“God is good…all the time, and all the time…God is good.” This refrain is commonly spoken by Christians. Though it is easy to remember and simple to say, it actually is a proclamation of deep and profound truth. It would do us well to consider the statement so that we understand truly what we are saying.
As we are considering the “attributes” of God, we come now to the concept of “truthfulness”. Put simply, the Bible is abundantly clear that God is truth and that God speaks truth. There is never a moment in which God is false or incorrect, and because of that, He stands as the ultimate source and standard of all truth.
We saw last time that God knows everything. Today, I want to push one step farther: not only does God know everything, but He also knows what to do with everything He knows. This is the distinction between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge has to do with facts. Wisdom has to do with the application of facts. Knowledge is the accumulation of data. Wisdom is the application and use of that data. It is possible to have knowledge without wisdom, but it is impossible to have wisdom without knowledge. Not only is God “omniscient” (meaning He knows everything) but He is also all-wise. Put simply: this means that God knows precisely what to do with all the things He knows. Based on His perfect knowledge, He knows what is best and most valuable and most worthwhile, and He also knows the best way to reach and obtain those things. He knows everything, and He also knows how best to put all that knowledge to use.
We have seen before that God is not limited in any way. He is eternal – meaning He is not limited by time. He is also everywhere – meaning He is not limited by space. Today, we will see another way in which He is not limited: He knows everything. In fancy “preacher language”, He is “omniscient” – which means “all-knowing”.
Previously, we saw that God is unlimited with regard to time. Even though we – as humans – are bound by the limits of time, He is not. There is another arena in which we are limited while God is not, and that is the arena of space. As human beings we can be in only one place at a time. We must make choices because of the limits of our nature. God, however, is left with no such choices. The Bible is clear that He is “omnipresent” – that is, He is present in all places all the time.
Human beings are inherently limited by our nature. It is easy to see that we are “bound” in certain ways. As we consider the nature of God, it is important to understand some of the many ways in which we are bound and God is not. One such area is that of time. As humans, it is easy to understand that we have not always existed – there was a time “before” us. Moreover, it is also easy to see that we exist in time – our lives are a succession of events which follow one after another. God is radically different. Even though it is difficult for us to grasp, the Bible makes clear that God exists outside of time – all things are “present” to Him. He is timeless and sees all time with equal clarity. This is another indication of His greatness.
One of the most reassuring truths of the Christian life is that God can be trusted. One of the most famous verses in the Bible – Psalm 23:1 – demonstrates this: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” David has confidence that the Lord will provide for Him because of what he knows to be true: the Lord is a good shepherd who provides for His sheep. But what if it were possible for God to become a bad shepherd or to stop providing for His sheep? How is it that David could have such confidence and that we can echo that confidence? The answer is found in God’s immutability. Put simply: God does not change. We can know certain things about God with absolute certainty because He is the same yesterday, today, and forever – as is His Son, Jesus (Heb. 13:8).
The fact that God has made Himself known means it is possible for us to know Him. Even though we can never know Him fully and completely, we can know Him truly and accurately. He has given us this gift. There are many places you can start in studying the nature and character of God, but we will begin by looking at the attributes of God before looking at His nature as three persons in one. In looking at these attributes, it is good to remember that these are things which are true of all three persons of the Godhead – not simply the Father.
Who is God? What is He like? Can we even know? Some people may consider such questions silly and impractical. But in reality, they are critically important. In light of the fact that we are called to love God and trust Him, do we not need to know something about Him? If we simply make things up about Him in our mind, can we truly love Him or will we simply love a “God” of our own making? Surely the latter, and that is a problem because God’s Word is clear that we are not to worship false gods. We need to be sure we are worshiping the one, true God. But how can we be sure of that? We can be sure because we have the words of God Himself, and in those words, God has made Himself known.