Attributes of God

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Attributes are qualities or characteristics of a person or thing.
Since we are talking about the attributes of God, in relation to God, A. W. Tozer says,
An attribute of God is whatever God has in any way revealed as being true of Himself.
Although general revelation is able to give us a glimpse of God’s attributes (surely the Creator of the universe is omnipotent), it is not until we have come to God in salvation and to God’s Word that we are able to more fully understand the character of God as He has revealed it to us.
However, if we, as Christians, were honest, we would admit that, at times, it is difficult for us reconcile, in our minds, what we see in the world and what we know to be true about God.
First of all we need to understand...

Because we are finite, it is difficult for us to fully comprehend God’s character, which is infinite!

Isaiah 55:8–9 KJV 1900
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are my ways higher than your ways, And my thoughts than your thoughts.

Because we are finite, as long as we are in this sin-cursed, we will never be able to fully comprehend the character of God.

Job 11:7 KJV 1900
Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?
Ryrie’s Basic Theology I. The Possibility of the Knowledge of God
Unquestionably the knowledge of God is desirable; the religious yearnings of mankind testify to that. But is it possible? The Scriptures attest to two facts: the incomprehensibility of God and the knowability of God. To say that He is incomprehensible is to assert that the mind cannot grasp the knowledge of Him. To say that He is knowable is to claim that He can be known. Both are true, though neither in an absolute sense. To say that God is incomprehensible is to assert that man cannot know everything about Him. To say that He is knowable is not to assert that man can know everything about Him.
Ryrie’s Basic Theology I. Characteristics of the Perfections of God

When we have listed all the attributes we can glean from revelation, we have not fully described God. This stems from His incomprehensibility. Even if we could say we had a complete list of all God’s perfections, we could not fathom their meaning, for finite man cannot comprehend the infinite God.

I again want to offer this caution: Do not view our study about Bible Doctrines - in these messages specifically relating to the attributes of God - to become simply an academic exercise.
The study of the attributes of God, far from being dull and heavy, may for the enlightened Christian be a sweet and absorbing spiritual exercise.
To the soul that is athirst for God, nothing could be more delightful.
Psalm 63:1 KJV 1900
O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: My soul thirsteth for thee, My flesh longeth for thee In a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
With all of that being said, let’s go ahead and jump into the deep end!

God’s natural attributes

For the purpose of study, God’s attributes can be separated into two groups: His natural attributes and His moral attributes.
Natural attributes are the very nature of God’s Being. They are unique to Him and cannot be the characteristics of man either now or in the future.
To a degree, it is possible for us to be like Jesus in His moral attributes.
1 Peter 1:16 KJV 1900
Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
We can never become like Him in His natural attributes.
So, what are God’s natural attributes?

God is transcendent.

God is above His creation.
1 Kings 8:27 KJV 1900
But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?
Isaiah 57:15 KJV 1900
For thus saith the high and lofty One That inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, With him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
Acts 17:24 KJV 1900
God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
When we speak of God as transcendent we mean of course that He is exalted far above the created universe, so far above that human though cannot imagine it.
To think accurately about this, however, we must keep in mind that “far above” does not here refer to physical distance from the earth but to quality of being.
Wherever God appeared to men in Bible times the results were the same - an overwhelming sense of terror and dismay, a wrenching sensation of sinfulness and guilt.
Turn to and read Daniel 10:7-9
These experiences show that a vision of the divine transcendence soon ends all controversy between the man and his God.
Turn to and read Job 38:1-3; 42:1-6.
The fight goes out of the man and he is ready with the conquered Saul to ask meekly, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”
Turn to and read Isaiah 6:1-8.
As we begin to grasp the transcendence of God, it will...
Cause us to fear God more and people less.
Cause us to speak less and listen more.
Break us of pride and humble us before the throne of God.
How shall polluted mortals dare to sing Thy glory or Thy grace? Beneath Thy feet we lie afar, and see but shadows of Thy face.

God is immanent.

Lord of all being, throned afar, they glory flames from sun and star; center and soul of every sphere, yet to each loving heart how near! Lord of all life, below, above, Whose light is truth, whose warmth is love, before Thy ever-blazing throne we ask no luster of our own.
Although God is above all - He is transcendent - He has seen fit to be actively involved within His creation.
Isaiah 57:15 KJV 1900
For thus saith the high and lofty One That inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, With him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
Ephesians 4:6 KJV 1900
One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Colossians 1:17 KJV 1900
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
The pinnacle of God’s immanence was His coming to earth as a Baby, living for 33 years on earth, and dying on a cross for man’ sins.
John 1:1–3 KJV 1900
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 any thing made that was made.
John 1:10–11 KJV 1900
He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
However, we should not simply view God’s immanence merely in terms of His death, burial, and resurrection.
We should also view God’s immanence in terms of His life in us and His life through us!
John 15:4–5 KJV 1900
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Galatians 2:20 KJV 1900
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
I wish I could adequately put into words what this matter of God’s immanence should mean to us, not just merely for salvation but also for revival and simply daily living the Christian life.
If the average Christian went into a library and saw many books with a wide variety of titles on Christian topics and one among them marked just Jesus, it would the the one book they would pass by in their search for victory and revival. And yet only in that One - and He in us - was to be found the fullness of the Godhead, revival and everything else!
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