“Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me” (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
These were God’s own words to the prophet Jeremiah. A good reminder that wisdom, power, and even money, do not compare to the importance of understanding and knowing the Lord.
For the Christian, this goes beyond mere recognition — to intimacy and dependence as He becomes Abba Father: The perfect Heavenly Father, who has made Himself known in various ways and continues to do so, today.
God’s Nature Revealed
This fundamental being of God is not something that can be determined by any sense of imagination, reasoning, or experience,
- On the contrary, we can know God as He has been revealed through creation (Psalm 19:1-2; Romans 1:20).
- Through His Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10-12; 1 Corinthians 1:13).
- Through Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:3).
- Through the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16; Psalms 98:2; 2 Peter 1:19-21).
It is actually the complete biblical narrative that is vital to one’s understanding of God’s nature. This is because it is on the pages of the Bible that firsthand accounts of God, and His nature, have been recorded and preserved for all generations to see.
And while it’s easier to focus one’s attention on Jesus, and what He has done, or to camp on seeking the Holy Spirit, it’s important to note that all three persons of God’s triune nature are, indeed, God working together for His glory.
The Nature of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
Even as the nature of the Trinity is in some ways beyond understanding, there are things to know for certain.
- As God, they are Eternal (Psalm 90:2); Unchanging (Malachi 3:6).
- Spirit (John 4:24); Light (1 John 1:5).
- Infinite (Jeremiah 23:24); One (Deuteronomy 6:4).
- Perfect Love (1 John 4:8).
Furthermore, the most important of these to understand about God’s nature would be the characteristics that are unique to Him.
The specific traits that are unmatched and unshared, these are to be celebrated and, at the very least, appreciated — for they are what make our Heavenly Father a God above the rest (Deuteronomy 10:17).
The Importance of What Makes God, God
Notice how some principles of God’s nature can be applied to more than just Himself. There are traits shared with the angels, for example. The angels being illuminated, spiritual beings, who never die (Acts 12:7; Luke 20:36).
There are also the attributes we, as human beings, are able to partake in, albeit ever so imperfectly! For instance, our ability to love, comfort, create, have morals, and relationships, all come from the nature of the Image we are created in — God’s nature — and although God is the only one who is all these things to perfection, they are not what make Him God.
What does matter most: His supreme nature as the Giver of such things, as Creator of all things, having an everlasting spirit, all within perfect unity among Himself and His creation. Because of this, we can acknowledge that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below, that there is no other (Deuteronomy 4:39).
Still, there is much to consider and reflect on concerning who God is.
Below is a list of four things that are important to understand about God’s unique nature. Included are relevant scriptures to meditate upon to help us grow in this understanding.
1. God Is Infinite
In presence: 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 (Psalm 139:7-8).
“Do I not fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord (Jeremiah 23:24).
In power: With God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).
Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit (Psalm 147:5).
I know that you can do all things (Job 42:2).
In knowledge: Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely (Psalm 139:4).
We know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything (1 John 3:20).
In existence: Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God (Psalm 90:2)
God’s infinity, as Alpha, Omega, Beginning, and End, shows He is outside of time and creation. This sets Him apart as the only uncreated being from whom all else finds existence.
At the same time, God’s infinite nature will never extend past His fundamental nature. Meaning, He can never act outside of who He is, not even just a little bit.
2. God Is Holy
There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you (1 Samuel 2:2).
Who among the gods is like you, Lord? Who is like you — majestic in holiness, awesome in glory? (Exodus 15:11).
God’s holiness has less to do with His perfection and purity, and everything to do with His complete transcendence of “other-ness.” Keep this in mind as God is not just holy, but holy, holy, holy (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8).
So holy, the angels cover themselves in His presence as they declare such things. While the prophet Isaiah merely cried out, “Woe to me! I am ruined,” recognizing the implications of his own nature before the Most Holy, Lord Almighty (Isaiah 6:2-5).
3. God Is Sovereign
“My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please” (Isaiah 46:10).
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand (Proverbs 19:21, ESV).
How sovereignty plays out is particularly challenging as we live in a fallen world where bad things often happen to good people. This is where an understanding of God’s nature (and Word) is helpful, as He works all things according to the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11).
Even the things we are unable to fully grasp due to the fact that His ways are so far beyond our own (Isaiah 55:8). Still, it’s an area we are able to trust God as we grow in such knowledge, holding onto the promise that all things indeed work for the good of God’s purpose (Romans 8:28).
4. God Is Righteous and Rules
The Lord is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face (Psalm 11:7).
For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver (Isaiah 33:22).
As King of kings, God is so righteous, and so holy, that any who rebel against His standard must, and will, be judged accordingly (Romans 1:18), for He is perfectly just, by no means able to clear the guilty (Exodus 34:7).
And since the wages of sin is death and we all fall short (Romans 6:23; Romans 3:23), it is by God’s nature of forbearance, faithfulness, mercy, grace, and perfect love, man is offered a gift of forgiveness that results in the acquittal of all charges and guilt.
In (Jesus Christ) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 1:7).
The Nature of God Is What Makes the Gospel Good News
This is nothing short of incredible that God, most holy and righteous, able to create and do as He please, knowing all things, chose to redeem those who could never redeem themselves. He did so by sending His son to fulfill the law, becoming a sacrifice of perfect blood, once and for all (Matthew 5:17; Hebrews 10:10).
Truly, how can one fully appreciate Jesus’ atoning death upon the cross, without first having an understanding and appreciation for the timeless, full-spectrum, nature of God? Because of who God is, the Christian can live a life of great faith, trust, humility, and surrender.
Really, everything about the Christian faith rests on this identity and nature. Not just God’s loving, nurturing character, but also the equally important aspects of total righteousness and inability to excuse sin.
This is the pinnacle of God’s incommutable, sometimes incomprehensible nature — the gospel that saves.
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God (1 Peter 3:18).
That whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God (John 17:3).
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Konstanttin
Amy Swanson resides in Connecticut where she has recently discovered a passion for Bible study and writing. By God's continued grace, she now enjoys helping others better understand their Bibles, while also being an advocate for biblical church integrity. As a mother of three and a wife of 13 years, she blogs less than she'd like to but shares Scriptural insights, encouraging truth, resources, and musings on her FB page.