Scripture quotations taken from the NASB

The Nature and Attributes of God


Perhaps one of the first roles you ascribe to God is Creator. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Ge 1:1). The Hebrew word here for "create" is to make and shape something from nothing. "What is seen was not made out of things which are visible" (Heb 11:3). God "calls into being that which does not exist" (Ro 4:17). "You have made the heavens . . . the earth and all that is on it . . . You give life to all of them" (Neh 9:6). God was present "before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world" (Ps 90:2). In Genesis the "Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters" (Ge 1:2). Simultaneously "by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth" (Col 1:16). This was Jesus Christ who is "the image of the invisible God" (:15). Then God saw that everything "was very good" (Ge 1:31). "He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together" (Col 1:17). He "upholds all things by the word of His power" (Heb 1:3). "In Him we live and move and exist" (Ac 17:28). God "prepared us for this very purpose" (2Co 5:5). His goal is "the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth" (Eph 1:10). This is all scriptural because it "is given by inspiration of God" (2Ti 3:16). "Prophecy of Scripture . . . [came as] holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2Pe 1:21). The Bible refers to creation many times to emphasize its importance, reinforce your understanding, and build faith in God.

Psalms relate God's achievement. "By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host" (Ps 33:6). "He established the earth upon its foundations, so that it will not totter forever and ever" (104:5). This is accomplished because "The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty; the Lord has clothed and girded Himself with strength" (93:1). "The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands" (19:1). The psalmist reflects saying "I consider your heavens the work of your fingers, the moon and stars which You have ordained" (8:3). The theme continues in the New Testament. "Turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them" (Ac 14:15). "'You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created'" (Rev 4:11). "He made from one man every nation of mankind" (Ac 17:26) and "gives to all people life and breath and all things" (:25). Isaiah recognizes "But now, O Lord, You are our Father, we are the clay, and You our potter; and all of us are the work of Your hand" (Isa 64:8). Malachi says "Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us?" (Mal 2:10). It's part of a cooperative endeavor because "The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life" (Job 33:4). The purpose is "that they would seek God . . . [because] He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist" (Ac 17:27-28).


The book of Revelation begins with "the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show" (Rev 1:1). It was the "testimony of Jesus Christ" (:2) and sent to John "who testified to the word of God" (:2). God had appeared to them in a "pillar of fire" (Ex 13:21) and "thick cloud" (19:9) which was to "give them light" (13:21) and so that they would "believe" (19:9). At Mt. Sinai God appeared with "thunder and lightning flashes . . . and a very loud trumpet sound" (19:16) so the "people may hear" (:9). The Lord spoke to Moses, Aaron and Miriam (Nu 12:4) and they "came out" (:4) to the tent of meeting. Then God addressed Aaron and Miriam about speaking against Moses. They should have been more careful because when God speaks revealing himself you should pay attention.

How is it that you can hear and understand God? God had said, "'Let Us make man in Our image'" (Ge 1:26). "In the image of God He made man" (9:6). Being in the image does not mean having been cloned. It means "'according to Our likeness'" (1:26) as James states that we are men "who have been made in the likeness of God" (Jas 3:9). How it functions depends on God's sovereign purpose. "The Lord appeared to [Moses] in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush" (Ex 3:2). When Moses decided to investigate "the Lord saw that he turned aside" (:4) and spoke to him. If we are open to God he will reveal what he desires. Moses' situation was special because God said, "'With him I speak mouth to mouth, even openly, and not in dark sayings, and he beholds the form of the Lord'" (Nu 12:8). As Christians we "put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created" (Eph 4:24) and "is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him" (Col 3:10). God said through Jeremiah that "'you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart'" (Jer 29:11). There is a general revelation available from nature and the works of God and special revelation through scripture (the Living Word) and subjective experience which lines up with God's word. "We know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true . . . the true God and eternal life" (1Jn 5:20).


"'God is spirit'" (Jn 4:24). "No one has seen God at any time . . . [however, Jesus] has explained Him" (1:18). God "possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see" (1Ti 6:16). Isaiah said, "You are a God who hides Himself" (Isa 45:15). He is "invisible" (1Ti 1:17). God says, "'I dwell on a high and holy place'" (Isa 57:15). Zophar asked, "'Can you discover the limits of the Almighty? They are high as the heavens, what can you do?'" (Job 11:7). How "unfathomable [are] His ways!" (Ro 11:33).

Why is God's revelation essential? It is because of the relationship with God man finds himself in since God had said "'you will surely die'" (Ge 2:17) if Adam ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Even though God created man in his image and likeness and said "'You are gods, and all of you are sons of the Most High'" (Ps 82:6) he also stated "'Nevertheless you will die like men'" (:6). The psalmist asked, "What is man that You take thought of him?" (Ps 8:4). Man is just a created being and "God said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM'" (Ex 3:14) which shows the difference. "'God is not a man'" (Nu 23:19). Therefore man does not innately know about the divine. Jesus knew what was required when he asked, "'Who do you say that I am?'" (Mt 16:15). Peter replied, "'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God'" (:16). Jesus recognized and said "'flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven'" (:17). Therefore the Lord has optimistically offered, "Come now, and let us reason together'" (Isa 1:18). At the anthropological level God reaches out with analogical revelations to achieve a redemptive relationship.


God is omnipotent which means he is all-powerful. He has infinite capacity to accomplish what he wants and the authority to exercise that power. John expresses it with "'Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns'" (Rev 19:6). "Job answered the Lord and said, 'I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted'" (Job 42:2). "'He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, 'What have you done?''" (Da 4:35). "'Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?'" (Mt 20:15). "You will say to me then, 'Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?' On the contrary, who are you O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, 'Why did you make me like this,' will it?" (Ro 9:19-20). Jesus "upholds all things by the word of His power" (Heb 1:3). "Jesus said to them, 'With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible'" (Mt 19:26). The Lord said to Abraham, "'Is anything too difficult for the Lord?'" (Ge 18:14). Paul acknowledged that God was "able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us" (Eph 3:20).

God is omniscient because he has infinite understanding of all things. "The Lord by wisdom founded the earth, by understanding He established the heavens" (Pr 3:19). "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" (Ps 147:4-5). "Who gave Him understanding . . . [or] taught Him knowledge? (Isa 40:14). God's ability is reflected in his knowledge, wisdom and understanding. "'With Him are wisdom and might; to Him belong counsel and understanding'" (Job 12:13). "Daniel said, 'Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him . . . He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding.'" (Da 2:20-21). Wisdom is the joining of the knowledge of truth with experience in life. "'It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things'" (:22). "'For truly my words are not false; One who is perfect in knowledge is with you. Behold, God is mighty but does not despise any; He is mighty in strength of understanding'" (36:4-5). "In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will" (Eph 1:8-9).

God is omnipresent which means he is in all places at all times. "The eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the evil and the good" (Pr 15:3). "Where can I go from Your Spirit? "There is no creature hidden from His sight" (Heb 3:13). Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lay hold of me" (Ps 139:7-10). Solomon exclaimed, "'But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house which I have built?'" (1Ki 8:27). "'Am I a God who is near,' declares the Lord, 'and not a God far off? Can a man hide himself in hiding places so I do not see him?' declares the Lord. 'Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?' declares the Lord" (Jer 23:23-24).


God is unique. "'Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!'" (Dt 6:4). "There is no God but one" (1Co 8:4). Isaiah says "He is the God who formed the earth . . . to be inhabited" (Isa 45:18). God said "'I am the Lord, and there is none else'" (:18). Furthermore God says, "'I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me. I, even I, am the Lord'" (43:10-11). He directs to "'turn to Me and be saved . . . for I am God, and there is no other'" (45:22). There is "one body and one Spirit" (Eph 4:6) and "one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Jesus Christ" (1Ti 2:5). We are to "turn from these vain things to a living God" (Ac 14:15) to "serve a living and true God" (1Th 1:9). "'The Father has life in Himself'" (Jn 5:26). You could "fall into the hands of the living God" (Heb 10:31). There is also a "seal of the living God" (Rev 7:2).

God is sovereign. "Our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases" (Ps 115:3). God is eternal (Ge 21:33; Dt 33:27). "Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God" (Ps 90:2). You can depend on God. "'I, the Lord, do not change'" (Mal 3:6). With God "there is no variation or shifting shadow" (Jas 1:17). God always does what is right. "The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds" (Ps 145:17). "The sum of Your word is truth" (Ps 119:160). "'Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth'" (Jn 17:17). God also protects. God is "their help and their shield" (Ps 115:9) and "our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble" (46:1). "He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one" (2Th 3:3). "God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but . . . will provide a way of escape also" (1Co 10:13). But we make mistakes. However, "if we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1Jo 1:9).


God is holy and you can trust him. "Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders?" (Ex 15:11). "'Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy'" (Rev 15:4). Holiness is to be separated from the commonplace or vulgar. Seraphim proclaim his holiness (Isa 6:3; Rev 4:8). "Be holy, for I am holy" (Lev 11:44) because without sanctification "no one will see the Lord" (Heb 12:14). To be holy is being dedicated to God's purposes. God is the one "'who sanctifies you'" (Lev 20:8). However, "if we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves" (1Jn 1:8). We do not rely on "a righteousness of my own" (Php 3:9) which is inadequate that "comes through the Law" (Gal 2:21). We depend on "the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith" (Php 3:9). "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2Co 5:21). God's righteousness is a perfect standard of right behavior. "His work is perfect, for all His ways are just" (Dt 32:4). He is "'the Lord our righteousness'" (Jer 23:6). "Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne" (Ps 89:14). "'I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,' declares the Lord." (Jer 9:24).

God is good. Jesus said, "'There is only One who is good'" (Mt 19:17). "The Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations" (Ps 100:5). "The Lord good to all, and His mercies are over all His works" (Ps 145:9). "You are a God of forgiveness, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness" (Neh 9:17). God "because of His great love with which He loved us . . . made us alive together with Christ" (Eph 2:4-5). "O taste and see that the Lord is good" (Ps 34:8). "I trust in the loving kindness of God forever and ever" (52:8). Therefore "give thanks to" (Ps 30:4) and "bless His holy name" (103:1).


Triune means three in unity. When it applies to God it pertains to three persons in one Godhead. The word trinity is not found in the Bible and the Old Testament does not directly teach it. However in Genesis God said, "'Let Us make man in Our Image, according to Our likeness'" (Ge 1:26). Then after man was created he said, "'Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil'" (3:22). The Trinity is inferred by the use of the plural pronoun "us." Later God said, "'Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language so that they will not understand one another's speech'" (11:7). Then Isaiah "heard the voice of the Lord, saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?'" (Isa 6:8).

The three, equal members of the Trinity cooperate because they are one God. But tritheists believe that the three members of the Godhead are entirely separate and have individual hierarchical importance. Also, those who believe in Sabellianism say God takes the form called for at the time saying that there is only one God and no multiple personages. However, the Bible has passages which mention A) the Father and Jesus, B) the Father and Spirit, C) the Son and Spirit, and D) God, Holy Spirit and Christ. In the first case "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (Jn 1:1). "Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His Son's name?" (Pr 30:4). "I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, 'You are My Son, today I have begotten You'" (Ps 2:7). Because "God so loved the world" (Jn 3:16) he "sent forth His Son" (Gal 4:4). Jesus says, "'For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me'" (Jn 6:38). Their relationship is such that "'no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son'" (Mt 11:27). Then because of what was accomplished at the resurrection "whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God" (1Jn 4:15). "It was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him" (Col 2:9). John said "our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ" (1Jn 1:3).

In the second case "the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God" (1Co 2:11). It is "'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the Lord of hosts" (Zec 4:6). The interrelationship is seen as when "the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him; and He took of the Spirit who was upon him and placed Him upon the seventy elders" (Nu 11:25). Nehemiah relates to the Father and Spirit by saying "You bore with them for many years, and admonished them by Your Spirit through your prophets" (Neh 9:30). "He who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you" (1Th 4:8). In the third case Jesus "was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead according to the Spirit" (Ro 1:4). Isaiah cites the Messiah and Spirit with "for He said, 'Surely they are My people but they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit'" (Isa 63:10). A unilateral example is when "the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward" (1Sa 16:13). The Holy Spirit "intercedes for the saints according to the will of God" (Ro 8:27).


God being collectively one is similar to Adam and Eve who would "become one flesh" (Ge 2:24). "God created man in His own image . . . male and female He created them" (Gen 1:27). It is like a puzzle. Without the other piece it would be incomplete. Each piece is different and the image would not be whole unless all is pieced together. "The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise" (1Co 7:4) with the other partner. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct yet one in nature and character. Jesus said, "'He who has seen Me has seen the Father'" (Jn 14:9). He said "'the Father is in Me, and I in the Father'" (10:38) and "'I and the Father are one'" (:30). He also prayed, "'Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are'" (17:11). Being one also means having a single mind and purpose. Jesus prayed "'that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one'" (Jn 17:21-22). "Do you not know . . . that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price" (1Co 7:20).

Perhaps the Trinity is most clearly seen with all three working together with purpose. "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: these three are one" (1Jn 5:7 KJV). The angel said to Mary, "'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God'" (Lk 1:35). "Now the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit" (Isa 48:16). In Jesus' baptism "Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased'" (Mt 3:16-17). Jesus was in the water, the Father spoke from heaven, and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove. All three are present and separate. "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me" (Isa 61:1). Hebrews reports "how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience?" (Heb 9:14). It is "according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ" (1Pe 1:2). Later Jesus applied this truth by saying, "'Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit'" (Mt 28:19). He also said, "'I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth'" (Jn 14:16-17). Paul offered "to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit" (Ro 15:16). Paul prayed "the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all" (2Co 13:14).

The Son of God

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God" (Jn 1:1). He is "the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father" (:18). He said to the Father, "'You loved Me before the foundation of the world'" (17:24). Jesus said it was "'the glory which I had with You before the world was'" (:5). This was before the Creation. "He is before all things" (Col 1:7). Jesus has "neither beginning of days nor end of life" (Heb 7:3). He says, "'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end'" (Rev 22:13). He is "the same yesterday and today and forever" (Heb 13:8). "'I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am'" (Jn 8:58). "In Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form" (Col 2:9). This relationship is cited as having been predicted by a prophet regarding a Messiah being born in Bethlehem (Mt 2:4). The facts are scripturally correlated. The scriptures are "God-breathed" (2Ti 3:16) as the Spirit "carried along" (2Pe 1:21) the writers. What is written about Jesus is from the Spirit. God "has testified concerning His Son" (1Jn 5:9). Jesus said the Holy Spirit would "teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you'" (Jn 14:26 NIV). That is why they had knowledge impossible to know otherwise. Jesus was "in the beginning with God" (1:2). "All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being" (:3). "'You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands'" (Heb 1:10). "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible" (Col 1:16). "The world was made through Him" (Jn 1:10). It is He "for whom are all things, and through whom are all things" (Heb 2:10).

Part of Jesus' assignment was "to teach and preach in the cities" (Mt 11:1). But he told them, "'My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me'" (Jn 7:16). This is not to conclude that he was just a messenger. After the resurrection he declared, "'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth'" (Mt 28:18). "'All things that the Father has are Mine'" (Jn 16:15). Jesus had told them to wait until he sent the Holy Spirit (Lk 24:49) "'whom the Father will send in My name'" (Jn 14:26). Jesus told them "'when He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth'" (16:13). All scripture is true. "'He who sent Me is true'" (8:26). Jesus said that the Spirit "'will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak'" (16:13). Jesus had said "'the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world'" (8:26). He said that the Spirit would "'glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you'" (16:14). Jesus always gave God credit. When he quoted Exodus 20:12 he said it was the "'commandment of God'" (Mt 15:3) and that "'God said'" (:4) it. When he quoted Exodus 3:6 he said it was "'spoken to you by God'" (22:31). When teaching he asked "'have you not read?'" (19:4) and declared they were "'not understanding the Scriptures'" (22:29). He quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 to prove, "'It is written'" (Lk 4:4) and Isaiah 29:13 to emphasize Isaiah's prophecy (Mk 7:6). He knew that the "Jews ask for signs" (1Co 1:22) so he gave them the "'sign of Jonah the prophet'" (Mt 12:39). He also quoted Psalm 110:1 as an example of an Old Testament anointing where "'David himself said in the Holy Spirit'" (Mk 12:36). This confirms that, "'He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you'" (Jn 14:26). "'I did not come to abolish [the Law] but to fulfill'" (Mt 5:17). "'My words will not pass away'" (24:35).

God is Faithful

Being faithful means following through on a promise you've made. "The Lord is not slow about His promise . . . not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2Pe 3:9). "He who promised is faithful" (Heb 10:23). However, we must "hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering" (:23). By faith Sarah had Isaac because "she considered Him faithful who had promised" (11:11). "Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass" (1Th 5:24). It is the way God is. It is his name. John said, "I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True" (Rev 19:11). "He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself" (2Ti 2:13). He "made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever" (Ps 146:6). "In the heavens You will establish Your faithfulness" (Ps 89:2). "The witness in the sky is faithful" (89:37).

You are faithful when a friend knows he can depend on you for help. She should be "faithful to her husband" (1Ti 5:9 NIV). "'Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps His covenant'" (Dt 7:9). She is "your wife by covenant" (Mal 3:14) so "do not break faith" (:15 NIV). "If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself" (2Ti 2:13). "'Listen, that you may live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, according to the faithful mercies shown to David'" (Isa 55:3). "All the paths of the Lord are lovingkindness and truth to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies" (Ps 25:10). Deuteronomy 7:9 also says God "'keeps His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments.'" Faith and love go together. "'My faithfulness and My lovingkindness will be with him'" (Ps 89:24). "The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness" (La 3:22-23).

God's faithfulness is manifested. "I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; for You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness" (Isa 25:1). "His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He" (Dt 32:4). "The word of the Lord is upright, and all His work is done in faithfulness" (Ps 33:4). We are the recipient of God's work, but it is a two-way street. "Those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right" (1Pe 4:19). "My eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me; He who walks in a blameless way is the one who will minister to me" (Ps 101:6). Therefore "the Lord preserves the faithful" (Ps 31:23).

God is Compassionate

Moses desired to know more about God (Ex 33:18). God answered "'I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you'" (:19). He already knew Moses "'by name'" (:17). Consequently "the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, 'The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin'" (34:6-7). When God said he would declare his name he also stated "'I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on who I will show compassion'" (33:19). God understands when someone is going through a trial and in his concern he endeavors to alleviate suffering. He is sympathetic and considerate and desires to demonstrate kindness. He expects us to practice it too. Jesus taught "'go and learn what this means: 'I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE''" (Mt 9:13). Furthermore Jesus said "'if you had known what this means . . . you would not have condemned the innocent'" (12:7). Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6 where "compassion" is translated from "mercy" (NIV) and "loyalty" (NASB).

How does God accomplish his purposes? How would humans even comprehend? God is "able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think" (Eph 3:20). Isaiah 55:9 says "'My ways [are] higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.'" "He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end" (Ecc 3:11). God does "great things which we cannot comprehend" (Job 37:5). In his "hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind" (12:10). It does not depend on man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy" (Ro 9:16). God works through people despite their predispositions. Lot and his family were saved because "the compassion of the Lord was upon him" (Ge 19:16). "We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God" (Ro 8:28). God "will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but . . . will provide a way of escape" (1Co 10:13). God made Israel "objects of compassion before those who have taken them captive, that they may have compassion on them" (1Ki 8:50). "God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials" (Da 1:9).

God is Gracious

Gracious and compassionate applies to God (Ex 34:6). Many scriptures pair the two terms together (Ex 33:19; 2Ch 30:9; Ne 9:31; Ps 102:13,112:4; Isa 30:18; Joel 2:13; Jnh 4:2). To be gracious is to be benevolent, congenial and loving. To be compassionate is to be charitable, kindhearted and merciful. These characteristics are the motivation for everything God does. Jesus told Philip, "'He who has seen Me has seen the Father'" (Jn 14:9). When Jesus saw "the people, He felt compassion for them" (Mt 9:36) and was "moved with compassion" (Mt 20:34, Mk 1:41). They cried to God "in their time of distress [and he] heard from heaven, and according to [his] great compassion gave them deliverers who delivered them from the hand of their oppressors" (Ne 9:27).

Another term paired with "compassion" in the Bible is "lovingkindness" (Ne 13:22; Ps 25:6,40:11, 69:16,103:4,106:45-46,119:76-77; Isa 54:7-10; Jn 4:2). Paul said to "put on a heart of compassion" (Col 3:12). Love is the main ingredient. Jesus said, "'By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another'" (Jn 13:36). Paul said "if there is any consolation of love, . . . if any affection and compassion . . . [be] of the same mind, maintaining the same love" (Php 2:1-2). Jesus said, "'Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love'" (Jn 15:9). "'Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends'" (:13).

The Lord proclaimed further that it is he "'who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin'" (Ex 34:7). "To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness" (Da 9:9). "The Lord is full of compassion and is merciful" (Jas 5:11). "He, being compassionate, forgave their iniquity and did not destroy them" (Ps 78:38). "He who confesses and forsakes [his transgressions] will find compassion" (Pr 28:13). Therefore "be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you" (Eph 4:32 NIV).

God Judges and Is Just

"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap" (Gal 6:7). God has built a cause-and-effect into life which automatically judges. "'Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, in due time their foot will slip; for the day of their calamity is near'" (Dt 32:35). "'I will repay', says the Lord" (Ro 12:19). "God is not one to show partiality" (Ac 10:34). There is "no injustice with God" (Ro 9:14). He is "the one who impartially judges according to each one's work" (1Pe 1:17). "We know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things" (Ro 2:2). "How unsearchable are His judgments" (Rev 15:3). "'Righteous and true are your ways'" (:3).

What you do makes a difference because it determines whether you will "inherit the kingdom" (Mt 25:34). What qualifies is if you help feed, clothe and house people, and visit people when they are sick or in prison (:35-36). They "were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds" (Rev 20:12). It should make one take notice that his actions are actually recorded. "Whatever good thing each one does, he will receive back from the Lord" (Eph 6:8). "You recompense a man according to his work" (Ps 62:12). Paul quotes this regarding "the day of wrath and revelation of the righteousness judgment of God, who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS" (Ro 2:5-6). Jesus says "'My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done'" (Rev 22:12). "By perseverance in doing good . . . [you receive] eternal life" (Ro 2:7). "This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life" (1Jn 2:25). "'This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent'" (Jn 17:3). "'For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life'" (3:16). But "He who does not have the Son of God does not have the life" (1Jn 5:12).

God is "the Judge of all" (Heb 12:23) but "not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son" (Jn 5:22). He is "the One who has been appointed by God a Judge of the living and the dead" (Ac 10:42). "God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus" (Ro 2:16). "There is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known" (Lk 12:2). Is there a time for this? "We will all stand before the judgment seat of God" (Ro 14:10). "He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead" (Ac 17:31). "Having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent" (:30). He "is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2Pe 3:9). "He ordered [the Apostles] to preach to the people and solemnly to testify" (Ac 10:42) about it. "The Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven . . . dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus" (2Th 1:7-8). "'Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell'" (Mt 10:28). "The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Ro 6:23). "'My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish'" (Jn 10:27-28). "'In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you'" (Jn 14:2). However, "'He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels''" (Mt 25:41).