God this way, either because of our life experience or because of what we’ve been taught. But God does want us to know who He is, so the Bible is full of details highlighting His character. Let’s dive into the attributes!
Five Attributes of God’s Nature
Attribute #1: God is All-Powerful
O Sovereign LORD! You have made the heavens and earth by Your great power. Nothing is too hard for You! (Jeremiah 32:17)
God enjoys unlimited power; nothing is too hard for Him. God can simply speak something into existence. Everything God wants to happen, will happen; nothing can thwart or prevent His plans. Not even our free will! God has power over life and death. Because God is good, His power reflects His good character. We can trust that God not only holds our crazy world in the palms of His hands, but our hurts and fears and needs as well. We serve a BIG God who loves us so much that He came to die for us to demonstrate it. God wants to do powerful things in your life and through your life!
Notes Tozer: “God knows instantly and effortlessly all matter and all matters, all mind and every mind, all spirit and all spirits, all being and every being, all creaturehood and all creatures, every plurality and all pluralities, all law and every law, all relations, all causes, all thoughts, all mysteries, all enigmas, all feeling, all desires, every unuttered secret, all thrones and dominions, all personalities, all things visible and invisible in heaven and in earth, motion, space, time, life, death, good, evil, heaven, and hell.”
God is all-powerful because He is sovereign.
Attribute #2: God is Sovereign
All the people of the earth are nothing compared to Him. He has the power to do as He pleases among the angels of heaven and with those who live on earth. No one can stop Him or challenge Him, saying, “What do You mean by doing these things?” (Daniel 4:35)
God is self-sufficient and self-sustaining. He has no need of anything, including us. Yet He finds it a good to work through us to accomplish His master plan. So why are we guilty of trying to define God, stuffing Him inside a box we label? Why do we too often treat Him like a genie in a bottle? Let’s not kid ourselves.
“Left to ourselves we tend immediately to reduce God to manageable terms,” notes Tozer. “We want to get Him where we can use Him, or at least know where He is when we need Him. We want a God we can in some measure control.”
God is sovereign because He is completely holy and just.
Attribute #3: God is Holy and Just
I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. (Isaiah 46:9-10)
God is perfect. Thus His holy presence demands that He reject our sin. But because He loves us so fiercely, He sacrificed Himself on the cross so that we can stand in right relationship with Him. Think about that: only God’s holiness could cover the filth of our sin. God fights for us, but because He respects our free will, He leaves the choice entirely up to us as to whether we will choose Him as Savior. Now that’s a gracious God.
“Justice is not something God has,” notes Tozer. “Justice is something that God is.”
Because God is holy, He is pure love.
Attribute #4: God is Love
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from His love, Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels can’t, and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can not keep God’s love away. Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35, 37-39)
God’s goodness stems from His loving nature. Not even our gravest sin can minimizes God’s love for us. As Joyce Meyer frequently teaches, God separates our “who” from our “do.” We may have bad moments, but that doesn’t make us bad people in God’s eyes. Isn’t that amazing?! He instantly forgives us when we ask, and remembers our sin no more. He hears even our softest whisper of remorse!
“We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God,” notes Tozer. “He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts.”
Because God is fully loving, He extends unmeasured mercy.
Attribute #5: God is Merciful
“The LORD is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.” (Psalm 145:8)
God is omniscient; He knows the past, present, and future. He knows every thought and word and action we’ll take today, tomorrow, even next year. He has promised to “never relent from showing mercy to His children.” Thus, he administers His justice to us fairly. God listens to our pleas for mercy, and washes away our transgressions.
“As judgment is God’s justice confronting moral inequity,” adds Tozer, “so mercy is the goodness of God confronting human suffering and guilt. Were there no guilt in the world, no pain and no tears, God would yet be infinitely merciful; but His mercy might well remain hidden in His heart, unknown to the created universe. No voice would be raised to celebrate the mercy of which none felt the need. It is human misery and sin that call forth the divine mercy.”
God promises to never relent from showing His mercy to us. It is instantly given, when we confess our sins.
Increasingly, modern society is asserting we don’t need mercy because we’re not sinners. It tells us that a “good” and “loving” God would never send us to hell. Tozer puts it like this: “The vague and tenuous hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly, has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions.”
God Sets His Attributes, Not Us
God is who He is, not as we try to mold Him into being. He makes the rules, we don’t. That sounds harsh, until we finally begin to understand His utterly holy and just character.
So, we have a choice: Accept and follow Him as He is, to eternally remain in His precious presence. Or refuse to love and follow God, and miss out.
This last Tozer quote is so good:
“O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, ‘Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.’ Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long.”
Study God’s attributes above, until you gain a solid, truthful view of who He is. God becomes irresistible, once we open our hearts and minds to who He really is.
Catch up: The introductory post to this series.
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