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Rev. John Compere

The Baptist Corner

Rev. John Compere is the Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Portageville.

Christian Doctrine – Part 8

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Charles Spurgeon’s catechism asks the question: “What is God like?” It answers, “God is a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.” These terms used to describe God are called attributes. These attributes of God are those distinguishing qualities which mark or describe what God is like.

It must be acknowledged that when one discusses what God is like there is a certain amount of incomprehensibility about him. A discussion of God deals with deep and unspeakable mysteries. Human minds cannot take in such great thoughts nor is human language adequate to fully describe what God is like.

In Scripture, the Lord reveals himself to mankind as an infinite God. Humanity will never learn all there is to learn about him. Job’s friend Zophar asks in Job 11:7 “Can you search out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limits of the Almighty?” and Exodus 15:11 records, “Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?”

Scripture reveals that God is unchangeable. James wrote that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17). Psalm 147:5 reveals that God is all wise. The psalmist wrote, “Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.”

God is all-powerful. In Matthew 19:26 we read, “But Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” God is holy. John the apostle saw a vision of God being worshiped in heaven. He wrote down what he saw in Revelation 4:8. He records, “The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” The living creatures sing ceaselessly of the holiness and eternality of God. Isaiah 45:21 tells us that God is just. “Tell and bring forth your case; Yes, let them take counsel together. Who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Have not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me.”

Here the Lord calls upon the Gentiles to bring forth evidence that their idols can foretell the future. Only God can do that. And He adds He is the only one who is just. Furthermore, the God of the Bible is merciful, good, and true. Exodus 34:6 records these words: “And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,’”

God is also eternal. Moses wrote a psalm included in the collection of psalms. Using a little-sanctified imagination picture a scene in the wilderness of Sinai. It has been years since the evil spies returned to Kadesh-Barnea. So Israel is still roaming around in the desert, just walking in circles, an exercise in futility. Now, every morning a report comes to Moses’ tent of death’s and casualties, deaths, deaths, deaths, and more deaths. The most common news items are the obituaries. It seems the desert will one day be just a vast cemetery. Every time they break camp they leave another field of graves behind. On this particular day, Moses has had all he can take. He is overwhelmed by the mounting toll.

He goes to his tent and falls before the Lord and pours out this prayer to God. In Psalm 90:1-2 Moses said, “LORD, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” In the midst of such transience and mortality Moses finds relief in the eternality of the Lord. All else may and will fade and vanish but God is the same today and forever. From all eternity to all eternity He is GOD.

Because there are so many attributes attempts are made to classify them into different groups. For example, we call some of God’s attributes communicable and others incommunicable. The communicable attributes are those, which to a certain degree, may be shared by man. The incommunicable are those attributes which are not shared and belong only to God. Another way to divide them is to say that some attributes describe God as an absolute being. By that, we mean that God is self-existent, perfect, and unlimited in his Being. He is not dependent upon anything outside himself. Terms like “infinite,” “all wise,” “perfect,” describe God as absolute.

Other terms describe God as a moral Being. God tells us that he is deeply concerned about right and wrong. Terms like “righteousness,” “holiness,” “goodness,” “truth,” “love,” tell us of God’s moral nature. Next week the subject will be God’s moral attributes or his holiness, and the next week God’s absoluteness. Until then, remember that God loves you and so does First Baptist Church.