Friday, November 11, 2005

NBB Theology: God - Part III

Last time I started talking about how God's attributes are described in the Bible - a prime source from which we draw our understanding of who He is. The attributes I covered were the so-called non-moral attributes: omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence and immutability. These attributes, or qualities of God are not directly moral in nature, but I don't want to lose sight of them. All of God's attributes come into play when we work through the salvation question, and we'll be touching on them all again.

Today I'd like to start covering some of the "moral" attributes of God: holiness, justice, goodness and truth. There is so much to say about each of these that I won't attempt to cover them all in one post. So, we'll start with God's goodness, and go from there.

God's goodness describes, in the words of Thiessen, "all the qualities that answer to the conception of an ideal personage." [1] This goodness of God covers His love, mercy, grace and benevolence. It also includes His other attributes of righteousness, holiness and truth. The perfect nature of this attribute is incredible, and a standard to which nobody but God could attain.

God's benevolence is His kindness and compassion, even to those who don't follow Him. God takes care, loving care, of us.

He also is gracious to those who don't deserve the benevolence and compassion He shows. In fact, His grace is what makes salvation possible by providing an (undeserved) atonement for sin. God's grace is provided not just to believers, though, but is shown to all people. Grace allows us salvation, but it also allows us time on earth and delayed judgement in the hopes that we'd return to Him from whom we've strayed. God's grace could take up a series of its own.

Grace is also related to mercy, though they aren't the same thing. Mercy is God's compassion on those in need. God's compassionate to us because He loves us. His mercy is for all: Jews, Gentiles and (as if that didn't cover everyone already) those who fear God - who hold Him in awe and reverence. This mercy, too, could take up multiple posts to merely scratch the surface of understanding.

God's love, though, which is tied to His grace and mercy (and everything else, including His justice) will be covered in the next post. Until then, may the grace, mercy and lovingkindess of God be showered upon you this weekend, that you may be blessed with the knowledge of truth and the favor of our Creator.

God bless!

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