A search for identity begins by asking “Who am I?” but quickly changes to “Who is God?” Before we can truly know who we are, we must begin by seeking answers to the question of who is God. Because we were created by Him, we have to look to God if we are to truly decipher the meaning and purpose of our lives. Let us explore the attributes of God so can begin to grasp the concept of who God is.
What are the Attributes of God?
When we are getting to know someone, we spend time with them trying to figure out their character traits. How would this person act in certain situations? The same is true about God. We learn who God is through Bible study. As we get to know Him, we have to spend some time learning about His attributes.
The attributes of God may be divided into communicable and incommunicable attributes. The incommunicable attributes of God are traits that belong to God alone. This would include His omniscience, transcendence, omnipotence, and so forth.
The communicable attributes of God are those that can also be possessed by human beings. This would include attributes such as knowledge, love, mercy, kindness, and so on.
As you read through the attributes of God below, I’d like you to think about the ones that belong to God alone.
The Attributes of God
1. Eternal – In John 8:56, Jesus told the Pharisees “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” Coming from a 30-year-old man, these must have been strange words indeed. But Jesus was trying to show them that He had existed long before. In Revelation 22:13, He tells John “I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.” God always was and always will be.
2. Immutable – God cannot change. 1 Samuel 15:29 tells us: “Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.” We like to think the Old Testament God was cruel and harsh but a careful, systematic reading of the Bible reveals that God’s character did not change. He has always pursued humanity and treated us with more grace, love, and mercy than we deserve (Malachi 3:6, John 3:16).
3. Faithful – When God makes a promise, He keeps it even if the conditions are not met. If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13).
4. Omnipotent – God is all-powerful (Revelation 19:6, Jeremiah 42:11). There is nothing God cannot do. He spoke and things appeared out of nothing. He has the power to heal and the power to resurrect. He make barren women become pregnant, blind people see. He makes a way when there seems to be no place to go.
5. Omnipresent – God is capable of being everywhere all at the same time. Proverbs 15:3 tells us: “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, watching the evil and the good.” The psalmist reminds us there is no place we can go that is outside of God’s presence (Psalm 139:7-12).
6. Omniscient – God knows everything. I am constantly fascinated when I read the prophecies which God gave to His people in the Old Testament only to read them being fulfilled years later. Jesus did something similar right before His crucifixion. He told His disciples “I tell you these things before they happen so that when they do you will believe (John 14:29).” Nothing surprises God; He knew it was going to happen before it did.
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7. Holy – “Be holy because I am holy” (Leviticus 19:19). God calls His people to be holy because holiness is built into His character.Be holy because I am holy (Leviticus 19:19). God calls His people to be holy because holiness is built into His character. #hebrews12endurance #whoisGod Click To Tweet
8. Loving – We like to believe we have cornered the market on love, but while we are capable of displaying love but God is love. It’s just who He is (1 John 4:7-21, 1 John 4:8).
9. Merciful – The greatest demonstration of God’s mercy is the plan of salvation. Even before humanity acknowledged that they had sinned, God had a plan of redemption for them.
Related: God’s Grace When We Fail
10. Gracious – God does not treat us as our sin deserves. The penalty for sin is death, but God offers us the opportunity to have eternal life. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus (Romans 3:23-24 NIV).
11. Jealous – One of the commandments that God gave humanity is to worship Him and no other because He is a jealous God. I love the way the NLT renders Exodus 34:14 “Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Not only is He a jealous God, but His name is also Jealous. God is not jealous in the sense that He covets what we have (that would be sin and God cannot sin), but He desires all that belongs to Him.Do you know the attributes of God? Here's a list of 14 of them. #searchforidentity #hebrews12endurance #identityinChrist Click To Tweet
12. Righteous – God is just. He’s incapable of sinning. His justness, righteousness, and morality are innate and incorruptible. Throughout the Bible God proves Himself to be just (Genesis 3:12-19, Psalm 119:137, Psalm 145:17).
13. Good – We easily assign the label “good” to people. If a person is helpful or does not behave in a certain manner, we consider them to be “good people”. Yet Jesus denied the label in His human form. “Why do you call me good? There is only one good and that is God” (Mark 10:18).
14. Truth – God is Truth. This goes beyond truthful. Everything that is real comes from God and exists because He does.
Who Is God in the Bible?
As we seek to understand more about God, let’s go back to the beginning. We can learn a lot about the characteristics of God by just reading Genesis. A cursory reading of Genesis reveals these things about God:
He is the Creator. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1 NKJV). As we read this first chapter, we learn that everything which exists was created by God – our planet, solar system, environment, marine life, as well as, birds and land animals were all created by God. But He didn’t stop there. He went on to create mankind – male and female versions.
What this teaches us about God: He is creative and has a great imagination. He has a scientific and logical mind. It takes logic to work out the progression of things and to determine the order in which things need to be made. God didn’t create life until He had made everything necessary to sustain life – water, air, light, food. The level of detail involved in the simplest lifeform shows imagination and scientific genius.Do you know who God is? This mini-Bible study is a good place to start. #searchforidentity #hebrews12endurance #identityinChrist Click To Tweet
He speaks with power. We are told that there is power in our words, but here we see God speaking things into being. As the writer of Hebrews puts it, He spoke and the unseen things were made visible (Hebrews 11:3). I like to think God had imagined everything He was going to make before He did it. Then when it was the right time He simply spoke the words “Let there be…” and all the things He had imagined came into existence.
What this teaches us about God: He has ultimate power and is in complete control. Only with ultimate power could have been able to create a whole universe with just words. He did it and the result was perfect proves that God has complete control.
My son and I recently listened to The Phantom Tollbooth. There’s a scene where Milo meets the Conductor who made all the colors in the land. When the Conductor was in charge, conducting the orchestra appeared simple. So simple Milo thought he could conduct the sunrise. He quickly learned that the slightest crook of his fingers could have disastrous results (like turning a blackbird blue.) I use this, as an illustration, to show that God is in control.
When He spoke the world into being, everything came out just as it was supposed to; there were no mistakes or do-overs.
God is the Redeemer. When God put mankind into the garden, He gave them one rule: do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or you will surely die (Genesis 2:16-17). Unfortunately, mankind disobeyed and faced extinction. That is until God made a promise of redemption.
And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel (Genesis 3:15 NKJV)
This is the first time in Scripture that God made the promise to redeem humanity.
Related: The Significance of Genesis 3:15
What this teaches us about God: He always has a plan. If you think about it, there was no lag time between Adam and Eve’s admission that they had sinned and the plan of salvation. We learn from other Scriptures that God had made this plan before the earth was created.
Knowing that you were not redeemed with [corruptible] things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world but was manifest in these last times for you (1 Peter 1:18-20 ESV).
Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love (Ephesians 1:4 ESV).
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’ (Matthew 25:34 ESV ).
God is a Promise Keeper. The very first promise God made was that if Adam or Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they would “surely die”. While they did not die immediately, that’s exactly what happened. Throughout the book of Genesis and the rest of the Scriptures, God makes a number of promises all of which He has kept.
• The promised Messiah – Genesis 3:15
• The promise not to destroy all lifeform through a flood – Genesis 9:8-17
• The promise to Abraham to make him a great nation – Genesis 12:1-2
What this teaches us about God: He is faithful. God keeps His promises even when the person He made the promise with or to does not keep their part of the agreement. Joshua was able to tell the Israelites before he died that all of God’s promises had come true (Joshua 21:45).
Bible Verses Highlighting the Attributes of God
Another good way to learn more about who God is is to examine what the Scriptures say about Him. During my Bible study time, I like to take note of what the Bible says about who God is. For that reason, one of the color codes that I use in my Bible is devoted to the character of God. I love flipping through and reading what the Bible has to say about God. Here are some of my favorite verses:
“Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods?
Who is like You, glorious in holiness,
Fearful in praises, doing wonders? (Exodus 15:11 NKJV)
“No one is holy like the Lord,
For there is none besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God.” (1 Samuel 2:2 NKJV)
‘Now see that I, even I, am He,
And there is no God besides Me;
I kill and I make alive;
I wound and I heal;
Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.’ (Deuteronomy 32:39 NKJV)
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love. Psalm 103:8 NIV
Who is a God like you,
who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy. Micah 7:18 NIV
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him! Isaiah 30:18 NIV
Who Is God to You?
So who is God, really? The best way to answer the question after examining the scriptures is to say who is God to you? Yes, I know it sounds strange, but bear with me a few minutes. I can tell you everything I know about God. I can tell you who God is to me. You can listen to sermons about who God is. You can scour the internet for Bible studies on the attributes. You can read every book ever written about God and never scratch the surface of who God is.
To answer the “Who is God?” question, you will have to ask yourself:
• Is God real?
• Who is God to me?
• What has God done for me?
As you sort through your experiences, you’ll get a clearer picture of what God requires of you. It is the answers to these questions that will then form the core of your identity. Remember, we can’t truly know who we are without first knowing who God is.
Over the next couple of days, I invite you to ponder the answers to the questions above. I encourage you to study your Bible to find out more about who God is as we continue the quest towards our identity.
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