Christian Churches of God
What is God Like?
(Edition 1.0 20090413-20090413)
To many people God is a mystery and is often portrayed as unapproachable, distant and detached from mankind, which is completely wrong. He has revealed what He is like throughout the Bible, here a little, there a little. This paper will look at what some of these scriptures reveal so that we can gain a better understanding as to who and what the One True God is really like and what He is truly all about.
What is God Like?
There is so much to learn about God, and what He is really like. The creation itself reveals much about God and His qualities, but let’s start at the beginning. God is love (1Jn. 4:8), and without Him there would be no love. In actual fact, without Him there would be nothing at all.
God was the one who brought forth life (Gen. 1:1). He has a sense of duty and responsibility towards the creation (Gen. 1:2-31; Jn. 3:16) and has revealed His plan for salvation in the lunar calendar He has ordained and given mankind to adhere to, which is made up of His Sabbaths, New Moons and Holy Days such as Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles, so that we can gain a better understanding as to our hope and destiny.
God is a power. More to the point, He is the power. He is the Almighty (Mal. 1:11; Rom. 9:29). He is the Most High God (Dan. 4:17, 24; 7:25). God is omnipotent or all-powerful, and no other god in heaven or earth can do the powerful things He does. There is no other god like Him.
Deuteronomy 3:24 “Lord God, you have begun to show me, your servant, how great you are. You have great strength, and no other god in heaven or on earth can do the powerful things you do. There is no other god like you. (New Century Version)
God created the spiritual realm with spirit sons. Even Christ owes his very existence to God the Father (Col. 1:15; Heb. 3:2). That is why Christ and all of us know Him and call Him Father (Deut. 32:6; Mk. 14:36).
Luke 23:46 Jesus called out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he said this, he breathed his last.
God also created the physical universe and created mankind here on earth. The human creation is no accident. We are more than creatures or objects to Him. God has granted and accepted each of us as His children. He has given us a sense of meaning and belonging. God has prepared a home for all of us, and given each a place in His heart forever (Rev. 21:1-7).
We know Christ died, but His God and Father (Jn. 20:17) is eternal. He is beyond the physical and can never die (Gen. 21:33; Deut. 32:40; 33:27; Ps. 48:14; 106:1). He is from everlasting to everlasting (Ps. 103:17). He was the only God before time, alone having no beginning and having no end.
Psalm 48:14 For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end.
God is pure and He is holy (Prov. 30:5; Josh. 24:19; 1Sam. 6:20). He is undivided in thought, essence or being. He is perfect (2Sam. 22:31) and He is one (Deut. 6:4; Mk. 12:29). He can be tried and found to stand the test of time (2Sam. 22:31). We can depend on God as a shield in time of defence (Ps. 18:30; 59:17; Prov. 30:5) or need (Ps. 91:14), to deliver us out of any given situation, because nothing is impossible for Him. God the Father doesn’t give up; He’s there to the end (Jn. 13:1). Not one of His words ever fails, nor do any of His promises.
1Kings 8:56 “Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as He promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.”
In His infinite wisdom God plans, creates, multiplies and sustains (Ps. 136:25). God’s love through the power of His Holy Spirit is the driving force of the creation. He is its maker (Job 35:10; Ps. 95:6), architect and builder (Heb. 11:10). His knowledge and understanding have no boundaries (Job 11:7), cannot be measured (Job 11:7) and can never run out (1Cor. 13:8). God considers all possibilities and knows all outcomes. All His decisions are based on or determined by truth; therefore, He cannot falter and in so doing is perfect (Deut. 32:4; Ps 25:5; see also the paper Truth (No. 168)).
God is faithful. All His ways are just, and He never does wrong. We come to learn that we can put our trust in God (Deut. 7:9; 32:4; Ps. 91:2). There is no disillusionment or false hope with God (Rom. 15:13). He is solid and unchanging (Num. 23:19; 1Sam. 15:29; Job 23:13; Ps. 33:11; Eccl. 3:14; Isa. 14:24). God is our strength and our fortress (Ex. 15:2).
Psalm 59:17 O my Strength, I sing praise to you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God (NIV)
Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all His Ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He (NIV)
God provides (Gen. 22:8; 2Chr. 32:29; see also the paper The Blessings and the Curses (No. 75)). In the end, love will overtake and renew all things. Perfect love achieves its end (Eph. 4:2; see the papers How God Became a Family (No. 187); The Eternal Kingdom of God (No.144)). God brings blessings (Deut. 11:13-15) and rewards in abundance.
God’s love for us is steadfast (Deut. 7:9; Dan. 9:4). That means His love is unwavering, committed and never fails. It is this type of love He is seeking in return. (Ex. 20:3; Deut. 5:7).
Exodus 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Christ had this love for his God. That is why Christ could say with all confidence that he and God were “one” (Jn. 10:30; 17:11). They were one in spirit, which means Christ thought, acted and responded in the same way God the Father would have liked him to do.
The apostle Phillip said to Christ: “Show us the father and that will be enough for us”. Jesus replied: “Don’t you know me Phillip, even after I have been among you for such a long time?” (Jn. 14:8-9). Christ was drawing his attention to the fact that Philip and the others should have realised that he (Christ) was the lamb without blemish or spot, having lived his life here on earth without sin. Since Christ subjugated his Will to that of his God in everything he thought and did without sinning once, he reflected the very image of the invisible God (Col 1:15). What it means is that Christ was not the One True God, but for all intent and purposes he reflected the very nature and attributes of God. That’s what God wants for all of His children, (spiritual or physical) to come into the image of His Son, so in like manner, the fullness of God can be pleased to dwell inside each and every one of us, in the same way and degree it dwells in Christ.
Colossians 1:19 For in him all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (RSV)
God is a God of peace. He makes peace and has determined to bring back the whole of creation back to Himself. God, through the sacrifice of His Son, has made us His children and His friends. Friends give, and friends share. God is sharing His holiness, purity and faultlessness with each of us so that we may all reflect His nature, and in that way, be in His presence forever.
Colossians 1:19-23 For it was by God's own decision that the Son has in himself the full nature of God. 20 Through the Son, then, God decided to bring the whole universe back to himself. God made peace through his Son's blood on the [stake] and so brought back to himself all things, both on earth and in heaven. 21 At one time you were far away from God and were his enemies because of the evil things you did and thought. 22 But now, by means of the physical death of his Son, God has made you his friends, in order to bring you, holy, pure, and faultless, into his presence. 23 You must, of course, continue faithful on a firm and sure foundation, and must not allow yourselves to be shaken from the hope you gained when you heard the gospel.
Thankfully God is always ready to restore (Gen. 20:7; Ex. 22:1; Ps. 53:6), comfort and heal (Num. 12:13; Jer. 3:22). He is rich in mercy and longs to be gracious (Eph. 2:4; 2Chr. 30:9; Isa. 30:18; Ps. 86:15).
God grants repentance as He lends Himself and invites (Dan. 9:9; Mat. 9:13; Mar. 2:17). If we are obedient He never casts us aside or looks away in times of need, but answers when we call (Ps. 69:5; 86:5). He willingly sacrifices (Rom. 5:8), giving freely what is necessary no matter how great the cost, so as to save and preserve (Ps. 31:23; 109:26; 145:20; Jn. 3:16). God’s love covers all sins (Ps. 85:2).
God is the God of compassion and comfort. He is slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness.
Exodus 34:6 And He passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness…” (NIV)
It is with this same compassion that God wants us to comfort each other, for He is the God of all comfort and mercies.
2Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulations, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
God listens (Gen. 21:17; Ps. 38:15; Jn. 9:31). He is always there to lend a helping hand (Deut. 33:29; Ps. 10:14). There is nowhere that God cannot find us or see us. There is nowhere His arm or word cannot reach us regardless of how deep the canyon of despair we have fallen into (Ps 139:7). In times of anguish, God comes to us, gently waking us from our slumber, with a gentle, soft small voice which gives us the much needed strength and encouragement we need to carry on (1Kgs 19:9-13). God knows our weaknesses and our every thought. He looks to our inner motives and is able to determine without error our true intent and purpose for thinking and doing things.
In that way God is able to instruct and edify (Jn. 5:20) with a firm sense of purpose (Job 36:5; see also the paper Love and the Structure of the Law (No. 200)). Like any good Father, He cautions and counsels (Ex. 15:26; Deut. 28:1; Ezek. 14:23; Ruth 2:8). God tests (Deut. 13:3), disciplines and punishes (Heb. 12:6) as He reproves and corrects (2Tim. 3:16) making justice the line, and righteousness the plumb line (Isa. 28:17). His rebuke is tender at the first false step (Gen. 3:8-14).
God has revealed Himself by His Laws and Commandments. They reflect His nature. They can be found in the word of God, His Bible (see the paper The Bible (No. 164)), comprising of the Old and New Testament. We cannot love God and not love His Law (Ps. 119:97,113).
John 14:15 If you have love for me, you will keep my laws. (BBE)
God would never lie to us, or cheat us, or betray us. God created man and woman for many reasons. He united man and woman in marriage and gave us the commandment to not commit adultery (Ex. 20:14; Deut. 5:18). God wanted to demonstrate that by observing this Law we get an insight and an appreciation as to what it is to be faithful and be loved by God, who would never do us wrong. When we are faithful to one another we establish trust, which lends itself to loyalty and sacrifice and thereby to love. God wants us to view the law as more than just physical laws, but apply their true spiritual value and intent as a way of life.
When we learn and observe the laws of God we’re able to see what they express and what they give. God’s laws build up, develop and sustain. They hold everything together. Turning our back on God’s Law is like turning our back on God because His Law represents the very core or heart of His true being.
We shouldn’t look at God and His Law in a negative or repressive way. We should see the positive aspects that each law brings and how each law promotes love in perfection. God thought out each statute and commandment in relation to the physical well-being and safety of the individual and the nation at large, e.g. the law regarding the land Sabbaths of rest. Each physical law is in some way a reflection of the spiritual law of God. If we choose to break or disobey one, we see the same consequence as if we broke one of the spiritual laws of God because they are one and the same. Everything eventually breaks down and failure and tragedy are the final results.
God’s Laws don’t take; they give and bring much happiness because they are fair and just. It is a sacrificial way of life that brings joy.
Psalm 119:1-8 Happy are those who live pure lives, who follow the Lord’s teachings.2 Happy are those who keep his rules, who try to obey him with their whole heart.3They don’t do what is wrong; they follow his ways.4 Lord, you gave your orders to be obeyed completely.5I wish I were more loyal in obeying your demands.6Then I would not be ashamed when I study your commands.7 When I learned that your laws are fair, I praised you with an honest heart.8 I will obey your demands, so please don’t ever leave me. (NCV)
It is only a hostile mind, set on its own desires and wants that opposes the need for God’s Law. The carnal mind, (the mind that is devoid of God’s Spirit), no matter what manner it presents itself, does not see the need or have the desire to obey God’s Commandments. This type of thinking can never please God. It is a form of rebellion and idolatry, because it seeks its own will, rather than subjugating its will to that of the Father whose will is perfect.
Romans 8:5-8 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot; 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (RSV)
Let’s glimpse at just a couple of God’s Laws so we can better appreciate what God is like. For example, God is truth and does not lie. Therefore, He wants us to be of the truth as He is and be honest in all our dealings and interactions (Deut. 25:15).
God gave us the commandment: “Thou shalt not bear false witness” (Ex. 20:16; 23:1, 7; Deut. 5:20; Mat. 19:18). Truth in all its form promotes belief, and therefore certainty, which gives to consistency which promotes loyalty, which extends love. We can see that all of God’s Laws find their starting point in love. That is the reasoning behind all of God’s laws and statues, to promote justice, equity and love and an acute understanding that all of God’s ways are perfect no matter the realm of existence, whether physical or spiritual. God’s truth sets us free from any doubt, disbelief or mistrust.
John 8:31-32 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
It is God and His way of life that breaks the bonds of slavery and oppression (Ex. 20:1). He frees us from the chains of darkness. He is a guiding light (1Jn. 1:5) that leads the way so as to not make anyone stumble (Ps. 119:165). Not in weakness, but with strength and with an outstretched arm, He gives much needed encouragement and ability to rise and move forward (Ex. 13:9; Deut. 6:21; Heb. 8:9). God’s perfect love casts out fear (1Jn. 4:18).
When we speak a lie, we are no longer of the truth. No lie can be found in truth for truth is incorruptible.
1John 2:21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
We should be able to see how this applies to God and that God is incorruptible. God is always true, honest, open, loyal and loving. We are safe to put our trust in Him at all times now and forever. God is our Rock, our salvation.
Psalm 62:8 Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah. (RSV)
Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. (RSV)
Sin is the transgression of the law (1Jn 3:4). Sin exerts a spirit of fear. It enslaves us on a downward spiral of damage and heartache. Lies promote a spirit of uncertainty, mistrust and disloyalty. Lies lead us to hate, murder and ultimately death. When Satan lied to Eve and said: “you will not surely die” (Gen. 3:4), when God said otherwise (Gen. 2:17), Satan set in motion such a destructive force that it required one of the sons of God to lay down his life as a sacrifice to atone and show us the way back to God. That son, who was appointed to be the Lamb of God, was Christ. The full impact of that lie has not been reached. God will send His son again, because if He didn’t, not one man, women or child would be left alive (Mat. 24:22), and that all started because of a lie.
When our relationship between God and us goes sour, it is because we have neglected to do our part and have forsaken Him by not doing His Will. No wrong can be attributed to God; His love is perfect. Any wrong between Him and us is due to our not understanding or willing to adhere to His perfect ways which are expressed to us in His Law and Commandments. He will never abandon us if we never abandon Him.
2Chronicles 15:1-7 The Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded, 2 and he went out to meet Asa, and said to him, “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The Lord is with you, while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. 3 For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law; 4 but when in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them.
We forsake God when we worship any other being other than Him; that includes Jesus Christ. We are not to worship His son, Jesus the Christ, or elevate him on an equal par with God or greater than the God who created him (see paper Who is Jesus? (No. CB2)). There is only one True God, Eloah (Prov. 30:4-5; Jn. 17:3; 1Tim 6:16).
It is God who calls and establishes each of us. He distinguishes those who are in Christ (Jn. 13:35) and sets a seal on them (Isa. 8:16; 1Cor. 9:2; Eph. 4:30; Rev. 7:3).
2Corinthians 1:21-22 But it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has commissioned us; 22 he has put his seal upon us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
God wants us to treat each other equitably and do nothing out of selfishness or conceit.
Philippians 2:2-3 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves.
God’s spirit of love produces a bounty of spiritual fruits.
Galatians 5:22-26 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (KJV).
He does this by imparting to us His very Spirit, which contains all these attributes. However, we can only partake of His Holy Spirit by repentance and baptism for the forgiveness of our sins. This love God offers is a gift; it cannot be bought or earned (see the papers We Are Not Saved By Good Works (No. 189); and Repentance and Baptism (No. 52)).
God wants all of us to be one with Him in the same way Christ is one with Him. For this reason, God has established a covenant which He offers to mankind. It is a “covenant of love” (Neh. 9:32; see the paper The Covenant of God (No. 152)). Loving one’s God and neighbour ensures agreement and conformity resulting in peace and harmony. God wants all of us unified. He pleads to each of us to mend our ways and be in one accord and one mind with one another (2Cor. 13:11) towards Him. By obeying the truth, we purify our hearts and minds so that we can then love one another fervently and deeply (1Pet. 1:22). God’s love is even able to cleanse us of secret faults that we harbour which we are not even aware of (Ps. 19:12).
Once we understand more about God we see that the idea of an eternal hell is one of terror and strife, stirred up by hatred (Prov. 10:12) against a loving God. God is working towards freedom and perfection for all (2Chr. 8:16, 24:13; Mat. 5:48; Lk. 13:32; 1Jn. 2:5, 4:12; Jas. 1:4; see also the papers The Fallacy of the Third Resurrection (No. 166); The Resurrection of the Dead (No. 143)).
God and the love He has for all creation will last forever.
1Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. 6 It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 8 Love will last forever (NLT)
When we read what love is, we see what God is like. The love of God never gives up and endures through every circumstance. God has ensured every descendant of Adam who never received or accepted an opportunity to know Him will be given a second chance in the resurrection of the dead (the second resurrection) (Rev. 20:11-15). Things then will be different. There will be no external pressures, each person will be given the optimum environment so as to be healed and be restored.
There is nothing that God will not do for us. In the end, we can be sure that everyone will choose to abide by and in the Spirit of God for all eternity. It is impossible to imagine that a perfect God, who knows the end from the beginning, would set in motion a creation in which He knew before He began that even one of His children would fail. For it then could be said that God was not perfect after all. God will be all in all.
Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all. (RSV)
Our God will draw near to us, so close in fact that He Himself will dwell with us.
Revelation 21:3-4 and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; 4 he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.” (RSV)
God will provide for us a new heaven and a new earth where the former things are no longer remembered (Isa. 65:17). No person will be left to suffer torment for past sins or for having rejected God and His ways. God will see to it that there will be no more mourning, nor crying nor any type of pain any more. All the heartache, sorrow, misgivings as well as all we did that was contrary to the expressed Will of God will be passed over and forgotten.
We truly have a wonderful God who is creating and preparing a family to be united in a common desire and with principles that lead to a perfect, peaceful existence with one another. The physical creation and the laws that God put in place to be adhered to are testament to His perfect righteous character and lead us to understand more fully how holy and good God is. When we are all humbled and obedient to God, subjugating our will to God the Father to the same depth of dedication Christ humbles himself before his God, we will learn one of the greatest things, and that is just to love, and be loved in return. This can only be accomplished by understanding, accepting, repenting, obeying and loving the one true God through His Son Jesus Christ.