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November 3, 2019, 7:00 PM

The Balancing Act: Balancing God's Wrath and His Love


The circus is in town. You love the circus, so you go. So many acts capture your attention, but one stands above them all. High above the center stage is the tightrope. One after another the tightrope walker makes their way across the razor thin wire. Carrying this, riding that, one at a time or multiple walkers at once. Each carefully completes their task.

 

The secret to the success of the tightrope walker is balance. Incredible balance. Lean too far this way…down you go. Shift too much weight the other way and it’s the end of the rope (pun intended).

 

I challenge my readers today to walk the balancing tightrope with me as we dive into the theological realm between God’s wrath and God’s love. Err by leaning into God’s wrath and you become legalistic with a God waiting to give his children a hard whack. Lean into God’s love to the neglect of wrath and you end with a distorted doctrine saying things such as “God would never punish anyone.” You end up with a universalist theology that says everyone will get to heaven one day.

 

FIRST, WRESTLE WITH GOD’S WRATH

Speaking of God’s wrath immediately causes the hackles to come up on the neck of some Christians. This dimension of His character is so neglected because it is misunderstood.

 

Sin always leads to ruin. Because God is love, he cannot sit idly by and watch it happen. Without God’s wrath, His goodness would not be good. Because God is holy, he must have wrath.

 

The problem with accepting God’s wrath comes because we confuse man’s anger with God’s wrath. Man’s anger can be vindictive, filled with hatred, a desire to get even, or even to harm. His wrath is nothing like our wrath.

 

The Biblical words used to describe God’s wrath shed some insight into this distinction. Two words are used to describe anger. first word is thumos which describes sudden, boiling anger. It is used often in Scripture.

The second word is Orge. This word speaks of a consistent, abiding state. This word, while similar is different in nature. It is God’s consistent action against all that is less than God.  

 

Allow me to make a short diversion. Some who read this section will find it very difficult, even painful to comprehend of any kind of wrath as being positive. Your experience with discipline was only negative. Your parent or parents only expression of wrath left real wounds, scars that lay just beyond the surface. I say to you, I am sorry for the pain you have felt. May you learn to distinguish the loving discipline of God from the pain in your past.

 

We struggle to accept the image of God’s wrath because we have seen at as contrary to God’s love. Far from contradicting His love, the presence of wrath is a necessary corollary to that love. We simply cannot have a good God who is not able to show His anger.

 

Finally, some struggle with the image of God’s wrath because they segment the Old Testament image of God and the New Testament picture. This erroneous rendering of God sees wrath in the Old Testament and love in the New Testament. This could not be further from the truth God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Both Testaments tell of a God who is both angry and loving.

 

God’s word makes it clear that wrath is a consistent part of His nature. Note the following passages:

  • Psalms 7:11 “God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath every day.”
  • John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him”
  • Romans 1:18-21 “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness.
  • Ephesians 5:6 “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”

 

Some object to the picture of God’s wrath saying, “I don’t want a God who is prone to wrath.” Let me ask you a question. Do you really want a God who does not get angry at sin? Do you want a God who is not offended by horrific wrong?

 

As I prepared this message, I read in the Missouri Baptist paper two stories that I couldn’t help noting. First, a story about a Baptist worker in Nigeria who was one of ten people kidnapped and imprisoned. She was brutally murdered for no other reason than her belief in Jesus. Down the page in the next column was a brief article outlining a new law enacted in California REQUIRING the state schools to provide abortions for their students. Yes, taxpayer dollars mandated to pay to stop preborn lives.

 

Do we want a God who is passive in the face of such ugly, immoral stories? Because God is holy and fair, He must judge sin. His purity demands that he deal with impurity. Those who spurn his love suffer His wrath.

 

SECOND, LIVE IN GOD’S LOVE

God created people with a hole in our hearts. We need love. One can easily find proof of that. Young people who grow up without the godly affection often stumble into inappropriate relationships with less than uplifting people because they desperately seek the love that has been missing.

 

The three most important words in the New Testament relative to our discussion are, “GOD IS LOVE.” This truth of God’s nature is found in so many passages throughout the Bible. While not challenging to understand it is difficult to grasp how much He loves us.

 

John lays it out in his record of Jesus’ ministry and in his writing. He records Jesus’ words to Nicodemus in John 3:16. Go ahead and finish the verse in your head. “For God so loved…”

 

This concept comes through in his letter. 1 John 4:8-10 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

 

God’s love is expressed in giving Jesus. He sent Jesus because love comes out of His nature. He loves without condition. Like wrath, love is found throughout the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Consider the following:

  • Deuteronomy 7:7-8 “The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”
  • Psalms 103:17 “But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children.”
  • Psalm 136:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.
  • Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
  • Ephesians 2:4-5 “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved.”

 

The language used to describe God’s love is very insightful. One of the Old Testament words is GHIB and means to pant, desire, and long for. The image of the deer panting for the water brooks is used to describe God’s yearning for us. He longs for you, every day!

 

The New Testament uses the word agapao. It speaks of God’s indiscriminate love. His love is a love that pours out with no expectation of return. It is a selfless, sacrificial love. It seeks only the benefit and well being of the one loved. It is ultimately displayed in God’s reaching out to broken, sinful humanity through the sacrifice of Jesus.

 

BALANCE THE TWO:

Our struggle is to find the right balance between God’s wrath and His love. Scripture combines the two, helping us see that for His children God’s love is demonstrated in His consistent discipline.

  • Hebrews 12:6 “Because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."
  • Revelation 3:19 “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent

 

RESPONDING TO GOD’S WRATH AND LOVE

  • Because God is a God of wrath, I will FEAR Him.
  • Because God is a God of wrath, I will obey Him
  • Because God is a God of love and wrath, I will accept His offer of salvation. God has extended a once and for all offer. Jesus died for our salvation. He reaches to all mankind with the offer, “Whoever…” Receive His offer of salvation. Say a prayer like this:

 

“Dear Jesus, I know that I need you. I have sinned and cannot fix that in my own power. I believe, Jesus, that you died for me and rose from the dead. I receive your gift of life and ask you to forgive me. Come into my life and be my Lord and Savior. Thank you, God, for saving me!”

 

  • Because God is a God of love, I will love others (1 John 4:11-12) God so overwhelms us with His love. He does this so we can overwhelm someone else with His love expressed through us. He calls us to be His kiss, His touch, and His embrace to those around us.

 




October 27, 2019, 7:25 PM

God is One AND Three in One


1 + 1 + 1 =?

 

Seems like a simple mathematical equation doesn’t it? Until it is not.

 

I have previously outlined my aversion to advanced math. was good with a problem that looked like: 2 + 2 = 4. t all made sense: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division. And then someone added in X and Y. Suddenly the math didn’t work so well. At least not for me.

 

My kids quickly learned that dad was out of his element. History, English, social studies…bring those to me. Math…you are pretty much on your own. I usually told them I knew just what the answer was, “12.” I suppose at some point that had to be the right answer.

 

The theological math of the Trinity is just about as fuzzy for some people. The concept of three beings making one God is challenging to even the most advanced theologians.

 

From the beginning this doctrine caused much confusion. Modalism was an early perversion. One God in three different modes. First, the Father, then the Son, then the Spirit. Umm, NOPE! Father, Son and Spirit existed and worked simultaneous to one another not sequentially.

 

Arianism came along a bit later. This idea comes from a concept of subordination. It places God on the highest throne and relegates Jesus to a being created by God. The highest being, yes, but still just a creation. Again, WRONG! If Jesus is less than God, some mere creation He is not God, downgrading His death to just another man’s dying on just another cross. Unacceptable!

 

Macedonianism places God the Father and God the Son on equal pedestals in the heavenly realm, making the Spirit lesser. He is consigned a place beneath the others. One final time, sorry but INCORRECT. If He is lesser, the Spirit is not Divine.

 

Not the final distortion, but the final one I will mention is Tritheism. This teaching claims that there are three Gods. While this may seem to be a fitting solution, it is also not satisfactory. It denies the stated truth of Scripture that there is only one God. Indeed, this deception has been the source of so many others.

 

The truth is that the belief in the Triune God has sparked errors and falsehoods from that day up to the present day. Modern “cult” groups deny the deity of Jesus, elevate anyone to be a God, and continue many of the other ancient errors.

 

In correctly relating the Trinity it is important to begin with the right presupposition. The Word of God is absolutely correct in all that it teaches. It is correct even when my mind cannot grasp all that it says. When I don’t understand some truth, it is my inherently my inability to grasp some truth, not because there is an error. After all, as mentioned previously, if my small mind can grasp all that the Word says about God, my God would be very small indeed.

 

The God who is three and one, simultaneously and fully at the same time is a truly distinctive doctrine. We are unique in this claim. The doctrine is crucial for Christianity.

 

This belief answers what God is, what He is like, how He works and how we must approach Him. We learn that worship involves all three members of the Trinity. We understand how we are to pray.

So, let me add my voices to those seeking to bring some clarity to this mammoth doctrine. I offer the following sections humbly, seeking to prove the various aspects of the trinity through Scripture, all the while understanding that my words will never answer all the questions. We are left to accept the disparate parts outlined while leaving him to the rest.

 

Allow me to start my explanation with two very simple equations.

    • God is 1
    • 1 + 1 + 1 = 1

Proving these will include a cascade of verses. Each comes from the NIV translation.

 

God is One

Very early in Jewish history God defined the faith rather simply for them. Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” This was to be their distinctive belief. All around them the people had various gods with multiple images and statues. God said, “I am different. There is one and I am He.”

 

Throughout both the Old and New Testaments God’s word continued to emphasize this truth. Consider a couple other passages:

  • 1 Timothy 2:5-6 “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men-the testimony given in its proper time.”
  • James 2:19 “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that-and shudder.”

 

There is little room for discussion here. God is one. Period! Be warned, however, merely believing in one God is not enough for eternal life to come. Demons believe that and shudder in fear. The Demons are smarter than many in today’s world. Start your theology of the Trinity by accepting the truth that the Demons readily acknowledge: There is One God!

 

GOD IS THREE IN ONE 1 + 1 + 1 = 1

The truth of the Trinity is found throughout the Bible. Consider some passages.

At His baptism all three parts of the Trinity can be clearly seen. As the Son is being baptized we hear the voice of the Father offering His encouragement. “This is my Son; in Him I am well pleased.” Upon that confirmation the Spirit descends like a dove. All the Trinity is present in that one event. (Matthew 3:13-17)

 

God as three in one is present in the creation. The Father speaks to the other members of the Trinity in Genesis1:26 “Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." (See Also 3:22 “Like one of us”)

 

The plural Deity also is spoken of in Isaiah 6:8 “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" Father, Son, and Spirit sought a willing spokesman. They still do.

 

Jesus told us to baptize in the names of all the parts of the Trinity. Matthew 28:19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

 

Jesus clearly claimed equality with God. John 10:30: “I and the Father are one.” This clear affirmation of being equal with God caused the religious establishment in Jesus day to determine that He must die. They grasped the depth of Jesus’ pronouncement.

 

What, then, is the Trinity? The term Trinity describes a relationship not of three gods, but of one God who is three persons. God is three and one. Each fully God in all unity and diversity. Originally the word was Triunity. A simple word broken down into its two parts Tri=three, Unity=Oneness.

 

The word “Trinity” while not appearing in Scripture is evidenced throughout. It may not be fully explained but it sets the Biblical limits outside of which we cannot go. This doctrine helps us stay faithful to the Biblical revelation while not going outside of it.

 

Examine each statement below:

  • The Father is GOD, but He is not THE SON OR THE SPIRIT
  • Jesus is DIVINE- but He is not THE SPIRIT OR THE FATHER
  • The Holy Spirit is DIVINE, but He is not THE FATHER OR THE SON

 

There is an overwhelming weight of evidence throughout Scripture showing each part of the Trinity using the divine characteristics we have studied in previous blogs and will study in the coming weeks. An addendum following my conclusion I have a list of each trait with the verses used to support them. All three: Father, Son and Holy Spirit are described as:

    • Eternal
    • Holy
    • True
    • Omnipresent
    • Omnipotent
    • Omniscient
    • Creator
    • Sanctifier
    • Author of all spiritual operations
    • Source of eternal life
    • Teacher
    • Raising Christ from the dead
    • Inspiring the prophets, etc.
    • Supplying ministers to the church
    • Salvation is work of
    • Baptism administered in name of.
    • Benediction given in name of.

 

WE CAN SUMMARIZE THE TRUTHS THIS WAY:

  • God is ONE
  • Each of the persons within the Godhead is DIVINE (DEITY)
  • The oneness of God and the Threeness of God are not contradictory
  • The Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is ESSENTIAL
  • Each of the persons of God is of the same essence and is not INFERIOR or SUPERIOR to the others in essence.
  • The Trinity is a MYSTERY that we will never be able to fully understand

 

WHAT DO WE DO WITH IT? BECAUSE GOD IS ONE BUT ALSO THREE IN ONE:

  • I will accept the fact that I see these deep truths only dimly. We see truths now with limited knowledge. But one day we will see Him face to face and our knowledge will be complete.
  • I will trust and obey God even though I don’t understand. There is much that we may not understand but trust. We may not understand how electricity gets to our home and turns on the light, but we still flip the switch. Trust God even when we don’t get it all clearly.
  • I will celebrate the truth that because there is a Trinity, I have salvation. God planned for your salvation. Jesus carried out the plan. The Spirit brought the truths to you, convicting you of your need and God’s provision. All of God brought you to Himself.

 

SCRIPTURAL SUPPORT SHOWING EACH PART OF THE TRINITY FUFILL THE DIVINE CHARACTERISTICS

    • Eternal
      • Rom 16:26 but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith—
      • Heb 9:14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
      • Rev 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”
    • Holy
      • Acts 3:14 But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,
      • 1 John 2:20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.
      • Rev 4:8 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!”
      • Rev 15:4 Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested.”
    • True
      • John 7:28 Then Jesus cried out, as He taught in the temple, saying, “You both know Me, and you know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know.
      • Rev 3:7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”:
    • Omnipresent
      • Ps 139:7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
      • Jer 23:24 Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?” says the Lord; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord.
      • Eph 1:23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
    • Omnipotent
      • Gen 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.
      • Jer 32:17 ‘Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.
      • Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
      • Rom 15:19 in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
      • Heb 1:3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
      • Rev 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
    • Omniscient
      • John 21:17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.
      • Acts 15:18 “Known to God from eternity are all His works.
      • 1 Cor 2:10–11 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
    • Creator
      • Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
      • Job 26:13 By His Spirit He adorned the heavens; His hand pierced the fleeing serpent.
      • Job 33:4 The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
      • Ps 148:5 Let them praise the name of the Lord, For He commanded, and they were created.
      • John 1:3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
      • Col 1:16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
    • Sanctifier
      • Heb 2:11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,
      • 1 Pet 1:2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
      • Jude 1:1 Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ:
    • Author of all spiritual operations
      • 1 Cor 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
      • Col 1:29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.
      • Heb 13:21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
    • Source of eternal life
      • John 10:28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.
      • Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
      • Gal 6:8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
    • Teacher
      • Is 48:17 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.
      • Is 54:13 All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.
      • Luke 21:15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.
      • John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
      • Gal 1:12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.
      • 1 John 2:20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.
    • Raising Christ from the dead
      • John 2:19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
      • 1 Cor 6:14 And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.
    • 1 Pet 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,
  • Inspiring the prophets, etc.
    • Mark 13:11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.
    • 2 Cor 13:3 since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you.
    • Heb 1:1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,
  • Supplying ministers to the church
    • Jer 3:15 And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.
    • Jer 26:5 to heed the words of My servants the prophets whom I sent to you, both rising up early and sending them (but you have not heeded),
    • Matt 10:5 These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans.
    • Acts 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
    • Acts 20:28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
    • Eph 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
  • Salvation is work of
    • 2 Thess 2:13–14 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, 14 to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    • Titus 3:4–6 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
    • 1 Pet 1:2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
  • Baptism administered in name of.
    • Matt 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
  • Benediction given in name of.
    • 2 Cor 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.



October 20, 2019, 9:16 PM

God Knows it All


The game of survivor features many challenges. In one variation people were placed into a maze, having been blindfolded. Allowed to lose their blindfold they were then told to find several items in the maze.

 

The task would be very difficult but situated above the maze is a teammate who was able to direct their paths. “Now turn right and then move forward. When you get to the next intersection you will turn left…” The game is made different because of the presence of the guide.

 

If you were in the same situation how would you feel about the one who directed your path? Would you be willing to follow their lead? Would you doubt what they were saying when they told you to turn a certain way? Probably not. You would trust them. Why? Because they have the advantage of perspective. They can see what you cannot.

 

Today as we continue to examine the question of “Who is God?” The answer is multidimensional and varied. Taken together these descriptions picture our God who is greater than the sum of the parts as we study it.

 

Today let’s examine the truth that God is all knowing. Particularly, we will describe Him using three words: omniscience, knowledge, and wise. Together, these words allow us to grasp the depth of God’s knowledge.

 

The term omniscience is a familiar one to theologians through the ages. A brief review is in order. See some of the definitions below:

 

  • The word means to have all (omni) knowledge (science).
  • He needs to learn from no one. He consults no one.
  • Everything is perfectly known by Him. He knows it all equally well.
  • He is never surprised, astounded and amazed.
  • God’s knowledge never fades. He is never forgetful, except for those things (like our sin) that He chooses not to recall.

 

God knowledge also includes the idea of wisdom. We have met the person who has a great deal of knowledge but little street smart. The word wisdom combines the idea of skill and ability. Knowledge comes to application includes both skill and ability. It is the skill to apply knowledge and the ability to do so.

 

Scripture abounds with statements expressing God’s knowledge.

 

  • Nothing escapes His Knowledge-Psalm 33:13-15

13 From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind;
14 from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth—
15 he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.

 

Our God considers or understands everything we do. He sees it all.

 

  • He knows every detail of our LIVES Psalm 139:1-6

Psalms 139:1-6 “For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. O LORD, you have searched me, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in — behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”

 

In this stirring passage David reveals the depth of God’s knowledge about His children. He sees every detail of our lives, understanding them before they even come to be. He understands every word we speak before they are formed on the tip of our tongues.

 

Like David we find ourselves amazed by the depth and breadth of God’s knowledge. It is simply too amazing for us. We are unable to truly grasp His mastery.

 

  • His eyes are on the WICKED and the GOOD Prov 15:3

3 The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.

 

No one escapes His knowledge. His eyes are on both the moral and the immoral. He sees the sinful and the godly. We like the idea that He can measure those who do not measure up. His knowledge of us is a bit more challenging. But He sees them all.

 

  • He knows the number of HAIRS on your head Matt 10: 29-30

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.
30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

 

We cannot think for a moment that Jesus didn’t have a sense of humor. He could have said that God knows everything about that. His simple theological statement would have been easy enough to understand. With this statement Jesus must have given a wry smile.


He knows how many there are. Even after you with long hairbrush it and leave the brush loaded. He knows how many fell and are wrapped around the brush on the bottom of your vacuum. Who doesn’t hate the job of cleaning those off! He knows what color your hair naturally is, even when you may have forgotten.

 

His point is simple. He knows everything about you. Everything, small and great.

 

  • He knows our very THOUGHTS Lu 5:22, Jn 2:24-25

Luke 5:22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?
John 2:24-25 24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. 25 He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.

 

Jesus knew what was inside of people. More than once in His ministry the Evangelists tell us that He did not entrust Himself to them because He saw what was within them.

 

  • He knows our THOUGHTS and ATTITUDE Hebrews 4:12-13

Hebrews 4:12-13 12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

 

This passage justifiably gives us pause. A bad attitude is rather obvious to observe in our teenagers. We ask them to do a simple task such as clean their room. The World War III of attitudes commences.

 

The sound of their feet demonstrates a lack of pleasure with the assigned task. The “gentleness” of the door closing echoes through the house. Every sound emanating from their room further reinforces their displeasure.

 

It easy to point to the teenager (or preteen) and find a faulty attitude. Its best if we check ourselves first.

 

Which servant of Christ has not plodded their way to church while thinking about the other stuff we would rather do? Who hasn’t grudgingly approached our area of service while dreading every minute, anticipating that moment of “constructive” criticism from lady negative Nancy?

 

God sees right through our actions. He understands the motives that drive us, whether pure or not. He grasps the attitudes that we may or not mask well from those around us. He sees it all.

 

  • God is GREATER than our hearts and knows EVERYTHING (1 John 3:20)

All the verses above may leave us with a less than enthusiastic response. We are not exactly thrilled that God sees right through us. Our hearts recoil in a bit of fear. If God really sees us like that perhaps He is less than pleased with us. He may reject us. Our hearts condemn us.

 

1 John 3:20
20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything

 

God is greater than our hearts. He knows everything about us, but He is greater than those things. He knows who we are in Him. He fathoms what we are becoming in Him. He is greater than your condemning heart.

 

How do we respond to God’s knowledge? I offer four suggestions.

  • We are filled with AWE and ADORATION. We humbly look at God’s knowledge filled with admiration. We stand in respect before the God who has the perspective both in front of us and behind us.

 

  • We are COMFORTED in our SUFFERING/STRUGGLES. Regardless how deep our struggles He sees it all. No tear has ever escaped his notice. No hurt has been missed. We are buoyed in our spirit by the reality that he sees the things no one else has seen.

 

You think no one understands the depth of your hurt? You are correct in the human realm. No one truly gets it, except the God who knows ALL about it. Every bit.

 

  • We are CONFRONTED in our SIN. Perhaps this application is the most obvious. The fact that God grasps all our failures overwhelms us. Here you have a rather simple choice. You can either be overcome with guilt or you can lay it all bare before the one who knows about it anyway.

 

Yes, He knows what you did? He saw what no one else did. You don’t have to stay there, condemned. The alternative is to confess. I point, again, to John’s words, “IF we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and CLEANSE us from ALL of our unrighteousness.” (Emphasis mine, 1 John 1:9) Confess it and come clean.

 

  • We are challenged to HAVE FAITH. Finally, we are called to trust Him. Trust that He sees exactly what is happening and because He is unbound by time, He sees precisely what is going to happen. We can trust His direction. He will lead us into the best because He knows it all. Whatever your worry today, confess the need to Him and trust Him to lead.



October 13, 2019, 9:15 PM

God is Our All-Powerful Sovereign


There are some mighty strong people in this world. Consider a few current world records. The record for

    • Clean and jerk is 513 lbs.
    • Bench Press is 885 lbs.
    • Preacher Curl is 205 lbs.
    • Bicep Curl is 475 lbs.

Two things stand out about these records and their record holders. First, these records will fall. Someone will come along who is a little bit stronger. The record holder’s names in the books will be eclipsed by someone else.

 

Second, those who hold the records will break down. Don’t we all! Try to do what you did ten or even twenty years ago and you will know exactly what I mean by that. Even if you can accomplish the same task, the effect on your body is noticeably different. You pay the price.

 

Human strength is limited in ability and endurance. Our strength is surpassed by others and quickly runs out. We can give thanks to God that His strength knows neither limit!

 

Today I invite my readers to dig with me into God’s word as we seek to understand God’s power. The word we most often hear to describe God’s power is the word omnipotence. God’s omnipotence speaks of His awesome power. It derives from the term omni which means all and the word for strength.

 

This word is simple to understand but so very rich in meaning. With a deep understanding of this word we grasp the idea that God at any moment might break out in any way He chooses.

 

Our God is strong enough to bring anything to pass that He pleases. His power cannot be reigned in, withstood or frustrated in any.

 

His power is most often on display in the Resurrection and His work in the lives of His children. Jesus rose from the grave bringing life not only to Himself but to all who place their trust in Him. That miraculous work continues in His children as He redeems and “remodels” us after Himself.

 

Our God never gets tired. He never runs out or takes a nap. Scripture says, “The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary” (Isaiah 40:28).

 

There are, however, limits on God’s power. God chooses to function in ways that are consistent with His nature, character, and purpose. He chooses, by His nature to define some things that He will not do. Consider a few self-imposed limitations defined by Scripture:

  • God cannot sin or approve evil (Hab. 1:13; James 1:13)
  • He cannot lie (Heb. 6:18, Titus 1:2)
  • He cannot deny himself (2 Timothy 2:13)
  • He cannot be unfaithful or break His promises (Heb. 13:5).

 

God’s word clearly establishes His omnipotence.

The voices from heaven declare, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!” (Revelation 19:6) Fifty-eight times in the Bible we are told that God is almighty

 

In His omnipotence God can do whatever He pleases. “Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.” (Psalms 115:3)

 

Jeremiah reminds us that nothing is too difficult for God. “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27) Not task is one bit harder to God than any other. He is equally strong in the face of any challenge.

 

Twice during Jesus’ ministry, we are reminded that nothing is impossible for God. “Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26) Mary hears the same promise when she was attempting to understand the task given to her to carry the incarnate son of God “For with God nothing will be impossible.” (Luke 1:37)

 

He has power over:

  • all men and nations (1 Kings 11:11, Daniel 4:17, 2 Timothy 2:13)
  • all nature (Job 28:5, 6, 25, 26, Psalm 33:6-9)
  • all angels (Psalm 91:11, 103:20, 104:4 Heb 1:14)
  • Satan and death (Job 1:12, 2:6, Rom 16:20, Rev 20:2, 10)

 

My wife and I have dialogue about once or fifty times a day. It is amazingly consistent. She will suggest something I should do, giving me her thoughts about this or that course of action. I respond with a consistent phrase, “I do what I want…you’re not the boss of me.” This is always a joke and we both know it. I then proceed to do what she suggested.

 

While this joking conversation is made with no sting, in our experience with God’s power we have a very real reaction to God as Sovereign. This all-powerful God is sovereign over the whole world. The simple definition of this word speaks of God as above others.

Our all-powerful God is sovereign over the entire world. No concept is as detested by humanity as this one. We do not want to accept a God who is in control. pride loathes the suggestion that God orders everything, controls everything, rules over everything.

 

We struggle because we want to be in control. We get practically beside ourselves because someone else is in charge. A simple question should help us understand the flaw in our thinking. “How are we doing solving the world’s problems on our own?”

 

God is the supreme ruler, independent of any authority outside of Himself. He is the absolute ruler of the universe. The idea includes His freedom to do as He wills, He has no limitations or restrictions

 

God's sovereignty is found throughout Scripture. (Emphasis mine)

  • 1 Chronicles 29:11-12 “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.”
  • Job echoed this truth when he said to God, “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You” (Job 42:2).
  • He RULES over all nations. “For the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations.” (Psalm 22:28)
  • His POWER is fulfilled. “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.” (Psalm 33:11)
  • “I know all the birds of the mountains, and the wild beasts of the field are Mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world is Mine, and all its fullness.” (Psalm 50:11–12)
  • “The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all.” (Psalm 103:19)
  • “Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21)

Scripture leaves no room for discussion. God is absolutely sovereign. He oversees this universe. We must respond to God’s sovereignty with humble reverence. says, “The Lord reigns. Let the peoples tremble.” (Psalm 99:1)

 

Before I wrap up this section of our study, it is important to pause and address the subject of man’s free will. God has created humanity with the ability to make choices. From the first people, who could choose whether to eat the fruit from the tree, we have been give the freedom of choice.

 

Sovereignty is in no way contradictory with human free will. Our God is so powerful, so wise, and so sovereign that whatever our free will determines to do, He still rules. His plans will come to pass despite our choices. “God is so secure, so powerful, and so much in control that He is able to allow people to choose for themselves which destinies they will follow.”[1]

 

God has chosen to give us freedom, confident in His sovereignty regardless our choices. We are His unwitting partners in unfolding His plan.

 

BECAUSE GOD IS THE ALL-POWERFUL SOVEREIGN:

  • I have COMFORT (Trust)
  • I am filled with WORSHIP (Reverence)
  • I have courage to walk in His STRENGTH (Isaiah 40:29-31) “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.”
  • I will follow in OBEDIENCE
 

[1] Bisagno, John. God Is. Victor Books: Wheaton, Illinois, 1983. Page 7.




October 6, 2019, 8:33 PM

Knowing God by Experience: God is... GOD IS!


A simple statement, really. GOD IS! But one that packs so much meaning. God is!

 

Consider the alternative. This earth could be nothing but a spinning ball of circumstances. Everything that is and ever has been must have evolved through a strange series of happenstance. No one is in charge and the world is headed nowhere. All of humanity would be headed to death and then the silent sleep of the dead.

 

We hear the question from children and even from adults who are bold enough to ask the driving question, “Who made God?” Faith answers simply, no one. God never needed to be made, because He was always there.

 

The Bible does not attempt to prove the existence of God. That He exists is assumed and proclaimed but not proven. God is not bound by the constraints of time or space but dwells beyond and apart from them. This week’s blog will address four descriptions of God that first proclaim and then define His existence.

 

GOD IS LIVING

God is characterized by life. His very name "I AM" (Exod. 3:14) indicates that he is a living God. Hebrews 11:6 says that anyone who "comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." Thus, existence is considered a most basic aspect of his nature.

The nature of God as living is found in several Scriptures. Jeremiah 10:10 “But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath.”

 

Because God is living, we affirm that he is the ultimate source of all life. We live because God lives. He gives all our lives meaning because He lives. He neither needs us, nor is fortunate to have us. We are favored that the living God chooses us.

 

THE LIVING GOD IS ETERNAL

The first question arising from God’s existence is, “When did God come to be?”

 

The question is answered by the reality that God is eternal. The word means that He exists endlessly. As far backward and forward as you can look, you see God. There was never a time when He was not, and never will be a time when He will cease.

 

In a world controlled by clocks and calendars, where recorded years number in the thousands, the idea of eternity seems somehow impractical. However, if God were ever not, He would no longer be God. He would not be worthy of occupying the throne.

 

God is not limited or bound by time; with God there is no succession of events; He is above all temporal limitations. While creatures change, improve, and decline within time, God is all that he is in every part of time, always.

 

David proclaims this truth in Psalms 90:2: “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”

 

Praise the Lord that He is not bound by the limitations of time. Past, present, or future are one to Him. He is never the victim of the clock or the calendar. Accept this truth even if you cannot understand it. Because He is eternal, He can see all my life. He is present in every moment of our lives. Fully present.

 

THE LIVING GOD IS SELF-EXISTENT

The second question arises. People ask, “Who Made God?”

 

The quick answer to the question is, “No one.” God exists by reason of what He is in Himself. He is the great “Uncaused One.” He caused us to be, but nothing caused Him to be. He does not depend on anyone or anything else.

 

The skeptics and the philosophers say that every effect must have a cause. This is truth. If something is affected, someone or something had to be the cause. However, the assumption is that God has been somehow caused. This is a false assumption. Nothing or no one caused God to be. He is the great “effector.”

 

It is impossible for something to create itself. The concept of self-creation is a contradiction in terms. Nothing can be self-created. Not even God can make Himself. For God to create Himself He would have to be before He is. Even God can’t do that.

 

Consider the following passages.

  • Ex 3:14–15 (I am what I am.);
  • Job 22:2–3; 1 Co 8:6 (From whom are all things, and through whom we exist.);
  • Re 4:11 (Worthy, for you created, by your will.);
  • Ro 11:36 (For from him and through him and to him are all things.);
  • Ac 17:25 (As though he needed anything.);
  • Jn 5:26 (Father has life in himself.); Job 35:7

 

Trust the one who has always been. He is here today as He always has been.

 

THE LIVING GOD IS OMNIPRESENT

The final question about God being the living God is, “Where is God?”

This question arises often from a place of hurt. The difficult hours cause us to wonder where God is. We wonder if he is there.

 

We understand the God’s presence in some respects. Christians typically understand and proclaim that, “God is in my heart.” This is true but there is more.

 

Omnipresent is one of three “omni” terms used theologically. Omni is a word meaning “all.” Simply, the word means that God is all present. He is always everywhere.

 

God is everywhere present and is every portion of reality. He is always present and in all places with ALL His being.

 

Solomon understood this truth. He spoke about God’s omnipresence when he said, “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27)

 

David echoed this truth.

Psalms 139:7-10 “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

 

God’s omnipresence brings comfort to us. We can be sure of God’s undivided attention no matter what the situation is. We don’t ever need to stand in line or make an appointment with God. Believe, really believe that God is there.

 

What can you do about it? Say these things to God:

 

  • I will accept what I cannot understand about God’s eternal nature.
  • I will accept that God is eternal, living, self-existent, and omnipresent. Therefore, He can see my whole life. Let that truth speak to you when you are facing temptation, when you need courage to face difficulty, or when the day is challenging. God is present, fully present in our day.
  • I will look forward to the day that I will join God in the realm of the eternal. One day you, too, will be beyond time. At that moment all the struggles and pain will fade away as will all clocks, watches, calendars, and planners. We will live in the realm of the eternal with God.

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