Who is God? What is God really like?
Even our first parents, Adam and Eve, who walked with God in the Garden of Eden failed to comprehend His character or personhood. Where are we to begin with these challenging questions?
The best source to seek understanding about God is from the Bible—the inspired word of God. While books, articles, and resources can be useful, there is no other source as revealing of God’s nature than Scripture.
In Scripture, we learn about the Trinity and the unique traits each person of the triune God contributes to the God-head. We also discover the rich meaning of the various names of God and learn more about His characteristics through those names. You can read more about those here. In addition, we are introduced to Christ, who is God incarnate, a living representation of God.
God, the Creator of the universe, unveils Himself through the words of Scripture—wooing wayward people to Himself in a world filled with distractions and misguided philosophies.
What Does the Bible Say about the Character of God?
Several of God’s characteristics are highlighted throughout scripture. Some of them are noted in the verses below.
God is love. “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8 NKJV).
God is eternal. “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable” (Isaiah 40:28 ESV).
God is a spirit. “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24 ESV).
God is omnipotent. “Then Job answered the Lord and said, “I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:1-2 NIV).
God is omnipresent. “Indeed before the day was, I am He; And there is no one who can deliver out of My hand; I work, and who will reverse it?” (Psalm 139:7-8 NKJV).
God is omniscient. “For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything” (1 John 3:20 ESV).
God is compassionate. “Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities” (Micah 17:18-19 NKJV).
God is a Father. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17 NKJV).
As mentioned in the introduction, we also learn of God’s character through the members of the Trinity.
For example, God the Father has gone to incredible lengths to offer us an eternity free from pain, fear, or sorrow. Consider John 3:16 (ESV), “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Imagine exchanging your child to ransom someone else. Could you do it? Our heavenly Father willingly gave Christ as payment for you and me. The Father’s expansive love and mercy are unfathomable.
Christ, who lowered Himself to the position of man though He was fully God, knew hunger, thirst, and suffering. He served others, healed the sick and the lame, and was killed for claiming to belong to another Kingdom. Most people misunderstood Jesus then; most do now.
More than a prophet, teacher, or a good man, Christ is the heavenly King. Hebrews 1:3 (ESV) explains, Jesus “is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
As the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit embodies many characteristics. He is often known as the Advocate, Comforter, Helper, Sustainer, Intercessor, Counselor, Strengthener, and Standby.
These names by which the Holy Spirit is called are remarkable, but what I find even more incredible is that Spirit of God lives within believers as evidenced by verses like 2 Timothy 1:14 (NIV), “Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”
As Christians, we have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit. When we need comfort, insight, prayer, courage, or direction and support for any of life’s situations, God is with us.
What Do We Learn about God Through the Incarnation of Jesus?
While the entirety of Scripture provides insight into God’s character, there is no one else who gives us more understanding about His personality than Christ. Because Jesus is “the exact imprint” (Hebrews 1:3) of God, He embodies God in the flesh.
Through the incarnation, I believe we discover four truths that set God apart from all other gods-little g.
God is personal. He is not removed, remote, or distant. He is not unaware of individual needs nor the consequences of sin. Instead, God willingly put on flesh and endured agony to bring salvation to those who would choose a relationship with Him.
God is humble. Though Christ was King, He was born in a hovel rather than a palace. Rather than being served, He served others. Instead of demanding position, power, or praise, Jesus preached about love and forgiveness.
God is sacrificial. If Christ had not been incarnated, the gap between a holy God and unholy men and women could not have been bridged. But through the blood spilled on the cross, Jesus has “made atonement for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17 NIV).
Why Is it Important to Know What God Is Like?
While some may be merely curious about God and His character, Ephesians 5:1 (NKJV) exhorts Christians to “be imitators of God as dear children.” If we want to grow into the likeness of God, we must continue to learn more about Him.
This is similar to an earthly parent-child relationship. My daughter, for example, is making decisions about what it means to be a woman based on time spent with me during the last s16 years. Her speech, clothing choices, and faith disciplines all reflect our relationship in some way.
If we are to display our heavenly Father’s character, we must grow in a relationship and this can only be done through spending time together. If you long to know God more deeply, there are a few simple disciplines or practices you can implement. These include studying scripture, memorizing and meditating on Bible verses, spending time with the Lord in prayer, and attending church.
Matthew 7:7-8 reassures, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” In keeping with His character, God is always ready to meet with us.
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Tammy Kennington is a writer and speaker familiar with the impact of trauma, chronic illness, and parenting in the hard places. Her heart is to lead women from hardship to hope. You can meet with Tammy at her blog www.tammykennington.com where she’ll send you her e-book, Moving from Pain to Peace-A Journey Toward Hope When the Past Holds You Captive.