RSS

The Unchanging Character of God vs. the Nature of Man: Part 2

Part 2, The Character of God:

 When we speak of the holiness of God, there are two issues that should come to mind.  God is completely separated from what is defiled, evil, or unclean, and He is totally pure and undefiled, which sets Him apart to a realm all to Himself.[1]  There is nothing in this created universe that you and I interact with that has this absolute quality.  Apart from the inspired word and our position in Christ, the people, the ideas that we entertain, the work that we do, the knowledge that we obtain, the food we eat, water we drink, the natural beauty we observe, none of these things poses the absolute purity of God.  God is in a realm all to Himself.  In Leviticus
11:44
God says, “I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy:” Joshua 24:19 says that “the LORD is a holy God.” Psalm 99:3 say, “Let them praise thy great and terrible name; for it is holy.”  And 1 Peter 1:15 says, “As he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;” These are just a small sampling of the many passages in the Bible that demonstrate the holiness of God.  If God is holy, then all that He chooses to does cannot compromise His holiness.  His self-revelation must certainly be a holy revelation that does not compromising His holy character.

Secondly, consider God’s immutability. This means that He does not change, nor can He or does He grow or
develop.  God’s nature is consistent.  There are several passages that teach this aspect of God’s character.
In Malachi 3:6 God says, “I am the LORD, I change not.”  In James 1:17, He is called the “Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” God’s nature is eternally consistent.  Hebrews 13:8, says that Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”  We can be absolutely confident in the unchanging character of God.  He is consistent, which means that if God’s character does not change and is sure, then we can be confident that His revelation is consistent, unchanging.  For this reason, we come to the conclusion that New Testament revelation, while it may further develop certain Bible doctrines that were once a mystery in the Old Testament, cannot contradict the older revelation.  They must be presenting harmonious or
complementary truth.

Thirdly, consider the omniscience of God. Omniscient means that God is all-knowing.  God knows everything that there is that could possibly be known.  He knows what will happen as well as what will not happen.  God knows all the possibilities equally well.  He is not learning, because there is nothing for Him to learn.  He already
knows it all.  A. W. Tozer wrote:

“God knows instantly and effortlessly all matter and all matters, all mind and every mind, all spirit
and all spirits, all being and every being, all creaturehood and all creatures, every plurality and all pluralities, all law and every law, all relations, all causes, all thoughts, all mysteries, all enigmas, all feelings, all desires,
every unuttered secret, all thrones and dominions, all personalities, all things visible and invisible in heaven and in earth, motion, space, time, life, death, good, evil, heaven, and hell.

Because God knows all things perfectly, He knows He knows no thing better than any other thing, but all
things equally well.  He never discovered anything, He is never surprised, never amazed. He never discovers anything, He never is never surprised, never amazed.  He never wonders about anything nor (except when drawing men out for their own good) does He seek information or ask questions.”[2]

David wrote is Psalm 139:1-16 “O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and
my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?  If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.  If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me,
and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both
alike to thee.  For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise
thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”  Acts 15:18 says that God knows “all his works from the beginning of the world.” In Matthew 11, Christ tells the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida that if Tyre and Sidon had received the same degree of revelation that those cities received, they would have humbly repented before God. This passage teaches us that God knows the hypothetical.  God is omniscient.  His knowledge cannot be fathomed, which means that if God knows all things, and has no need to learn, then He also does not need to correct what He has already revealed.  God’s Word is consistent.

Lastly, consider that God is truth.  In John 17:3, Jesus said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God.”  Psalm 33:4 says, “the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth.”  Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”  In 2 Timothy 2:13 Paul wrote that “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” Paul is saying that God cannot turn back on His promises.  He is truth, and He would essentially be denying Himself if He were to turn back on His word.  Since God is truth, He is “agreeable to that which is represented,” faithful and consistent.  What God has revealed about Himself is also always true and consistent.  Everything that He has chosen to reveal about himself is totally accurate and trustworthy.[3] Think about it.  If God is truth, then everything that He has ever said is true and everything that He ever will say is also true.  It would also be accurate to say that if all God ever has said or will say is true, being consistent with His character, then everything that God has revealed about Himself or will ever
reveal about Himself will also be consistent and true.

My point in this section is to lay the foundation for future articles.  God’s character is consistent, unchanging,
true, holy, and all-knowing.  These aspects of His person make it impossible for Him to be anything but consistent in His self-revelation.  No matter the means of transmitting revelation, the product of inspiration has always and will always be complementary and consistently true.  We will see as our study progresses that this
principle will become the basis for the way that God’s people have related to His prophets, the way that they related to Christ’s apostles. This principle is also the way that we should relate to the written Word of God.  It must become the principle that governs as a check and balance the way we interpret every feeling or experience in the Christian life.


[1] Ryrie, C. (1999). Basic Theology (42). Chicago, IL Moody Press.

[2] Tozer, A. W. (1978). The Knowledge of the Holy (62-63)New York: Harper.

[3] Ryrie, (49).

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: