Other attributes of God which we considered tonight were:
God is eternal, without beginning or end, a concept we have difficult grasping. ‘Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.’ (Ps 90:2) We often read about God being eternal or everlasting (e.g. ‘the Lord is the everlasting God’, Is 40:28), but we find it hard to grasp the ideas of eternity since we are so rooted in time. One other attribute connected to this is also the idea that God is infinite: ‘the heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain You.’ (1 Kings 8:27) In this sense, we talk about God being immense or without limits. We are limited in terms of both time and space, but God is not.
God is good. (Ps 119:68) This is one of the ‘overarching attributes‘ of God, and whilst we may not feel that life is good all the time, the fact of God’s goodness remains a core belief which shapes our understanding of the world, reminding us that evil will not have the last word (see Rom 8:28). God’s goodness could be said to encompass other attributes which make God who He is, such as His kindness, forgiveness, grace and mercy (see Ex 34:6-7, Ps 86:15, Neh 9:17).
God is righteous and just and holy. This means He will always do what is right and fair; He is not going to be swayed by partiality or overlook sin. He is holy; He is utterly different to us. He is light; in Him, there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5) Nahum tells us, ‘The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The Lord takes vengeance on his foe and vents his wrath against his enemies. The Lord is slow to anger but great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.’ (Nahum 1:2-3) We can find it hard to reconcile different aspects of God’s nature such as the fact that He is loving but is also just or the fact that He is forgiving but will not leave the guilty unpunished. We tend to believe that these things are mutually exclusive, but in God, we see that they are not. God is holy and cannot look on sin, but He sent His Son to be a sin-offering for us so that we can be reconciled to God. (2 Cor 5:19-21) God is just; He will never do anything which is unfair or wrong; as Abraham said, ‘will not the Judge of all the earth do right?’ (Gen 18:25)
God does not change. (Mal 3:6) This is known as the ‘immutability of God.’ James tells us that God ‘does not change like shifting shadows’. (James 1:17) He may well change a course of action as the result of people’s response to Him (as Jonah found out with the people of Nineveh!), but He himself does not change. He is the constant. Heb 13:8 says, ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.’ This truth gives us great hope and encouragement, because it provides us with something which will not and cannot change in a world that is ever-changing.
We did not have time to talk of God’s truthfulness, His faithfulness, His sovereignty, His transcendence, His mystery… but our meditation tonight helps us to have a big view of God, defined by God Himself (rather than our own imagination or other people’s ideas), and this knowledge of God has the power to transform us o we can shine forth like stars in the universe as we hold firmly to the word of life. (Phil 2:15-16)