I recently read the story of Louis Agassiz, a scientist who had a profound impact on Ralph Waldo Emerson. The Swiss-born natural scientist was known for his meticulous methods of observation. One of his students once recorded how he was forced to analyze one fish for nearly an entire week. The professor trained a generation to observe the orderly arrangement of the universe. Science, and our understanding of nature, benefited from his passion.
When it comes to the Christian life, believers need a similar sort of enthusiasm. They need a passion for observing and knowing God. The Psalmist sang, “I have asked one thing from the Lord; it is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, gazing on the beauty of the Lord and seeking Him in His temple” (Psalm 27:4). A passion for knowing God is important, because it is the act of understanding God that conforms us into the image of God (2 Corinthians 3:18). Given the power contained in observing the Lord, it is worth considering the nature of our God. Let’s reflect on three of His attributes.
God is Righteous.
When Jesus spoke of the First Person of the Trinity, He called Him, “Righteous Father!” (John 17:25). On a multitude of occasions, the Psalmists confirmed that God is a righteous God (Psalm 7:9; 48:10; 71:15; 111:3; 116:5; and 119:137). What does it mean to be righteous? It involves a standard of correctness and uprightness. The one who is righteous is one who is and who does what is right. When it comes to God, He is perfectly righteous. He can do no wrong, nor can He commit any error. He is infinitely upright in all His ways. Such truth should encourage us. We have a God who is trustworthy and reliable. No matter what happens in life, we have a rock of righteousness! In a world in which all seems wrong, God is right!
God is Just.
Closely related to righteousness is the concept of justice. Because God is without fault, He always acts in ways which are correct. Justice is a fundamental part of His character. Moses once declared, “The Rock—His work is perfect; all His ways are entirely just. A faithful God, without prejudice, He is righteous and true” (Deuteronomy 32:4). My children sometimes complain about life, crying, “It isn’t fair!” We all know the burn of injustice. Fortunately we have a God upon whom we can rely. He is always right, and He always does what is right. Put your trust in Him when life seems out of control and when others hurt you (Romans 12:19).
God is Gracious.
Grace is a disposition of kindness towards another. The Bible teaches that God is a “God of all grace” (1 Peter 5:10). His goodwill towards us is infinite. He doesn’t just have a disposition of grace, He is also a dispenser of grace. Psalm 84:10 says, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield. The Lord gives grace and glory; He does not withhold the good from those who live with integrity.” Throughout our lives — at salvation (Ephesians 2:8), in Christian growth (2 Peter 3:18), in Christian service (Romans 12:6), and in life in general (1 Corinthians 15:10)—we have God’s goodness to strengthen and sustain us. Learn to feed on His grace!
Dr. Patrick Latham