WHAT IS GOD LIKE?

THE NATURE AND ATTRIBUTES OF GOD

A little girl was lying on the floor with her crayons and a large drawing pad when her father came into the room and asked, "What are you drawing, honey?" Without looking up, she replied, "I am drawing a picture of God." Her father smiled and said, "But no one knows what God looks like." Without a pause, she retorted, "They will when I am finished."

What am I? Those who know me know that I am a man, a father and a husband. In the working world I have been known by my profession. Others know me as a Christian, a Bible teacher and a servant of God. But what am I really?

The truth is that I am more than just the sum total of my attributes. I am more than a list of things. They are descriptive of what I am, but they are not me. In the same way, God is described by His attributes, but He is much more than just a list of attributes. We often make the mistake of trying to relegate God to a place in a notebook, but He is too big for that. And yet, if we are to come to know about God, we must begin with these descriptive attributes.

Our little systems have their day,

They have their day and cease to be.

They are but broken lights of Thee,

And Thou, O Lord, art more than they. (Tennyson, In Memoriam).

The point is well taken. Even though we will be listing a number of the various attributes of God, this list is by no means exhaustive. Neither does an outlining of His attributes tell us all that there is to know about God.

 

THE NATURE OF OUR KNOWLEDGE OF GOD

Before we begin our actual examination of the attributes of God, we must ask the question of what will be the nature of our knowledge of God. There are three possibilities:

Equivocal Knowledge

Univocal Knowledge

Analogical Knowledge

Our understanding of truth is different from God's understanding

Our understanding of truth is the same as God's understanding

Our understanding of truth has common elements with God's understanding

1. Equivocal Knowledge.

When you say that both a tree and a dog have a bark, you are predicating "barkness" to both of them, but you are not saying the same thing. The Equivocal theory of knowledge says that when we speak of God, we cannot comprehend Him as He truly is and that what we think of God is DIFFERENT from what He really is.

This position was held by Cornelius Van Til, professor of Apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary. He said that God and man are not on the same order of being -- that they are ontologically different.

GOD

All Else

While nearly all Christians would agree with such a premise, Van Til also maintained that God's knowledge is completely different from man's knowledge.

God's Knowledge

Man's Knowledge

2. Univocal Knowledge.

When I say that Big Ben in London is a timepiece and that a sun dial is also a timepiece, I am saying the same thing with regards to what they are. That does not mean that Big Ben is the same in all respects to a sun dial, but it says that they are the same with regard to their nature as a timepiece. The Univocal position says that we understand God in the SAME way that He understands Himself.

Francis Schaeffer coined the term "true truth" to describe the fact that we can truly know certain things. He sometimes signed his letters, "Yours truly, but not exhaustively."

In the same way, the Univocal position admits that our understanding is not as comprehensive as God's understanding. When a mechanic speaks of the workings of a care, his description will be more complete than my own. And yet, we can communicate because I at least have a rudimentary knowledge of what is a radiator and a fan belt and a piston.

In the 1940's there arose a bitter debate within the Orthodox Presbyterian Church between Cornelius Van Til versus Gordon Clark. Van Til taught that even when God is thinking about a particular thing (like a rose), their thoughts about it were never identical. God thought the thoughts of a Creator while man thought the thoughts of a creature. Clark insisted that there is NOT a discrepancy between God's knowledge versus man's knowledge at every point; otherwise, man could not be said to know anything.

Clark would argue that the statement "2+2=4" has the same meaning for God that it has for man.

Van Til challenged Gordon Clark to name one truth that he could know in the same sense that God knows. Clark replied, "David slew Goliath." He was saying that his knowledge of that event, although not exhaustive as God's knowledge, was nevertheless of the same nature as God's knowledge.

3. Analogical Knowledge.

When I say that there is an analogy between an apple and an orange, I mean that, while there may be some differences, there are at least some univocal elements; some common elements.

The problem with both the Equivocal and the Analogical views is that when I say that something is true, I do not mean that it is true in the same sense that God sees it to be true.

If either the Equivocal or the Analogical view in epistemology were correct, then this entire debate would be fruitless because no matter what conclusion we came to, it would not be true in the same sense that God sees it to be true.

Jesus went against this kind of teaching when He said, You shall know the TRUTH (John 8:32). If He does not mean that you could know the truth in the same sense that God knows the truth (and if we hold to the deity of Christ, then also in the same sense that HE knew the truth), then what does He mean? Certainly He is not saying that you can only know something that is similar to the truth but that the truth itself cannot be known.

The arguments of the Equivocalist and the Analogicalist also fail to recognize the foundational truth (no pun intended, but they would not even recognize it as such, for it would not be truth, but only a similarity to the truth) - they fail to recognize and apply the truth that man is created by God as a being in the image of God. Certainly if this means anything, then it means that there is a basis of communication between God and man. Animals do not communicate with God, but man does.

If we say that man's knowledge is not univocal with God's knowledge, then we are forced to conclude that there are certain things that God does not know, since He does not share in the knowledge that man possesses.

On the other hand, we can affirm both the continuities and the discontinuities with our thoughts versus God's thoughts:

GOD'S THOUGHTS VERSUS OUR THOUGHTS

Discontinuities

Continuities

God's thoughts are uncreated and eternal

Divine and Human thoughts may have the same objects

God's thoughts decree what comes to pass

It is possible for both God's thoughts and man's thoughts to be true

God's thoughts are true because they are His

Our thoughts and God's thoughts are both validated by Him

God does not need to have anything revealed to Him.

All things are potentially knowable?

God has not chosen to reveal all things to us

God's thoughts are all non-contradictory

 

TWO TYPES OF ATTRIBUTES

The most common distinction made by theologians between the attributes of God is to view those that are incommunicable versus those that are communicable.

Self-existence

Infinity

Unity

Perfection

Immutability

Omnipotent

Omnipresent

Omniscience

Holiness

Love

Grace

Mercy

Patience

Goodness

Righteousness

Truthfulness

Faithfulness

Humility

 

GOD IS SPIRIT

The Westminster Shorter Catechism gives one of the most concise definitions of God: God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth.

Non-Corporeal Being

Adjectives

Nouns

 

God is a Spirit

Infinite

Eternal

Unchangeable

Being

Wisdom

Power

Holiness

Justice

Goodness

Truth

The first phrase of the Catechism is taken from John 4:24 where Jesus said to the Samaritan Woman, "God is Spirit." The Greek construction of that passage is interesting. It has no verb. The verb is understood. By this construction, Jesus is not saying that God is A spirit, as though He were one of many spirits. Instead He is saying that the very nature of God is Spirit. The fact that God is spirit leads us to three implications.

1. God is Personal.

When the Bible speaks of spirit, it describes that which is alive, self-conscious and self-determining. The fact that God is spirit points to the truth of a personal God.

2. God is Non-Corporeal.

When Jesus appeared before the disciples in His resurrection body, He invited them to touch Him to be certain that He had truly risen from the dead because a spirit does not have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39).

This means that when we read of Jesus sitting at the right hand of God or when we read of the arm of the Lord being flexed, we should not understand these terms literally as though God has a hand or an arm. We refer to these as anthropomorphism -- attributing human qualities to the Lord to describe His actions.

This also means that we should not take the statement of Genesis 1:26-27 with regard to man being created in the image and likeness of God to refer to some outward physical characteristic.

3. The Second Commandment prohibited the making of graven images.

You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth (Exodus 20:4).

What is wrong with making an image or a likeness of God? Such an image is a denial of the truth that God is spirit. This is explained in Deuteronomy.

Then the LORD spoke to you from the midst of the fire; you heard the sound of words, but you saw no form-- only a voice. 13 So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone. 14 And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that you might perform them in the land where you are going over to possess it.

So watch yourselves carefully, since you did not see any form on the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire, 16 lest you act corruptly and make a graven image for yourselves in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, 17 the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the sky, 18 the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water below the earth. 19 And beware, lest you lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them, those which the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven. (Deuteronomy 4:12-19).

So watch yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which He made with you, and make for yourselves a graven image in the form of anything against which the LORD your God has commanded you. (Deuteronomy 4:23).

Do you see the point that is made? It is that God has no outward, physical image. He is the invisible God.

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17).

...He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords; 16 who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen (1 Timothy 6:15b-16).

 

THE INFINITE AND ETERNAL GOD

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." (Revelation 1:8).

God calls Himself the Alpha and Omega. These are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. We would say that He is the A and the Z. The encyclopedia of human history begins and ends with Him. In the beginning there was God. In the end there will be God. He is and He was and He is to come.

This verse deals with God's infinity in relation to time. He transcends the beginning of all things. He has no beginning or ending. He has always existed and will always continue to exist. This quality is graphically portrayed in a Psalm attributed to Moses.

A Prayer of Moses the man of God.

Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.

Before the mountains were born,

Or Thou didst give birth to the earth and the world,

Even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God. (Psalm 90:1-2).

There is nothing that seems so permanent as a mountain. Nothing in our realm of existence is so immovable. Yet God says that He existed and that He was God before the birth of the mountains. The same God to whom we pray is the same God who was God before the earth existed.

We tend to view existence through a very limited perspective. All things in our realm of experience have a beginning and an end. Such is not the case with God. He exists independently of time. He transcends time. This is why He calls himself Yahweh -- "I am."

I recall once standing on the top floor of the Landmark Building in Fort Lauderdale and watching a trail go by. From my vantage point of thirty stories, I could see the entire length of the train in a single glance, even though it stretched almost a mile across the city. I think that might illustrate the way God sees the progression of time. God sees all of history in one glance. We, on the other hand, have a lower perspective. We stand on the street corner of time and watch the events go rolling by us.

The eternity of God speaks directly to His self-existence. He is the uncaused Cause. Nothing ever happened to bring Him about. He transcends the entire chain of cause and effect relationships. There never was a time when He was anything less than He is now. He has not grown any older. He has not become any smarter. He is the eternal God.

 

THE UNCHANGING GOD

For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. (Malachi 3:6).

We believe that the Bible is the Word of God -- that it is the written communication of the Creator of the universe to mankind. As such, there is little doubt that it is the most important book ever written.

Yet as we pick it up and read it in our quest to know God, we often find ourselves overwhelmed by a myriad of events of ancient history. The people described therein seem very long ago and far away. They are of other cultures and of other lands and their problems and struggles do not seem relevant to the modern world of today. It may be of interest to historians and stuffy professors, but how can the common man relate to the teachings of a book that was written thousands of years ago?

Bible teachers have pointed out that the Biblical characters shared many of the same problems that we deal with today, but there is still a sense of remoteness as we read of their various situations.

God never spoke to me from a burning bush.

I have never been a king of Israel or a king of anything.

I was not thrown into a fiery furnace.

I have never tried to walk on water.

No angels have ever addressed me.

No matter how hard I try, I find that there is still a sense of remoteness between the issues and problems that I face on a day to day basis and those characters of the Bible.

So what is the answer? How can I see the Bible as relevant in the 21st century? The answer is seen in the truth that we have an UNCHANGING GOD.

For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. (Malachi 3:6).

God does not change. He has not learned anything new in the last 4000 years. His outlook on life has not grown with age. Neither have His absolute standards of righteousness undergone any revision.

This is hard to comprehend because we change all the time. I am not the same person I used to be. I am constantly growing and changing. I continue to learn new things that change my old outlook on life.

God has not changed. He is the same as when He created the heavens and the earth. He is the ancient of days. That does not mean that He is getting old. He is not "getting" anything. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). His knowledge is always fresh and up to date.

We look at people who have not changed with the times and think of them as "old-fashioned." But God does not have to change with the times. He is fully aware how times change. He made them that way. He is the one constant in an ever-changing universe.

Of old Thou didst found the earth;

And the heavens are the work of Thy hands.

Even they will perish, but Thou dost endure;

And all of them will wear out like a garment;

Like clothing Thou wilt change them, and they will be changed.

But Thou art the same,

And Thy years will not come to an end. (Psalm 102:25-27).

When the universe has come and gone there will only be One who has not changed -- the Unchanging God.

This brings up an interesting question. What do we do with certain passages like Genesis 6:6 or Jonah 3:10 that tell us God repented? If this repentance is to be understood as a change in attitude, then is this not an example of God changing?

In answering, we must first ask whether these passages reflect a real change in the character and purposes of God. For example, when Jonah says that God repented in His plan to destroy Nineveh, it is not that God's attitude toward the people of Nineveh had changed, but rather the Ninevites themselves who had changed. This in turn brought about a change in God's actions toward them. Thus, it did not involve a change in the character or the purposes of God.

The sun is not showing a change in character just because it melts ice but hardens clay. The changed is not in the sun, but in the objects on which it shines. Neither do I change in my character because I punish my child for disobedience but praise that same child for doing what is right.

Here is the principle. God's character never changes. But His dealings with men do change as men themselves change in their attitudes toward Him.

Now I want to ask you a question. Is this principle relevant for today? Does the fact that God does not change make a difference in the way I live? I believe that it does. When I am faced with the remoteness of the Biblical records, I am able to balance that remoteness with a reminder that God has not changed. The same God who spoke to Moses from a burning bush is listening to my prayers right now. The same God who protected the young men who were cast into the fiery furnace can protect me as I drive on the highway. The same God who provided manna in the wilderness can make sure that I have a hamburger to eat for lunch. The same God who raised Jesus from the dead is going to raise me as well. The same God who sent the flood upon the earth has promised that He will come again.

Circumstances have changed. Problems have changed. Society had changed and is still changing. But God never changed.

 

THE IMMENSITY OF GOD

Many years ago, I had the opportunity to return to the Junior High School that I had attended as a youth. The first thing that I noticed is that it had shrunk in size. The halls that were once so wide and spacious were now rather narrow. The ceiling was now so low that I could reach up and touch it.

What had happened? Had the building really shrunk? No. It is that I had grown. That is the way it is with almost everything. The older and the bigger and the smarter you get, the less things impress you. It is that way with everything except God. With Him it is the complete opposite. The older you get in the Lord and the more you come to know Him, the bigger He becomes.

In his Chronicles of Narnia, C. S. Lewis tells us of a meeting between Lucy and Aslan, the Christ figure of his story. "Aslan," said Lucy, "you're bigger.

"That is because you are older, little one," answered he.

"Not because you are?"

"I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger."

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand,

And marked off the heavens by the span,

And calculated the dust of the earth by the measure,

And weighed the mountains in a balance,

And the hills in a pair of scales?

Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD,

Or as His counselor has informed Him?

With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding?

And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge,

And informed Him of the way of understanding?

Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,

And are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales;

Behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust. (Isaiah 40:12-15).

Do you not know? Have you not heard?

Has it not been declared to you from the beginning?

Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?

It is He who sits above the vault of the earth,

And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,

Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain

And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. (Isaiah 40:21-22).

Isaiah was a man who was in tune with the majesty and the holiness and the immensity of God. This was not due to any lack of growth on his part. He did not consider God to be great and awesome because he was only a primitive and inexperienced man. To the contrary, the Hebrew of Isaiah is of the highest literary quality.

Isaiah was in awe of the majesty of God because he had been an eyewitness of that majesty. At the outset of his ministry, Isaiah had partaken in an experience to which few can lay claim.

In the year of King Uzziah's death, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. 2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called out to another and said, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory." 4 And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. (Isaiah 6:1-4).

Can you imagine anything more profound than to be in the presence of the Creator of the universe? Isaiah was filled with a holy terror. Yet it was not a terror that drove him away, but only one that attracted him to the throne.

The Apostle John had a similar experience. John also saw a vision with the Lord seated upon His throne and attended by angels.

And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night t__y do not cease to say, "Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come." (Revelation 4:8).

Do you see it? The song has not changed. John hears the same song that Isaiah heard seven hundred years earlier. The reason for this is that God has not changed. He is the same God who was and who is and who is to come. He is the same today.

 

THE ALL-KNOWING GOD

For the choir director. A Psalm of David.

O Lord, Thou hast searched me and known me.

Thou dost know when I sit down and when I rise up;

Thou dost understand my thought from afar.

Thou dost scrutinize my path and my lying down,

And art intimately acquainted with all my ways.

Even before there is a word on my tongue,

Behold, O LORD, Thou dost know it all.

Thou hast enclosed me behind and before,

And laid Thy hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;

It is too high, I cannot attain to it. (Psalm 139:1-6).

This is a Psalm of David. He lived in a day when the world had been turned upside down. He came to the throne of Israel at a time when the tiny kingdom was about to collapse. Surrounded by enemies both within and without, David was under constant attack.

The Philistines of David's day had the ultimate military weapon -- the secret of smelting iron. This meant that their weapons were more advanced in every way. Not only did David have to deal with those surrounding nations who were enemies of Israel, but there were also those who had supported his old archenemy Saul, the previous king. These saw David as a usurper to the throne. To make matters worse, members of David's own household eventually rose up against him, seeking to take his throne away.

What was David's point of stability in the midst of such unstable situations? How did he handle such stress without going off the deep end? How did he cope? I believe the answer is to be found in this Psalm.

This is a song of praise to Yahweh, the God of Israel. It begins with a statement concerning the knowledge of God.

O Lord, Thou hast searched me and known me.

Thou dost know when I sit down and when I rise up;

Thou dost understand my thought from afar.

Thou dost scrutinize my path and my lying down,

And art intimately acquainted with all my ways. (Psalm 139:1-3).

Notice how David pictures God. He could have spoken about how God knows all historical events. He could say that God knows all things, both past, present and future. He could say that nothing is hidden from the knowledge of God. But instead, David makes this very personal. He says to God, "You know ME."

David did not want to give you a lesson in systematic theology. He did not want to give you a seven point outline that you could place into your notebook and forget. He wants to bring you face to face with the living God.

I've got news for you. If the all-knowing God knew David, then He also knows you. He has searched you and knows you. He knows when you sit down and when you rise up. He understands your thoughts from afar. He scrutinizes your path and your lying down. He is intimately acquainted with all your ways.

That puts things into a slightly different light. God knows me! He knows you. He understands what you are going through. He knows your own unique situation. You are not merely a number on a heavenly database. You are not lost amidst the millions. The God of the universe is personally aware of your day-to-day problems.

This puts a whole new emphasis upon personal prayer. God does not have an angelic staff who go through all of His prayer mail and who only forward the really important correspondence. God personally hears your prayers. He hears your prayers before you even pray them.

Even before there is a word on my tongue,

Behold, O LORD, Thou dost know it all. (Psalm 139:4).

God knows your thoughts. He knows your mind better than you do. He knows what you think and He knows all your needs and desires.

Have you ever come to a point where you wanted to pray to the Lord, but just could not find the words to say? Do not worry, for at such a time the Holy Spirit is interceding on your behalf.

Thou hast enclosed me behind and before,

And laid Thy hand upon me. (Psalm 139:5).

What does this mean? It is couched in military terms. David was a military man. He knew the value of strong fortifications. He went on to build a whole series of fortifications to link up the tribes of Israel.

Here is the best kind of fortification. It is the fortification that God provides. David recognizes that God has set up defenses both behind him and in front of him. Nothing can come into his realm of existence without God knowing about it and taking an active part in it. The same is true for you. Nothing comes into your life that has not first come through a nail-scarred hand.

You might be thinking, "This is a bit much to take in." Many people have a limited view of God because they cannot imagine anyone with such knowledge and such power. Do you feel that way? If so, you are not alone. Look at the next verse:

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;

It is too high, I cannot attain to it. (Psalm 139:6).

David is blown away by this kind of knowledge. He admits that he cannot grasp it. He cannot imagine that God could have such knowledge. And yet, he believes. This is his point of stability. He believes in a God that is beyond belief. That is because his concept of God is not dependent upon himself. David did not dream up this kind of God. This is the God who revealed Himself. This is the God who is there.

What else does the Bible say about the knowledge of God? How far does His knowledge go? What is the extent of His knowledge? Here are a few verses that give us some insight into the knowledge of God.

1. There is Nothing Hidden from God.

Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD, And the justice due me escapes the notice of my God"?

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. (Isaiah 40:27-28).

God knows all things. He does not get bogged down in details so that He misses some. His mind never gets overloaded. He is not like last year's computer that runs short on memory and needs an upgrade. He understands all things with an infinite understanding.

2. God's Knowledge Spans Every Event in the Universe.

He counts the number of the stars;

He gives names to all of them.

Great is our Lord, and abundant in strength;

His understanding is infinite. (Psalm 147:4-5).

God's knowledge is not confined to planet earth. He is the supreme expert in all matters of astronomy and science. He created the universe and holds it together. At the same time, He is concerned and aware of the most insignificant of events.

Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Therefore do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:29-31).

God knows about the tiniest details of His creation. He knows how many hairs you have on your head at any given moment. He is aware of all things.

This is a message of comfort. If God is aware of sparrows and their daily problems, then He is also aware of you. He accounts you to be of much more value than a whole swarm of sparrows. He is concerned for you and is watching over you.

3. The Unchangeableness of God's Knowledge.

And who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it;

Yes, let him recount it to Me in order,

From the time that I established the ancient nation.

And let them declare to them the things that are coming

And the events that are going to take place. (Isaiah 44:7).

God issues a challenge to those who would compare His infinite knowledge with their own finite and limited knowledge. His knowledge extends to the past, to the present and to the future.

If God knows that there will be an accident at a certain intersection on a specific time and date, then that accident will take place. Nothing can happen (not even man's "free will") that will be apart from God's foreknowledge.

At the same time, God's foreknowledge is not a black box placed within your soul that moves you in a particular way despite your own intellect and will. You have a FREEDOM OF SPONTANEITY that normally allows you to choose and act in accordance with your own choices.

4. God's Knowledge Includes All Possibilities.

Jesus alluded to this kind of knowledge when He compared the cities of Capernaum to the other cities that had not heard His preaching.

Then He began to reproach the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. 21 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 Nevertheless I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment, than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You shall descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. (Matthew 10:20-23).

Jesus claims knowledge of what would have happened in a different situation. He says that the cities of Tyre and Sidon would have reacted in a certain way if they had witnessed the miracles of Jesus.

A lesson that we can draw from such a statement is that God knows all of the possibilities. He knows what could have happened if things had been different.

At this point, we ought to consider the relevance of such a teaching. What difference does it make in my life to know that God is omniscient? Is this merely an academic thesis on a subject that has little or no value for day to day living? It is unfortunate that this is exactly the way in which this subject is often presented.

Is this relevant? It certainly is! If you are a normal human being, then you have certain problems in your life. They might be big problems or they might be little problems that only look like big problems.

I have news for you. God knew about your problems long before the creation of the universe. Not only did He know about them, but He also made provision for them.

He has built the answer to our prayers into the very structure of the universe (Dr. James Buswell, Jr).

God designed the universe with you in mind. It has been custom-built to your specifications. He knew everything about you before you were even born. And He has not forgotten. He is not senile. His knowledge is still fresh. He is the all-knowing God.

 

THE OMNIPOTENT GOD

Ah Lord God! Behold, Thou hast made the heavens and the earth by Thy great power and by Thine outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for Thee, 18 who showest lovingkindness to thousands, but repayest the iniquity of fathers into the bosom of their children after them, O great and mighty God. The LORD of hosts is His name; 19 great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, giving to everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds; 20 who hast set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and even to this day both in Israel and among mankind; and Thou hast made a name for Thyself, as at this day. (Jeremiah 32:17-20).

These words were not written in a seminary library. They were written by Jeremiah in a day of imminent danger. They were written by a man who was witnessing the fall of Jerusalem and who was surrounded by enemies both within and without.

These times were especially dark for Jeremiah. The tide of public opinion had turned against him. The king did not care for his preaching and had thrown him into prison. From the depths of his prison, Jeremiah could still realize the truth that God was in control of all of these events.

God is all-powerful. There is nothing that He is not able to do. He made everything that exists from His power. When earth's mightiest telescopes continue to explore the furthest reaches of the countless galaxies, they are bringing testimony to God's handiwork. There is nothing that is stronger than God because there is nothing that was not made by God.

This is a great source of comfort for the believer. You need to be aware of this basic truth when you are facing trouble.

There is no situation that can ever come into your life that is too difficult or too complex for God to handle.

Do you not know? Have you not heard?

The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired.

His understanding is inscrutable.

He gives strength to the weary,

And to him who lacks might He increases power.

Though youths grow weary and tired,

And vigorous young men stumble badly,

Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength;

They will mount up with wings like eagles,

They will run and not get tired,

They will walk and not become weary. (Isaiah 40:28-31).

The principle is clear. Nothing will ever be able to exhaust the infinite resources of the Almighty God. Because He is almighty, He is able to give strength to us in our weakness.

At the same time, we must point out that there are things for which it is impossible for God to do.

1. God cannot do the Irrational.

God does not do pseudo-tasks like making a stone that is too heavy for Him to lift or making a four-cornered triangle.

2. God cannot do that which is Contrary to His Character.

The Scriptures tell us that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2) or break His promise (2 Corinthians 1:20) and that He cannot change (Numbers 23:19).

3. God cannot Exhaust His Power.

The Lord does not tire. When God created all things in the space of six days, it did not tire Him and it was not a "rushed job." He rested only because He had finished His work.

In the midst of his discourse with his three friends, Job gives a graphic description of the creative works of God.

Naked is Sheol before Him

And Abaddon has no covering.

He stretches out the north over empty space,

And hangs the earth on nothing.

He wraps up the waters in His clouds;

And the cloud does not burst under them.

He obscures the face of the full moon,

And spreads His cloud over it.

He has inscribed a circle on the surface of the waters,

At the boundary of light and darkness.

The pillars of heaven tremble,

And are amazed at His rebuke.

He quieted the sea with His power,

And by His understanding He shattered Rahab.

By His breath the heavens are cleared;

His hand has pierced the fleeing serpent.

Behold, these are the fringes of His ways;

And how faint a word we hear of Him!

But His mighty thunder, who can understand? (Job 26:6-14).

Notice how Job sums up his description in verse 14. When we look at all the wonderful works of God and consider what He has accomplished, we are only seeing the fringes of His ways and the faint word of His might.

 

THE OMNIPRESENT GOD

Where can I go from Thy Spirit?

Or where can I flee from Thy presence?

If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there;

If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou art there.

If I take the wings of the dawn,

If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,

Even there Thy hand will lead me,

And Thy right hand will lay hold of me.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,

And the light around me will be night,"

Even the darkness is not dark to Thee,

And the night is as bright as the day.

Darkness and light are alike to Thee. (Psalm 139:7-12).

We have already seen the first portion of this Psalm of David that looks at the omniscience of God. He has shown that God knows all things. Now David moves to a new subject. It is the subject of the omnipresence of God.

David begins with a question. It is really a rhetorical question. It is a question with an obvious answer because it obviously has no answer:

Where can I go from Thy Spirit?

Or where can I flee from Thy presence? (Psalm 139:7).

It is not that David is actually seeking to escape God's presence. He asks these two questions to drive home a point. He wants to point out the truth that it is impossible to escape the presence of God. No matter where you go or what happens to you, God is still there.

If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there;

If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou art there.

If I take the wings of the dawn,

If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,

Even there Thy hand will lead me,

And Thy right hand will lay hold of me. (Psalm 139:8-10).

I am reminded of the prophet Jonah. Here is a man who is told by God to go to Nineveh, the capital city of the Assyrian Empire. Jonah is commissioned to take the message of God to the Assyrian people.

Jonah does not want to go. It isn't that he does not believe; it is that he has absolutely no use for the Assyrian people. Jonah is a bigot. He decides to go as far from the Assyrians as possible. He wants nothing to do with the Assyrians. He knows that there is one place where no Assyrian has ever gone. No Assyrian ever traveled by water. They had no navy. They were a mountain people. So what does Jonah do? He gets on a boat headed in the opposite direction. In so doing, he escapes the presence of the Assyrians; but he cannot escape the presence of God.

Imagine the scene! The boat is well on its way and Jonah has gone below decks to catch up on his sleep. Dark clouds appear on the horizon and soon spread over the entire sky. The wind begins to blow and the waves soon reach monstrous proportions. The ship is in danger of sinking. The sailors frantically seek to lighten the ship. When that does not work, they come down to where Jonah is sleeping and awaken him. Perhaps if he prays to his God, the storm will abate.

Jonah hears and Jonah knows why the storm has come. He knows that it is directed against his own willful disobedience. He instructs the sailors to throw him overboard. At their wits end and having tried every possible alternative, the sailors take Jonah that throw him into the depths of the Mediterranean Sea.

If this were not enough, Jonah is swallowed by a great fish. You would think that this would be the end of the story. But even in the depths of the sea and in the belly of a fish, Jonah has not escaped the presence of God.

You cannot escape the presence of God. This can be a great comfort to the believer in the area of prayer.

God is always there when you pray. Imagine what it would be like if this were not so. You might start to pray and suddenly a voice would come down from heaven saying, "Good afternoon, this is the Lord. I am so glad you called. I'm away from my desk, but if you will just leave your name and number I will get back with you..."

God does not use mail-messaging. He doesn't use a pager. He isn't even hard of hearing. He is always available. He is not just the God who is there -- He is also the God who is HERE.

The truth of God's omnipresence is also a warning to those who would be disobedient to His commands.

The eyes of the Lord are in every place,

Watching the evil and the good (Proverbs 15:3).

Have you ever been in a situation where you thought that it did not matter what you did because no one was looking? There are no secret things. God is there. He is watching the good that you do and He is also watching the bad that you do. That should be a warning to you when you are tempted to sin.

The Omnipresence of God is a Comfort

The Omnipresence of God is a Warning

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. (Hebrews 4:12-13).

Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you," 6 so that we confidently say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?" (Hebrews 13:5-6).

 

THE HOLINESS OF GOD

In the year of King Uzziah's death, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.

Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called out to another and said, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory." (Isaiah 6:1-3).

This is a glorious vision. It is a vision that takes us into heaven and into the very throne room of God. Isaiah begins with a brief but historical footnote. His account begins by rooting the event in time and space. What Isaiah is about to describe takes place in real history. It is not a "once upon a time" fairy tale. God really did speak. He did so...

In the year of King Uzziah's Death...

The reign of Uzziah is described in 2 Chronicles 26. He began his reign by doing right in the sight of the Lord. And because of this, the Lord blessed him and made the kingdom of Judah to be prosperous.

But Uzziah became proud. And in his pride, he took it upon himself to enter into the Temple and to offer incense upon the altar of incense. This was something that only a priest was permitted to do.

As a result, God smote Uzziah with leprosy. Because he was a leper, he was no longer to even approach the Temple. He was ceremonially unclean and he remained in this state for the rest of his life. Indeed, he could not even continue to rule his kingdom. Although he held to the title of king, his son Jotham served as regent and defacto ruler in his place.

Now the king had died. And in that same year, Isaiah was given a vision. It was a vision of the Temple. Not the Temple which Solomon built, but of heaven itself.

In contrast to the sullied career of court and king, the vision of Isaiah is one of wonder and majesty. It is a vision of the presence of the Lord. He is accompanied by Seraphim -- the Hebrew word sereph describes "fire" -- these are "fiery ones." They comprise a royal honor guard around the throne. They are there with a message to proclaim. Their message is a declaration of the character of their Creator:

And one called out to another and said, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory." (Isaiah 6:3).

The first question that we must ask in approaching this passage concerns the definition of this quality known as HOLINESS. What does it mean to be holy?

Being holy has often thought to be the same as being spiritual or being good, but this is not necessarily the case. The Hebrew word qadosh describes that which has been set apart and made special.

One synonym that can be used to express this quality of holiness is "otherness." Each of these things is said to be set apart and other than the rest of those things that surround them.

This brings us to a question: In what way is God holy? He is set apart from the rest of His creation. There is nothing else in the universe that is like Him. He is other than the rest of creation.

GOD

All Else

The message of these Seraphim point to the holiness of God. They say it repeatedly: "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory." Hebrew has no punctuation marks. When you wish to make something emphatic in Hebrew, you do so by repeating it again and again and again.

For example, when Jesus is speaking with Nicodemus and He wants to make a point, He does not just say, "I am telling you the truth when I say you must be born again." He says, "Truly, truly." He repeats it. This emphasizes and underlines what He is saying. When Peter is given the vision of the clean and unclean animals coming down from heaven, the vision is given three times.

The seraphim repeat this three times. They say, "Holy, holy, holy." There are not many things that are repeated three times in the Bible. This should cause us to rise up and take notice. God is HOLY.

When Isaiah looked into heaven and saw this picture of the holiness of God, what exactly did he see? He saw the glory. He saw the seraphim. But that is not all. This incident is quoted in John 12:39-41.

For this cause they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, 40 "He has blinded their eyes, and He hardened their heart; lest they see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, and be converted, and I heal them." 41 These things Isaiah said, because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him. (John 12:39-41).

The portion of Isaiah that is quoted is from the same chapter in which we were reading. It is from Isaiah 6:10. It is from the same context as Isaiah's vision. Here is the point. When Isaiah saw the glory of God, he was not seeing God because God is unseeable. He was seeing Jesus. That is what John tells us in verse 41 -- he spoke of Him.

 

THE WRATH OF GOD

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18).

The subject of the wrath of God is perhaps one of the most neglected topics in the church today. It has become something of a taboo for preachers to speak about God being angry with sin. It is almost with embarrassment that some Christians admit that God is a God of wrath. Yet it is a subject found throughout the Scriptures.

1. God's Wrath and God's Goodness.

Is God's wrath consistent with His goodness? Can I still love a God who is a God of wrath? Can He love me? Will a study of the wrath of God be edifying to me? The answer to all of these questions is a resounding "YES!"

"See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; it is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded, and it is I who heal; and there is no one who can deliver from My hand. 40 Indeed, I lift up My hand to heaven, and say, as I live forever, 41 if I sharpen My flashing sword, and My hand takes hold on justice, I will render vengeance on My adversaries, and I will repay those who hate Me. 42 I will make My arrows drunk with blood, and My sword shall devour flesh, with the blood of the slain and the captives, from the long-haired leaders of the enemy."

Rejoice, O nations, with His people; for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and will render vengeance on His adversaries, and will atone for His land and His people. (Deuteronomy 32:39-43).

The God of the Bible is a God of anger and of judgment. But notice against whom the judgment is directed. It is against those who hate Him and who have rejected Him. Rather than a cause of sorrow, verse 43 says that this is a cause of rejoicing. The Lord will win in the end and so will all who have believed in Him.

2. The Object of God's Wrath.

There are more passages in the Bible that deal with the wrath and anger and judgments of God than there are those that deal with His love and grace and mercy. Why is this? It is because God hates sin. Sin is at enmity with the righteousness of God.

The wrath of God is always directed against sin. If this were not so, if God did not become angry over sin, then He would be condoning sin and He would be sinful Himself. If God were not angry over sin, then he would be imperfect and He would not be God.

This means that you can never understand grace apart from the wrath of God. Y ou can never see what it took to send Jesus to the cross until you realize how much God hates sin. This is why Paul begins his epistle to the Romans with the wrath of God.

Can you rejoice in the wrath of God? Can you see this as a doctrine of comfort and of joy? You can if you have a proper concept of God.

God hates sin. He condemns and judges sin. But God loved you enough to send His Son to the earth to be identified with the sins of the world and to be judged for those sins so that you could be made free from that sin. Thus recognizing the wrath of God against sin makes the love of God more loving and the grace of God more gracious.

3. The Patience of God.

God is patient. The same God who holds the universe together by His power daily holds together the life of the unbeliever who hates Him.

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

When you sin, God does not send down a great bolt of lightning and blast you into oblivion. He is patient. He is waiting for a time of future judgment. Why? It is because He does not want any of His people to perish. He is waiting for all those who will become His people to come to Him.

What would have happened if God had grown impatient and decided to punish sin four days before you came to know Christ? You would have been judged and condemned and cast into hell. The reason that you are saved today is because God was patiently withholding His judgment against sin until you had come to Him in faith.

Do not miss this! The reason you are saved today and not roasting in hell is because God has been patient toward you. He is not willing that you should perish. He waited for you to come to repentance.

He is still waiting. He is waiting for others to come to Him in faith, trusting the provision that He has made for them. He is waiting for others to believe in Jesus Christ and be saved. But He will not wait forever. There is coming a day when judgment will come. There is coming a day when the Lord will return to judge those who have rejected His salvation. There is coming a day when the heavens will pass away and the earth with all of its wickedness will be destroyed.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. (2 Peter 3:10).

What is to be our response to this terrible vision? What effect does this teaching about the wrath of God have in our lives?

This is an important question. This prophecy was not given to satisfy our curiosity about future events. Prophecy is never given for that reason. Why was it given? It was given to bring about a change in our lives.

Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, 15 and regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you (2 Peter 3:14-15).

The response to this teaching about the wrath of God is to be twofold. These two responses are the reason for the teaching.

The first response is to be inward. It concerns your personal life. Once you have seen what is God's attitude concerning sin, it should have an effect in your life. You are to be at peace. You are to be spotless and blameless. You are to be free from sin. This teaching of the wrath of God is to be a motivation to personal godliness.

The second response is to be upward. It concerns your view of the patience of God. When you see sin going unpunished and wrong and evil-doing flourishing, you should not be disheartened. Rather you need to see this as a sign of the patience of God that has brought about your salvation.

Let me put this on a personal level. Have you suffered a wrong that has not been righted? Have you been stepped on by others? Does it seem to you that you have gotten the short end of the stick? You are seeing the patience of God at work. That same patience was necessary for your salvation. It is a sign of your salvation. Because of that, you can rejoice even in the difficult times.

 

THE LOVE OF GOD

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

This has been called the greatest verse in the Bible. It is the gospel in brief. It is a striking acclamation of the love of God.

This is the first time that the Bible ever says that God loved the world. The Jews knew that God loved Israel. He had chosen Abraham to make a covenant with him and with his descendants. The people of Israel were God's chosen people. They were aware that God loved His people.

But they never dreamed that this love would be extended to the Gentiles. This was a unique teaching to them. It was a revolutionary concept. God loved the world.

The word that is translated "love" in this verse is the Greek word agapew. It was a common word in the Greek language. It had a variety of uses.

However it was never used in secular Greek of the love that one had for an enemy. Such a concept would have been totally foreign to the pagan Greeks. It was unthinkable that you might show love toward an enemy.

That is exactly what God did toward us. God directed His love toward us when we were His enemies.

For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:7-8).

The love of God produced an effect. The effect was that He gave His Son. God loved the world so much that He gave. This is what true love is all about. True love always produces a corresponding action.

John 3:16 teaches that God... gave His only begotten Son. God's gift is unique. It was the gift of His only begotten Son. This is a title for the Son of God. He is the only begotten Son. This title emphasizes two unique aspects of the person of Jesus.

First, it emphasizes the unique birth of Jesus. His birth was completely different from any other birth in history. He was born of a virgin and He was born without sin.

Secondly, His title emphasizes the unique position of Jesus. He is the unique Son of God in a sense in which no other man or angel can claim. His position is unique.

The first part of this verse says that God sent His Son. The second part of this verse tells us why God sent His Son:

...that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16).

God sent His Son so that whoever believes in Him should have eternal life. That was the purpose for the incarnation. It was the reason for Christmas. This brings us to a question: What does it mean to believe in Christ?

The idea of belief or faith always describes an attitude held by the one who believes. This word "belief" is never used of an outward action, even though it will result in an outward action. When directed toward a person, belief can have one of two possible characteristics.

The first is confidence in a person's character or motives.

The second is confidence in that person's ability to perform a certain function.

Both of these characteristics are in view when we believe in Jesus. We place our confidence in His character that He will keep His word. We believe that He wants to save us. We also consider Him able to perform our salvation. We believe that He has the ability to save us. The result of such faith is that the believing one has eternal life.

...that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16).

The destiny of those who believe in Christ is brought out in both a negative and a positive statement.

Negative Statement

BUT

Positive Statement

Should not Perish

Have eternal life

The Greek construction of this passage is noteworthy. The phrase translated "should not perish" is in the Greek aorist tense. This tense views the action in a point in time. It looks to a point in the future when the unbeliever will perish. It points to a time of coming judgment in the future.

However the phrase "but have eternal life" is in the present tense. This is the tense of continuing action. Rather than looking to something that is coming in the future, it looks to a present, ongoing event.

Here is the point. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, then you have eternal life RIGHT NOW. You wonít only have it in the future. It is your present possession. You may not be able to see it. You canít smell it. You may not feel like you have it. But it is yours. You have eternal life.

 

THE GOD OF TRUTH

Paul, a bond-servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, 2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, 3 but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior (Titus 1:1-3).

In his introduction to the epistle to Titus, Paul refers to "God who cannot lie." This is a unique and often overlooked title for God. He is the God who cannot lie.

The actual Greek phrase that Paul uses is apsudhs Qeos. The Greek word psudhs is the word for a liar, one who never tells the truth. It is used by Paul in verse 12 to describe the Cretans who "are always liars." When a Greek word has the letter a prefixed to it, the effect is that it negates the word, something like our English prefix "non" in words such as nonsense, non-working or non-lying.

Here in Titus 1:2 we can literally translate the words of Paul to speak of "the NON-LYING GOD." This is a title for God. It describes who and what He is. He is the Non-lying God.

The false gods that populated the Greek and Minoan mythologies are well known to us today. The ancients had a god for every conceivable characteristic. There was a god for war and a god for wine and a god for love and a god for death. But here we see a title for God that stands in opposition to all of those false gods. Never in all of the Greek or Minoan pantheon was there ever a Non-lying God.

All of the Greek and Minoan gods had characteristics much like their human worshipers. They possessed all of the human failings of the men who created them. But the Non-lying God is seen in contrast to the gods of the Greek and of the Cretans. He is seen in contrast to the Cretans who are "always liars" (Titus 1:12). He is the Non-lying God.

But that is not all. There is more here than merely an interesting lesson in theology. There is more here than just another title for God. There is a vital reason why Paul uses this title here. The reason that this title is so important is because the Non-lying God has spoken. He has given promises to us.

...in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago (Titus 1:2).

Notice what it is that God has promised. It is the eternal life for which we hope. God has promised eternal life. The only reason that we can look forward to eternal life is because it has been promised to us by the Non-lying God.

A promise is no stronger than the character of the one who has made the promise. When a man makes a promise, we look to the character and the ability of the man who made the promise when we determine whether it will be fulfilled. If a man's character is questionable, then we have reason to suspect that the promise might prove false.

God has a perfect character. This is seen dramatically in God's dealing with Abraham when God entered into a covenant with Him. God used a legally binding treaty ritual to bind Himself to Abraham. God did not have to do this. He could have just promised Abraham the things that He was going to do and left it at that. But He wanted Abraham to understand that the promise would be kept, so He used a legal oath.

For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, "I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply you." (Hebrews 6:13-14).

It was the custom in the ancient world for a man to swear by the power of something else. He might swear by his own head. Or he might swear on the head of his son. Or he might swear by his king or by his country. The idea was that the higher the object of the oath, the more solid was considered to be the promise that was given by it.

The underlying idea was that, if the oath failed to be carried out, then the thing upon which the oath was made was to be cursed and destroyed.

Now we begin to see the truth significance of God's oath to Abraham. God is saying in effect, "Abraham, if I do not keep My promise to you, then may I cease to exist."

And thus, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise. 16 For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute.

In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, 18 in order that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before us. (Hebrews 6:15-18).

Do you see it? When God wanted to prove to believers that His plan on our behalf would never falter or be changed, He guaranteed it with an oath. Our salvation is as secure as the very life and existence of God. If God were to fail to keep His promise to you, then God would cease to be God.

Has God ever broken His word? Has He ever spoken and it did not come to pass? Has history borne witness to the truth of His title? Is He truly the non-lying God?

Ask the wastes of Nineveh,

Ask the mounds of Babylon,

Ask the coasts of Tyre and Sidon

If God is truthful to His word.

They will all answer that God cannot lie. (Dr. S. Lewis Johnson).

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