All of us have been made to know God. In fact, knowing God is part and parcel of the Christian experience. Jtesus once said, “This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent —Jesus Christ” (John 17:3). If you were to ask the average believer what it means to have eternal life, one might respond by saying something like, “To live forever.” Eternal life indeed involves limitless living, but it is much more. It is chiefly concerned with life lived in relation to the Eternal One. Since this is true, believers ought to strive to know the Lord. Fortunately, the Bible is replete with descriptors of our God. Consider three characteristics of His nature.
God is Holy.
Holiness is perhaps the most oft mentioned attribute of God in the Bible. When Isaiah gave his vision of the throne room of heaven, he spoke of the way in which angels constantly sing in the presence of God, shouting, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Armies” (Isaiah 6:3). The apostle John gave a similar description in the book of Revelation. Holiness speaks of something which is different, unique, and set apart for special usage. In relation to our God, it signifies His unique nature. He is transcendently different from all created things. He is otherworldly and Divine. He is not like us. As His children, we should keep this in mind. We should remember that we worship a holy God (Matthew 6:9), and we should seek to have lives which mirror His holiness (1 Peter 1:15). As He is set apart from the world, we should aim to live lives set apart from the world (2 Corinthians 6:17).
God is Love.
Only one attribute of God is used as a near synonym for God. In 1 John 4:8 we read, “The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Though God is holy and transcendent above His creation, He has a fatherly love towards all. This attribute highlights the fact that God wants a relationship with His people. He is not a cruel taskmaster, a tyrant in the sky, who mercilessly derides His subjects, demanding obedience. He has a maternal and paternal type of love. To Israel, Jesus once said, “How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, yet you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37). At times, we experience rejection. Some have been raised in homes with unloving family members. Know this — God has an unconditional and sacrificial love towards you (John 15:13). Through Christ you are accepted, beloved, and cherished. Know God and His love, and you will know true life and joy!
God is True.
In God there is no falsehood or error. The Bible tells us that it is impossible for Him to lie (Titus 1:2 and Hebrews 6:18). When Jesus walked upon the Earth, He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). In a world which is often suspicious of truth, believers have confidence in a God who embodies truth. In Him we find objective facts about life and godliness. The real state of affairs is discovered through the God of the Bible. Through Him, we know who God is, who we are, why we are alive, and what is wrong with the world. The God who is alive and not silent is a God who speaks truth, and in His truth we find freedom (John 8:32).
Dr. Patrick Latham