Recently I wrote about 3 of God’s attributes, his Sovereignty, Wisdom and Love. Knowing and meditating on these attributes of God produces peace and joy in our lives. As A.W. Pink says:
“The foundation of all true knowledge of God must be a clear mental apprehension of His perfections as revealed in Holy Scripture. And unknown God can neither be trusted, served, nor worshipped.” –A.W. Pink*
Knowing God brings us great joy, delight and peace of mind.
The more we know God the more we enjoy him. The more we know God, the more peace we will have in hard times. The more we know him, the more we will fear him, and turn from sin and spare ourselves sin’s consequences.
The more we know God, the more we will trust him.
Apart from knowing God, we won’t understand sin, its consequences, or how to be free from it. We won’t know what Jesus has done to redeem us from sin.
The more we know God, the more we will want to obey him:
“God is only truly known in the soul as we yield ourselves to Him, submit to His authority, and regulate all of the details of our lives by His holy precepts and Commandments.” –A.W. Pink
We cannot fathom or approach the Lord’s glory as it shines forth but he reveals it to us for our benefit and pleasure and joy. God didn’t need to reveal himself to us, but he is such a wonderful, generous God he revealed himself to us through Scripture and through his Son so we might be filled with his joy. This week I would like to look at 3 of God’s attributes: His Self-existence, his Uniqueness and his Transcendence.
Attribute #4: The Self-Existence of God
In the beginning, God…. GE 1.1
There was a “time” when God was all alone. There was no heaven, no earth, no galaxies, no angels or demons.. There was only God – The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He had no beginning. No one else and nothing else exists that was not created by God.
This is mind-boggling. God had no beginning. He always was. We simply can’t grasp this, because everything else in this universe had a beginning. But God had no beginning.
God was completely and infinitely joyful in and of himself. He had no needs. He wasn’t lonely. He wasn’t bored or unfulfilled. He didn’t need our worship. He didn’t create the universe out of any need. He just did it to manifest his glory. All God created added nothing to him in his essential glory. –A.W. Pink
In his self-existence, God didn’t need to create anything. He did it for his own good pleasure.
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will (Ephesians 1.11)
God does not need anything from us. He doesn’t need our worship. Our worship certainly pleases him but adds nothing to him. He does all things according to his own purpose for his own glory.
“For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
“Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. Romans 11.34-35
Even our obedience doesn’t profit or add anything to God:
So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy (unprofitable KJV) servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” LK 17.10
God did not need to reveal his glory to his creatures.
“Yet had God so pleased he might have continued alone for all eternity, without making known his glory unto creatures. Whether he should do so or not was determined solely by his own will. He was perfectly blessed in himself before the first creature was called into being.” –A.W. Pink
In Psalm 50 God tells Israel that he doesn’t need their sacrifices. In other words, he gave Israel the law for their benefit, not his.
I will not accept a bull from your house
or goats from your folds.
For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the hills,
and all that moves in the field is mine.
“If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the world and its fullness are mine.
Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of goats? PS 50:9-13
In the book of Acts, Paul told his listeners that God has never needed anything from mankind but gives mankind everything they need:
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. AC 17.24-25
God’s self-existence should lead us to overflowing thankfulness.
He didn’t need to create us, to give us life, to give us this incredible world to live in. But he did as a gift. He didn’t need to save us, especially in light of our rebellion, but he saved us by his grace. Our salvation is a free gift from God. He gives us thanksgiving and worship as gifts to help us enjoy him and delight in him.
Attribute #5: The Uniqueness of God
“Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? Ex 15.11
There is no one like our God. He is alone and unique in his glory and majesty. No one, not even the most glorious angels in heaven compare to God in his excellence and majesty. In fact, God is so majestic, so beautiful, so holy, that the seraphim, the highest angels in heaven, who have never sinned, cannot look upon God’s glory but must cover their faces.
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train1 of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”
…there is no one like me in all the earth. EX 15.11
There is no one like God in heaven or earth. Sometimes people think that the devil is the equal and opposite of God, like the dark side of the force. But the devil is a created being. He is more equal to Michael the archangel.
We tend to think of beings on a scale from simplest to complex. For example, one-cell creatures on the bottom, then amoebas, then worms, then insects, then birds, then dogs, then monkees, then man, then angels, then God just a little bit above angels. But God is infinitely greater than anything in his creation. –A.W. Tozer
For I know that the LORD is great,
and that our Lord is above all gods. Psalm 135.5
For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD?
Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD,
a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones,
and awesome above all who are around him?
O LORD God of hosts,
who is mighty as you are, O LORD,
with your faithfulness all around you? Psalm 89.6-8
Our God is like no one else. He is not one among many; he is unique. And our God, who is above all, desires us to be with him, to enjoy his presence and glory, to know him. We couldn’t know him unless he revealed himself to us. And he desires that we seek him and ask him for all our needs. No one can stop him, no one can thwart his plans for our lives or for his church or for the world.
Not only is God unlike any other being, but he is transcendent – infinitely above all his creation.
Attribute #6: The Transcendence of God
To transcend means “to exist above and independent from; to rise above, surpass, succeed.” (Gotquestions.org)
Being transcendent, God is both the unknown and unknowable, yet God continually seeks to reveal Himself to His creation, i.e., the unknown seeks to be known. -gotquestions.org
God is infinitely above and completely separate from his creation.
The LORD is high above all nations,
and his glory above the heavens!
Who is like the LORD our God,
who is seated on high,
who looks far down
on the heavens and the earth? Psalm 113.4-6
Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
and are accounted as the dust on the scales; Isaiah 40:15
All the nations are as nothing before him,
they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.
To whom then will you liken God,
or what likeness compare with him? Isaiah 40.17-18
Though God is completely separate from his creation, he is intimately involved in it. He sustains it, governs it, and directs it. Deists believe God made the creation and wound it up like a top and then set it in motion and has been uninvolved ever since. That he created the world, but doesn’t really care or see what is going on. But that is not true.
Whatever the LORD pleases, he does,
in heaven and on earth,
in the seas and all deeps.
He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth,
who makes lightnings for the rain
and brings forth the wind from his storehouses. Psalm 135.6-7
God not only directs the weather, but he is Lord over governments, leaders and history itself:
The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will. Proverbs 21:1
This is why God commands us to pray for our leaders.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4
When we are tempted to fear for our nation because of its leaders or to grumble and complain about our leaders, we must remember that God transcends the hearts and plans of men and nations, and is sovereign over them, so we should pray regularly for our leaders and ask God to direct their hearts that we might enjoy peace and the gospel spread.
Isn’t it amazing that this transcendent God “continually seeks to reveal Himself to His creation”?
Isn’t it amazing that he desires that we know him? That Jesus became a man to make the Father known to us? This transcendent God desires for us to know him more than we desire to know him. And he promises that if we seek him he will reveal himself to us.
Our God is self-existent: he needs nothing from us, yet invites us to come and receive himself and all we need from him.
Our God is unique: unlike any other being in the universe. Clothed in unimaginable glory. Yet Jesus became a man to save us that we might become more and more like our God and someday see his unique glory with our eyes.
Our God is transcendent, yet continually seeks to reveal himself to his creation, and has uniquely revealed himself through Jesus Christ. And this transcendent God desires for us to know him intimately and personally.
Again, God’s kindness to reveal himself to us in these ways should lead us to worship and thank him and seek him continually. I hope to examine few more of God’s attributes in future posts. Hope these have been encouraging to you!
*Quotes by A.W. Pink are from his book “The Attributes of God”