|Compassion, Mercy, Grace||Love||Impartiality|
|Holiness and Truth||Perfection||Wisdom|
The question of God’s character is vital to each and every one of us…seeing that we are totally dependent upon Him for our survival. God’s character is what motivates His actions… and His actions are what determine our total welfare and future. Whether or not God can be trusted is revealed in His character.
Centuries of misinformed speculation regarding God’s true character have caused great confusion, delusion and disappointment for our human family…leading people to question “why?” “Why did God allow that to happen” or “Why hasn’t God answered my prayer”? Understanding the true character of God resolves the “why” questions once and for all.
The summary of God’s character reveals this…
God simply can do nothing wrong or that is harmful in any way to His creation.
The motives behind all of God’s efforts toward our human family are those where our absolute, best interest is His supreme will. Ethical purity and moral perfection stand tall as traits of our Creator’s character.
The first descriptions of God’s character are…compassion, mercy and grace
The English word “grace” comes from the Greek word “charis” meaning “unmerited favor”. It means “the receiving of something that we don’t deserve”…and who doesn’t need that from time to time. Here’s how it works.
First…the problem. It was our choice to rebel against God to become sinners. Every human being has done that. God didn’t force sin on us…we jumped in its bed by ourselves.
Second…the repercussion. Because of sin God moved out of our lives…leaving us to deal with sin’s fury all alone. He will have nothing to do with sin in any form or fashion.
Third…the tragic results. Look at today’s horrible headlines. Mankind is a mess and we can’t do anything about it. We have no power to overcome sin’s power. Sin is having a hey-day at the expense of our human family.
Fourth…the hope. All is not lost. God knows all about the situation…and being who He is God feels compassion toward us even though we are rebellious sinners who have gone against His will. He isn’t laughing at our tragedies … He grieves with our pain and suffering.
Fifth…getting something we don’t deserve. God knows that we are entrapped with a power of sin far greater than we are able to control and He is ready to do something about it…when we are ready to allow Him to do it. Here’s where grace and mercy come in. Even though we are the ones at fault…it is God who is extending a hand of forgiveness and deliverance from our sins…even though none of us deserve it. God is compassionate, merciful and full of grace. Someone with that quality of character can definitely be trusted.
“All of us used to be just as they are, our lives expressing the evil within us, doing every wicked thing that our passions or our evil thoughts might lead us into. We started out bad, being born with evil natures, and were under God’s anger just like everyone else. But God is so rich in mercy; he loved us so much that even though we were spiritually dead and doomed by our sins, he gave us back our lives again when he raised Christ from the dead–only by his undeserved favor (grace) have we ever been saved” Ephesians 2:3-5
“O Lord, you are so good and kind, so ready to forgive, so full of mercy for all who ask your aid” Psalms 86:5
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
Another trait of God’s character is… love
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Love is one of those words overused and misused. The Greeks had three different terms for it…Agape, Eros and Phileo. “Eros” love is sexual love. We hear that one used a lot. Eros is never mentioned in the Bible. “Phileo” is friendship love…something like how brothers and sisters love each other. “Agape” is “Godly love”…the kind of love God has…true, genuine love. It would be facetious for anyone to try to describe “agape” love …for this kind of love can’t be taught, it can only be experienced.
The Bible teaches that the love of God is pure and inclusive. No human being on earth is excluded from God’s love even though each and every one of us has failed Him. This kind of love is difficult for most human beings to fully understand. It offers healing rather than retribution…reconciliation rather than revenge. God loves those who have turned their backs on him and He aggressively seeks to reconcile them to Himself. His love is so great that He sacrificed His only begotten Son so that the rebellious sinful human family could be forgiven. God loves us even when we proved by our disobedience that we did not love Him. Someone with that quality of character can definitely be trusted.
“God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into this wicked world to bring to us eternal life through his death. In this act we see what real love is. It is not our love for God but his love for us when he sent his Son to satisfy God’s anger against our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us as much as that, we surely ought to love each other too. For though we have never yet seen God, when we love each other God lives in us, and his love within us grows ever stronger.” 1 John 4:8-12
God also is… impartial
Another feature of God’s character is that He makes no distinction between one person and another. Every human being is equally valuable in His sight…and what God is willing to do for one, He is willing to do for everyone.
God’s love and mercy are extended to anyone who accepts them. Every human being has the assurance that we shall be equally treated. The needs of one person are as urgent to God as the needs of anyone. Someone with that quality of character can definitely be trusted.
“God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” Acts 10:34
“And remember that your heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites when he judges. He will judge you with perfect justice for everything you do; so act in reverent fear of him from now on until you get to heaven.”
I Peter 1:17
Another characteristic of God is His… patience
God has a “long mind”…which means that He is not quick to condemn or judge even those who have rebelled and turned from Him. Instead, God patiently waits for His human creation to return to His fellowship. Someone with that quality of character can definitely be trusted.
“The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.” Psalms 103:8
God also is… good
God’s goodness is revealed in His intentions and efforts toward our human family. Everything He does is for our greatest well being. He can be trusted to treat every member of our human family with the highest level of moral integrity and fairness. His motives are honorable and honest.
Nothing in God’s character or in the history of His dealings with our human family would suggest anything about our Creator other than perfect righteousness and trustworthiness. In every act of God we are introduced to the purest and most excellent of virtues. Someone with that quality of character can definitely be trusted.
“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusts in him.” Psalms 34:8
“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (The words of Jesus) Matthew 7:11
“Why do you despise the riches of God’s goodness and forbearance and longsuffering? Do you not realize that the goodness of God is trying to lead you to repentance?” (A question from the apostle Paul for sinners who continue to be rebellious) Romans 2:4
God is… just
This is a characteristic of God that confuses many people. God is a judge who measures out His true justice. True justice involves both reward and punishment.
God rewards those who are good and punishes those who are evil. In His court of law justice is fair, impartial and certain.
The question often heard is, “Would a loving and kind God really send someone to an everlasting punishment in hell?” The answer is no…God would never send someone to an everlasting punishment…but He has allowed untold numbers to go there by their own choice.
True justice demands both reward and punishment. Anything less would undermine the integrity and authority of the Judge. Most human beings relate to the reward side of justice, but have difficulty accepting the punishment.
“The Lord is still in his holy temple; he still rules from heaven. He closely watches everything that happens here on earth. He puts the righteous and the wicked to the test; he hates those loving violence. He will rain down fire and brimstone on the wicked and scorch them with his burning wind. For God is good, and he loves goodness; the godly shall see his face. Lord! Help! Godly men are fast disappearing. Where in all the world can dependable men be found? Everyone deceives and flatters and lies. There is no sincerity left. But the Lord will not deal gently with people who act like that; he will destroy those proud liars who say, “We will lie to our hearts’ content. Our lips are our own; who can stop us?” Psalms 11:4 – 12:3
God is our only eternal judge and his judgments are just. He looks upon the heart and actions of all people to determine our eternal outcome. The actions of the sinner bring anger and retribution from the Lord while the righteous are accepted and rewarded. The choice is left to each one of us…”Shall I remain a rebellious sinner…or shall I seek the Lord with all my heart?”
God’s judgments cannot be compared with human justice, for His standards are far more superior than those of our human courts where true justice is often repressed. While humans appear more lenient and hesitant to punish the wicked, God is not so lenient. This is a disturbing reality for those who do not understand the implications of true justice.
To dismiss the arrogant and rebellious sinner who continually mocks His law and authority would discredit God’s integrity and character. His authority is defined and maintained by the fair administration of justice…which includes certain punishment to the sinner. There is no plea bargaining in God’s court. To allow the sinner a reprieve would undermine God’s authority.
Even so, God constantly seeks to forgive the sinner…if they desire His forgiveness to turn away from their sins. But if not, God is fair and impartial…and certain to administer His true justice on every human being. There is an appointed date for each of us to stand before the judgment seat of God. Today we have a choice…tomorrow a date with destiny.
A true and just God, yet merciful to those who seek mercy. Someone with that quality of character can definitely be trusted.
“For we know him who said, “Justice belongs to me; I will repay them”; who also said, “The Lord himself will handle these cases.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 10:30-31
“Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner. A good man obtains favor of the LORD: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn.” Proverbs 11:31
God is… holy and truthful
God’s character is one of innocence and purity. The Bible reveals Him to be “holy”, a word taken from the Greek word, “hagios”, meaning “sacred” or “blameless”. It defines God as faultless…undefiled in any way.
God is further identified to be “truthful” from the Hebrew word “emuwnah” and the Greek “aletheia”. Both words define God as not only factual and accurate in all that He says and does…but also identifies Him to be unwavering and consistent. His “truths” are eternally accurate and without error…and His stand for “truth” is constant and unwavering.
God knows what is truth…He will always do and tell the truth…and God will never be changed or swayed from truth.
God, innocent and undefiled in any way, can forever be relied upon. God, truthful in all that He says and does, can forever be relied upon. His works and decisions are beyond reproach. Someone with that quality of character can definitely be trusted.
“The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.” Psalms 145:17
God is… total and complete…perfect in every way
Nothing is missing with God. He is whole and complete… nothing more can be added to His makeup or character. Perfection and holiness are distinct terms with separate meanings. The term “holiness” defines God to be faultless…while “perfection” defines totality (completeness). God possesses both. He is both without fault and totally complete. Someone with that quality of character can definitely be trusted.
“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.”
God is… wise
Not only does God possess unlimited knowledge…He also possesses the wisdom of how to use His knowledge to its greatest potential.
Knowledge without wisdom is of little value…as most of us have realized at some time or another in our life. Problems do not get solved by knowledge alone. An “educated fool” may have much book knowledge…but has little wisdom of how to use the potential of that knowledge. Such is not the case with God.
Wisdom is one of God’s strong character traits. He does not abuse or misuse His unlimited knowledge…God knows how to exploit His knowledge to its greatest potential with our best interests always in mind. Someone with that quality of character can definitely be trusted.
“With Him is wisdom and strength, he has counsel and understanding.”
“To God, who alone is wise, be the glory forever through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
God is… sovereign
God is the most powerful Being in all the universe. He can do all things…and He is above all things. God is the ultimate of bothpowers…the power to accomplish and the power of supreme jurisdiction (complete sovereignty).
There is no greater authority than God. He rules over all and His throne is established forever in Heaven. Someone with that quality of character can definitely be trusted.
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
God has sovereign authority ( power ) over evil…We learn from Matthew 6:13 that God has authority over evil and also the power to deliver us from its temptations and control…both kinds of power…the power over and the power to do.
Our human family must deal with spiritual wickedness in high places…satanic spirits that are evil and overpowering. Only through God’s authority and control of these evil spirits can we find deliverance and safety. It is through Him that we conquer our spiritual enemies.
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.”
God has sovereign authority ( power ) over religion…We learn from Romans 1:16 that God also has authority over “true religion” and “spiritual salvation”. He alone has authority over the spiritual affairs of mankind. No organized “religion” has been given such authority. The capacity to satisfy our Creator’s spiritual requirements has never been delegated to religious hierarchies, organizations or liturgical exercises. Men cannot save men. God alone possesses such authority. The only commission God has relinquished to human effort is that of proclaiming His great message of salvation. Beyond that of “proclaiming God’s message” man has no involvement or authority in the spiritual matters of another.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
God has sovereign authority ( power ) over all creation…We learn from Revelation 4:11 that nothing exists or functions beyond the will of God. All things were created by Him and for Him. Mankind is but a part of that creation with the responsibility to respect and protect God’s other life creations and environment.
“O Lord, you are worthy to receive the glory and the honor and the power, for you have created all things. They were created and called into being by your act of will.”
God has sovereign authority ( power ) over heaven and earth…We learn from Revelation 5:13 and 19:1 that God has authority over both heaven and earth…and over all creatures therein. There are no limits to God’s authority…spiritual or physical. All are subordinate to God.
God’s sovereign authority has never been relinquished to any other creature or being. He retains all authoritative power now and forever. There is none in all the universe equal to Him.
“And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.”
God is… faithful
God can be relied upon to do all that He has promised. He never fails on any of His promises. God has promised us a “more abundant life”…a life of peace and joy. He has promised to provide for our physical and spiritual needs. God has promised to guide us into all truth and to protect us from our spiritual enemies. God has promised to never forsake His people…that He will be with us in every situation and circumstance.
No one in all of human history can accurately say that God has ever failed them… although some may think He has. The reason they think that way is because they have misinterpreted His promises. Although God has made many promises…every promise comes with a condition. And although God has promised to answer our prayers… God will not answer foolish prayers that are against His will or that are harmful to us in some way. God cares what happens to us…and He is wise enough to know the difference between a harmful prayer and a constructive prayer. Foolish children sometimes want foolish things. A wise parent knows when to withhold a child’s request in behalf of the child’s benefit.
The faithfulness of God does not mean that He is our servant to snap at attention when we call. He knows what we have need of even before we ask. He is watching over us and will not forsake those who trust in Him. God is a wise Father who is faithful to the total welfare and safety of His children. Someone with that quality of character can definitely be trusted.
“And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.” Psalms 9:10
“Forever, O Lord, your Word stands firm in heaven. Your faithfulness extends to every generation, like the earth you created; it endures by your decree, for everything serves your plans.” Psalms 119:89
“So be careful. If you are thinking, “Oh, I would never behave like that”–let this be a warning to you. For you too may fall into sin. But remember this–the wrong desires that come into your life aren’t anything new and different. Many others have faced exactly the same problems before you. And no temptation is irresistible. You can trust God to keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it, for he has promised this and will do what he says. He will show you how to escape temptation’s power so that you can bear up patiently against it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
God is… a God of glory
The Greek word, “doxa”, from where we translate our English word, “glory”, means dignity or honor. God possesses dignity and honor. There is none like Him in either the spiritual or physical worlds. The verb usage means to praise or worship. Giving glory (praise/worship) to a glorious (dignified) God is a natural act of those who know Him. He alone is recognized to be of such honor as to deserve the highest reverence and deepest worship.
Dignity, as we have come to apply it to human beings, is the status of a person that commands or deserves respect. Most often dignity is assumed rather than earned…as is the case of those in certain positions. Someone who has been elevated to a higher position than we are viewed with respect and honor. For example, those in elected offices (such as public officials), or those of “noble” birthright (such as kings and queens) are generally respected for their position… not necessarily their character.
The same is true of our admiration toward sports and entertainment figures, whose talents are more respected than the quality of their life style. Sadly this view of one’s position above one’s character has lowered our expectations of that which we give honor and praise.
The God revealed to us in the Bible…as well as in our human experiences…has earned the respect and praise of His creation. He is respected, not only because of His lofty position, but also because of His lofty and unblemished character. God’s dignity as a righteous and perfect Creator of the universe is worthy of our deepest respect and reverence. There is none like Him. He alone is worthy of all praise and worship. Someone with that quality of character can definitely be trusted.
“And now–all glory to him who alone is God, who saves us through Jesus Christ our Lord; yes, splendor and majesty, all power and authority are his from the beginning; his they are and his they ever more shall be. And he is able to keep you from slipping and falling away, and to bring you, sinless and perfect, into his glorious presence with mighty shouts of everlasting joy.” Jude 1: 24-25
God is… a jealous God
This is a character trait of God that some people may find confusing. God demands complete allegiance and reverence. There is no room for worship or allegiance to any other gods beyond Him. His jealousy in that regard is most intense.
But the jealousy of God should not be compared with the jealousy of human beings… which is where many people become confused. There are two Hebrew words from where our English word, “jealous” is translated in the Bible. The first, “qanna “, simply means “jealous”… while “qana” has a more prime root meaning…”to be or to make zealous”. There is an important distinction between the two terms.
“Gana” is the kind of jealousy (in a bad sense) that is envious of another… which in turn provokes an unrealistic, excessive zeal. This is the kind of jealousy that human beings exhibit when we are intimidated or envious of others. Such jealousy provokes zealous responses that puts pressure and demands…even emotional and physical harm…on the victim of our jealousy.
The “ganna” jealousy of God is different. God is not intimated, threatened or envious of any creature…nor is He engaged in zealous attempts to provoke or pressure someone into submission. His jealousy, to demand total allegiance to Himself, is inspired by His lofty position of honor, dignity and integrity. He alone is deserving of total honor and worship, and to demand any less from His creation would not fit the natural nature of His character.
Nothing can become a substitute for God…or relied upon as a means of survival and permanence…without provoking the jealousy of God. The gods of religion, education, science, power and wealth…which we have established to be our life’s foundations… have distracted us from allegiance and trust of the real God. Any individual or nation that does so is doomed to failure…and is certain to provoke the jealous anger of our Creator.
“You shall not bow down to any images nor worship them in any way, for I am the Lord your God. I am a jealous God, and I will bring the curse of a father’s sins upon even the third and fourth generation of the children of those who hate me; but I will show kindness to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Deuteronomy 5:9-10
God is… immutable ( unchanging )
God never changes…He will forever be as He always has been. He is the same yesterday, today and forever…even when times and circumstances change.
Human history on earth has undergone drastic reconstruction throughout the ages…yet, despite the changing status of our cultures and moral depravation, the character and will of God are still intact. His relationship with our human family has remained stable and certain…even in the unstable and uncertain times in which we currently live. The same God that we read about in the Old Testament times and in the New Testament times is the same One who we relate to today. Time and circumstance do not change God.
The twentieth century has been the most volatile and insecure period of human existence, yet God remains unchangeable. The denial of God in these “enlightened” generations has become the theme of education, yet God remains unchangeable. But while we make declarations of an advanced level of intelligence beyond the need for God… the historical reality declares otherwise. Man has replaced a stable, unchanging, powerful Creator with the unstable, ever changing weakness of human incompetence…while the news headlines confirm the results.
God’s stability and unchanging character is the only foundation on which our human existence has any meaning. He is the solid rock on which we stand…all other ground is sinking sand. Someone with that quality of character can definitely be trusted.
“For I am the LORD, I change not.” Malachi 3:6
“Whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God, the Creator of all light, and he shines forever without change….” James 1:17