The Character and Nature of God

Reading Time 17 Minutes

The greatest gift you can give yourself, your family and the Body of Christ is to BEGIN to know the Character and Nature of God.  Once we learn to view every scripture and every situation through the Lens of the True Goodness of God everything changes.

Our human tendency is to view the Character and Nature of God in a similar light as our own authority figures – Father, Grandfather, Mother and even ourselves.  If those figures in your life are good examples they are still fallen beings and will never allow you to see the truth of who God is.  We can, however, look at Scripture and learn who God says He is – that must be our final authority – not what we think, but what He has written.

Of all the patriarchs, Abraham seemed to have grasped the character and nature of God.  But, by the time we find Moses and the Israelites on Sinai, there seems to be none among them who know anything other than the Power of God.  Power is certainly an attribute of God, but how he wields His Power will be an outworking of His Character and Nature.

Prior to the Sinai encounter, Moses knows only the God of Power, but he wisely seeks to know God’s character on the mountain.  During the first trip up Sinai when He received the Ten Commandments, he did not “See God”, for there was no reflected light shown on his face when he descended. Once he ascended the 2nd time to receive the 2nd Set of Tablets and returns His countenance reflects God’s Glory.  Moses wisely has asked God to allow him to “See His Glory” (who He really is) in Exodus 33:18.  Moses genuinely wants to know God, not just fear and reverence Him.

Exodus 33:18 – Show Me Your Glory

18 And he said, “Please show me your glory.” 

 

GOD TELLS US HIS CHARACTER AND NATURE

Exodus 34:5-7 – God’s own testimony about His character and nature – who He is!

Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”

We must learn to view everything in God’s Word and in our own circumstances through the lens God has provided. He has told us Who He Is and How He Behaves toward us, it’s time we believe Him.

  1. He is Merciful. His emotional position toward us is undeserved compassion that desires to help. He understands our past, our pain, our damage and our fears. He gives us Mercy rather than what we deserve.

Ephesians 2:4-6 – Rich in Mercy

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

2.   He is Gracious. Grace is God’s undeserved gift to us of free help on every level      granted without merit or performance on our part.  The acronym for GRACE so we never forget – “God’s Riches At Christ’ Expense”.

Hebrews 4:15-16 – His Mercy & Grace assured through Our High Priest

14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldlyto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

The word boldly in verse 16 means to come with honesty and in full trust, no reservations.  There is no need to hesitate when we approach God for there is no shadow of turning in Him.  He is exactly who and what He says He is.

What is God willing to do for us because of His Compassion?  His Mercy and Grace is given to us freely because these are His attributes, but what does that entail?  What does it mean?  What does it include?

2 Corinthians 9:8 – Abundance, Sufficiency

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

All Grace is necessary to enable our weak and frail flesh to “Do Life”.  There is not simply Grace, but many Graces of God and they are not given to us unless we ask for them.  Yes, He knows our needs, yet we are still told to ask.  We do not receive because we do not ask.

John 16:24 – Jesus’ Instructions

24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

Mental GraceOur minds are weak, yet He knows everything.  We need to ask and because of His Mercy and Compassion He longs to provide us the Mental Grace needed by his Holy Spirit.

John 16:13 – Mental Grace Abounding

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

Physical Grace – The frailties and weakness of our bodies is no difficulty for the one who raised Jesus Christ from the dead.

Romans 8:11 – Life to your Mortal Body

11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

Emotional Grace – the Fruits of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23 – His Personality Given to Us

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control.

Spiritual Grace – Power to do Battle in the Spiritual Realm

Acts 1:8 – Power to be witnesses

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Financial Grace – Paul is specifically addressing finances to the Corinthians

 2 Corinthians 9:8 – Sufficiency for good work

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

There is one proviso or condition to receive.  We must not only Believe or give mental ascent God has the capacity to do these things, but we must have FAITH He is willing to do so.  Where do we get this faith?  It is the gift of God . . . we ask!

Ephesians 2:8 – Grace through Faith

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

 

Grace of Perseverance – One final Grace we often choose to Overlook, the Grace to Accept the things God has elected in His own wisdom not to change.  Paul told us clearly this does occur.  Sometimes the thorn is prevent pride, as in Paul’s case, at other times God has a greater miracle planned for us in the future which we will be unable to receive without the present trial.

2 Corinthians 12:7-9 – The Thorn in the Flesh

 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

 

We are to act on His direction to us, not waiting for Him to dump it on our heads, but beseeching Him specifically.  We ask amiss for we often ask for “A financial Miracle” or “A Healing Miracle” when we should ask for Mental Grace, Physical Grace, Emotional Grace, Spiritual Grace or Financial Grace to enable us to do the task He’s laid on our hearts. God is teaching us through prayer to be in relationship with Him. In this way, we are asking for the Grace necessary to obtain the things God has already said He wants us to have.

Our prayers are oftentimes scatter-shot and childlike, rather than specific and in accordance with His stated Word and Nature.  When you are 2 years old it is expected you will run to Daddy crying for him to “fix it” and oftentimes our Fathers will do that for us.  God is no different, when we are young in the faith we often received response to prayers such as “Help Me Lord”.  Why, because He is merciful and gracious.

However, He also wants us to grow in our relationship with Him and in our understanding of the world so that we can aid others.  We do this by learning to communicate with God, to articulate our needs and problems in order to grow in Faith and in Grace.  This growth in specifics enables us to communicate to others and point them to answers in scripture for their own needs as their relationship grows with God.

  1. He is Longsuffering.   God is willing to suffer for a very long time for us and not give up or get angry.

 

Hebrews 13:5-6 – God’s Never Means Never

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say:

“The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

He will never leave us nor forsake us.  He never changes His mind.  He’s not frustrated with you or your perceived lack of progress and missteps.  He knew the day you were Born Again you were a long-term project and He signed on for the duration.  He is never surprised or confounded when you hit an obstacle in your growth and development.  He’s already planned and provided for the good He will work out of it for you!

  1. He is Abounding in Goodness.  He has no bad days and no bad moods.  Every thought God has toward you is good.  God’s goodness is not contingent upon your being or doing good.  He cannot be other than good, because there is no shadow of turning in Him.

James 1:17 – No Shadow of Turning in God

17 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. God’s thoughts towards us are always good, not of evil, nor of disappointment or frustration.  

God’s thoughts towards us are always thoughts of good – not of disappointment, not of frustration and never anger or even surprise.  God lives outside time and space and thus has foreknowledge of every single thing we’ll do or say.  He KNEW US before HE CHOSE US and still He Chose to call us to Him.  Now that we have responded, we may be surprised and distressed at our failures and shortcomings but He already knew this moment would come and paid the price for it.  This is part of the process for Him and He will never give up on you.

Jeremiah 29:11 – God’s thoughts toward you are always Good.

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Consequently, since God’s thoughts toward you are always good and of peace and not evil; how then can you not have a future and a hope?  It is inevitable since God is all-knowing and it is His choice!  He seeks your cooperation and you may delay the cooperation, but His Goodness is your Assurance.

 

  1. He is Abounding in Truth. Abounding means much, mighty, greatly, abundant and overflowing . . . in Truth!  God never lies or misrepresents Himself when dealing with a person, there are no exceptions or caveats.  He cannot lie, for it is against His very nature.

 

Matthew 24:35 – God cannot Lie

35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

God will never break a promise to you, for it would be a violation of His very nature.

  1. He is Forgiving. God is consistently Peace-seeking and ready to forgive.  He keeps no record of wrongs.

Psalm 103:14 – He Separates our Sins from Us

12       As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

      How far is the east from the west?  Infinity – One may travel to the East and you will always be traveling East, you will never arrive at the “West”.  How far would we have to go to recover our transgressions which God has removed from us?  It cannot be done.  We have all lived with other human beings who never forget a wrong and seem to take great joy in bringing past indiscretions up when new difficulties come.  We incorrectly adjudge God to be of the same character as man, when He has told us in His Word this will not occur.

Matthew 18:21 – Seventy times Seven

22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

Jesus used Hebrew Reasoning because He was a Hebrew though the New Testament was written in Greek. He was not instructing Peter to count only up to 490 times and then drop the hammer of unforgiveness.  His point is – it is beyond counting, the number of times you must forgive.  Thankfully, God takes His own council and thus, we have infinite forgiveness.

  1. He is Just.  God’s Justice for His children is chastening to enable us to achieve our potential, to protect us from harm as the consequence of our own mistakes.  God’s justice for His children is discipleship, but not eternal punishment.

Hebrews 12:7-11 – Chastening to amend a harmful behavior

If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

 

God’s discipline is the evidence of His love for you, to see you grow.  It is simply wrong thinking to see His discipline as anger or rejection.  He loves us too much to allow us to damage ourselves.  He has the courage and intestinal fortitude to do for us that which some parents were unwilling or unable to properly provide.  God’s rules are there to provide and protect us as a person and a Believer and to make certain we become the finished creation he fashioned us to be.

Every parent who has loved their children has “chastened” them, not to balance the scales of perceived justice but for their ultimate gain.  We have also looked on sorrowfully as some children play in the street and endanger their lives or scream at the top of their lungs and make themselves less than welcome in polite company with no clue about how to behave in society.  For our own children, it seems unfair others escape the chastening they received, yet Godly parents cannot chasten another’s child.

At times in our own lives we’ve wondered at the seeming lack of consequences evil people experience in this world.  We must know they are illegitimate and not sons of God.  Pray for them to come to a saving knowledge of Yeshua.  Otherwise, their justice will come and it will last throughout the eternity to come.

 

NOW WE KNOW GOD’S NATURE

  1. MERCIFUL
  2. GRACIOUS
  3. LONGSUFFERING
  4. ABOUNDING IN TRUTH
  5. ABOUNDING IN GOODNESS
  6. FORGIVING
  7. JUST

By His own testimony God’s nature and character has 6 attributes for which we will only see good things.  His 7th attribute, Justice, will bring temporary chastening to bring about our ultimate good.  How can we not love and draw close to a Father who truly is what He says He is?

You can only get as close to God as your concept of Him allows.  If you see Him as vindictive, angry, impatient and forbidding not only will you be wrong, denying His own testimony of His character, you will fail to receive the comfort of a Loving God Who Cannot Fail.  Take Him at His Word, run to Him as we saw in the Prodigal Son – He longs for your fellowship, your need of and for Him and to more easily shape you and make you what He has created you to be.  Give Him that opportunity by drawing so close to Him He can’t possibly move without bumping into you!

 

THE RESULT OF OUR NEW KNOWLEDGE

 A correct understanding of Who God Is will forever change 3 areas of your life.

  1. Your Worship
  2. Your Self-Worth
  3. Your Witness

YOUR WORSHIP – Once you truly see God for who He really is, you will no longer run and hide as Adam and Eve.  You will draw close to Him for comfort, counsel and safety.  Your Worship of God will become true worship from the heart, not an obligatory offering to a tin dictator. Your heart will, of its own volition, SURRENDER IN WORSHIP!

YOUR SELF-WORTH – Once you see God for who He really is, you will finally see yourself as He sees you, HIS IMAGER!  You will see yourself from the reflection you see in God’s eyes.  You are not an accident of nature, you are not an inconvenience and you are not less than those around you.  You were known by your Father before you were created in your Mother’s Womb.  None can do in the entire universe what you specifically were created and gifted to do.  This life is merely boot camp, your training ground.  Throughout eternity you will be flawless, for you will be Like Him!

YOUR WITNESS – Once you understand and “Know in your Knower” who God is, from His Own Testimony, you will no longer be hesitant to share about Him with others.  Those seemingly difficult questions you worry you will be unable to answer are already answered by His Nature and Character.  You can freely say, “I don’t know why it happened that way, but I can tell you this without question, it was for their ultimate benefit and for their good . . . always!”  That answers every seemingly unanswerable theological question you will ever face.

You will be Proud of Him and you will be unable to stop talking about Him and attempting to draw others to see Him as You do.  We will not all become the greatest evangelist, but we will become the best example of Who He Created Us to Be . . .  the one who is unceasingly Proud of Who God is and never questions His goodness and His intent!

This is the one time when pride is justified . . . Pride in Your Father God and His Son who can never, ever fail

Thanks for taking time for me . . . 

BLESSINGS,

Sherry Driskell Griffin

P. S. If this was a Blessing to you . . . be a Blessing and pass it along!

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