Describing God is an impossible task. Nobody today has actually seen Him. We know Him by what we read in Scripture, which describes His characteristics and not His physical appearance. Let’s take a look at a few of those characteristics and see if we can know God better.
God is Spirit: “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in the spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).
The story behind this passage is that Jesus—God incarnate and His disciples were passing through Samaria and stopped at a well. The disciples went into the town to buy food when a woman came to the well to draw water. Jesus began a conversation with her, which quickly turned to her moral state and the Living Water which Jesus could give to her.
She was interested and spoke of worshipping in Jerusalem as opposed to worshipping elsewhere. Jesus explained that a time was coming when worship would change. After Jesus ascended into heaven the Holy Spirit was given to indwell Christians.
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16)
When a person truly accepts Christ he or she is indwelt by the Spirit of God. Years after the conversation with the Samaritan woman the Jewish temple was destroyed; no longer could worship take place in Jerusalem. Christians today are the temple of God. We worship in spirit and in truth. God is Spirit.
God is eternal. God has always existed and always will exist. When God spoke to Moses from the burning bush, God directed him to go to Pharaoh and tell him to set the Israelites free from their slavery. The Israelites had been in slavery in Egypt for centuries and they finally cried out to God. Moses was an Israelite who had been raised in Pharaoh’s palace but had fled Egypt 40 years earlier after killing an Egyptian soldier. He needed to know what authority he could give the Israelites when he obtained their release.
“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” (Exodus 3:14)
That is a present tense statement. He didn’t say “I was that I was” or “I will be.” He has always been. Many years later Jesus riled the Pharisees when He claimed to be the voice from that bush.
“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58)
Jesus said He is God. Our English translations don’t make it clear, but the Pharisees knew. The next verse says that they took up stones to stone Him. Claiming to be God was a stoning offence. There are many verses that speak of the eternal nature of God.
We know that, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)
And a prayer of Moses recorded in Psalms says:
“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” (Psalm 90:2)
In the book of Revelation, Jesus says “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)
God is eternal. God is love.
“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” (1 John 4:8)
What a blessing to know that God loves me. More than that, He IS love. Because He loves us He wants the best for us, so He sets rules. When I was a child I would get upset when my parents wouldn’t let me do just what I wanted. “When I grow up and have kids I’ll let them do whatever they want!” Silly me.
As I matured I realized that because they loved me my parents set rules for behavior. This is just a hint of God’s. Like rebellious children we want our own way and that’s why God has tried to teach us right from wrong. The Law was a teacher.
“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Galatians 3:24)
It’s easy to understand why many of the laws were there. Honor God is obvious. Don’t murder and be sexually pure are also obvious, but some others are a bit more subtle. “Why can’t I do just what I want,” ask the rebellious children.
“Because I love you”, says the loving God. Jesus said “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13)
Jesus (God the Son) did just that. He left His perfect home in Heaven and entered this fallen world. Here He was rejected, mocked, beaten, spit upon, and crucified. He knew before He laid the foundations of the earth that this would happen, but He is love and became flesh in order to bring salvation to a sinner such as me. It’s a free gift, but you need to accept that gift in order for it to apply to you.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
God is love. God is faithful.
We can always trust God to be there because He is faithful even if we aren’t. We fall into sin regularly. We need to break our sin habit, but it always seems to stumble us when we’re weak.
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
When temptations come our way we usually know we’re being tempted to sin. That’s when we turn to God. Ask Him for the strength to resist the temptation. He will either remove the temptation or help you to not participate in the sin. What happens if we just go ahead and sin anyway? He’s still faithful.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
What a comfort to know that even when we sin He still loves us. It’s important to talk to Him about the sin. Tell Him you’re sorry and ask His forgiveness. He knows every sin you will ever commit and when you truly accepted His gift of salvation all of your sins were forgiven.
When you ask Him to forgive you that shows that you’re growing in your walk with Him. Babes in Christ are often unaware of what exactly is sin, but as we grow in Christ we become more aware of our sin. Asking forgiveness is humbling and shows respect for God. God will always forgive. God is faithful.
God is the God of the living. Ever since Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden death has been a part of this world. They were separated from God because of sin and when they died their souls went into sheol, the abode of the dead.
There were two sides to sheol, one of torment and one of comfort. Those who obeyed God and looked forward to the coming of the Messiah went to the place of comfort. God never forgot them. When Moses went up on Mount Sinai, God spoke with him and said:
“Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.” (Exodus 3:6)
They died in faith. Hebrews chapter 11 gives examples of many who died prior to Jesus first coming, but they looked forward in faith to the coming Messiah so they are still living, as are all people who have died in faith. After His death on the cross, Jesus took those faithful souls to heaven.
Those who have died rejecting the Messiah, whether before or after the cross, are also alive but are awaiting the final judgment and eternal death. Because they rejected Him in life, He is not their God in death. God is the God of the Living.
God is light. When we walk in the dark it’s easy to stumble and fall. We need light to find our way and see obstacles in our path. The same is true in life. Darkness is all around us… the Satanic darkness of sin. We need light to find our way:
“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)
If our focus is on the things of the world we walk in darkness and it’s easy to fall into sin. If we fill our life with the works of Satan we fill our life with darkness. A Christian should fill every part of life with the light of God.
“Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.” (Luke 11:35-36)
What is shining from you? Is it darkness that comes from Satan or is it the pure light that shines from God. We choose what we allow inside of us and God’s light is what we need to allow in. God is light.
God is changeless. Many things in life change over the years, such as hair color, friendships, jobs, and much more. We can count on the fact the God never changes.
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
We can rest assured that when we read Scripture, what was true in Genesis is true today because God is the same. Many people arrogantly criticize God as seen in the Old Testament because He seems angry. That shows they don’t study Scripture. His love for humans has always been there. His judgment never came quickly.
The wickedness prior to the Flood corrupted all of creation, but God warned people and gave them time to repent before His judgment came. There were only 8 people who were uncorrupted and had He waited there would have been no one left to save. The people in Sodom and Gomorrah had committed horrendous sin and God wanted them to repent. It wasn’t until only Lot and his family were left who weren’t totally depraved that God sent judgment on these wicked cities.
“Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.” (Psalm 119:160)
We need to take heed that we aren’t following the wrong path and are tempting God’s judgment. Study the reasons behind God’s judgments to see His love. Be assured that God is still righteous in His judgments today, but the difference is the cross. Because Jesus shed His blood to purchase our redemption we can escape judgment if we accept His sacrifice.
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life…For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:14-15, & 17)
Sin will always condemn us, but God’s love will always save us. God is changeless.
We could go through many more things about what God is, but you can find them for yourself. God is the author of peace, God is true, God is One God, and many more. You will find it very rewarding to search who God is, and be blessed by what you learn.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original Scripture is “theopneustos” (God breathed).