Elder Bill Caraway
An attribute is a quality which is essential to the existence of a being. The attributes of God are those qualities that belong to and identify His Divine nature. Our precept of God must be derived from our knowledge of His attributes. It is impossible to understand God apart from His attributes as revealed unto us through His Word.
His Divine holiness, power, supremacy immutability, love, hate, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, mercy, judgment, wrath, goodness, faithfulness, grace, patience and etc. are all attributes of God set forth in the Bible that we may understand that He is the only true and living God.
This article does not address all the attributes of God. Neither does it go into great depth on these attributes addressed. The intent of this article is to stir up your pure minds to view God as the scriptures portray Him and not as portrayed by the religions of the world.
The Sovereignty of God: In order to be eternal, self-existent and self-sufficient God must be sovereign. If He is accountable to anyone or thing, then He is not God nor is He sovereign. He is supreme in authority, power, rank and ability and completely independent which identifies Him as a sovereign God. In order for Him to function as God He must exercise His attributes. If His attributes are not equal to His sovereignty then He ceases to be God. Thus, it is understood that to be sovereign, each attribute must be absolute. To be sovereign or absolute demands perfection which means that each attribute can not vary in degrees nor diminish in effectiveness. When God administers an attribute it must be in harmony with all other attributes, such as wisdom, purpose and etc. otherwise discord will follow.
God being sovereign, He exercises His supremacy by doing absolutely as He pleases, when He pleases and where He pleases. If we can grasp such greatness then the scriptures will become much more meaningful to us for it is primarily through this means that God reveals Himself to His people.
A review of the following scriptures may open the eyes of our understanding to the Majesty, Supremacy and Sovereignty of the Most High. God which sets on the throne of His glory independent of all, as seen in Isa. 46:9, "Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is none else; I am God and there is none like me."
His wisdom, word, counsel and purpose is sovereign; Isa. 46:10-11, "Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times, the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure; Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it." Also in Psa. 3:9 and 11, "For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stand fast. [V:11] "The counsel of the Lord standeth forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations."
His pleasure is sovereign: Psa 115:3, "But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased." And in Psa. 135:6, Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places."
Creation was sovereignly effected: Gen. 1:1, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Also in Psa 33:6, "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth." And in Job 1:1-3, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God, All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made."
His power and will are sovereign: Dan. 4:35, "And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest thou?" Also in Isa. 43:13, "Yea, before the day was I am He: and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?" And in Matt 28:18, "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is give unto me in heaven and in earth."
He acts upon mankind in many ways which manifests Him sovereign power:
1. He loves and hates sovereignly; Rom 9:13, "As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated."
2. He extends mercy sovereignly. Romans 9:18 "Therefore, hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will be hardeneth."
3. He predestinates, calls, justifies, and glorifies according to His sovereign foreknowledge and purpose: Rom 8:28-30, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them he also called, and whom He called, them He also justified, and whom he justified, them He also glorified."
4. He saves sovereignly: 2 Tim.1:9, "Who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,"
5. He keeps His children sovereignly: 1 Pet. 1:5, "Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."
These are a few examples of how God extends His sovereign power to execute His will. To know He is sovereign should cause us to rejoice for all of our hope is based on the truth of His word.
The Power of God: God's power is absolute, it is not conditional nor partial, neither can it diminish. God's power is the life and activity of all His attributes. His other attributes would be worthless without the power to implement them.
In creation His power is revealed, Jer 32:17,"Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:" And in Rev. 4:11, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things and for thy pleasure they are and were created."
In purpose and action His power is absolute. In Job 23:13, "But He is one mind, and who can turn Him? And what His soul desireth, even that He doeth." Also in Matt 19:26, "
"But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, with men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." And in Psa 115:3, "But our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased."
His power towards man is revealed, Jam 4: 12, "There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?" We see the two directions of His power, one in salvation and the other in judgment. This is evident in Rom 9:13, "As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated" And also man cannot hinder Him for in Dan 4:35, "And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, what doest thou."
God's power towards His people is seen in Psa 110:3. "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth." Also in Eph 2:1 "And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins:" And in 1 Pet 1:5, "Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."
The Immutability of God: God's immutability [constancy] is almost completely ignored by the Churches of the world today. They portray God as changing from day to day as events and circumstances dictate. If God changes He would have to change either to a better or worse state. Any change necessitates a move forward or backward, therefore if He changed to the better He was in error before the change, which reduces him to being imperfect, hence He is not God. If he changes to the worse He ceases to be God for He has moved to a position of error. In this we see that to be perfect and to remain perfect He cannot change. This attribute then identifies an inherent characteristic of a perfect being called God. Scriptures declare Him to be unchangeable:
Mal 3:6, "For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."
James 1:17, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
Num 1:17, "God is not a man, that He should lie: neither the Son of man, that He should repent; hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken , and shall He not make it good?"
God identified Himself to Moses as immutable in Exo 3:14, "And God said unto Moses, I am that I am; and he said, Thus shall thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you."
God uses the Rock to teach that He is immutable , in Deu 32:4, "He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He."
Paul declares Jesus to be immutable in Heb 13:8, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day and for ever."
His word is immutable: Psa. 119:89, "Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven."
His faithfulness is immutable: Psa 119:90 "Thy faithfulness is unto all generations : thou hast established the earth and abideth."
His love is immutable: Jer 31:3 "The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, yes, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee."
His mercy and truth is immutable : Psa 100:5, "For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations."
His counsel is immutable: Heb 6:17 "Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath:"
His thoughts and purposes are immutable Isa 14:24, "The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass: and as I have purposed, so shall it stand."
These scriptures as well as many others provide proof that our God is an immutable God. His power, love, hate, wisdom, knowledge, holiness, understanding, mercy judgment, wrath goodness, faithfulness, grace, patience, and etc are all immutable attributes of the only perfect God. Therefore, in His immutable nature He is self-existent and self-sufficient, which identifies Him as the only eternal and infinite being.
Humanity is mutable, and as a result of Adams sins all humanity in nature is opposed to God. In this state we are referred to as 'wandering stars' in Jud 1:13, "Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever." Since we are in this deplorable state in nature His children need stability above all else. Stability comes only from a stable force. Stability first comes to a child of God by his quickening Spirit which brings eternal life. With eternal life comes the indwelling of the Spirit and the work of the Comforter which enables them to embrace the attributes of God thorough His word and take hold of the glorious promises, teachings and doctrine which brings purpose and hope to an unstable being.
If we do not believe God to be immutable then His word, promises, commandments, laws etc, are changeable therefore He is reduced to the same state as humanity. But if we believe that He is immutable, then we can see Him in His Excellency as Moses did in Exo 15:11. "Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?"
The Love and Hate of God: God's love is absolute and perfect, and His hate is the same. These attributes reflect inherent abilities of God. None can question why He loves or hates.
Each attribute of God manifest His divine nature. To limit either His love or hate reduces His nature to something less than God. To deny his ability to hate, forces God to love sin! God forbid.
To say God loves one less than another is to accuse God of being imperfect. If God does anything in degrees He is imperfect and has the same attributes of man. God forgive us of this error. Man does everything in degrees but God is God and accomplishes every act perfectly.
Since God is eternal, His attributes are eternal. This means He loved and hated before He created the heavens and earth and all that is within creation. This is manifested in Rom 9:11-14, "For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth. It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid." God has the sovereign right to love whom he will and hate whom he will. Notice in the text that God's love and hate was not based upon good or evil, but upon His Sovereign election.
Those sinners which are embraced in His eternal love are given to His Son to save and the sinners which He hates is left to stand in judgment by His perfect law. All the human race was condemned by God's law, therefore all merited His hatred and abhorrence but He favored the objects of His love by drawing them to Him effectually. In Jer 31:3, "The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee." God's love and hate is eternal, hence His love and hate was not dependent or influenced in any way by the acts of mankind.
His eternal purpose toward those He loves is reflected in Eph 1:4-6, "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love; Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of His will. To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved." These scriptures state that God bestowed the blessings cited, according to the good pleasure of His will.
God's love reaches down through time and provides the means to save those he loves from eternal wrath as stated in 1 John 4:10. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." The fulfillment of His saving love is recorded in Rom 5:8-10. "But God commandeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more than, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."
God's divine love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost when we are born spiritually and will abide there eternally. Paul reveals this wonderful truth to us in Rom 8:35-39. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril or sword? As it is written, for thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
John addresses the finished work of Divine Love in 1 John 3:1, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not."
The attributes of God as set forth in the scriptures declare Him to be a living, self-existent, self-sufficient, eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient God. It would be inconsistent to believe that His attributes could not support Him. It would be inconsistent to believe that God is perfect and His attributes imperfect. It would be inconsistent to believe in God and not believe in His attributes. It would be inconsistent to believe in God and His attributes and not rejoice in His promises.
In conclusion, each attribute of God is like a facet of a diamond. When the glorious light of truth shines upon a facet and that facet together with all the other facets sparkle with the brilliancy of divine revelation, then and only then do we begin to see the perfection and glory of the entire Diamond.