The Being, Names and Attributes of God, part II

1 Peter 2:9-10

Dr. S. Lewis Johnson continues his teaching on God's attributes as demonstrated in Scripture.

Read the Sermon

Transcript

The subject for today is, “What is God Like? Or the Being, Names and Attributes of God – part II.” Now will you turn for two verses of Scripture before we begin, to 1 Peter chapter 2, verses 9 and 10. 1 Peter chapter 2, verses 9 and 10. Now, this is only a jumping off point because we’re going to look at a number of passages in the course of our study, but I think it is an appropriate one.

And I want to read the verses — verses 9 and 10 — of 1 Peter chapter 2. And Peter writes, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a people of his own — I think you have something like, a peculiar people, which has peculiar significance for Christians, I think — that ye should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Who in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God; who have not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”

Now, the word I want you to notice is the word “praises,” and you will notice that it is in the ninth verse, and that it is literally; excellencies. Now, this is a word, strictly speaking in Greek, which means “virtue,” but virtue does not, in Greek, have quite the same force as it does in English. And “excellencies” is really a good rendering. And if we think of “excellencies” as those facets of the character of God that reveal him to be an excellent person, then we come very close to what we mean by attributes.

And one of the reasons that we have been saved, so Peter says, is that we should advertise the excellencies of him who had called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. Now, that means of course, that when we do come to know Jesus Christ as our personal savior; that we come to know him in order that we might reveal God in our lives. And therefore, I think it is very, very significant for us that we know just what kind of God it is who has saved us, and who we are to reveal in our lives.

Now, we have learned, if I may review for just one moment, these things in our studies up to this point: that God exists; that God may be known, while at the same time, he is incomprehensible in the fullest sense. That God is known by revelation. That this revelation is in two parts, unwritten and written. And, that the written revelation is verbally inspired. That the inspired revelation is known by means of interpretation — the human activity — and illumination, the divine activity, the work of the Holy Spirit in enabling us to understand the Scriptures.

Then last time we learned that in the names of God — which are not inventions of men, but given us by God — he descends to the level of the finite and in measure, reveals his being. And we can, as we study the names of God and Scripture, be given an insight into the character of the God whom we worship. Now there is great practical significance of course in all these doctrines, and it is of especially practical significance that he reveals himself to us in his names. For they tell us things about him and also things that should influence us in our daily lives.

At the conclusion of the last hour, I quoted the text from Proverbs chapter 18, verse 10, “The name of Jehovah is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it and is safe.” Now we know this because we know the kind of person that he is, and we know the kind of person that he is from the study of his being, from his names, and from his attributes. So another means whereby we may be delivered from a God, begotten in the shadows of our fallen nature, as someone has put it — which is really, idolatry.

For when we conjure up in our mind a God who is different from the God who is the Father of Jesus Christ, and we worship the God of our minds — who is different from the God of the Scriptures, as we misunderstand him — we have created a false God. And in creating that false God by our misunderstanding of the word of God, we practice idolatry. It is really a loophole. Upon the character of God, to worship one who we do not properly understand. And I think, were it not for the fact that God knows this, and holds us responsible — for remember — not only what we know, but what we might have known as well. Were it not that he is merciful and gracious, and overlooks many of the frailties of men because of what Jesus Christ has done almost every one of us really would be guilty of idolatry, for we do not know the God that we worship as we should.

So to make God someone other than he is, is idolatry. Now, in order to know this God, and to know him correctly, we must understand his being. And his attributes. And his names. So tonight we want to continue and we want to look at the attributes. And first of all the definition and classification of the attributes. And capitally, the definition.

This term, “attribute” by the way, is not really an ideal term because it conveys the idea of adding something to the divine being. And when you think of God’s attributes, unconsciously, because of the English word, you rather think of things that we can add to God. These are his attributes. His being is this, and his attributes are things that we add to him. The English word at least, might connate that. And of course, we cannot add anything to God, and it is not the desire of us as we study the attributes of God, to add anything to the being of God. Therefore, the word “properties,” is probably a better term. We were to speak of the term, “the properties of God,” would be things that are proper to God, and are proper to God only. That is, in the sense in which the Scriptures say they are.

Now, we are his excellencies — for example, as we have just spoken. They are the things that are proper to him. Not virtues in the ethical sense only, but properties that pertain to the nature of God. But unfortunately, theologians do not speak of the properties of God, they speak of the attributes of God, and almost every one of them speaks of the attributes of God and then modifies their discussion by saying this is not really a good word. Properties is probably better. But nevertheless, it is discussed as the attributes of God because down through the centuries we have talked about the attributes of God. And to begin to talk about the properties of God, would be very confusing to people. And there are some things that are unsatisfactory about the term “property” too.

So we’ll just stick with “attributes,” and I want you to remember that when we think about the attributes of God, we’re not adding things to the character of God, we’re seeking to see what is involved in his being. Now Bob Theme in Houston has his own term. He talks about the “essence box,” and he says that the “essence box” is composed of certain virtues that pertain to God; his goodness, his righteousness, his justice, et cetera, et cetera. Well, no one understands what “essence box” means. I’m sorry Bob, but it’s true. No one understands what the “essence box” means unless he sat in [indistinct] Church for a year or two. Then of course, you may understand. But when we talk about attributes, we’re talking about these things that pertain to God, his properties or his character.

Let me give you two definitions that have been given and maybe a comment or two upon them. Professor Berkhoff — Now this is a name you ought to know, you who are beginning to be theologians. Professor Berkoff is a Reformed theologian. He is now with the Lord. He was a conservative theologian, an amillennialist. He’s now pre-millennialist, I believe.[Laughter] But anyway he’s now with the Lord and Professor Burkoff has defined an attribute in this way. “The perfections, which are predicated of the divine being in Scripture or are visibly exercised by him in his works of creation, providence and redemption.” Now, the important clause I’ll repeat. “The perfections, which are predicated of the divine being in Scripture.” These are his attributes, the perfections of God as they are seen in Scripture.

And then another definition; by another theologian. He has defined an attribute as “an essential, permanent and distinguishing quality or characteristic of God, like the color and fragrance of a rose.” Now of course, if you think of a rose, you think of color and fragrance. You can hardly think of a rose, without thinking of color and fragrance. As a matter of fact, if you were to take color away from rose, and fragrance away from rose, you would not have a rose. That is, normally speaking. Of course, in the winter-time, you have nothing but sticks. But nevertheless, sooner or later, that rose is going to manifest those two characteristics. The properties of a rose are color and fragrance. And they are part of the nature of the rose. And so the attributes then, are the characteristics and properties of God.

Capital B: The classification.

Again, if you read any theological book, you will discover that theologians have not agreed over how to classify the attributes of God. Now, don’t be surprised by this. When men discuss God it is very difficult for them to come to one mind regarding the person and being of God, for the very simple reason that, when we begin to talk about God, we’re talking about something that is ultimately, beyond any one of us. And so as we understand Scripture, we seek to set forth, in a logical way, what we understand. But not everybody studies Scripture to the same extent. Not everybody is subject to the Holy Spirit in the same way. Not all of us come to Scripture from the same background. So consequently, some see some things in Scripture and others see others. Now, if there’s contradiction, someone is wrong. But there are things that one person may see that another person may not see, and both may well be true. And so it is possible for us to look at the attributes in different ways.

Therefore, some have classified the attributes as natural; those that pertain to his nature, and moral. Those that pertain to his will. Some have said that attributes may be come classified as absolute; those that pertain to God and God alone, and relative; those that pertain to his essence, but in relation to creation. So one, absolute — his essence, with relation to himself. The other, characteristics of his essence with reference to others. Absolute. Relative.

Now I’m using the two terms, “incommunicable” and “communicable,” but in much the same meaning. What I mean by this is, that there are some attributes that pertain to God and pertain to God alone primarily. And then there are some attributes that pertain to God, but they look at God in relation to others. They are communicable. Some are incommunicable. They pertain to him. They are those of which there is nothing analogous in the creation; really. And then there are those which are properties of the divine nature, but which may also be seen to some extent, in human nature.

For example, only God is really self-existent. Only God is really immutable. Only God is really infinite. And only God possesses the unity of uniqueness. On the other hand, there are other beings that are spiritual besides God. There are others that have intellectual attributes in measure — not of course, omniscience — but of knowledge, wisdom and voracity.

Let’s move on to the discussion of the incommunicable attributes, and first of all, the self-existence of God. Now, remember God is the absolute being who does not exist in any necessary relations to man because he is self-existent. Now we’re going to stress the fact that he is self-existent. He does not need man, if I may put it that way. He is the absolute being. He does not have to have any relation to man. He is not dependent upon man in any way. Now I don’t mean that he cannot make himself, to some extent, dependent. And he has; but he does not have to be. He is the person who exists by himself, and when we look at these attributes that we’re going to look at, we’re going to see that these are things that pertain to God, and they pertain primarily to God alone. Now, you can see reflections of some of these things in men, but they really pertain to God alone.

So first of all, we want to discuss this self-existence of God, and I want you to turn to a passage that we have looked at several times, but which is again appropriate at this point. And if you were following carefully what I’ve been saying, you probably would have guessed that we will turn right now; to show you that God is self-existent — he doesn’t need anybody else — to Exodus chapter 3, verse 13, verse 14 and verse 15. You can see how important these passages become when talking about God.

Now while you’re looking at that, let me say this; when we say that God is self-existent, we are saying that God is the first cause, himself being uncaused. He is the first cause of everything, but he himself is uncaused. He is self-existent; does not depend upon anyone else. Self-existent. He is, in the truest sense of the word, independent. Self-existent.

Now listen as we read this text again for about the fourth time. “And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, the God of your fathers has sent me unto you, and they shall say to me, what is his name? What shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM.” By the way, you know every time I read this text, I think about the cult in California, the “I AM” cult. And I often wonder when some newcomers come in the audience, and I refer to this and stress it, if they think, Well you know, maybe he’s a member of that great I Am cult from California. But let me assure you, I am not. But they at least have seen the significance of these words. “God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM. And he said, thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob hath sent me unto you; this is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.” “I AM THAT I AM.” Or as the Greek translation puts it, “I am the one who exists. I am the one who is.” Or as the Latin translation of the Old Testament puts it, “I am who I am.” In other words; I am, I exist, I am not dependent upon anyone else.

Now, let me ask you this question, Do you think this is important for us? If you think for one moment that these doctrines of the attributes of God are only theological and of interest only to those who are interested in the doctrines of theology — let me right at this point — make very plain to you, that we are talking about some of the most practical truths that we could ever talk about when we open God’s word. For you see the kind of person that God is, is the most significant thing of our existence; because how we are related to this God, is our existence. And therefore, it is of the first importance that we understand what God is like.

But more than that, by understanding what God is like, it is possible for us to understand what we are like? And when we come to understand what we are like, it ought to throw a great deal of light upon our daily life. For example, if God is the only self-existent one, then he’s the only independent will in the universe. He’s the only independent person in the universe. Man is dependent. Man is dependent by his very nature.

And so when we talk about freedom, for example, as we read in our papers. Everybody’s talking about freedom, from the extreme leftist groups, to the extreme rightist groups, from the middle, the consensus. Everybody is talking about freedom. But you can never understand freedom for men if we do not understand what men are like. Men are dependent beings. They can never really be free until they are adjusted to what they are. In other words, we are dependent upon God. Someone has said, “We are the echo of an original voice.” This is man’s deepest problem. You see, ever since the Garden of Eden, man has been challenging God’s dominion. He’s been saying in effect, that he is not a dependent being; that he’s another little God.

As a matter of fact, he sits on his own little throne, and he says, “I am who I am.” That’s precisely what we do when we live independently of God. We sit on a little throne and we say, “I too, am self-existent.” And when we say that, though we may not believe it, we’re living an idolatrous kind of existence, for we have created a new God, and it is ourselves. Another will in the universe for which we claim self-existence. Well, it’s a striking thing about man. Man is willing to share himself. He’s willing even, to sacrifice himself, but he’s not willing to dethrone himself. That’s the one thing that it is very difficult for him to do.

And furthermore, once you become a Christian — at least it seems to me — it’s almost as difficult as it was before. Not quite, but that’s the trouble with many of us who are Christians. We have received something from God — everlasting life — but we have not really realized in our experience, the supremacy of God. The independence of God and the dependence of man.

I think this is the most fundamental significance. It is the thing that influences every action of our life every day. You men who get up in the morning and go down to your office, and all of the decisions that face you during the day — your business decisions, your personal decisions. And you ladies who get up and just relax throughout the day [laughter], all of your decisions — all of your decisions actually are outgrowths of what you think of yourself, whether you’re really dependent or whether you really are independent.

G. K. Chesterton once said — and there is a lot of wisdom in this — Chesterton was a Roman Catholic but he was interested in spiritual things, and he said many, many wonderful things. He said, “You know, when you go to rent a room, you should never stop and ask questions like, what kind of furniture is in this room? What am I going to get on the table when supper comes? You shouldn’t ask questions like that. The question you really should ask is, Madam, what is your total view of the universe?” Because you see, the way a person thinks about that, determines all of these other little things. It determines what kind of furniture is in the room, what kind of food is put on the table; it determines everything else. The kind of God you have affects all of your daily life, and all of your decisions.

But very important to realize — that God is self-existent — and we are dependent. And deliverance comes when we realize that we are usurpers. You remember when Peter preached the gospel in Acts chapter 2? And when he finished his message — I think probably while he was still going — but he had finally reached the climax of, “God has made the same Jesus whom he had crucified, both Lord and Christ.” And then it says that they were pierced in their hearts. And they said, “Men, brethren, what shall we do?” And the Holy Spirit had brought them to the place where they realized that they were not independent beings. So this is a very important truth, you see.

Now next, Capital B: The Immutability of God. Let’s turn to Malachi chapter 3, verse 6. This is one of the great passages of the Old Testament, and we’ll look at this one, and then we’ll also look at one in the New. Malachi chapter 3, verse 6. That’s the last book of the Old Testament. Malachi chapter 3, verse 6. Immutability. Do you remember your Latin? Mutile, mutare; mutawe; mutatus First conjucation verb. Remember? It means to; what? Come on Latin students. Muto; what about mutations? Change, to change. “Immutability,” is the unchangibility of God. Now, notice chapter 3, verse 6 of Malachi. “For I am the Lord. I change not. Therefore, ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” “I am the Lord. I change not.”

Now, let’s turn to the New Testament to Hebrews chapter 1. Hebrews chapter 1, and let’s read verses 11 and 12 — 10, 11 and 12. Hebrews chapter 1. New Testament, page 1312 in the Approved Edition of the King James Version; revised. Verse 10, Hebrews chapter 1. “And thou Lord, in the beginning, has laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Thine hand. They shall perish, but Thou remainest, and they all shall become old as doth a garment. And as a vesture, thou shalt fold them up, and they shall be changed, but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.”

Now here is a wonderful picture of Jesus Christ. He’s the Jehovah of the Old Testament, of course. But the picture of our Lord is this — it’s the picture of a creation, and then the picture of the creator. And then he says; “Now the creation will grow old.” As a matter of fact, he said, “Like a vesture, it shall be folded up.” And the time will come when God shall bring it to an end — just like your old diploma that you won when you graduated from high school, and you pull it out, and you let it go, and it folds up — so God is going to fold up all his creation about us.

But Jesus Christ, who was there when it was first created, shall be there when it is folded up like a vesture, and while the creation waxes old, day by day — and every day it is older than it was the day before — Jesus Christ stands over against it unchanged. The unchanging God. Immutability. Now, this is something that pertains to God, and to God alone. It does not pertain to us. We know of course, that we change because we change physically. We know the creation changes because it changes in the same way. But God does not change.

You know, if change does take place, it can take place in several ways. It could take place, for example, from worse to better. Now, that wouldn’t do of God, would it? From better to worse, that wouldn’t do. Or it might be in some kind of internal change like from immaturity to maturity, but that wouldn’t do of God. You see he’s the unchangeable being. Immutability pertains to him. In other words, he cannot move in any of these directions. He cannot move to that which is worse. He cannot move to that which is better. He cannot be better tomorrow than he is today. He is always best, always unchanging. Man is mutable. One day he’s like this. Another day he’s like another. We get up, and I say to Mary, “Good morning. How are you?” And so I acknowledge by that, that she is mutable.

I heard one fellow last year at a Bible Conference say that he gets up in the morning and says, “Good morning God.” I think he said — I’m not sure — but I think he said; he said to the Lord this and he recommended that all of the Christians there, “Good morning God. How are you today? What are you going to let me do for you?” Now, that sounds very good, but that man is an idolater. I asked my wife today around the lunch table in our house, “Would you get up in the morning and say, Good morning Lord. How are you?” She said, “That’s nutty. God’s always all right.”[Laughter] Now, it’s perfectly all right for us to get up and say, “How are you?” Because some days, some days, you’re terrible to live with. Other days, it’s nice. And with some people you know, you say that with a lot of trepidation. “Good day. How are you?” With a moody kind of person, you know, one day it’s agreeable, the next day it’s disagreeable, an old grouch. Has it ever been that way? That’s why you say, “Good morning. How are you?” You wouldn’t say that to God. It’s stupid, just like she said. It’s nutty.

Now, let me tell you, this is a very practical thing because you see, if God is unchangeable then that means that he’s always what he is today, yesterday, a thousand years ago, a thousand years in the future. He’ll always be the same. And if that’s true, and he has said that we may approach him with the problems of life; that means we can approach him today. We can approach him tomorrow. We can approach him ten years from now. He’s always the same. We never have to say, “How is it with you today, Lord?” Always the same. All of our needs can be always met by an unchanging God who makes unchanging promises; you see. Now, this is of most fundamental significance in our daily life. Oh listen, we would be in terrible shape if God was changeable. If one day he looked upon us with favor, but tomorrow he might not, that’d be enough to drive a man to a psychiatrist. But he is unchangeable. He is immutable. We must hurry on.

The infinity of God. Now the infinity of God, is of course, a big subject. But let’s turn to Psalm 139 and read verses 7 through 10. Psalm 139, verses 7 through 10. When we say that God is infinite, we mean he is unlimited, and when we say he is unlimited, we mean he is unlimited by defect, by time, by space. Now, notice verse 7 through verse 10 of Psalm 139. David says, “Whether shall I go from Thy spirit? Or whether shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there. If I make my bed in Sheol, behold; thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.” God is the infinite God.

Let’s turn over to the New Testament and read 2 Peter chapter 3, verse 8. 2 Peter chapter 3, verse 8. You know, these things are so important, and so significant, that it would be good for us to spend a couple of hours on every one of them. I hope sometime you will. You’ll go through your Bible, and read all of the texts that have to do with these great attributes of God. Verse 8 of 2 Peter chapter 3. “But beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing; that one day as with the Lord is a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” With God, there is no past, present, and future. One thousand years passes with him, just like a day passes with us. God may cram into one day, what it would take us one thousand years to do. And thus when he says, “I’m coming again,” and it’s been two thousand years to God; we’re just speaking humanly. It’s just like he made the promise the day before yesterday. And speaking divinely, it’s as if he just made it. “I will come again.”

So God is infinite. He’s unlimited by defect. He has no defects. He’s infinite. He’s unlimited by time. He does not know the designations that you and I know as yesterday or tomorrow. He’s already lived tomorrow. He’s already lived the century ahead. He knows it just as well as if it had already come to pass. He knows the twenty-first century just as well as he knows the eighteenth. He has lived the past, and he has lived the future. It all to him, is like one ever-present now. But do not think for one moment, that he does not recognize also succession. He does not know succession himself, but he recognizes it. And he knows that one thing follows another in his plan. But so far as he’s concerned, he sees everything it an unlimited way.

He is also unlimited by space. He is here, but he is also there. And he is a thousand miles from here, and he is out in space. And every part of him is here, and every part of him is there. You cannot say, “He’s part here and part there.” He’s all here. He’s all there. Does that strain your mind? Do you find your little mind beginning to get weary of trying to understand this? Well, good. Now you’re really beginning to understand what it is to think about God. Too often, we’re thinking about the color TV, and the new washer, or the new dryer or the new automobile or that new home on the lake or whatever it is. Those things are perfectly alright. But it would be good for us to stretch our minds a little bit; and get them tired by thinking about God some.

Now when we talk about God’s infinity, of course, we’re including his perfections, his eternity, his immensity. Omnipresence emphasizes the fact that he is here, and he is everywhere; here. His immensity stresses the fact that he is transcendent over everything, and he is there everywhere. You know, it’s a tremendous thing to have an infinite God. That means you cannot hide from him. It also means of course, that we too — since we have been created anew in him — have those longings for eternity, that he himself has in perfection.

Moses, in the 90 Psalm says, “That for everlasting to everlasting, thou art the same.” Just the same in eternity past. Think back as far as you can, and when it all begins to dim out into just mist, God is there. Go and look into the future until finally, you cannot imagine anything else. And God is beyond that. He is infinite. That means, of course, that there is no possible way for us to escape him as Christians, too.

You know, I — I remember an amusing story of a man who was trying to teach his kid how to steal watermelons. And he took him out one night, and it was dark, and he said, “Now, the first thing you have to do when you get out in the watermelon patch, is to look every way; north, east, south, west.” The little boy was sitting over on the fence, watching his dad. And his father went out, saw a nice watermelon. He looked this way, and he looked that way. And he looked this way, and he looked that way. And he’s just about ready to reach down and get it and his son said, “Dad, you forgot to look one way.” He jumped up with a startled look and said, “What do you mean?” He said, “Up.” He thought, “There’s a lot of truth in that too.” Up. Impossible to escape God. He is the infinite God. Infinite God. You may hide something from me. You can even hide something from your husband or from your wife, but you cannot hide anything from the infinite God. Of course, it’s good to have a perfect God. That means when we lean upon him, we can count upon him too.

Capital D: The Unity of God.

And just a brief word about this. Put down in your notes, Exodus chapter 15, verse 11, “Who is a God like unto thee, unique.” And 1 Corinthians chapter 8, verse 6. And let me just say this; that the unity of God means, that he is unique, and he is indivisible. He is one of a kind, and it is impossible to divide the being of God. Now, we will talk next time about three persons, but we cannot divide the being of God. He is a unified person. Unique. Indivisible.

Now, let’s move on to the communicable attributes of God.

And Capital A: The Spirituality of God.

Now, these stress the personal nature of God. The spirituality of God. John chapter 4, verse 24. John chapter 4, verse 24. What a temptation to talk about all of these, for they are so significant, but we must hurry. John chapter 4, verse 24. Our Lord utters this word. “God is spirit.” Your text says, “a spirit.” The Greek text says simply, “God is spirit. And they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” What that means is that he is distinct from the world in being. He is immaterial in his being. Now of course, some of these attributes are communicable. Angels are also immaterial. God is spiritual.

Second, the intellectual attributes of knowledge, wisdom, and voracity. Now, voracity means that he is true to the idea of the God-head. In others words, what a God should be — a Godhead should be — he is true to that. But here, he possesses the intellectual attributes of knowledge and wisdom. And let’s read Romans chapter 11, verse 33. Romans chapter 11, verse 33. Paul has just completed his great study in the relationship of the nation Israel to the nations of the earth. And he has discussed the plan of the ages, and in the course of it, he makes some wondering statements concerning God. He says as he finishes, verse 33, “O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God, how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out. For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Or who hath first given unto him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things to whom be glory forever.” His knowledge is absolutely perfect, and it is unacknowledged. It is not something he has learned. It is innate. It is immediate, and it is full. There was not a time in antiquity past, when God said, “You know, I think I’m a little weak on philosophy. I believe I’ll take a few courses on philosophy from Michael the archangel.” Never had to learn.

Did you hear about the football player who was just about to get kicked off the team? He went to his coach. He said, “Coach, looks like I’m not going to make it.” Coach said, “What’s the matter?” “My grades are too bad.” He said, “What were your grades?” He pulled out his report card. Coach looked at it. English: F. History: F. Biology: F. Education: D. Mathematics: F. “I know what your trouble is.” He said, “What?” “You spent too much time on education.” [Laughter]

God does not have to learn. He never had to learn. He does not have to learn today. He does not need to learn tomorrow. I also notice too, that he had the intellectual attribute of wisdom. You know, it’s possible to have a lot of knowledge, and not much wisdom. Have you heard about people who are educated beyond their intelligence? You know what that means, don’t you? Quit looking at me. [Laughter] I haven’t got enough education.

But God not only has complete knowledge, but he also has the ability to use that knowledge. He has wisdom, and complete. He’s never learned. It’s innate. It’s immediate. It’s full. Everything that he needs. Now you know, this is a wonderful thing because, very practically, it means this. It means that since he knows everything and he has accepted me it’s not possible for some skeleton to come rolling out of my closet which is going to surprise God. And which is going to change his attitude concerning me. It’s not possible for anyone to bring some accusation, which he has not heard about. Ah, but you accepted Lewis Johnson, but did you know so-and-so? He knows all about that. The ascent through the cross of Christ; that I am accepted. And since he knows everything, and he has accepted me; I don’t have to worry about anything in the past.

I don’t have to worry about anything in the present. For he knows the present as he knows the past. And I don’t have to worry about anything in the future because he knows the future, just as he has known the past. And he has accepted me. You know, I’m so glad I have a God who is omniscient, has complete knowledge, complete understanding. Innate. Immediate. Full. That’s the kind of God I have. And if you have believed in Jesus Christ of course, that’s the kind of God you have. You see it’s a wonderful thing to know these things about God. That’s why it’s so important that we study the attributes. And unfortunately, we weren’t able to finish tonight, but we will take the next two — next time — before we begin with the Trinity. Let’s close with a word of prayer.

[Prayer] Father, we thank Thee for these wonderful truths, sometimes so difficult and hard to grasp. We know Lord; they are beyond us. Thou art the infinite God. Deliver us from the idolatry of having in our minds, a God unlike Thee. Stretch our thinking and our being so that we may better comprehend the infinite God. And then Lord, because we know that Thou art infinite may we come to Thee with confidence and assurance, and learn to lean upon Thee.

For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Posted in: Theology Proper, 1 Peter