So after thinking over some potential topics for a while, I've decided to start posting some shorter posts on the Attributes of God. This series will be called "Allow Me To Re-Introduce Myself...", derived from the Jay-Z Black Album song, "PSA". Why call it this? Other than it being a cool name for a series, the attributes of God have nothing to do with Jay-Z, but have everything to do with God, the Creator, Sustainer, and Author of all things. At the most basic level, what we think about God will shape everything about us. I don't intend to unpack each attribute in an exhaustive way, but my only hope is to state the attribute of God's character and provide some practical ways on how His character has everything to do with us. For this brief look at the manifold characteristics and essence of the One True God, I will use two voices from the past in addition to the scriptures in order to help me communicate the attributes of God. The first will be A.W. Tozer's "The Knowledge of The Holy", and the second source will be Stephen Charnock's "The Existence and Attributes of God".
What do God's attributes and characteristics have to do with us? Why are they important? Of what benefit will they be to my life, other than being able to spell "omnipotent" in Words with Friends? Hopefully the next few posts in this series will be able to answer these questions. To begin, here is a quote from the late A.W. Tozer on the importance of having a right view of God.
"What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man's spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God."Tozer's words could not ring any louder. Firstly, God is important because in the Bible, God's Word about Himself, God tells us that He is the most supreme being both inside and outside of anything and everything that is known.Because He is that, He deserves our worship, honor, and love. If God is supreme in His being - supreme in power, life, love, righteousness, and justice -then to attribute to anyone or anything else supremacy and worship is not only wrong and misplaced, but un-fulfilling. God's attributes are important because it is through these characteristics that we are able to attain an incomprehensible, yet true view of who God is. It isn't enough to simply know that there is a God and that He has a few good attributes that seem to benefit us and the world we live in. Almost anyone we can think of who will affirm that there is a God will affirm that He is a creator, good, loving, and generous, and these are all good things to know; but to only know these things about God is incomplete. In the Bible, God presents Himself completely, in that we can know what we know about Him in truth, yet what we know truly about Him isn't a fraction of what we can know about Him exhaustively.
Practically, knowledge of God's attributes is for our worship of God. An incomplete knowledge of who He is will only result in incomplete worship and an incomplete perspective of our lives within His dominion. Many are ready to praise the Lord for His goodness while only few will praise Him for His justice. God's love for the world is proclaimed aloud for everyone to hear, while His hatred for sin is proclaimed often softly or angrily. The fact is that we cannot have one attribute without the other. A God with all love, patience, and mercy and no justice would be like the unjust judge who pardons every criminal without hearing the case. Likewise a God with absolute justice, wrath and no love, patience or mercy would have crushed this world under His wrath the minute Adam sinned against Him. When we examine these attributes and how God reveals Himself in His word, it will produce in us a reverential awe for God, the proper perspective of Him, and overwhelming joy at the fact that this Sovereign, all-powerful, merciful God is on our side through Christ.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. Proverbs 9:10
Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” - Jeremiah 9:23-24