Who God Is
We’d like to start each lesson with prayer. Let your prayer come right from your heart. Speak to God as if He is right there with you – because He IS! Even though you may choose different words, here’s an example of what you could ask of Him:
“Father God, I want to know you. I want to know you better and better each day – and I don’t want just an academic knowledge of You. I want to know you personally, deeply, intimately. As I go through this study, I ask that you reveal yourself to me and speak to me. Open my heart and my mind and help me to receive everything that you have for me. I give myself to you right now. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
There is nothing new under the sun. Since ancient times, individuals, kingdoms and nations have created their own special ‘gods’ based upon their own particular feelings, opinions, superstitions and beliefs. Unfortunately, our feelings and opin- ions are fickle at best. Out of these feelings and opinions come equally unsteady superstitions and beliefs. Therefore, the following statement, made by Jesus, is of great magnitude in our pursuit to know the one true God.
“And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.”John 17:3, NLT
WHO IS GOD?
At some point in our lives each of us has a tendency to wonder, “Is there a God?” and if there is a God, “What does that mean to me, personally?”
How wonderful it is to come to the realization that God IS real and active in our lives – and not only that, but He yearns for us to know Him and en- treats us to come to Him. How do we know this? Because He has given us an account of Himself and how He relates to mankind. He has a plan for our individual lives and for all of creation. He has revealed these things to us in the Bible.
Later on, we’ll talk more about the Bible and why we believe it is authentic and authoritative for us today. For this particular lesson, we simply want to present what the Bible says about God Himself.
God is SOVEREIGN
When we say that God is sovereign, we mean that He is the One who has ultimate authority to rule. He is the King, the Lord, the “boss.” The Bible teaches us that there is only ONE God. He reigns over all creation and all people.
“For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.”Ephesians 4:4-6, NLT
He is the One who created all things .
“God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.”John 1:3 NLT
therefore He has control over all things . . .
“The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sworn this oath: “It will all happen as I have planned. It will be as I have decided.”Isaiah 14:24 NLT
. . . and He sustains all things.
“For through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.”Colossians 1:16-17 NLT
God is ETERNAL
He existed before anything else existed. He has no beginning or end. God was God before time and exists outside of time.
“Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God.”Psalms 90:2 NLT
He is not bound by time or controlled by time, as we humans are. Think of that marvelous truth!
“But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.”2 Peter 3:8 NLT
God created time and exists outside of it.
“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,’ says the Lord God. ‘I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.’”Revelation 1:8 NLT
God is COMPLETE
God is complete in Himself and has no need to depend upon anything or anyone else.
“The Father has life in himself, and he has granted that same life-giving power to his Son.”John 5:26, NLT
“And human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need.”Acts 17:25, NLT
Though He is separate from creation, He has not separated Himself from the care and sustenance of His creation.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”Genesis 1:1, NLT
“Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?”Matthew 6:26, NLT
God is OMNISCIENT
Omniscience simply means that God knows every- thing! He is intimately acquainted with every de- tail of His creation. He created it all, and He knows it all! I love the quote by Ken Hamm, “Compared to God, we don’t know very much.”
“Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.Isaiah 46:9-10, NLT
“Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”Psalm 147:5, NIV
He knows all that happens, all that exists, and all time – past, present, and future. God knows all people, because He created each one.
“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.”Hebrews 4:13, NLT
God knows you better than anyone else, better than you know yourself.
“O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.”Psalm 139:1-4, NLT
God knows the motives of your heart (why you do what you do).
“People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives.”Proverbs 16:2, NLT
God knows your thoughts – everything that is in your mind.
Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon me, and he told me to say, “This is what the Lord says to the people of Israel: I know what you are saying, for I know every thought that comes into your minds.Ezekiel 11:5, NLT
“You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.”Psalm 139:2, NLT
God knows you intimately, even down to the number of hairs on your head! He knows your name. He’s known you since you were being formed in your mother’s womb.
“And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”Luke 12:7, NLT
“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”John 10:3, NLT
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.”Psalm 139:13, NLT
No one can know creation better than the One who created it!
God is OMNIPRESENT
When we say that God is omnipresent, we simply mean that He is everywhere at all times. The Bible describes Him as being both near and far away.
“The Lord is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good.”Proverbs 15:3, NLT
“‘Am I a God who is only close at hand?’ says the Lord. ‘No, I am far away at the same time.'”Jeremiah 23:23, NLT
“[…]he is not far from any one of us.”Acts 17:27c, NLT
God is OMNIPOTENT
His power is unlimited. He exercises his ability effortlessly. He is self-sufficient, needing nothing. He is called “El Shaddai”, which means “self-sufficient” or “almighty.”
“Since He has at His command all the power in the universe, the Lord God omnipotent can do anything as easily as anything else. All His acts are done without effort. He expends no energy that must be replenished. His self- sufficiency makes it unnecessary for Him to look outside of Himself for renewal of strength. All the power required to do all that He wills to do lies in undiminished in His own infinite being.”A.W. Tozer
Even though God can do anything, He does not act in contradiction to His own nature. Even though He has the power to do anything, the Bi- ble says that God cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18). His nature is good, honest, and true – therefore to act in a way that is bad, deceitful and false would be contrary to His nature.
- God is omnipotent in Creation. In Isaiah 44:24 (NIV), God says that “I am the Maker of all things . . . I spread out the earth by Myself.”
- God is omnipotent in the Resurrection. He has power and authority over death. Jesus laid down His life and then took it up again. (John 10:17-18)
- God is omnipotent in Salvation. He is able to keep you from stumbling, able to complete the work He has begun in you. (Jude 24-25)
- God is omnipotent in His understanding.
“Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”Psalm 147:5, NIV
Having an omnipotent God gives us a source for confidence. He can handle any problem you have! He has the power to help you! Nothing is too diffi- cult for Him. No prayer is too hard for Him to answer. No need is too great for Him to supply. No passion is too strong for Him to conquer. No temptation is too powerful for Him to deliver you from. No despair is too deep for Him to relieve.
“I am the Lord, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me?”Jeremiah 32:27, NLT
“Although such power might seem frightful, remember God is good. He can do anything according to His infinite ability, but will do only those things that are consistent with Himself. That’s why He can’t lie, tolerate sin, or save impenitent sinners.John Fullerton Macarthur
God is HOLY
The word, ‘holy’ is often misunderstood. The word translated from the Hebrew actually means “set apart” or “dedicated for a righteous cause.” Something that is holy is separated from defilement or impurity, and kept for things that are pure and good.
God is set apart—unique—there is no other like Him. He is perfect in His character and actions. His nature and presence are magnificent.
Even though the next passage, from the book of Isaiah, is lengthy, it is very important in showing the contrasts between God and man.
“It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. Attending him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. They were calling out to each other, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies! The whole earth is filled with his glory!’ Their voices shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire building was filled with smoke. Then I said, ‘It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.’ Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs.”Isaiah 6:1-6, NLT
So, here in Isaiah, we see the contrast between man and God. God is holy. Man is unclean. And yet, he calls us to be like Him.
“You must be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.”Leviticus 19:2b, NLT
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”Romans 8:28, NLT
God’s holy nature calls for separation from any- thing that is impure. Sin causes us to be separated from God because it is against his nature.
The word translated from the Greek as ‘sin’ means ‘missing the mark.’ It includes wrongdoing, bad attitudes, failure, impurity and other negative forms of behavior. Sin causes us to “miss the target”, to move away from the purpose for which God created us. He hates the sin, yet offers redemption from anything that is unclean.
He wants to have fellowship with us. God’s desire for us is that we allow Him to make us holy, as He is holy. His very nature influences us toward repentance, redemption and holiness.
“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”I John 1:9, NLT
“And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him.”1 John 3:5 NLT
If the end of the matter was simply that God is holy, and humanity is sinful, that would not be very good news at all! But that is not the end of the matter. The majestic, holy, all-powerful God loves us and has provided a way for us to escape the curse and bondage of sin. This is a very important topic which deserves special attention. So we will address it in detail in an upcoming chapter.