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Lesson 3 The Attributes of God

 

Devotional Reading:   Psalm 139:1–12

 

Memory Verse:           1 Timothy 1:17.

        

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

LESSON TEXT

 

Isaiah 40:28. Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.

 

Isaiah 43:13, 15. 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? . . . 15I am the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.

 

Isaiah 45:21. Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.

 

Jeremiah 23:23, 24. Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? 24Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.

 

Jeremiah 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.

 

Micah 7:18. Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.

 

COMMENTS ON THE LESSON TOPIC

 

Isaiah 40:28. God is here called the everlasting God which makes him eternal. That he does not faint or get weary suggests his unchangeableness. His omniscience is also suggested.

Isaiah 43:13. In this passage we have God existing before time, which shows his eternity: it is an independent existence. His irresistible power is also shown. “Let” means to reverse. V15. God is also called the Holy One. This points out another of his attributes.

Isaiah 45:21. The prophet’s description of God points out his foreknowledge, his unity—the one God, and his justice.

Jeremiah 23:23–24. God is afar off as well as near. Here is the doctrine of omnipresence.

Jeremiah 3217. In stating that there is nothing too hard for God, the prophet expresses God’s omnipotence.

Micah 7:18. This text points out the mercy of God.

 

LESSON TOPIC: THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD

 

Definition

 

By the attributes of God we mean the essential qualities that make up his nature. We speak of the qualities of matter as extension, inertia, etc., for of the faculties of the mind as knowing, feeling, and willing. The attributes of God are variously classified. For convenience we call them as moral and non-moral, discussing the latter first.

 

I. NON-MORAL ATTRIBUTES

 

1. The unity of God.

 

By unity of God we mean fist that there is but one God. The Scriptures abound in testimony on this fact. Deuteronomy 4:25; Psalm 86:10; Isaiah 45:22; John 17:3; 1 Corinthians 8:5–6; I Timothy 2:5.

The Scriptures leave no place whatever for many gods. The “gods many, and lords many” of which they speak, are false gods. He is the only self-existing Being. The unity of god also includes the idea that he is not a compound of separate units. His attributes do not exist apart from him any more than color exists without an object to be colored.

 

2. Spirituality of God.

 

By spirituality we mean that God is a spirit and not material substance; that he is an individual with intelligence, feeling, and will and hence a moral Being. Hebrews 12:9; Numbers 16:22; 2 Corinthians 3:17.

 

3. Unchangeableness of God.

 

By unchangeableness of god is meant that his character and nature are unchangeable, fixed, and entirely dependable. He is ever the same. He is free to act at his own discretion in harmony with his essential nature. Malachi 3:6; James 1:17; Hebrews 13:8; Psalm 33:11; Hebrews 1:10–12.

Let not our idea of unchangeableness leave God unable to act. He does act in answer to prayer and otherwise. This is not a change in his character but he is only acting out.

 

4. The eternity of God.

 

The eternity of God, like his other attributes is beyond our comprehension, yet is necessary to reason and is taught in the Scriptures. He has existed forever and will forever exist, not just as a matter of fact but because he is the great I AM—the self-existing One. He who changes not shall abide ever. Psalm 90:2; Isaiah 57:15; Genesis 21:33; Deuteronomy 33:27.

 

5. Omnipotence.

 

By omnipotence we mean that God is all powerful. Reason cannot establish this fact by can bring near to it and has nothing to forbid it. The Scriptures clearly state God’s omnipotence. We are conscious of power but in a very limited way. God’s power is unlimited except by his own nature and the nature of things. He cannot make sin holy nor the wicked safe. He has full power to do all that is in harmony with his nature. Genesis 17:1; Mathew 19:26; Revelation 19:6; Psalm 33:9, 115:3, 135:6.

 

6. Omnipresence.

 

God is everywhere present. This is not that he is physically present everywhere, filling all space, for God is not matter. It is rather that nothing is out of his consciousness or power or immediate action. He sees all, hears all, and has, so to speak, the universe at the end of his fingers. He has the power of immediate action everywhere without the need of transporting himself from place to place. We are conscious of the immediate presence of god with us. This is not a part of God, for he is One. 1 Kings 8:27; Proverbs 15:3.

 

7. Omniscience.

 

Since God is and ever has been, he knows all things. He not only knows the past and present, but also the future. God may know what I will do without willing that I do that thing. He may desire that I do otherwise. Psalm 147:5; Hebrews 4:13; Isaiah 42:9, 46:9–10; Ezekiel 11:5; Acts 15:18.

 

II. MORAL ATTRIBUTES

 

1. Holiness.

 

God is holy because in his very nature he is pure. He has not established standards convenient to himself to which he conforms, thus making himself sinless, but these standards are right in themselves. They but express his nature. There is no need for restraint of his acts as he has only pure desires. He, in his requirements of men, asks the same sinlessness in us that is in him. He could not be holy and ask less. There is not fellowship between holiness and sin. Exodus 15:11; Leviticus 11:44; Psalm 22:3; Isaiah 6:3; 1 Peter 1:15.

 

2. Justice.

 

Justice means that God will treat all men as they should be treated, both good and evil. He will be perfectly fair in his dealings with all. This applies to the reward of righteousness as well as the punishment of the wicked. Genesis 18:25; Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 89:14; Revelation 15:3.

 

3. Love.

 

God has proved his infinite love for man by what he has done for him. John 3:16; Romans 5:8.

 

4. Mercy.

 

Mercy is love shown to the needy and unworthy. Exodus 34:6–7; Numbers 14:18; Psalm 103:8–14; Hebrews 4:16.

 

5. Truth.

 

Whatsoever God says is true. God never lies and he never makes mistakes. Deuteronomy 32:4; Numbers 23.