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Sun, Aug 07, 2005

3 - Who is God? - Part 1

by Robert Dean
Series:Basics 1: Foundation for Life (2005)
Duration:55 mins 16 secs

Foundation for Life Lesson 3  August 7, 2005

 

NKJ Acts 16:31 So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household."

 

We started a couple of weeks ago with a series on what basic Christianity is all about.  In that first lesson we focused on the interchange between Pontius Pilate and Jesus at that crucial time just before He was condemned and sent to the cross. In that interchange Jesus made the statement that those who were of the truth would know Him.  Pilate skeptically dismissed His statement and said, "What is truth?" I looked at that interchange and the consequences and pointed out that there are basically three different kinds of people on the earth.

 

  1. There are those who believed Christ died on the cross for you sins and that there is nothing you can do for salvation. 
  2. Those that rejected it because of the influence of philosophy or human thought down through the ages.  They rejected even the possibility that there is a God or absolutes.  These are folks that believe that if there is any meaning or value or significance in their lives it has to come from mankind.  There is no God. We are just a bunch of cosmic accidents.
  3. Then there is the religious group.  These were the folks standing outside. It is not restricted to Jews.  It can include any human being.  They tend to fall into one of the two categories that were found in Judaism at that time.  The Sadducees are the religious types.  They did not really believe that there was an omnipotent, omnipresent God who interacted in history.  They wee the liberal element. They denied the supernatural.  They denied the existence of angels.  They rejected a future resurrection. They were rationalist, religious crowd.  Then there were the Pharisees. They were the legalistic religious crowd.  There are represented by every religious on earth today except Biblical Christianity.  The religious crowd thinks that somehow by virtue of their good works, by virtue of their participation in rituals, or activities that somehow it impresses God and somehow they can gain His favor or approval.  That somehow compensates for any sin in their life.

 

The problem with that is that the Bible has a much more profound view of sin. A sin is something that so completely destroys and corrupts the human race that there is no possibility that man can ever do anything to compensate for his own fallen condition.  God through love and grace provided a Savior.  It is necessary for God to provide that Savior because man is born spiritually dead. That is where we ended the first lesson, talking about Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus where He told Nicodemus that if he wanted to see the Kingdom of God he must be born again.

 

We came back last time and pointed out that Jesus' claim was a claim to exclusivity.  It often rubs people a little wrong. They think how arrogant it is that Jesus claimed to be the only way to God.  He claimed to be absolute truth.  To understand why Jesus can be and is the only way to God, we must understand the flow of thought in Scripture.  So we started with Genesis and went through Revelation demonstrating that God in love reveals Himself to man.  This is absolute truth.  Man in his unrighteousness and rebellion against God continuously tries to suppress that truth. They try to deny it. It isn't real.  Man wants it his way.  He wants to define the nature reality. Man wants to determine what God will accept in order that he can have a relationship with Him. So man constantly takes what God has revealed and twists it or spins it.  Man spins it to make it fit his own comfort zone.  The Bible is the original no spin zone.  It tells the truth for what it is.  It claims that there is one and only one truth. The only way we can know it is to listen to God because of who He is.

 

In this third class we are looking at who God is.  The starting point to understand anything is the God of the Bible, the God of the Old Testament, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God who is the eternal Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. So we start with understanding the concept of truth because truth is something that people don't want to accept today.  In our postmodern world truth is open to massage by anybody today. Everyone has their own truth.  But Jesus said that He was the truth.

 

NKJ John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

 

At the center of this is a phenomenal statement that He is the truth.  That is more than a simple claim to be teaching the truth.  It is more than a claim that He holds true opinions or that what He is teaching is a path to truth.  Jesus is claiming to be in His person the embodiment of Truth.  He did teach truth and He has true opinions, but it goes far beyond that.  He is making a subtle claim to be the eternal God of the universe.  The God of the Old Testament claims that He is God of truth. 

 

When Jesus claimed to be truth it is not with a little "t".  There is creation truth.  It is open to empirical and rational perception by every human being regardless of their spiritual status.  Any one can understand that 1+1=2.  You can come to understand some truth about physical laws like gravity.  But to understand the overarching truth that gives meaning, definition, and value to every detail in life is a different kind of truth.  It is TRUTH.  This is the kind of TRUTH that the Bible talks about throughout the Old and New Testament.  This is the kind of truth that Jesus claims to be the embodiment of in John 14:6. 

 

The Hebrew word that is used for truth is a word with a number of different nuances.  The root word is from aman which is where we get our word amen.  It means faith.  In different forms the nuance of the root has wide range of meanings. 

 

He we have one form of it, emet

 

NKJ 2 Kings 18:16 At that time Hezekiah stripped the gold from the doors of the temple of the LORD, and from the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.

 

You would never guess it from looking at the translation but the word used here is a form of this word.  It is the word amona.  If you listen you can hear the cognate relationship. 

 

Here we are simply looking at the word amona.  It refers to the pillars that anchored the massive doors to the Solomonic temple in Jerusalem.  That's the root meaning.  If you want to talk about it in scholarly terms, it is the core semantic meaning of this whole word group.  It is the concept of something that anchors or something that provides stability.  It gives a bedrock foundation.  It is something upon which you can hang everything else.  These are the pillars on which the massive doors of the temple hung.  So it is the idea that it is foundational.  There is a word play here in the title of this series named "Foundation for Life".  The foundation of life is truth.  If you are going to do anything you should have a bedrock of certainty so you live your life based on the truth not that which is false. 

 

So when we look at this word group we have to define what truth is.  In the Greek culture the primary nuance to truth was that which conformed to reality.  But of course we know from our study of the Word that the Greeks were not the people that primarily defined the meaning of the words in the Bible.  That comes out of the Hebrew Old Testament.  The concept of truth in the Old Testament is built on this understanding of that which is the foundation, the bedrock.  It is that which is so sure and certain and stable that you can hang everything in your life on that bedrock.  So that is where we start with the meaning of truth.  Truth therefore from a Biblical viewpoint is that which doesn't derive from creation, but comes form outside creation.  It must be of such a nature that it conforms all the things that go on inside the creative order.  This truth comes from God.  This is ascribed to God in a number of passages. 

 

NKJ Psalm 86:15 But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.

 

The question we are answering tonight is, who is God?  What are His characteristics?  I want you to notice in this psalm that there are several characteristics or attributes of God that are mentioned.  He is a merciful and gracious God.  These are two different words emphasizing the same thing.  It emphasizes that God gives underserved favor or merit to mankind.  He doesn't treat mankind on the basis of what he deserves, but He treats them on the basis of His own goodness and His own character.  He doesn't give us what we deserve.  He extends grace and kindness to us.  He is slow to anger.  He is abundant in loving-kindness and truth.  In a perusal of the words that are used here, we find that again and again in the Old Testament these two words are connected.  We will see that as we go through this study.  Truth is connected to loving-kindness.  Loving-kindness is a word we have studied many times.  It is the Hebrew word chesed which refers to God's faithfulness to His covenant. 

 

We have observed many times that the God of the Old Testament and New Testament is the only God of all religions that enters into contractual agreements with His people.  These are called covenants.  This is in order to accommodate Himself to man so that man knows exactly how God is going to treat him and the conditions under which God is going to bless and judge mankind.  So this idea of loving-kindness emphasizes that God is continuously faithful to His covenant and continuously faithful to His people.  Once again faithfulness and truth are very close concepts when we talk about the person and essence of God.

 

NKJ Exodus 34:5 Now the LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6 And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,

 

This takes place when the Lord speaks to Moses coming down to the temple after the Israelites had been delivered out of Egypt. 

 

The God abounds in truth.  When Jesus says that He is the truth He specifically claims that identifies Him with the Old Testament God of truth.  You can't say that He is just a good man.  You can't say that He is a fine religious teacher.  You can't say that He is just a good prophet.  Jesus Christ claimed to be the God of the universe.  He claimed to be full-undiminished deity.  They only way to have a relationship with God the Father is through Jesus Christ.  He is either lying or telling the truth.  If He is not who He says He is then He is the greatest deceiver of all time.  Those are the only two options that you have available to you.  He is a great deceiver or He is the only Savior of mankind.

 

NKJ Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.

 

The rock is a picture of God's immutability, His stability.  He is unchangeable.  He is immutable.  His work is perfect.  This relates to His character of righteousness.  God is absolutely flawless ethically and morally.  He is pure.  The word we use is holy.  The word loses its meaning because it is bandied about so much by people who do not take the time to understand it.  I prefer to talk about His perfection of righteousness and justice. 

 

His work is perfect.  Perfect refers to the standard of His character.  Justice is the outworking of that standard toward mankind. 

 

Notice how truth is integrally related to His stability and immutability and to His perfect righteousness and justice. 

 

All of these attributes and characteristics interconnect.  You can't go in and take one attribute and just examine it as if it doesn't relate to the others.  You can't just take one attribute of a person, especially God who is complex, in isolation.  They all interact and interconnect. 

 

The last verse I want to show you to demonstrate this principle is Psalm 111:7.

 

NKJ Psalm 111:7 The works of His hands are verity and justice; All His precepts are sure.

 

I want you to notice that it ties creation to truth.

 

Now what we do when we study the Scripture is go back to Genesis 1:1 because this is where God' revelation begins.  The principle is that the only way to know anyone with any certainty or know them with any level of intimacy is to have that person reveal themselves to us.  People can reveal themselves to us in a number of ways.  We can learn some things about folks just by the way they dress.  We know things by the nonverbal things that they do.  When all is said and done it really doesn't tell us a lot about a person.  We have to spend some time talking to that person.  They have to speak to us.  They have to communicate to us.  They have to tell us something about themselves.  The same principle is true about God.  We cannot know God unless He reveals Himself to us. 

 

You can't discover who God is by looking inside yourself.  That is a modern, popular idea that we can contemplate our naval or go someplace and meditate.  That is an Eastern idea.  They think you can vacate your mind and discover God by not thinking.  That is a backward idea compared to the Scripture.  What the Word teaches is that God has indeed revealed Himself to us.  When we understand God to be the God He says He is and all of His attributes, He created man in such a way that we are in His image and according to His likeness.  That is we are a finite representation of Him.  He created man in such a way that He could communicate to man and man could understand that communication.  God didn't just haphazardly throw man together.  He didn't spit in the dirt and wait to see what popped up.  There is intelligence and thought and planning and purpose to creation.  God not only created man in such a way that we can hear and understand and respond to Him, He knows that eventually man is going to sin and that the solution to sin is not something man can supply on his own.  So He creates man in such a way that He will be able to incarnate Himself into that human being when the time comes so that He can penalty of sin Himself.

 

What we learn from the Bible is that the God of the Scripture is unique among all other gods that man has devised. The God of the Bible is said to have two basic attributes. That is that He is personal and infinite.  There is no other god in all of human religions that is both personal and infinite.  When we finish looking at the attributes you will understand why this is true.

 

I have divided His attributes in a new way.

 

Personal AttributesInfinite Attributes

Sovereignty  Eternal Life

Righteous  Omnipotent

Justice  Omniscience

Truth  Omnipresent

Life  Immutable

 

As a personal God I mean that He has the attributes of a person.  He possesses intellect.  He can think.  He can reason.  He has volition. He makes decisions.  He communicates.  He reveals Himself.  He is able to interact with and have a relationship with other persons.  That is very important because we live in an age today where people get involved in New Age thinking or the force of Star Wars.  What you have is an impersonal, mechanical force that is supposedly at the root of the universe.  It doesn't give you a basis of personhood at any point.  It ultimately falls apart.  As I pointed out in the first lesson when I showed the image of the old covered bridges built in New England, they may be beautiful and they carry the weight they were designed to carry; but today they can't carry a heavy load. This is the problem with all of world religions.  When you start talking about carrying the heavy issues of life all other religious fall apart.  Only Christianity can provide that basic fundamental answer. 

 

So we see that God is a personal God.  He is capable of having relationships with others and His creatures.  He has designed them to have relationships with Him. 

 

He is infinite.  By infinite I mean that God has no limitations.  He is bounded by neither time nor space. He has created both.  He has no limitations with respect to His ability to perform and accomplish what He wills to do.  He does not have any limitations with regard to His knowledge.  He knows all things - everything past and future.  He knows all possibilities and every permutation of possibilities. 

 

So let's begin with His personal attributes.

  1. Sovereignty  God is the sovereign creator.  God must be the sovereign ruler or authority over anything other than Himself.  Once He creates He is the sovereign one over everything He creates.  Sovereignty is integral within the Godhead.  In the Godhead you have authority.  God the Father is the ultimate authority within the Godhead.  They all have the same attributes.  These characteristics are applicable to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  They are equal in their essence, but they have distinct roles within the Godhead.  Even within the Godhead there is one who is the ultimate authority and that is God the Father.  Sovereignty also entails creation and is connected to His work as creator.  Before you had anything existing you had God alone existing.  Then He created the angels.  When He created the angels He has the right to determine the nature and function of angelic existence.  He is the one who determines the physical laws that operate for the angels and the one who determines the spiritual laws that relate to the angels and their worship of Him.  He is the one who defines their roles, responsibilities and function.  When one on the angels disobeys God (that is the brightest and best of the angels who we call Lucifer), he accused God so he acquired the name of Satan.  At that point we have a fall and the entrance of evil into creation.  God did not create evil but the potential was there because He gave the angels will or volition.  In sovereignty we understand that there is an implicit claim that God is the boss. That is what sovereignty means.  He is the ruler.  He has the right as the creator to determine the nature of everything.  He sets the rules.  He determines what right and wrong are.  He is the one who has the right to say how to have a relationship with Him.  There are a lot of folks that don't like that.  They want to reject that.  They want to make up their own minds as to how God will have a relationship with them.  In other words, they want to be God and dictate to Him to Him the terms under which God will have a relationship with them.  This is the same thing that Adam and Eve tried.  It is the same thing Lucifer tried.  God says, "No, I am the final authority.  You do it my way or there are going to be tragic consequences and results."  God is the one who sets the physical laws to be the way they are and He sustains those physical laws.  God is the one who establishes the spiritual laws and the spiritual realities. As the creator we see that God wills.  That is a function of sovereignty.  He has the final will over everything.  As the creator He wills the kind of creation that exists.  He determines everything.  Because of this, truth is what conforms to God's will.  Truth is what conforms to the reality that God creates.  When we live apart from that reality that God has created and His definition of that reality, we are living according to a pseudo reality or pseudo truth.  We are basically making up the rules as we go along.  It would be like going to a professional football game and getting out on the field and saying that you are going to do everything the way you want to do it. You won't last long at all. That is what happens to the human race because in their rebellion they want to be the ones to establish the rules.  So God is the one who establishes creation the way it is. He is the one who defines reality.  This is what we call truth.  As God has created everything, this means that we can speak of an objective truth – not just subjective truth – not just what you perceive.  It is a reality that is totally apart from our existence.  We can know objective truth that is apart from our perception.  God has designed creation so that it can be known.  He created man in such a way that man can know creation and the truth.  Man can analyze.  He can categorize creation as well as discuss creation among ourselves. God can enter into relationships with us.  In all of this what God has done is to exclude chance from the universe.  Now this is very important. This goes completely against the popular views of evolution that basically teach that everything in the universe is a product of chance.  But God creates with a plan and a purpose.  This goes against something else as well.  Because God is personal this isn't impersonal fate or determinism.  You end up with that in other religions as well.  You have such an extreme predestination that whatever God wills that is what is going to happen.  It says that man can't change anything.  That is a non-Biblical and pagan idea. It goes against God's sovereignty because in God's sovereignty He has chosen to create man with volition.  He has the ability of self-determination because man is also in the image of God.  Ultimately God is the one who oversees and directs all things.  Because God is so different from creation and is set completely apart from creation, when we understand the idea of causation between God's will causing all things and how we cause things God's causation is different from our causation.  This is where people get in a trap between the sovereignty of God and the free will of man.  They want to say that man's will causes things at one level but they forget that God's will creates things at another level. There is a distinction between God's way and man's way.  God's ways are not our ways.  So we have to understand that there is this distinction.  The bottom line of what I want to communicate in the basic understanding of sovereignty is that God is absolute authority in the universe.  Truth as such is seen to be directly connected to His creative activities.  This is seen in Ps 146:6. 

 

NKJ Psalm 146:6 Who made heaven and earth, The sea, and all that is in them; Who keeps truth forever,

 

He sustains the truth that He has built into creation forever.  That relates to His sovereignty and His authority.  It also relates to omnipotence.  He is powerful enough to maintain that truth.  No creature can destroy that or change that.  .

  1. Righteousness  The next category is righteousness.  Righteousness relates to His moral ethical standard.  A word people often use to describe God is holy.  That word is so often misunderstood.  Its root meaning is that which is distinct, unique, or set apart.  What sets God apart from all other gods or goddesses and all other religions is that He is perfect absolute righteousness. That word for righteousness is an interesting word.  The Hebrew word can be translated righteousness or justice.  The Greek word is dikaios.  What is interesting is that in the Hebrew of the Old Testament the Greek New Testament used a single word group to describe both righteousness and justice.  So in the Hebrew you have a word group based on tsedaqah.  In the Greek you have a word group for righteousness and justice from the word group of dikaios.  What that means is that they are two sides of the same coin.  Righteousness is the standard.  Justice is the application of the standard.  So in both of these languages you had one word group that defined them because they are so closely linked.  They are interchangeable. In His righteousness we understand that God is absolutely flawless.  God's character is the absolute standard for what is right.  Sometimes we say that whatever God does is fair or righteous.  We say it in a way that it almost implies that there is this external standard of right that God conforms to.  We have an abstract idea of what is righteous.  That is a very Greek philosophical concept.  What the Bible presents is God's character itself is the standard of righteousness.  He doesn't conform to something else.  There is nothing higher or greater.  There is no abstract principle that He conforms to. He is the definition.  He doesn't conform to a definition. So in God's character He is perfect righteousness.  It represents the standard of His character.  Because God is perfectly righteous, He can't have a relationship with anything that is less than righteous.  We see His righteousness displayed at creation.  We have seen that He is sovereign.  He has a right to make creation the way it is and make all the rules.  In His righteousness He establishes conditions on the earth that are consistent with His perfect flawless character.  When God creates in Genesis 1 everything is perfect.  There is no sin.  There is no evil on the earth.  Satan has already fallen.  He is being restricted at that point.  He creates perfect environment.  He puts man in perfect environment and gives him a test.  That test revolves around a prohibition, "You shall not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for when you eat of it you will die."  This is an expression of God's righteousness.  The standard of His righteousness is that you obey Him 100% or there are serious consequences.  If you put yourself in a position of judging what He says or you put yourself in a position where you disobey me then it violates His standard.  Then He has to apply His standards to you in justice.  There will be condemnation in immediate death.  We know from the study of Scripture that it is not simply physical death but it is primarily spiritual death.  It is separation from God.  We know what happened.  We see the demonstration of God's justice that is the application of His standard in Genesis 3.  Eve is tempted by Satan who is in the form of a serpent.  Satan comes and asks her if God really say that.  Then he made a counter claim to God's truth and said that she wouldn't really die.  She walked into the trap.  He baited it.  She took the bait.  She is going to judge whether or not God is true or false.  That started her on a very quick slippery slope that led to her sin.  As soon as she put herself above God to judge the truth or veracity of His statement she was already on the path to eating the fruit.  She was ready to go because she was acting like God.  Satan told her that God didn't want her to eat of the fruit because if you do you will like Him.  She thought she was going to be like God.  So she started acting like it.  She was going to evaluate His statement.  So what we see in looking at the initial chapters of the Bible is God's sovereignty and His right to rule is established.  He rules over man who is under His authority.  God is righteous and He establishes the standard.

 

NKJ Psalm 119:142 Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, And Your law is truth.

So we see truth being displayed in a prohibition. Is it true or is it false?  Eve sets herself in a position to judge its veracity.  The result is that she sins and leads her husband to sin.

 

  1. Justice  The next category is justice.  Justice is the outworking or application of God's perfect standard to His creatures.  There are judicial consequences to disobedience.  That judicial consequence is that man is condemned to spiritual death.  Every human being since Adam has been born spiritually dead.  The only way to recover from that is on God's terms.  That is to trust in the promise of a Savior exclusively.  It is not believing in Jesus and doing good works or something else.  It is trusting in Christ alone.  Then you have eternal life.  In divine justice we are often faced with our own limitations because we live in a fallen world where evil exists.  There are all kinds of unjust things that happen.  Many times people get hung up on the fact that there is so much injustice and evil and suffering in the world.  The bottom line is that God has created a world that has volition.  When man abuses his volition there are horrible consequences.  Ultimately what the Bible teaches is that there is a resolution to evil and the problem of evil.  This is seen in an expression from Abraham in Genesis 18:25. 

 

NKJ Genesis 18:25 "Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"

 

God will make all things right.  This is a function of His justice.

NKJ Psalm 89:14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face.

 

Notice how the psalmist links four attributes of God – righteousness, justice, loving-kindness, and truth.  These are four of the five attributes that I have listed under personality.  Righteousness is the standard of His character.  Justice is the application of that standard.  Loving-kindness is related to His love for all mankind.  His faithfulness is to His own character and what He reveals.  Truth defines reality.  It is expressed through His revelation to man

  1. Truth  The next category is thatGod is absolute truth.  Veracity is another word that you are familiar with.  He is absolute truth.  He defines truth.  He has the right to because He is the sovereign creator.  He is perfectly righteous.  His truth is perfectly righteous.  Because He is absolute justice that truth is always fair and just to man.  We must rely on it as Abraham did even when we don't understand all of the ramifications. 
  2. Love  The fifth category is that He is love.  He is absolute love.  This is fantastic to understand.  At His very core He is love.  From I John we know that God is absolute love.  It is difficult to grasp that.  It is my contention and the contention of many others that the God of the Bible as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the only God that is love.  There is no other god that is truly love.  When we talk about love, it is not what we think of in our limited frame of reference.  Human beings often think of love as pleasant emotions, sentimentality or warm feelings toward people to whom we are attracted.  Sometimes we import into the idea of love the idea of needing someone.  We can't apply any of those concepts to God.  So when we talk about God's love we have to look at the Scripture to find out what love is.  The best way to summarize it is to say that divine love is God seeking and providing the very best for the object of His love.  One thing that we see with love is that love always has at have an object. If you say the words I love, you have to love something.  You love a neighbor or you love a friend.  You love something.  If you are God and you have existed for eternity and you are inherently love in your character and there is no person for you to love, then you have to create something in order to love it.  That means you are now dependent on your creature.  You are dependent on the creature so that you can be a God of love.  This is why you cannot have a solitary monotheist god.  This is why Unitarianism doesn't work.  This is why Islam doesn't work.  Ultimately those gods they generated can't love eternally.  They do not have an eternal object.  But with the triune God of the Bible, there is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  God the Father loved the Son.  God the Son loved God the Father.  So love is an eternal attribute of Father, an eternal Son and an eternal Holy Spirit.  Billions and billions of years ago God is love because God the Father loves the Son.  God the Son loves God the Father.  The Holy Spirit loves God the Father and God the Son.  So love is an eternal attribute in God that is not creaturely dependent.  That is the problem when you make these claims in these other religions that god is love.  Their gods are dependent on creatures to be a god of love.  As soon as God is dependent on anything to be dependent on who He is, He is not God any more.  He is creaturely dependent.  So no other God but the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is a God who is inherently a God of love.  . 

 

 

NKJ Psalm 117:2 For His merciful kindness is great toward us, And the truth of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!

 

We see the connection of loving-kindness and the expression of truth. 

 

NKJ Psalm 57:10 For Your mercy reaches unto the heavens, And Your truth unto the clouds.

 

It is the love of God that is foundation for forgiveness.  It is the love of God that is the foundation of grace. It is the love of God that provides salvation for man. 

 

NKJ Psalm 85:10 Mercy and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed.

 

There is a connection again between loving-kindness and truth and between righteousness and peace.  Because He is a God of love He will provide peace to man so that someone who believes that Jesus Christ died on the cross for their sins can have a harmonious rapport with God.  They are reconciled to Him because of that salvation.

 

NKJ John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

 

Three is no statement like this in any other religion. He is the God that loved the world.  He is a personal God.  He expresses that love for mankind so that He did what?  He gave His unique Son so that whoever believes on Him should not perish.  You see God loves every human being because they are created in His image.  But because man sinned and violated God's standard they are under condemnation.  But God in love sent His Son Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for man.  The eternal second person of the trinity was able to become a human being because that is how God designed things. Having become a human being He came into human history through the virgin conception and birth.  He became a human being while He was still undiminished deity.  He grew to adulthood and passed numerous tests that qualified Him to go to the cross.  On the cross He died for your sins so that you could have eternal life. 

 

NKJ Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned –

 

God did no say that you had to be good.  He didn't say that you have to do a few things before I can I love you.  God said that He was going to demonstrate His love for you while you were obnoxious, sinful, and rebellious creature. There is nothing in you that is good.

NKJ Romans 3:12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one."

 

We are all equally condemned.  All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  But God provided salvation through one person, Jesus Christ.

 

NKJ 1 John 4:8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

 

This is the core attribute some might say.  God is absolute love.  Because of that He provided salvation for all mankind. 

 

 

Tonight we have covered the first five attributes of God that cover His personhood.  He is a personal God. But He is not just a personal God.  He is an infinite God.  This is where any of the ancient religions broke apart.  They had many different gods.  They are personal but they are not infinite.  They had all of the flaws and foibles of mankind.  Look at the polytheism of the Greeks, the Romans and the Babylonians.  They had personal gods, but they are limited.  They are not infinite.  Then you look at other religions and they have this infinite thing out there but he is not personal.  It is only the God of the Bible that gives you a personal infinite God. It is on that basis that you have truth, real truth on which you can hang every issue in your life.  He gives meaning and purpose and value to everything in life.  When you reject the truth of the Bible, God is very clear that the condemnation is certain.  It is eternal condemnation in the Lake of Fire.  But God in His grace gives us the perfect solution through Jesus Christ.  All that is required is to accept the free gift – to believe that Christ died on the cross for your sins.  At that instant you enter into a new life and have a new relationship with Him.  It is not because of what you did.  It is because of what God did for you out of His love.  That is why Jesus said He was the truth.

 

NKJ John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.