What is God Like?

When asking this question we need to be aware of how we, and others, come to an answer. If we are going to worship and marvel at who God is, let alone develop an authentic relationship with Him, we need to do all we can to understand and appreciate who He is. The question is, how do we do that?

Often we focus on the key characteristics of God that we connect with most or feel best show His qualities. Although this can be valid, the problem is it can become subjectively tarnished or influenced by what we think is right or wrong as opposed to what is true. The primary method to knowing what God is like is to read about Him in the Bible, as it is the Word of God without error. What it teaches is not dependent on what we think is right or wrong. Being God’s instruction to us, its teachings have authority over us, not the other way round.

My bible study group is working through a Video series called “Christian Beliefs” by Wayne Grudem. We are never too mature in our faith to study the key teachings of the Bible.  If we don’t it’s easy to succumb to other fine sounding, yet wrong thinking. Over the coming weeks I am going to review some of these topics with you. This week’s reflection is, “What is God Like?”

A few of His qualities are:

– Unchangeable and Independent ()

God is eternal. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He can act differently in different situations depending on our response to Him, but He is unchanging with regard to His character and qualities. He is also completely independent. He doesn’t need us. He is completely satisfied and fulfilled within the Trinity – God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Yet He chooses to invest into our lives, to love and cherish us, to enjoy us.

– Omnipresent, Omniscient and Omnipotent (, )

God is all places all the time – Omnipresent. He knows all things – Omniscient. He is all-powerful and able to do all according to His will – Omnipotent. That is a powerful combination. There is nowhere to hide from God. There is nothing that surprises Him. He is always ahead of the game and in His infinite wisdom and sovereignty, works in all things for the good of those love Him and are called according to His purpose (). Now that can be a comforting, but also convicting notion. On one side it’s very reassuring that there’s no where we can be that God can’t be there with us, comforting and equipping us for what lies ahead. On the other hand there is nowhere we can run or hide from God. We all will have to give an account to Him for what do in our lives.

– Truthful and Loving (;  )

God is always truthful. He cannot lie. Given He is all-powerful and all-knowing, the fact He is always truthful gives us great comfort in that whatever He promises He will uphold. He always keeps His word. There is no greater reassurance in this then in the promise of salvation for those have faith in Jesus Christ for dying for their sins. That is the depth of God’s love for us – while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. There is nothing in us that makes us worthy of being saved, yet God in His mercy and love chose to save us through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, to pay for us sins. God’s love knows no ends, and there is no sinful act greater than the mercy He shows us through the precious gospel message.

– Holy, Righteous and Just ()

God is separated from sin and evil, He is set apart – Holy. God can not allow sin into His presence which is why He must redeem us before we can commune with Him. Apart from Christ we are all stained by sin and therefore unable to commune with God. His righteousness also demands that sin is punished. The punishment for sin is death. If God did not punish us for sin, He would not be just. It’s like letting a convicted criminal walk out of the court room without any consequences. These aspects of God are often brushed over or not even spoken of much in churches, yet this is the God of the Bible… the God we are to revere and worship.

– Jealous and Wrath (; )

This quality is even less spoken of. How can God who is completely holy and righteous be jealous? Simply speaking because the Bible teaches so. God created us to worship Him. The fact is we all worship something in our lives. God rightfully demands it to be Him because He is our Creator, He is our sustainer, He is our redeemer. We can not give our primary worship to something else apart from God and not expect Him to be jealous and angry with us.

– Merciful and Gracious ()

In His Mercy, God chooses to save us from what we deserve – eternal condemnation for our wilful rebellion against Him. According to His grace, God chooses to give us what we don’t deserve, salvation and an eternal life secure in His presence. How can we wake a single day without thanking God for all that He has done for us?

Those are but a few of the many remarkable qualities of the God of the Bible. As we pray and learn to relate to God, let’s ensure we read the Bible and develop a healthy and correct picture of Him, and not one that we perceive is best according to our so-called better judgement.

God alone deserves to be worshipped for who He is. Let’s reflect more on who God is and marvel that the Creator of the universe would want to be in a relationship with us!! What a blessing… what an unbelievably humbling and comforting truth that is.

24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.

“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.

11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
the plans of his heart to all generations.

Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Revelation 4:8

And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”

23 “Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? 24 Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.

27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!

48 Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says,

49 “‘Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord,
or what is the place of my rest?
50 Did not my hand make all these things?’

remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
10 declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,’

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.

24 For he looks to the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

10 And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah

11 “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?
Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?

26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.

20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

24 For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

Deuteronomy 5:9

You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’” And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. 10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you.”

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,

51:1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

3 thoughts on “What is God Like?”

  1. We live in a time where many churches distort God’s grace and, thereby, his character. Someone at a church we were at for a short period recently assured my husband and I that God was happy with their receiving blessings from a Hindu priest. My husband rightly refuted it by reminding this person that our God is a jealous God. Interfaith is seen by many as the best thing for the future but they don’t know who God is because they don’t read their bibles or misread it and ignore some parts.

  2. Hi Lyn… thanks for your comment. How true it is that many people’s understanding is quite distorted because our church leaders are choosing not to teach about the God of the Bible. The pressure to speak about aspects of God that they perceive will be well received can be high, however it’s critical we not seek the acknowledgement of people, but firstly of God. The tragic irony is that in so called shielding people from the “unpleasant” or “unpopular” biblical truths of God, many are being lead astray and may not even be a Christian when they think they are!!

  3. N. T. Wright tells of how he, when he was the pastoral carer for a university college, used to sit down with each student in his care once every so often. Some used to say something like “Look, before we start I want you to know that I don’t believe in God.” Wright used to then ask, “Which god don’t you believe in?”, which would open up a whole converastion about the character and identity of the Christian God. What a great, and surprisingly simple question!

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