Showing posts with label God’s Character Traits. Show all posts
Showing posts with label God’s Character Traits. Show all posts

28 December 2020

A Few Thoughts about God’s Character Traits from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a Part 3

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a WEL Love is very patient and kind; love is not envious; love doesn’t brag about itself, is not haughty, 5 Doesn’t behave improperly, is not self-seeking; love isn’t easily aggravated, doesn’t keep a list of wrongs, 6 Doesn’t rejoice in injustice, but rejoices with the truth, 7 Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, calmly endures all things. 8 Love never falls away,

The actions of love are in public and private. These definitions of love are character traits of God.

Part 1, Part 2


C11 Rejoices with the truth

D1 Most do not like the truth if it exposes them. John 3:20-21 NRSV For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.

D2 Any lie will do for many people, if they gain power and money without accountability. Isaiah 59:4 NLT No one cares about being fair and honest. The people’s lawsuits are based on lies. They conceive evil deeds and then give birth to sin.

C12 Bears all things

D1 This is the idea of never gives up (NRSV), keeps out resentment (Vincent), puts up with, protects (NIV), covers the faults of others rather than delighting in them (Expositor’s Bible Commentary), keeps private things private (doesn’t gossip or betray secrets). Of course, if someone is in danger, we do not keep secrets because we love that person. Remember the Lord Jesus said to Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39 NLT).

D2 Verses

E1 Love must not tell secrets. Proverbs 11:13 NLT A gossip goes around telling secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.

E2 Not even in arguments. Proverbs 25:9 NLT When arguing with your neighbor, don’t betray another person’s secret.

E3 Ecclesiastes 3:7 NLT A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak.

C13 Believes all things

D1 This does mean to be gullible. It means reasonable. For example, if one comes and reveals to you that they have been abused or molested. We believe them.

D2 This idea is seen in judging people. We may be misunderstanding their actions. We need to examine this.

D3 True love does not accept public appearances, actions, speech as the highest thing to believe. What people do in private is more revealing. We are not to be gullible.

D4 Someone may have great credentials, following, books, etc. but that does not mean they are more believable than others.

D5 We must believe, but we must be a little skeptical. Acts 17:11 NLT And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul's message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. [Emphasis is mine. They searched. They did not exercise blind faith].

C14 Hopes all things

D1 Hope is defined by Websters 1913: To desire with expectation or with belief in the possibility or prospect of obtaining; to look forward to as a thing desirable, with the expectation of obtaining it; to cherish hopes of.

D2 Remember these are character traits of God. God has this character trait of hope.

D3 Hope has an element of patience. Romans 8:25 CSB Now if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience.

D4 Hope depends on another’s trustworthiness. Hebrews 10:23 NET And let us hold unwaveringly to the hope that we confess, for the one who made the promise is trustworthy.

C15 Calmly endures all things

D1 Precept Austin comment on this attribute: To reiterate, this attribute of love means the believer endures patiently and triumphantly and is not passively putting up with the deluge of difficulties. Obviously a love that supernaturally endures like this can only be carried out by a believer who is filled with and strengthened by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16-note; Ephesians 5:18-note). The suffering which the apostles and early Christians had to endure for the sake of the gospel is eloquent testimony of their authentic, fervent love for God.

D2 This is why God does not give up on our failures.

D3 2 Timothy 2:10 NIV Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

D4 James 1:12 NLT God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

D5 We are not to calmly endure sinful and bad attitudes, as well as what is unreasonable, foolish, proven to fail, etc.

C16 Never extinguishes

D1 Never comes to an end, is never replaced by anything else [Source is NIV Study Bible Notes]

D2 Love is superior to all other attributes or achievements because it never fails (13:8a). Of the familiar Christian triad—faith, hope, and love—which comprehends Christian existence as a whole for the present, love is the greatest (v.13), for it lasts forever. When the future age comes in its fullness, faith and hope will give way to sight (see Romans 4:14-22; 8:24-25). Then will remain only love, intimate, personal relationship with God (v.12). [Source is Asbury Bible Commentary]

D3 If we love the Lord Jesus as we must, we will obey His rules (John 14:15 and 1 John 2:5). If we do not love Him as we must, then Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard that you do not get led astray by the error of these unprincipled men and fall from your firm grasp on the truth (2 Peter 3:17 NET).

D4 Psalm 6:4 NIV Turn, LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.

B2 How can we find strength to live this way?

Again, we learn about God character traits from Scripture. Think deeply about these things.

24 December 2020

A Few Thoughts about God’s Character Traits from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a Part 2

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a WEL Love is very patient and kind; love is not envious; love doesn’t brag about itself, is not haughty, 5 Doesn’t behave improperly, is not self-seeking; love isn’t easily aggravated, doesn’t keep a list of wrongs, 6 Doesn’t rejoice in injustice, but rejoices with the truth, 7 Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, calmly endures all things. 8 Love never falls away,

The actions of love are in public and private. These definitions of love are character traits of God.


B1In the following points, think of some examples in your life that God has shown these 16 facets of love, then some ways we should have and will do for others

C7 Is not self-seeking

D1 We are told to seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33), but there are those who seek themselves first.

D2 The Lord Jesus sought to honor His Father first. John 8:49, 54 NKJV Jesus answered, "I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. ... 54 Jesus answered, "If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God.

D3 TheLord also sought for the lost that they might be saved. Luke 19:10 NKJV for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.

D4 Barclay writes: In the last analysis, there are in this world only two kinds of people—those who always insist upon their privileges and those who always remember their responsibilities; those who are always thinking of what life owes them and those who never forget what they owe to life. It would be the key to almost all the problems which surround us today if men would think less of their rights and more of their duties. Whenever we start thinking about "our place", we are drifting away from Christian love.

C8 Not easily aggravated

D1 Not quick to defend oneself. Listens rather than lectures. Thinks about the situation before action.

D2 The Lord Jesus took many insults without revenge.

D3 An example of being easily aggravated is Cain. Genesis 4:5-8 NLT but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected. 6 "Why are you so angry?" the LORD asked Cain. "Why do you look so dejected? 7 You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master." 8 One day Cain suggested to his brother, "Let's go out into the fields." And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him.

C9 Doesn’t keep a list of wrongs

D1 Doesn’t bring up past mistakes, errors, etc. Doing so is a form of abuse.

D2 Barclay writes: One of the great arts in life is to learn what to forget. A writer tells how "in Polynesia, where the natives spend much of their time in fighting and feasting, it is customary for each man to keep some reminders of his hatred. Articles are suspended from the roofs of their huts to keep alive the memory of their wrongs--real or imaginary." In the same way many people nurse their wrath to keep it warm; they brood over their wrongs until it is impossible to forget them. Christian love has learned the great lesson of forgetting.

C10 Doesn’t rejoice in injustice

D1 God’s justice is equal laws for all individuals and equal punishment not laws and punishment based on socioeconomic reasons, power, authority, celebrity, etc.

D2 1 Corinthians 13:6 NLT It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.

D3 This is what we must not do. Proverbs 17:15 NRSV One who justifies the wicked and one who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD.

D4 True love does not like wrong (wrong according to God’s standards). 1 Peter 2:7-8 WEL But he delivered Lot, a just man, vexed by the filthy behavior of the wicked 8 For that righteous man lived among them. What he heard and saw vexed his righteous soul daily by their wicked actions.


23 December 2020

A Few Thoughts about God’s Character Traits from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a Part 1

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a WEL Love is very patient and kind; love is not envious; love doesn’t brag about itself, is not haughty, 5 Doesn’t behave improperly, is not self-seeking; love isn’t easily aggravated, doesn’t keep a list of wrongs, 6 Doesn’t rejoice in injustice, but rejoices with the truth, 7 Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, calmly endures all things. 8 Love never falls away,

The actions of love are in public and private. These definitions of love are character traits of God.


B1In the following points, think of some examples in your life that God has shown these 16 facets of love, then some ways we should have and will do for others

C1 Suffers long/very patient

D1 Instead of being impulsive and having a “knee jerk” response, love waits patiently.

D2 Barclay (be cautious) writes:

The Greek word (makrothumein, Greek #3114) used in the New Testament always describes patience with people and not patience with circumstances. Chrysostom said that it is the word used of the man who is wronged and who has it easily in his power to avenge himself and who yet will not do it. It describes the man who is slow to anger and it is used of God himself in his relationship with men.

C2 Kind

D1 Instead of a reaction of harshness, one is kind.

D2 There is an attitude of mercy before any other action. Though that time may be short, it is present.

D3 It is understanding what the other person is communicating before judging someone.

D4 Love is kind - The idea is that the kind person is disposed to be useful or helpful, even seeking out the needs of the other person in order to selflessly meet those needs without expectation of being repaid in kind! This quality of love inclines one to be of good service to others. [Source—Precept Austin]

C3 Not envious

D1 Matthew 27:17-18 NLT As the crowds gathered before Pilate’s house that morning, he asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 (He knew very well that the religious leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy.)

D2 Envy is to want what the other has—money, spouse, status, following, book sales, etc.

D3 Envy often leads to dangerous tactics as assault/battery, murder, kidnapping, etc.

C4 Doesn’t brag about itself

D1 I’ve heard sermons where the preacher just gave an inflated resume of himself. There was no teaching.

D2 Lenski - When love sees another prosperous, rich, high, gifted it is pleased and glad of his advantages. Love never detracts from the praise that is due another nor tries to make him seem less and self seem more by comparison. The practice of the world is the opposite. he negatives used in Paul’s description suggest corresponding positives. Instead of being envious love is satisfied with its own portion and glad of another’s greater portion.

D3 Judgment from God happens to those who do not give God credit for what He has done and thankful. Romans 1:21 NIV For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

C5 Is not haughty

D1 Clarke writes: There is a phrase in our own language that expresses what I think to be the meaning of the original, does not set itself forward - does not desire to be noticed or applauded; but wishes that God may be all in all.

D2 Colossians 2:18 NLT Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud,

D3 Acts 12:21-23 NLT and an appointment with Herod was granted. When the day arrived, Herod put on his royal robes, sat on his throne, and made a speech to them. 22 The people gave him a great ovation, shouting, “It’s the voice of a god, not of a man!” 23 Instantly, an angel of the Lord struck Herod with a sickness, because he accepted the people’s worship instead of giving the glory to God. So he was consumed with worms and died.

C6 Doesn’t behave improperly (rudely)

D1 Barclay writes: is not rude or willingly offensive to any one, but renders to all their dues, suitable to time, place, person, and all other circumstances.

D2 Unbecoming in English describes behavior which is unseemly, unsuitable, inappropriate or unflattering or not attractive (certainly not attractive in a person who claims to know the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:1) which is the very essence of divine love (cf John 3:16, Romans 5:8)! And remember both believers and unbelievers are watching you responses...all the time!) [Source—Precept Austin]

D3 Dake writes: Courtesy-love in society: does not behave unseemly; always polite; at home with all classes; never rude or discourteous.

22 December 2020

A Few Thoughts about God’s Character Traits from the Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23 WEL But, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.

Ephesians 5:9 WEL For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth.

We can learn about God from His character traits. Another list of His character traits is the fruit of the Spirit.

The list:

B1 Love

C1 The Greek word is ἀγάπη agape. It means: It can carry an element of sympathy, but also denotes “to prefer,” especially with reference to the gods. Here is a love that makes distinctions, choosing its objects freely. Hence it is especially the love of a higher for a lower. It is active, not self-seeking love. [Source TDNTa] It is also the love shown by harmony.

C2 Verses:

D1 This is the type that God the Father has for God the Son. John 17:26 NRSV I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.

D2 It is the love of loyalty and faithfulness. Romans 8:38-39 NRSV For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

D3 It is the love that has the following actions in public and private. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a Love is very patient and kind; love is not envious; love doesn’t brag about itself, is not haughty, 5 Doesn’t behave improperly, is not self-seeking; love isn’t easily aggravated, doesn’t keep a list of wrongs, 6 Doesn’t rejoice in injustice, but rejoices with the truth, 7 Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, calmly endures all things.8 Love never falls away,

B2 Joy

C1 The Greek word is χαρά, χαρᾶς. It means the sense of wellbeing, cheerfulness, peace, and contentment. The joy of the Christian man in the darksome time is that, like the lark, he sings in the rain as well as in the sunshine. (T. T. Lynch.) It is different from happiness, which is only a temporary good feeling at some happening.

C2 Verses

D1 God’s joy is something given by God and is not a small amount. John 15:11 NLT I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!

D2 It is characteristic of God’s kingdom. That is exciting! Romans 14:17 NIV For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

B3 Peace

C1 The Greek word is εἰρήνη eirḗnē. It means the feeling when one is free and not experiencing war, fighting, stress, fear, etc.

C2 Verses

D1 Acts 7:26 WEB The day following, he appeared to them as they fought, and urged them to be at peace again, saying, ‘Sirs, you are brothers. Why do you wrong one another?

D2 It is the opposite of worry and stress. Philippians 4:6-7 GW Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks. 7 Then God's peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus.

B4 Longsuffering

C1 Definitions

D1 English

E1 Most Bible translations use the word patience instead of longsuffering. There is a difference.

F1 Patience is a general term that has the idea of waiting for what is supposed to happen. This can be an appointment, graduation, marriage, delivering a baby, etc.

F2 Longsuffering is putting up with unpleasant situations. This can be persecution, abuse, trauma, sickness, etc.

F3 God is patient and longsuffering. Personally, I prefer the use of the word longsuffering.

D2 The Greek word is μακροθυμία makrothymía. It means Paul relates God’s forbearance to his wrath (Romans 2:4; 9:22). Already manifest, divine wrath will reach a climax only on the day of wrath (2:5). Longsuffering obviously does not mean irresolution or compliance. It is not swayed by emotion but has the end in view. The delay may allow time for repentance but it also increases the wrath. [Source TDNTa]

C2 Verses

D1 Romans 9:22 EMTV But what if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make known His power, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath having been prepared for destruction,

D2 An action we show towards others. 1 Thessalonians 5:14 ASV And we exhort you, brethren, admonish the disorderly, encourage the fainthearted, support the weak, be longsuffering toward all.

D3 An action of God towards Saul/Paul. 1 Timothy 1:16 NKJV 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.

B5 Gentleness

C1 The Greek word is χρηστότης chrēstótēs. It means kindness and gentleness, which is a kindness. It is the opposite of the real actions and attitude of a narcissist, sociopath, or psychopath.

C2 Verses

D1 The sinful nature is not naturally gentle, good, and kind. Romans 3:12 NRSV All have turned aside, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, there is not even one.

D2 Compare the contrast. Gentleness/kindness [gk] is the opposite of roughness/severity [rs]. Romans 11:22 NLT Notice how God is both kindgk and severers. He is severers toward those who disobeyed, but kindgk to you if you continue to trust in his kindnessgk. But if you stop trusting, you also will be cut off.

B6 Goodness

C1 The Greek word is ἀγαθωσύνη agathōsýnē. It means goodness and kindness. It is a thorough goodness that is intrinsic to the character of God and should be of us. It meets the standard of God’s goodness (Matthew 19:17). It is related to the Greek word agathós/αγαθός.

C2 Verses

D1 It is found in the gospel. Romans 10:15 NLT And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!

D2 It is to be found in everything we do in public and private. Ephesians 2:10 NRSV For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

B7 Faith

C1 The Greek word is πίστις pístis. It means trusting with a hint of obedience [TDNTa]. It implies reliability. We see the result being believing in something, someone, and in what’s happening. It is the conviction that something is true.

C2 Verses

D1 Mark 10:51-52 NLT What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked. "My rabbi," the blind man said, "I want to see!" 52 And Jesus said to him, "Go, for your faith has healed you." Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.

D2 Our life is one of faith in believing God, His word, His actions, His gospel, His message, His ways, His rules for us on what to believe and how to live the Christian life. 2 Corinthians 5:7 ISV For we live by faith, not by sight.

B8 Righteousness

C1 The Greek word is δικαιοσύνη dikaiosýnē. It is related to idea of law thus in right standing with the law. The judge will not find a person guilty. A believer in Jesus Christ is considered legally in alignment with God’s will and pleasing to God [TDNTa]. We cannot make ourselves righteous, it is only by faith in Jesus Christ alone. It is justification by faith.

C2 Verses

D1 Jesus did not need to be baptized, but He wanted to show that He is in complete alignment with God’s law, that He is sinless. Matthew 3:15 NIV Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented.

D2 The standard is God Himself. God’s laws and rules are righteous. These are the laws of His kingdom. These are the laws that matter. Matthew 6:33 EMTV But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

D3 Righteous through Jesus alone: Romans 3:21-26.

B9 Truth

C1 The Greek word is ἀλήθεια alḗtheia. It means truth. Truth is reality, certainty, and genuine. It is based on God’s character, who cannot lie. God’s life, words, deeds, etc. show truth. This is why we must interpret the Bible in its plain, normal sense.

C2 Verses

D1 The woman who was healed from the flow of blood. Mark 5:33 EMTV But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. Compare John 4:18.

D2 In contrast, there is no truth in the devil. John 8:44-45 MEV You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.

God has the character traits of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, righteousness, and truth. So, should we. Think about it today.

21 December 2020

A Few Thoughts about God’s Character from Exodus 34:6-7

The traditional Jewish mercy traits of God from Exodus 34:6-7

Exodus 34:6-7 JPS And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed: 'The LORD, the LORD, God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth; 7 keeping mercy unto the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin; and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and unto the fourth generation.'

B1 The Lord

C1 The Hebrew word is יְהוָֹה Yhvh. It means the one bringing into being, life-giver and/or the one who is: i.e. the absolute and unchangeable one, Ri; the existing, ever living.

C2 John, speaking of God, writes:

D1 Referring to the Lord Jesus John 1:4 EMTV In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

D2 Referring to the Lord Jesus John 5:21 EMTV For as the Father raises up the dead and gives life, thus also the Son gives life to whom He wills.

D3 Referring to the Holy Spirit John 6:63 EMTV It is the Spirit who makes alive; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

D4 Referring to the Lord Jesus John 11:25 EMTV Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.

D5 See also John 14:6, Acts 3:15, Acts 17:25, 1 Corinthians 15:45, Revelation 11:11, etc.

C3 The first trait concerning God is that He is life, has life in Himself without prior cause, and can create life.

B2 The Lord—this is repeated for emphasis. He and only He is life.

B3 God

C1 The Hebrew word is אֵל ʼêl. It means ultimate strong and mighty.

C2 God is both

D1 Omniscient

E1 Psalms 139:4 NASB77 Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, Thou dost know it all.

E2 Hebrews 4:13 GNB92 There is nothing that can be hid from God; everything in all creation is exposed and lies open before his eyes. And it is to him that we must all give an account of ourselves.

D2 Omnipotent

E1 The Lord Jesus practiced this as seen in the Gospel of Mark where He had authority over the weather, demons, sickness, hunger, the devil, death, etc.

E2 Isaiah 43:13 NASB77 Even from eternity I am He; And there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it?

E3 Matthew 19:26 NASB77 And looking upon them Jesus said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

B4 Merciful

C1 The Hebrew word is רַחוּם rachûwm. It means: This root refers to deep love (usually of a “superior” for an “inferior”) rooted in some “natural” bond. [Source in TWOT]

C2 Mercy is not receiving what we do deserve. Since He is the King of all kings, lawmaker, judge, etc., He can show mercy. There are conditions that He sets and is noted in the context of the Bible passage.

C3 Verses

D1 Titus 3:5 GNB92 he saved us. It was not because of any good deeds that we ourselves had done, but because of his own mercy that he saved us, through the Holy Spirit, who gives us new birth and new life by washing us.

D2 1 Peter 1:3 AFV Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who, according to His abundant mercy, has begotten us again unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

B5 Gracious

C1 The Hebrew word is חַנּוּן channûwn. It means depicts a heartfelt response by someone who has something to give to one who has a need [Source is TWOT].

C2 Grace is receiving what we do not deserve.

C3 Note both concepts (has a need plus heartfelt response): Ephesians 2:3-8 NASB77 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.

B6 Longsuffering

C1 The Hebrew word is אָרֵךְ ʼârêk. It means: Applied to either God or man it is used most frequently in construct to the word ’appayı̂m, and is translated “longsuffering, slow to anger/ wrath.” Literally, when the Bible says God is “longsuffering.” [Source is TWOT]

C2 It takes a long time for God to become angry. Compare the long time He gave Moses in Exodus 3-4:17.

C3 2 Peter 3:9 NASB77 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

B7 Abundant in goodness

C1 The Hebrew word for goodness is חֶסֶד cheçed. It means: The beautiful story of Ruth is tarnished by considering Ruth’s action as motivated by contractual obligations. The Lord had no obligation to get the widows new husbands in Moab (1:8–9). Ruth went with Naomi from pure love. Boaz recognized her action as goodness in 2:11–12 and calls it ḥesed in 3:10. [Source is TWOT]

C2 The principle by example is given in Esther 2:9 ESV2011 And the young woman pleased him and won his favor. And he quickly provided her with her cosmetics and her portion of food, and with seven chosen young women from the king's palace, and advanced her and her young women to the best place in the harem.

B8 Truth

C1 The Hebrew word is אֶמֶת ʼemeth. It means: The basic root idea is firmness or certainty. In the Qal it expresses the basic concept of support and is used in the sense of the strong arms of the parent supporting the helpless infant. [Source is TWOT]

C2 Thus truth is related to reality and God’s character. He cannot lie. His word is good.

C3 Verses

D1 God cannot lie. Titus 1:2 NKJV in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.

D2 Psalms 146:6 AMPC Who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, Who keeps truth and is faithful forever.

D3 God does have conditions. This principle is taught Psalms 25:10 WEB All the paths of Yahweh are loving kindness and truth to such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.

D4 Truth is a characteristic of love. 1 Corinthians 13:6 NIV Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

B9 Keeping mercy

C1 The Hebrew word for keeping is נָצַר nâtsar. It means to guard and protect.

C2 Verses

D1 Deuteronomy 32:10 NIV In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye.

D2 Psalms 31:23 NLT Love the LORD, all you godly ones! For the LORD protects those who are loyal to him, but he harshly punishes the arrogant.

B10 Forgiving iniquity

C1 The Hebrew word for forgiving is נָשָׂא nâsâ.

D1 It means:

E1 The second semantical category, of bearing or carrying, is used especially of bearing the guilt or punishment of sin.

E2 The third category stressed the taking away, forgiveness, or pardon of sin, iniquity, and transgression. [Source is TWOT]

D2 Forgiveness is to carry away the guilt and punishment of sin.

D3 God forgives if people meet His conditions.

D4 The Messiah Jesus did just as is prophesied about Him. Isaiah 53:12 NIV Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

D5 Psalms 25:18 NKJV Look on my affliction and my pain, And forgive all my sins.

C2 The Hebrew word for iniquity is עָוֺן ʻâvôn. It means to bend, twist, and to distort...Moreover, as the above references indicate, it denotes both the deed and its consequences, the misdeed and its punishment. [TWOT] THE standard of right and wrong becomes bent, twisted, and distorted. Usually this happens because people want to sin and then try to find an aberrant explanation of God’s words and law to justify their beliefs and actions.

D1 Genesis 15:16 GNB It will be four generations before your descendants come back here, because I will not drive out the Amorites until they become so wicked that they must be punished.

D2 Isaiah 53:6, 11 NIV We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. ... 11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.

B11 Forgiving transgression

C1 The Hebrew word for transgression is פֶּשַׁע peshaʻ. It means rebellion [TWOT]. Rather than twisting and distorting God’s law (iniquity), people just plainly know the law but choose to deliberately break it.

C2 Verses:

D1 Ezekiel 2:3 NET He said to me, “Son of man, I am sending you to the house of Israel, to rebellious nations who have rebelled against me; both they and their fathers have revolted against me to this very day.

D2 Hosea 8:1 NET Sound the alarm! An eagle looms over the temple of the Lord! For they have broken their covenant with me, and have rebelled against my law.

B12 Forgiving sin

C1 The Hebrew word for sin is חַטָּאת ḥaṭṭā’t. It means

D1 The noun: miss the mark, disobedience.

D2 The verb: The verb has the connotation of breach of civil law, i.e. failure to live up to expectations. [TWOT]

C2 Verses

D1 Moses speaking states: Deuteronomy 9:18 NLT Then, as before, I threw myself down before the LORD for forty days and nights. I ate no bread and drank no water because of the great sin you had committed by doing what the LORD hated, provoking him to anger.

D2 1 Samuel 15:23 NRSV For rebellion is no less a sin than divination, and stubbornness is like iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from being king.

B13 Will not clear the guilty

C1 The Hebrew word for clear is נָקָה nâqâh. It means From the basic notion “to be poured out” the word may derive notions with either favorable or unfavorable connotations. [Source is TWOT]

C2 Verses

D1 In the favorable sense: Psalm 19:12 NKJV Who can understand [his] errors? Cleanse me from secret [faults].

D2 In the unfavorable sense: Proverbs 11:21 NLT Evil people will surely be punished, but the children of the godly will go free.

Thus, from our passage we learn much about God and His character. He alone is life. He is omnipotent. He is merciful and gracious. He is longsuffering. He is good in His actions and plans. He is the final standard for truth. He is trustworthy. He is the protector. He is the only one who can forgive us of different types of sins (if we meet His conditions). He does not forgive those who persist in sin, do not ask, and meet His conditions.

13 December 2020

A Few Thoughts about the Impassibility of God

Impassibility defined plus a few articles

B1 Divine Impassibility By R. C. Sproul

B2 The Impassibility of God

Classic Christian orthodoxy teaches that God is impassible—that is, not subject to suffering, pain, or involuntary passions. In the words of the Westminster Confession of Faith, God is "without body, parts, or passions, immutable." The doctrine of the passibility of God has to do with the theology of the “suffering” of God. Does God suffer? Can He truly feel emotional pain?

"Those who predicate any change whatsoever of God, whether with respect to his essence, knowledge, or will, diminish all his attributes: independence, simplicity, eternity, omniscience, and omnipotence. This robs God of his divine nature, and religion of its firm foundation and assured comfort." (Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, 2:158)

B3 Calvinist J. I. Packer with Some Helpful Comments on Divine Impassibility

From Michael Bird (

According to J.I. Packer, we need to re-think the meaning of divine impassibility (note that this was before the “Open Theism” wars). He writes:

This conception of God [as impassible] represents no single biblical term, but was introduced into Christian theology in the second century. What was it supposed to mean? The historical answer is: Not impassivity, unconcern, and impersonal detachment in the face of the creation. Not inability or unwillingness to empathize with human pain and grief, either. It means simply that God’s experiences do not come upon him as ours come upon us. His are foreknown, willed, and chosen by himself, and are not involuntary surprises forced on him from outside, apart form his own decision, in the way that ours regularly are. This understanding was hinted at earlier, but it is spelled out here because it is so important, and so often missed. Let us be clear: A totally impassive God would be a horror, and not the God of Calvary at all. He might belong in Islam; he has no place in Christianity. If, therefore, we can learn to think of the chosenness of God’s grief and pain as the essence of his impassibility, so-called, we will do well.”

J.I. Packer, “What Do You Mean When You Say God?” Christianity Today (Sept 1986): 31 (27-31).

B4 Roger Olson, “Intuitive Evangelical Theology versus Scholastic Evangelical Theology: ‘Classical Christian Theism’ as Case Study”

Here’s what I mean—to be specific. What ordinary lay Christian, just reading his or her Bible, without the help of any of the standard conservative evangelical systematic theologies, would ever arrive at the doctrines of divine simplicity, immutability, or impassibility as articulated by those systematic theologians (e.g., “without body, parts or passions” as the Westminster Confession has it)? Without body, okay. But without parts or passions? The average reader of Hosea, for example, gets the image of God as passionate. While “parts” isn’t exactly the best term for the persons of the Trinity, a biblical reader will probably think of God as complex and dynamic being rather than as “simple substance.”

Take the doctrine of God’s “aseity”—absolute self-sufficiency. According to Protestant (and Catholic) scholasticism, including much conservative evangelical theology, God cannot be affected by anything outside himself. He is “pure actuality without potentiality.” Who would guess that from just reading the Bible? I wouldn’t. And yet it is touted by many conservative evangelicals as orthodox doctrine not to be questioned. To question it is to dishonor God and detract from his glory!

B5 What is divine impassibility?

Is divine impassibility true?

B1 God does not change—immutability See Psalm 102:27 (God doesn’t get old nor He die), James 1:17 (God’s character and God’s laws and rules. God doesn’t change and later allow what earlier had been a sin), Malachi 3:6 (He keeps His promises (if they are unconditional)).

B2 God does reveal His character in the Bible—mercy, love, anger, etc. See John 3:16, Psalm 11:5, Genesis 19:16, Ephesian 4:30, Psalm 78:40, John 15:11, and Isaiah 62:5.

B3 Jesus suffered See Acts 26:23, Psalm 22:14-18, and Isaiah 53. Some say that it was the “man” that suffered not God, but, it seems to me, they are splitting the Lord Jesus Christ. They seem to believe this: Jesus, the man, suffered with pain both physical and emotional, but Jesus, God, was stoic and did not suffer. This does not sound reasonable to me. Jesus is one person with two natures and two wills. See Athanasian Creed. The important part of the creed for our discussion follows this article.

B4 God felt affliction along with His people. See Isaiah 63:9 and Jeremiah 31:20.

B5 God never changes regarding His decisions, laws, character, and unconditional promises. The immutability of God doesn’t mean that there is inconsistency with His emotions and desires.

B6 Regarding God’s promises

C1 An unconditional promise: God never changes His mind. It will happen. 1 Corinthians 15:52 and many others.

C2 A conditional promise: Depending on a person or nation’s response, God makes a decision. See Deuteronomy 27-28, Luke 13:3 and 5, Revelation 2:22, etc.

B7 God has strong desires.

C1 Psalms 51:6 NRSV You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

D1 The word desire is חָפֵץ châphêts. It means

E1 to delight in, take pleasure in, desire, be pleased with (Qal)

F1 of men

G1 to take pleasure in, delight in

G2 to delight, desire, be pleased to do

F2 of God

G1 to delight in, have pleasure in

G2 to be pleased to do

D2 I would think most humans would understand Shechem’s delight in the following passage. Genesis 34:19 AFV And the young man did not hesitate to do the thing because he had delight in Jacob's daughter. And he was more honorable than all the house of his father.

D3 I would think most humans would understand what Solomon is writing about in Song of Solomon 2:7. Compare the various translations.

D4 The word can be translated will but when speaking about feelings towards someone it is desire, a strong emotion used in various senses. Even though it can be translated will (NRSV for example), one can sense the strong emotions of God. 1 Samuel 2:25 NKJV If one man sins against another, God will judge him. But if a man sins against the LORD, who will intercede for him?" Nevertheless they did not heed the voice of their father, because the LORD desired to kill them.

D5 God does have strong emotions.

C2 God changed His mind, in other words, the conditions He decreed were met. This teaches about His conditional promises. God is NEVER surprised or unaware of the future whether known or unknown to us. Open Theism is error. Exodus 32:14 NLT So the LORD changed his mind about the terrible disaster he had threatened to bring on his people.

C3 I think most people would agree that making another person grieve would cause emotional suffering. How else can we understand the plain words of Scripture? Ephesians 4:30 NRSV And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Compare Isaiah 63:9-10, Matthew 27:46 (is it only his “man” that suffers? Jesus is one person with two natures), and Hosea 11:8. It is true that God does not suffer physical pain for His is not physical; God is spirit.

B7 The penal substitution is what is taught in Scriptures.

C1 A law has been broken. God states that the penalty for breaking His laws is death. Someone must be punished. Regarding my sins either I am punished, or a substitute is punished. That substitute must be sinless (else would have to die for their own sins), voluntary, and otherwise acceptable. Only Jesus is qualified.

C2 Articles about penal substitution: here and here.

C3 Verses: Genesis 22:13, Isaiah 53:4-6, and 1 Peter 2:23-25, etc.

B8 God does not vacillate from one standard or character traits to another set of traits. He is not moody. He is even tempered and reliable. Yet, He does become angry. See how God became emotionally angry

C1 With Moses. God’s anger appears to have happened quickly. Exodus 4:14 NIV Then the LORD's anger burned against Moses and he said, "What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you.

C2 With Moses. Exodus 4:24 NKJV And it came to pass on the way, at the encampment, that the LORD met him and sought to kill him.

C3 With the children of Israel: Numbers 11:1 NLT Soon the people began to complain about their hardship, and the LORD heard everything they said. Then the LORD's anger blazed against them, and he sent a fire to rage among them, and he destroyed some of the people in the outskirts of the camp.

We must not turn to philosophy to answer questions. The Bible teaches us about God’s character and is true.

But it is necessary for eternal salvation

that one also believe in the incarnation

of our Lord Jesus Christ faithfully.

Now this is the true faith:

That we believe and confess

that our Lord Jesus Christ, God's Son,

is both God and human, equally.

He is God from the essence of the Father,

begotten before time;

and he is human from the essence of his mother,

born in time;

completely God, completely human,

with a rational soul and human flesh;

equal to the Father as regards divinity,

less than the Father as regards humanity.

Although he is God and human,

yet Christ is not two, but one.

He is one, however,

not by his divinity being turned into flesh,

but by God's taking humanity to himself.

He is one,

certainly not by the blending of his essence,

but by the unity of his person.

For just as one human is both rational soul and flesh,

so too the one Christ is both God and human.

He suffered for our salvation;

he descended to hell;

he arose from the dead;

he ascended to heaven;

he is seated at the Father's right hand;

from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

At his coming all people will arise bodily

and give an accounting of their own deeds.

Those who have done good will enter eternal life,

and those who have done evil will enter eternal fire.