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The Gospel Truth About God

For many people, God is “a kind, affable, slightly dazed and needy but very loving grandfather who has wishes but no demands, can be safely ignored if you don’t have time for him, and is very, very, very understanding of the fact that human beings makes mistakes—much more understanding, in fact, than the rest of us are” (Gilbert, 38-39). But this is not the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible—the one true and living God—is the righteous Creator-King of the universe, worthy of all praise. To understand the gospel, we must first understand God, since it is “impossible to have faith in God without knowing the character of God. Faith is belief in God’s promises, which in turn are grounded in his character” (Thoennes, ESV Study Bible 2510). Therefore, in this post on the gospel truth about God, I will first unpack the idea of God as righteous Creator-King. Let us then consider Isaiah 40:28.

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 grow faint or weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

 

creation of adam

First, we must notice that God is everlasting. God has always existed; no one created him, and he has no beginning. Furthermore, God will always exist; no one will destroy him, and he has no end. Jesus says in Revelation 22:13, “I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

Second, we read that God is Creator. Since God is the Creator, he exerts sovereign kingship over his created universe. God as Creator also means that he is the standard of holiness and righteousness. In fact, God proves his righteousness by Jesus’ death on the cross:

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:21-26)

Jesus death on the cross “show[s God’s] righteousness at the present time.” God is loving, but he does not leave the guilty unpunished. That is why Jesus bore that punishment for “the one who has faith in Jesus.” (More on Jesus’ death in a future post.)

Going back to Isaiah 40:28, the last sentence reveals the infinitude and majesty of God. He neither faints nor grows weary; “his understanding is unsearchable.”

In 1 Timothy 1:17, Paul also gives us an excellent list of some of God’s characteristics: “To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory to the ages of ages (original Greek). Amen.”

God, since he is Creator and holy, is the “King of ages.” God is immortal, and as Spirit he is invisible. He is the “only God” (cf. Isaiah 45:18).

We must remember, though, that this one God is Triune; He exists in three distinct Persons who are also One. We read in Hebrews 9:14 of “the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God.” This is a direct reference to all three members of the Triune Godhead: God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, and God the Father. Jesus most clearly expresses this idea of Three-being-One in Matthew 28:19, when he commands his disciples to baptize converts “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” One name but three Persons. Divine math lesson for the day: 1=3.

The doctrine of the Trinity is very important to the gospel. In fact, a proper understanding of the gospel includes a proper understanding of the Trinity. God the Father elects those whom he will save in eternity past (Ephesians 1:3). Jesus, in either A.D. 30 or 33, died and rose again for our justification (Romans 4:25). In our present time, the Holy Spirit regenerates our hearts and gives us the faith and repentance necessary to be declared righteous in present time before God (John 6:63).

To properly understand the gospel, we must properly understand these truths about God. God is righteous, God is creator, God is Triune, God is king. God is infinitely holy and “cannot look at wrong” (Habakkuk 1:13). In the next post on the gospel, we will look at the depth of how wrong we really are. Greg Gilbert (quoted above as Gilbert, page #) summarizes in What Is the Gospel?, p. 45:

Most people have no problem at all thinking of God as loving and compassionate. We Christians have done a bang-up job convincing the world God loves them. But if we’re going to understand just how glorious and life-giving the gospel of Jesus Christ is, we have to understand that this loving and compassionate God is also holy and righteous, and that he is determined never to overlook, ignore, or tolerate sin.

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